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Klaberjass is probably better known in America than in England, because under the names of Clabber, Clobber, Clubby, Klab and Klob, it occurs in Damon Runyon’s amusing stories, and in 1937 a variation of the game, under the name of Jo-jotte was publicized by Ely Culbertson.  Despite the similarity of names it is not identical with the Hungarian game of kalabrias, which is a game for three or four players.  There may have been a common ancestor, or possibly the game was taken to the New World by Central European immigrants and there adapted as a two-handed game with klaberjass as a bowdlerized version of kalabrias.

            The game is played with a pack from which the 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s and 2s have been removed.  In the trump suit the cards rank in the order J 9 A 10 K Q 8 7 ; and in the other three suits A 10 K Q J 9 8 7.
            Six cards are dealt to both players, in two bundles of three cards each.  The next card of the pack is turned face upwards on the table (it is known as the turn-up card) and the rest of the pack is placed face downwards so as partly to cover it.
            The non-dealer bids first.  He may take-it (i.e. accept the turn-up card as the trump suit); pass (i.e. refuse to accept the turn-up card as the trump suit); or schmeiss (i.e. offer to play with the turn-up card as the trump suit  or throw in the hand, as his opponent prefers).  If the opponent says ‘Yes” to a schmeiss there is a fresh deal; if he says ‘No’ the poker hand is played with the turn-up card as the trump suit.
            If the non-dealer has passed, the dealer may either take-it pass or schmeiss.


If both players pass there is a second round of bidding.  Now the non-dealer may name any one of the other three suits as trumps, or he may schmeiss (i.e. offer to name one of the other three suits as trumps or throw in the hand, as his opponent prefers), or he may pass.  If he passes, the dealer may name one of the other three suits as trumps, or throw in the hand.
            When a player accepts or names a trumps suit, the bidding ends, and the player who has accepted or named a suit as trumps is called the maker.
            There is never more than two rounds of bidding, and when the trump suit has been settled, the dealer deals three more cards, one at a time, to the two players.  He then turns up the bottom card of the pack and places it on top of the pack.  It takes no part in the play, and is put where is only to be seen.
            If either player has been dealt the 7 of the trump suit, he may exchange it for the turn-up card.
            Only sequences are melded, and for melding the cards rank in the order from Ace (high) to 7 (low).  A 3-card sequence counts 20 points, a 4-card or longer one 50 points.

            The non-dealer begins by announcing the value of his best sequence.  If his best sequence is of three cards he says ‘Twenty’; if of four or more cards he says ‘Fifty’.  If dealer has a better sequence he says ‘No good’; if he lacks a better sequence he says ‘Good’; if he has an equal sequence he asks ‘How high?’.  The non-dealer then announces the top card of his sequence.  The dealer then says whether it is good, no good, or if he has a sequence headed by an equal card.  In this last event neither player scores unless one of the sequences is in the trump suit, which wins over a sequence in a plain suit.
            The non-dealer leads to the first trick; thereafter the winner of a trick leads to the next.  A player must follow suit if he can, and if he cannot he must play a trump if he holds one.  If a trump is led, the second poker player must win the trick if he can.

            After the first trick has been played, the player with the highest meld shows it and scores for all sequences in his hand.  His opponent cannot score for any sequences that he may hold. 
            A player who hold the King and Queen of the trump suit may score 20 points so long as he announces ‘Bella’ immediately after he has played the second of them to a trick.  If a player holds the Jack of the trump suit, as well as the King and Queen, he may score for the sequence as well as for bella.
            When all the cards have been played, each player examines his tricks and scores points for winning in his tricks:

Jasz (the Jack of the trump suit) 20 points
Menel (the 9 of the trump suit)  14 points
Any Ace                                               11 points
Any 10                                                 10 points
Any King `                                           4 points
Any Queen                                           3 points
Any Jack (except Jasz)                              2 points
Last Trick                                             10 points

            If the maker’s total, including melds and cards won, is higher than the opponent’s, each scores all the points he has won.  If the totals of the two players are equal, the opponent scores the points he has won, the maker nothing.  If the opponent’s total is higher than that of the maker’s, the two totals are added together and the opponent scores them.
            The player who first reaches 500 points wins the game.

