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Unite or Die Snake


Last updated: January 2020



Whist is mentioned often in 18th century journals & diaries.  It is a variation on bridge & similar to Euchre. While it is a simple game to learn, it takes time & concentration to master.

Four players (in partnerships of 2) use a standard 52 card pack. Cards rank A (high) K Q Kn 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 (low). The suits are all equal in rank -- except the trump suit, which always ranks higher that any of its non-trump counterparts. The players cut the deck to determine partners -- the two high cuts play against the two low cuts. The lowest cut deals a hand of 13 cards to each player. The last card is turned up & its suit becomes trump. This card belongs to the dealer, but it stays face-up on the table until the dealer plays to the first trick.

The eldest player leads the first trick with any card he chooses. Each player then plays a card, they must follow the suit lead if they have it, otherwise, they can throw a card from another suit or a trump card. The highest card of the suit lead wins the trick -- unless a trump card is played, in which case the highest trump card wins. The winner of the trick sets it aside & leads the next trick (only one partner keeps the trick pile). The first six tricks (for both partnerships) make a “book” & don’t count in the scoring.  Each trick taken after a partnership “makes book,” counts one point.

At the end of a hand, the tricks taken by each team are added up, & the team holding the most tricks is the winner of the hand.  The winners also have opportunity to add points to their score if they have taken Honors (the Ace, King, Queen, & Knave of trump).   For capturing three of the 4 Honors cards, the partnership scores an additional two points to their hand; for capturing all four of the Honors cards, the partnership scores four points.  The first partnership to score 10 points wins the game. 

 A variation on whist is also known as catch-honours, catch-the-ten, or Scotch whist.  The main objective is to win a trick with the ten of trump, which counts for ten points. Note:  that the trick has to be won with the ten. A trick won with any other card which simply contains the 10 of trump is scored normally.  At the end of the hand, the number of points from the losing partnership’s hand (once they have made book) is subtracted from the number of points from the winning partnership’s hand (once they have made book) & is the winning team’s score for the hand.   Scotch Wist is played to 7 points, not the customary 10 points.