General Rules of Play
GENERAL RULES OF PLAY: A Guide to Playing Cards
The following set of rules was taken from The Oxford Guide
to Card Games by David Parlett;
Appendix I, pages 316-320. (Please see
the References for a full citation.)
There are few specific rules associated with all card games,
but general codes and regulations apply when playing cards. (Parlett,
(1) Although novelty decks of cards can have very interesting
faces, card players often shun upon them.
(2) It is important to keep a new and fresh deck of cards on hand. Old
cards can often times become torn and worn to the point where particular
cards can be identified by other players. Thus, cheating and unfair moves
(3) Shuffle cards from two different packs together and keep an extra set
of shuffled cards on hand to avoid player superstition if one "bad luck"
card repeatedly shows up in his or her hand.
(1) Cards are cut to determine things like choice of seating, partners,
and first deal.
(2) The rank of cards proceeds in which King is high and Ace is low.
(3) When two or more players cut the same card they can either cut again
or randomly take a card from the pile.
(1) Partners can be chosen by random, by cutting and or drawing, from the
deck. Or the two highest ranks can play the two lowest rank.
(1) Like partners, seating can be randomly chosen. This is to keep
players from fighting over "lucky seats" or "unlucky seats."
(1) It does not matter whether or not rotation between players occurs
clockwise or counterclockwise, unless specified by specific game
(1) A soft-score game (with a pencil and paper), can be scored by a
player who is know to be neat, honest and reliable. However, no one is
infalliable, so someone should frequently check the score to ensure that
it is accurate.
(2) In a two sided game, both teams or players should keep score of both
(3) When playing with money everyone must agree on the final basis
of the settlement before the game begins.
(4) When playing with money provisions must be made for players to
retire from the game when they run out of money.
(1) Unless otherwised specified, players take turns dealing.
(2) The first dealer will be selected at random.
Shuffle and Cut
(1) The pack should always be shuffled before being dealt.
(2) Any player may shuffle, but the dealer has the right to shuffle
(3) While one can improve their skill and performance in shuffling, the
quality and randomness of the cards after being shuffled is most
(1) Unless otherwised specified, cards are dealt face down.
(2) When being dealt, card distribution is rotated among players.
(1) Players should pick up their cards only after the last card is
(2) While playing a game, there should be as little conversation as
possible. Conversation in between games is appropriate.
(3) Make bids clearly and audibly.
(4) Players should be decisive and smooth. Hesitation can be thought of
as cheating and signaling to other players.
(5) Don't complement or criticize your own play or another players
(6) Don't insist on seeing a winning hand if the rules don't specify that
the winner do so. Also, unless specified, players are not obligated
to show cards played or discarded.
(1) When a player cheats, the appropriate action to take is to simply
eliminate the problem.
(2) In some cases, points can be taken off of the cheater's score, as the
penalty or punishment.
(3) Punishments must be a unanimous decision by all players.
(4) If the wrong person deals, let it stand. The correct dealer can only
"redeal" if no player has looked at his/her cards yet.
(5) If a card is exposed while dealing, bury it in the pack. Only redeal
if a player insists.
(6) If a player has been dealed the incorrect number of cards, redeal the
deck to all of the players. Otherwise each player is responcible for
keeping track and counting their cards.
(7) If a card is led or played out of turn, it will remain face up on the
table. It will be played the next possible, legal turn.
(8) A card cannot be taken back after it has been played unless:
a) every player agrees to take it back
b) the card's play was illegal
c) the next player in turn has not yet done so.
(9) The card speaks for itself when there is a discrepancy of what the
card is and what the player claims it to be.
(1) It is recommended that a group of players write down for reference,
how a card game is played. (i.e. rules)
(2) Players can also opt to use the rules described in the closest
available rule book or guide book.
(3) The best thing is to have an experienced and knowledgable player on
hand who is not participating in the current game being played.
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