KLABERJASS FOR FOUR PLAYERS is played in partnership, two playing against two.  Eight cards are dealt to each player, and the dealer turns up his last card for trumps.
            Each player in turn, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer, may either take-it or pass.  There is no schmeiss.  If all four players pass, there is a second round of bidding during which each player in turn has a right to name the trump suit.  If all four players pass the second round of bidding there is a fresh deal.
            The player who names the trump suit becomes the maker, and his side must score more than the opposing side.
            The player on the left of the dealer leads to the first trick.


Pinocle in its original form is a game for two player similar to bezique.  It is played with a pack of forty-eight cards, namely a pack that consists of A 10 K Q J 9  (in this order) in each of the four suits, duplicated.
            Twelve cards are dealt to both players, three or four cards at a time, and the next card is turned face upwards to indicate the trump suit.  The rest of the pack is placed face downwards on the table to half cover the exposed card.

            The object of the game is to win tricks that include those cards which carry a scoring value when won in a trick, and to meld certain combinations of cards that carry a scoring value.
            When taken in a trick each Ace scores 11 points, each 10 scores 10 points, each King 4 points, each Queen 3 points, and each Jack 2 points, each Queen 3 points, and each Jack 2 points.  The player who wins the last trick scores 10 points.

            The values of the melds are:

Class A
A 10 K Q J of the trump suit                             150 points
K Q of the trump suit (royal marriage)   40 points
K Q of a plain suit (common marriage)  20 points

Class B
Pincole (Q ♠ and J )                                       40 points
Dis ( 9 of the trump suit)                                   10 points

Class C           
Four Aces-one of each suit                               100 points
Four Kings-one of each suit                              80 points
Four Queens-one of each suit                           60 points
Four Jacks-one of each suit                              40 points

            The non-dealer leads to the first trick.  Thereafter the winner of a trick leads to the next.  It is not necessary for a player to follow suit to a led card.  The winner of a trick replenishes his hand by taking the top card of the stock; the loser of the trick takes the next. 
            After a player has won a trick and before poker drawing from the stock, he may meld any of the above combinations.  To meld he places the cards face upwards on the table in front of him, where they remain until he decides to play them to a trick, or until the stock is exhausted.  Melding is subject to the three rules that follow:

  1. Only one meld may be made at a turn.
  2. For each meld, at least one card must be taken from the hand and placed on the table.
  3. A card already melded may be melded again so long as it is in a different class, or in a higher –scoring meld of the same class.

That is to say, if Hearts are trumps a player may meld ♥ K Q and score for the royal marriage, and he may add ♥  A 10 J and score for the sequence.  He cannot first declare ♥ A 10 K  Q J and score for sequence and later declare the royal marriage.

            If the dealer turns up a dis as the trump card he scores 10 points.  Thereafter a player holding a dis may count it merely by showing it when winning a trick.  He may count the dis and make another meld at the same time.  After winning a trick, the holder of a dis may exchange it for the trump card.
            The player who wins the twelfth trick may meld if he is able to.  He then draws the last face-downwards card of the stock and must show it to his opponent.  The loser of the trick takes into his hand the card exposed on the table.

            The last twelve tricks are now played off.  During this period of play a player must follow suit if he can to the card led; if he cannot he must trump the trick if he holds a trump.  If a trump is led the second player must win the trick if he can.
            Melds are scored when they are declared.  The score for cards won in tricks are added after the hand has been played out, a total of 7, 8,or 9 points is counted as 10.
            Every deal may constitute  a game, or the players may prefer that the winner will be he who first reaches an agreed figure.
            At pinocle skill and experience count for much.  An ability to remember which cards have been played contributes much towards success.  When it comes to playing poker off the last twelve cards, the experienced player will never be in any doubt about which cards his opponent holds.  Thus, when playing to the last trick before the stock is exhausted, a player should be able to weigh up the merits of winning the trick and melding, preventing his opponent from melding, or losing the trick and so obtaining the exposed trump card to add to his trump length in the final play off.





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