georgejas.com / rook

rook

Rook is a five (5) person trick taking card game with trump. The most common question I get about this web page is "Where can I play rook online?" I don't know, so please don't ask. Playing rook online is not the point - this is a great card game for when you have five people because there are so few games that take five players.

what you need

Use a standard Poker deck with one Joker, for 53 cards total.

winning

To win, be the first person to reach 500 points. If two (or more) people cross the 500 mark after the same hand, the highest score wins. If two (or more) people have the same score, they tie.

You do not have to win the bid to go out.

One of our favorite house rules is that if someone reaches -500 before anyone goes out, the game is over, and the person with the highest score at that point wins.

deal

Deal all the cards out - 10 to each player, and 3 face down into a kitty. Deal passes to the left.

bid

The person to the left of the dealer starts bidding. The minimum bid opens at 75, the maximum is 180 (referred to as "shooting the moon"), and the bidding increments by 5. Once a person passes, they may not rejoin the bidding. Bidding continues until all but one person has passed.

There is a special bid of "shoot the sun", where you and your partner must also take all of the tricks, as well as all of the point cards.

Whoever wins the bid picks up the kitty. They name a trump suit and call any card that is not in their hand or the kitty to be the "partner card". Then they discard three cards off to the side. These cards are out of play, but if there are any point cards, the points go to whoever takes the last trick in the hand.

naming trump

There are six different trump calls:

calling the partner card

Whoever wins the bid calls a "partner card" while they are naming trump, before play starts. They can name any card in the deck as the "partner card", except cards that are in their hand or the kitty. Most likely they will choose a card they need, like a high trump card or an ace, or if they're playing lo-no, they would probably choose the rook to be the partner card. The partner should not reveal in any way who they are until the card is revealed during play.

Whoever has the "partner card" shares their trick points with the person who won the bid, and the three players who are left become partners, and share their points with each other.

play

To start, whoever won the bid may choose to lead, or he may choose the person on his left to lead. No other player may lead.

Play continues until all 10 tricks have been taken. For play details, see the princeton rules - they're basically the same for this part.

Trump does not need to be "broken", and it does not have to be played if you cannot follow suit, nor do you have to beat the highest card on the table if you do not wish to. However, if at all possible, you must follow the led suit. You cannot trump a trick if you have any cards in the led suit. If trump is led and you do not have any trump but you have the rook, you have to play the rook (it counts as a trump card).

scoring

There are five cards that are worth points:

The person who won the bid and his partner add their points together, and the three other people (the "defense") add their points together. Whoever took the last trick also wins any points that were in the kitty to their score.