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German Whist

German Whist is a variation of Whist adapted for two players. It is an interesting game that has two distinct stages of play. In the first stage, players compete to win, and add to their hand, valuable cards which can be seen face up on top of the stock. In the second stage, players, in true trick taking form, try to win the majority of tricks. It is these stages that give this game depth and variety.

The Cards

Standard deck of 52 cards. Cards rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

The Deal

German Whist is best played by two. Players cut to deal and each player receives 13 cards, with the remainder left face down of the table to form the stock. The top card is faced and this establishes trumps.


The play consists of two stages. In the first stage, while cards remain in the stock, players compete to win good cards from the stock which they may choose to keep in their hand. This prepares their hand for the last thirteen tricks.

Once the stock has been exhausted, the objective moves to winning the majority of the last 13 tricks.

It is the player who wins the majority of these last 13 tricks who scores and wins the hand.


Standard trick taking rules apply.

  • You must follow suit to the card led, if possible
  • If you can’t follow suit, then you can play any card.
  • The trick is won by the highest trump played to it. If no trumps are played, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.

The Play

The non-dealer leads first, and thereafter the winner of the trick leads to the next.

The winner of the trick, draws the face up top card from the stock and adds it to their hand. The loser draws the next top card, face down, and unseen adds it to their hand. Then the winner then turns the next card of the stock face up, and leads to the next trick.

In this manner, the first thirteen tricks are played.

Once the stock has been exhausted, the players set aside all the tricks that they have won. These count nothing in determining the winner or calculating the score.

It is the player who wins the majority of the last 13 tricks who is declared the winner of the hand. These are played out applying the same standard trick taking rules.


The player who wins the majority of the last 13 tricks wins the hand, and score the difference between the two totals


A game can be played over several hands to an agreed total.

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