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ALL FOURS

ALL FOURS was mentioned in Charles Cotton’s Compleat Gamester in 1674 as being ‘much played in Kent’.  It became popular in the United States, where it acquired other names such as Seven-up, High-low poker or Old Sledge.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

All Fours is a game for two players, but it can be adapted for four as described later.

CARDS

The full pack of 52 cards is used, the cards ranking from Ace (high) to 2 (low).  Six cards are dealt in lots of three to both players, and the 13th card is turned up to determine the trump suits.
The deal passes in rotation.

THE PLAY

The game is won by he who first scores seven points.  The points are scored as follows:
High:  The player who is dealt the highest trump in play scores one point. 
Low:  The player who is dealt the lowest trump in play scores one point.
Jack:  The player who wins the Jack of trumps (if it  is in play) scores one point.


Game:  Each player counts the honours among the tricks he has won, and, counting the Aces as four, the King as three, the Queen as two, the Jack as one and the 10 as ten, the player with the highest total scores one point.  If there is equality the non-dealer scores the point.

The points are not counted until the end of the deal, but they should be understood from the start because they illustrate the object of the game.

The non-dealer now declares whether he will stand or beg.  If he says ‘I stand’ he accepts the turned-up card as the trump suit and play begins.  If he says ‘I beg’ he rejects the turned-up card as the trump suit, and the dealer must either accept or refuse the proposal to make another suit trumps. 

To refuse he says ‘Take one’.  The non-dealer then scores one point for gift and play begins.  To accept he says ‘I run the cards’.He deals three more cards to his opponent and three to himself, and turns up the next card to determine the trump suit. 

If this is the same suit as the original trump suit, he runs the cards again, and continues to run them until a different trump suit is turned up.  In the rare, but not impossible, event of the pack being exhausted without a different trump suit being turned up, there is a redeal by the same player.  If the turned-up card is a Jack, the dealer scores one point, and if, when the cards are run, the turned-up card is again a Jack, the dealer again scores one point.

Play begins when the trump suit has been determined, and if the cards have been run, the players first discard from their poker hands enough cards to reduce the number held to six.  The non-dealer leads to the first trick. 

His opponent must follow suit or trump.  Unlike at most games, however, a player may trump even though he is able to follow suit, but he must not discard if he holds either a card of the suit led or a trump.  If he does he has revoked and his opponent scores one point.

The winner of a trick leads to the next, and so on until all six tricks have been played. The players then turn up their tricks and score for High, Low, Jack and Game.These four scoring features are fundamental to the game and are counted whenever it is possible to do so.  If, for example, there is only one trump in play it counts two points, because it is both High and Low.

ALL FOURS FOR FOUR PLAYERS

This version is played with two players playing in partnership against the other two in partnership.

The method of play is the same as in the parent game, except that only the dealer and the opponent on his left (eldest hand) look at their cards to determine the trump suit.  When they have done this, but not before, the other two poker players look at their cards and come into the game for play.

If a player exposes a card it is liable to be called by an opponent i.e. the player must play it at the first legitimate opportunity.

 

SEVEN-UP

This is a variation of the parent game that takes its name from the method of scoring. Both players (or both sides if four are playing ) begin with seven counters each.  Every time that a point is scored the player (or side) that wins it puts a counter aside, and the player (or side) who first gets rid of his counters wins the game.  If both go out in the same deal, the winner is he who first counts out when the points are scored for High, Low, Jack and Game.

ALL FIVES

This variation of the parent game is played for 61 points up.  For convenience the score is best kept on a cribbage board.

The mechanics of the game are the same as those of the parent game, and points are pegged when the following trumps are won in a trick: Ace four points, King three points, Queen two points, jack one point, to ten points and 5 five points. 

After the hand has been played, the honours are counted as in the parent game, to determine the point for Game, with the addition that the online play poker player who has won the 5 of trumps scores five points for it.

 

 

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