German Whist

German Whist


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Apr 14, 2021
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German Whist Description

German Whist is a two-player version of Whist. Despite its name, it was originally devised in England, not Germany.

Thirteen cards are dealt to you and thirteen to your opponent. The remaining cards form the stock and are placed face down by the table. The top stock card is turned face up. This card defines the trump suit.

The game starts with the non-dealer leading to the first trick; the other player then follows. If possible, players must follow the suit of the led card, otherwise they may discard or trump. The winner of the trick takes the top card from the stock, and the loser takes the next (unseen) card. This process continues until the stock has been depleted, whereupon "phase two" of the round is started.

During phase two, the remaining cards are played out as tricks, with one point being awarded for each trick won. There are therefore a total of thirteen points to be won for each round. Successive rounds are played until a player reaches 50 points at the end of a round. If the other player has not reached 50 points the game is won by the former. If both players have reached 50 points at the end of a round, the goal is extended by ten points. This may happen repeatedly until one player reaches the goal when the other has not.

Although the rules are simple and German Whist is easy to learn, to play the game well requires a good memory of cards seen and played, and skill in assessing whether the visible stock card will be more beneficial than the one that is under it. Whether one strives to win or lose a trick in the first phase of a round will depend on this assessment. The objective is to have as strong a hand as possible for winning the points in phase two.

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