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KlaverJass

Klaverjass is a point trick-taking game played widely in the Netherlands. As it is explained here, Klaverjass is a card game for four players in two fixed partnerships. The objective is to score points by declaring melds and by winning tricks with valuable cards in them.

The Cards

Take a standard deck of playing cards and remove all the 6’s and down. That will give you a deck of 32 cards, consisting of A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 in each suit.

Cards Rank

In the trump suit, cards rank:
J, 9, A, 10, K, Q, 8, 7
And in any off-suit, cards rank:
A, 10, K, Q, J, 9, 8, 7

The Deal

Traditionally, deal and play are counter-clockwise, and the deal proceeds to the right at the end of each hand. Beginning with the player to the Dealer’s right, each player is dealt eight cards in batches of four.

The Bid

Beginning with the player to the Dealer’s right, each player takes it in turn to either name a trump suit or pass. As soon as any player names a trump suit, that player and his/her partner become the ‘Makers’ and play begins. If all the first three players pass, then the Dealer is obliged to name a trump suit and thereby become the ‘Maker’.

Melds

A meld consists of three or more cards of the same suit in sequence OR of four cards of the same rank. For the purposes of sequences, cards rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 in all suits including the trump suit. A meld may also be formed by combining the King and Queen of Trumps – a Marriage.

The value of these melds is as follows:

  • Sequence of 3 – 20 points
  • Sequence of 4 – 50 points
  • Sequence of 5 or more – 100 points
  • Quartet – Four Queens, Kings or Aces – 100 points
  • Marriage – 20 points

The Play

Right of the Dealer leads first, and thereafter the winner of the trick leads to the next.

The Rules

These strict trick taking rules apply:

  • You must follow suit to the card led, and you must try to win the trick by playing a higher card, even if that means beating your partner
  • If you can’t follow suit, then you must trump in; and you must play a higher trump than any previously played, even if that means over-trumping your partner
  • If you can’t follow suit, and you can’t trump in, only then can you 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.

Scoring for Melds

If the four cards played to the trick form a meld, either a sequence of 3 to 4 or a quartet, the winner of the trick declares it and scores for it. If such a trick also contains the King and Queen of trumps, the player scores for the Marriage as well.

The Score

At the end of the hand, each player counts up the points they have won in tricks, and counts their point value according to the following schedule:

Card Value
Jack of Trumps 20 Points
Nine of Trumps 14 Points
Any Ace 11 Points
Any 10 10 Points
Any King 4 Points
Any Queen 3 Points
Any other Jack 2 Points

If the Makers score more points than the Defenders in melds and tricks, then both sides score the points that they made during the hand. However, if the Makers fail to score more than the Defenders, then the Defenders score the combined total of what both sides made in the hand.

Game

Klaverjass is played over several hands to a grand total of 1500 points.

Acknowledgements

The description of Jass games presented on this website have been adapted from:

David Parlett: The Penguin Book of Card Games
Penguin Books Ltd, 1979, London, pp. 228-233
ISBN 07139 1149 2


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