Five Hundred was actually developed and promoted by the United States Playing Card Co. (1904) as an extension of Euchre. It is a classic trick-taking game and it is played widely in Australia.
Five Hundred works best with four players in two fixed-partnerships, though it adapts just as easily to three. Enjoy the outdoors on your patio sitting under an outdoor umbrella while playing a game of 500 or relax inside in the comfort of your living room on a rainy day. Either way, Five Hundred is a game that once mastered can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Take a standard deck of playing cards and strip out the 2s, 3s and black 4s. Add the Joker, and this will give you a deck of 43 cards.
Rank of Cards - In trumps the cards rank Jkr, J, J*, A, K, Q, 10, 9 , 8, 7, 6, … In all the other suits the ranking remains as usual, A, K, Q, J, 10 … keeping in mind that the red suits are longer than the black suits.
‘Jkr’, is the Joker, and assumes the Trump suit at the beginning of each hand. He is the Supreme Bower, the High Trump.
J* is the Left Bower. That is, the Jack that is of the same colour as the trump suit. Each time a suit is made trumps, the two Jacks the same colour are enlisted as Bowers. If that’s spades, then the two black Jacks become bowers, and act accordingly to defeat Aces, Kings, and Queens. If it’s hearts, or diamonds, then it’s the two red Jacks that act as Bowers.
Each player is dealt 10 cards face down, in batches of 3 and 4, and one for the middle. In this way, each player ends up with 10 cards and there are 3, face down, in the middle – the Widow.
Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player takes it in turn to bid by declaring the number of tricks they think they can win, and in the suit they think they can do it in, by saying something such as "Six Spades". Each bid must be higher than the previous, and a player who does not want to bid may pass, but, by so doing, may not re-enter the bidding process. The value of bids and point values are in the table below. The bidding continues till all but one player has passed.
Whoever bids the highest, and wins the auction becomes the Declarer. The other team are the Defenders. If everyone passes, the hand is thrown in and the deal proceeds left to the next player.
The declarer takes up the Widow, and without showing anything to anyone, quietly discards 3 cards. Play begins as the Declarer leads to the first trick, and thereafter, the winner of the trick leads to the next.
Standard trick taking rules apply. You must follow suit to the card led. If you can't follow suit, you can play any card. The trick is won by the highest trump played to it, OR, if no trumps are played, the trick goes to the highest card of the suit led.
Play continues until all 10 tricks have been played.
If the Declarers take at least as many tricks as was bid, they receive the score for that bid as set out in the table above. They do not score more, only what they bid. If they fail to take the number of tricks bid, their score is reduced by the value of the bid. The defending team then receives 10 points for each trick they took in that hand.
The team that finishes a hand at over 500 points wins the game. If a team finishes a hand at -500 points or below, they lose the game.
The game can be played by three players by reducing the deck to 33 cards. That is, strip out the of 6s and down, which leaves 32 cards, plus the Joker for 33.