Classic French Card Game
Piquet is a classic two player trick taking game. It originated in France over 500 years ago and is renowned as one of the best two player card games in the world. This is a card game that provides plenty of opportunity for skill and cunning and for this reason is well worth learning.
Take a standard deck of playing cards and remove all the 6s and down. That will give you a deck of 32 cards. Cards rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 in each suit.
The deck is shuffled and spread out on the table. Each player takes it in turn to draw a card from the spread with the lowest card dealing first. Thenceforth, the deal alternates between the two players.
Each player is dealt 12 cards face down, 2 at a time, beginning with the non-dealer first, and the remaining 8 cards are left face down, and slightly spread in the middle of the table to form the talon.
Each player takes up their cards and looks at them. If either has a hand devoid of court cards, he/she may declare 'Carte Blanche' and score 10 points for it immediately. Beginning with the non-dealer first, each player exchanges at least one, or as many as 5 cards with the talon. The player does this by first discarding the cards they don’t want face down, and then taking an equal number from the top of the talon. If the Player leaves any of the five cards they could have taken, they are entitled to look at them without showing them to the Dealer. The turn then passes to the Dealer who is entitled to take as many cards as are left by the Player, but must first discard an equal number of cards before taking up cards from the talon.
Before play begins, each player has the opportunity to make any one of the following declarations should they possess the right cards. Players declare for point, sequence and set in that order.
Carte Blanche – This is a hand with no Kings, Queens or Jacks. This declaration is made before the exchange. If dealt such a hand, the Player may will declare it before the discard. The Dealer, on the other hand, may wait until the Player exchanges with the talon, and then declare it. A declaration of Carte Blanche scores 10 points.
Point – the player with the most cards in any one suit. If both players hold an equal number of cards in respective suits, then the point goes to the hand that has the greater pip value. For this purpose, Aces = 11, Kings, Queens and Jacks = 10, and each of the number cards, their respective number values. Point scores 1 point.
Sequence – A sequence of three or more cards in one suit. A sequence of three counts 3 points, a sequence of four, 4 points, and a sequence of 5 or more counts for 10 points, plus 1 for each card. Only one player may score for this – the player with the longest sequence. If both tie on this, then the sequence with the highest pip value. The player who scores for best sequence, may then claim points for any other sequences he can declare which are 3 or more cards in one suit.
Set – A Set is three or more cards of the same rank, but must be higher than 9. The player with the longest set scores for it. If both sets are of equal length, then the points go to the highest rank. Only one player may score for Set. The player who scores for Set may also score for any other sets he/she may hold. 3 of a kind = 3 points, 4 of a kind = 14 points.
The obligation is on the Player (non-dealer) to make a declaration first. Thus, such a player might begin his/her declaration for Point by saying "Four", meaning he has four cards in a one suit; the Dealer, if he/she has just as many cards in suit, meaning he thinks he can match it, might ask, "How high?", meaning he wants the Player to announce its pip value, or, if not, then he may just say "Good", meaning he can't beat it. Either player therefore need only divulge as much information as is necessary to establish their points, and thus as little information about their hand as possible. If a player so chooses, they can say nothing at all at any of Point, Sequence or Set. This is called 'sinking' and is done when you don't think you can challenge your opposition.
This is not generally done, but on demand a player can be required to show his/her combination. If asked, a player must face his cards if requested to prove they have the particular combination they are declaring.
The non-dealer leads first, 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
- If you can’t follow suit, you can play any card
- The trick is won by the higher card of the suit led
A player scores 1 point for each card he/she leads which is higher than a 9.
A player scores 1 point each time he tops his/her opponent’s lead with a card higher than a 9.
The player who wins the last trick scores 1 point for it.
The player who wins 7 or more tricks scores 10 points for it.
If both players win 6 tricks each, then neither scores for it
If a player takes all 12 tricks, they get 40 points, but no extra point for winning the last trick.
Pique and Repique
A player who reaches 30 points in declarations and play, before their opponent has scored anything, scores an additional 30 points for piquet.
A player who scores 30 points in declarations before the opponent scores anything, and before either has played to a trick, scores an additional 60 points for repiquet.
A game of Piquet consists of 6 hands or deals, called a partie. The player with the greatest cumulative score at the end of play wins the game. If the scores are equal at the end of the partie, then another 2 hands are played. And if equal then, the game is a draw.
Traditionally, the winning player won the difference between the two scores plus 100 for the game.
L I N K S
Parlett's Historic Card Games: Piquet - History and rules of Piquet, the classic card game of skill for two players, described by David Parlett.
Card Games Website - Piquet: This description was contributed by Noel Leaver. Introduction; Scoring; Deal; Exchange; Declarations; Repique and Pique; Play of the Cards; Advice on Play.