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MikeJeggo will try to remember the rules...

Game for two players (a three player variant exists but is much less fun)

Each player is dealt six cards.  Each player selects two of these cards to go in the 'box' - a third hand of cards, which is scored separately from the players' hands at the end, and whose score is given to the non-dealer for the hand.  Selecting the cards for the box is quite strategic.

The non-dealer cuts the deck, and the dealer takes the top card from the bottom pile of cards, turns it up and places it on top of the recombined deck.  If this card is a jack, the dealer scores two points (the dealer must claim these points by saying "two for his heals").

The 'pegging out' phase begins.  Starting with the dealer, each player plays a card from their hand and places it face up on a pile in front of them, announcing the cumulative pip score of all cards played in the phase thus far (ace = 1 point, pictures score 10).  Points in this phase are awarded if:
- the cumulative pip total is fifteen or thirty-one (two points)
- the last two (two points), three (six points) or four (twelve points) cards bear the same pip value
- the last x cards for x > 3 form a run (in sequence, suit irrelevent) (x points)

These points must be claimed by the player as they play their card, by saying "for x" where x is the number of points being claimed.

The cumulative total in the pegging out must not exceed thirty-one pips.  If a player cannot play a card without exceeding this total, they say "go".  The other player must continue to play cards until they reach thirty one or also say "go".  If a total of thirty-one is not achieved, the last player to play a card claims one point by saying "for one".  If players have cards remaining in their hands, the piles of played cards are turned over, and pegging out recommences with the player who first said "go" in the previous round playing first.  A point is awarded to the last player to play a card.

Once pegging out is complete, the scoring up of the hands begins, dealer's hand first, then non-dealer, and finally the box.

The player claiming points for a hand examines it and can claim points for the following combinations of their cards with the card face up on the top of the deck:
- two points for each different combination of cards that totals fifteen pips.
- two points for each pair of equivalued cards.
- x points for each run of at x consecutive cards, x > 2.
- four points for a four card flush in which all four cards in the hand are of the same suit - three in the hand along with the top card of the deck do not count for this.
- five points for a five card flush - in which the four cards of the hand and the top card of the deck are of the same suit.  Four and five card flushes cannot be claimed off the same hand!
- one point if the hand contains the jack whose suit matches that of the face-up card, claimed by saying "one for his nob" (Oi, stop giggling you at the back.  It's traditional, OK?)

Once both hands and the box have been scored, the round is over, the deck is shuffled and the dealership is exchanged for the next hand.  Play continues until one player reaches 121 points.  It should be noted that scoring is in real time.  As soon as the 121 mark is reached, play ceases, the counting is not finished and compared with the other player's.  Thus maintaining the correct play sequence is vital.

Strategy: one of the main strategic elements is choosing cards for the box.  It should be remembered that the chance of a 10-pip card being turned up on the deck is four times higher than the chance of any other value, thus it is unwise to play a five into a box that your opponent will score, likewise a ten point card may be unwise because the chances are relatively high that an opponent will contribute a five if they can to their own box.  For one's own box, the most independent pair should usually be selected.  It is easier to score points of a large combination of cards, so it is usually best to keep the highest scoring set in your hand even if that means putting rubbish into the box.  You will usually score more off your hand than the box even if you can put in a pair or a fifteen poin combo, because your opponent will try to put in poor combinations.  Although it's always fun when they inadvertently play the third of a kind in with your pair, to give you six points for the three pairs :)  The last consideration is that cards in your hand can score twice over - in the pegging out as well as in counting up the hand.  Fives and tens can be valuable in pegging out as well as in hand counting.  They can also be a liability if you play them at the wrong moment, to allow your opponent to make the fifteen mark easily and foreseeably!  It can be useful to retain some low value cards in hand for pegging out, to give you a better chance at playing last in the sequence, or even to hit the thirty-one mark for the extra point.  But this is probably the least strategic decision.

This game is very much a statisticians game :)

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Last edited August 26, 2004 12:27 pm (viewing revision 2, which is the newest) (diff)