Trex (a.k.a. Trix)
Trex, also known as Trix, is a game for four players which is popular in the Middle East. Unusually, Trex has five different sets of game rules that could be in force for any given hand, so it could be considered to really be five games in one.
Object of Trex
The object of Trex is to accurately judge your hand to select the most favorable set of rules to play it under (when able), thereby scoring the most points.
Trex uses the standard 52-card deck. Naturally, we recommend Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, but I guess if you wanted to play with something else, you could…we’d be so disappointed, though….
You also need something to keep score with. Pencil and paper is the traditional route, but if you’re more comfortable using a chalkboard, a dry erase board, an abacus, or your phone, we’re pretty flexible around here.
Shuffle and deal thirteen cards to each player. The player who is dealt the 7♥ exposes it, and is said to own the kingdom for the first five hands.
Upon receiving their hand, the player who owns the kingdom selects any of the five games listed below for the hand about to commence. Once this is done, the hand is played out and scored. The next hand is then dealt by the player who owns the kingdom, and they select any of the four games that weren’t already chosen. This continues until the player has played all five games, and then the kingdom passes to the player to their right, who also deals all five games in whatever order they see fit, and so on until all four players have owned the kingdom, meaning twenty hands have been dealt.
All of the games except Trex follow a trick-taking format. The dealer leads to the first trick; thereafter, each trick is led by the winner of the previous one, with play proceeding to the left. Players must follow suit if able; otherwise, they may play any card. The winner of each trick is the player who plays the highest card of the suit led. Won tricks are not taken into the hand, but placed in a discard pile in front of the player, with any cards affecting the score extracted and placed face-up to allow players to keep track of what cards have been taken by whom (except in Eltoosh).
Each diamond captured by the player scores +10 points.
Each trick won by the player scores –15 points. Tricks are kept in a face-down discard pile, with each trick laid at a right angle to the previous, allowing for easy counting at the end of the hand.
Each queen captured by the player scores –25 points. A player holding a queen may elect to double it by exposing it before the first trick is played. In so doing, the penalty for capturing this particular queen is increased to –50 points, and the holder of the queen scores +25 points. If the player holding the doubled queen is the one that captures it, they score –50 and the player that led the trick scores +25 points.
King of Hearts
The K♥ scores –75 points when captured by a player. Hearts may not be led to a trick unless the player has no other option.
The player holding the K♥ may double it, as in Girls, by exposing it prior to the first trick. The penalty for capturing the K♥ is increased to –150, and the holder of the king scores +75. If the player captures their own king, they score –150 and the player that led the trick scores +75.
Trex is, unlike the other four contracts, a Stops game, closely resembling Fan Tan. Upon receiving their hands, any player holding all four 2s, or three 2s and a 3 of the fourth suit, may expose these cards, and the hand is abandoned. The player who owns the kingdom is not necessarily required to choose Trex as the game on the redealt hand, so long as other options remain available.
The dealer plays first, with play continuing to the left. If a player is unable to legally play a card, they simply pass, but if they are able to make at least one play, they are compelled to do so. Play starts with the jacks; they are placed in the center of the table in a vertical row. Further cards may be played to these jacks, so long as they are the same suit and one rank higher or one rank lower than any cards previously played to them. In this manner, each jack is built up to the ace (which is high) and down to the two.
The first player to run out of cards scores +200 points. Play continues until the entire tableau is assembled, with scores of +150 for second place, +100 for third, and +50 for last.
Standard casino chip values
Solo Whist is a trick-taking game for four players. Whereas Whist is a strategic partnership game, Solo Whist provides a more relaxed, accessible, non-partnership alternative.
Solo Whist gained popularity as a Whist alternative in the late 19th century. Solo Whist was particularly popular on the commuter rail of the era, where its structure made it possible for travelers to easily join and drop out of the game as they boarded or departed the train.
Although Solo Whist is sometimes just called Solo, there is another game by that name: Solo (Ombre), which derives from the French game Manille, rather than Whist.
Object of Solo Whist
The object of Solo Whist is to successfully estimate the strength of one’s hand and accurately place a bid for the hand. If one doesn’t successfully win the bidding, the object is to stop the winner from completing the bid.
Solo Whist is played with a standard 52-card deck. While you could use any manner of 52-card deck out there, if you want a deck that’s durable enough to last through any game, always use Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
Solo traditionally handles scoring through counters of some form, such as poker chips. If the players desire, each counter can be purchased in an initial buy-in and represent some amount of real money. Otherwise, the counters can serve as valueless MacGuffins. Score can also be kept with pencil and paper.
Shuffle and deal thirteen cards to each player in sets of three, with the thirteenth card being dealt by itself. The dealer’s thirteenth card, the last card in the deck, is turned face-up. The suit of this card is considered the default suit for this hand.
Each hand begins with a bidding round, with the player to the dealer’s left opening the bidding. Players may make any of the following bids, from lowest to highest:
- Prop (1 credit): Player makes a proposal to join in a temporary alliance with any other player in an attempt to capture eight tricks. So long as no higher bid has been made, any other player may respond with “Cop”, accepting the proposal and joining the alliance, should the bid not be overcalled. The default suit becomes trump.
- Solo (1 credit): The player will win five tricks, playing alone. The default suit becomes trump.
- Misère (2 credits): The player will lose all thirteen tricks, playing alone. There is no trump.
- Abundance (3 credits): The player will win nine tricks, playing alone. If the bid is successful, the player will name any suit desired as trump.
- Abundance in Trump (3 credits): The same as an abundance, but using the default suit as trump.
- Misère Ouverte (4 credits): The same as a misère, but the player must play with their hand exposed after the first trick.
- Slam (6 credits): The player will win all thirteen tricks, playing alone. There is no trump, and the player leads to the first trick.
A bid may only be overcalled by a higher bid. Players may also elect to pass; upon passing, a player cannot rejoin in the bidding for this hand. (There is one exception: if the player to the dealer’s left passes, the next player bids Prop, and the remaining players pass, the player to the left of the dealer has the option to call “Cop”.) Bidding continues as long as necessary: until there has been both a Prop and a Cop, or any higher bid, and all other players pass.
If all four players pass, the hand is abandoned and a new hand is dealt by the same dealer. If a player bids Prop and no other player accepts the bid by calling “Cop,” the bidder has the option to change their bid to any higher bid. If they decline, the deal is abandoned.
The successful bidder or bidders become the declarer(s), and the other players become the defenders. The defenders’ goal is to prevent the declarers from fulfilling their contract.
Play of the hand
After bidding concludes, the dealer takes their thirteenth card into their hand, and the player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick, unless the bid was slam, in which case the declarer leads. Players must follow suit unless they are unable, in which case they may play any card, including a trump. Tricks are won by the player who played the highest card of the suit led, or if the trick contains a trump, the highest trump. Collected tricks are not added to the player’s hand, but are placed face-down in a won-tricks pile in front of the player, with succeeding tricks placed at right angles to one another to allow them to be counted later. (If the contract is Prop, the declarers may stack their tricks in a single pile in front of one of the partners, rather than maintaining separate stacks).
After the first trick is concluded, but before the second trick begins, the declarer must spread their hand face-up if the contract is Misère Ouverte.
When all thirteen tricks have been played out, the declarer counts their tricks to determine whether the contract was made or broken. If it was made, all defenders pay the declarer the amount of their contract (for a made Prop bid, a defender must pay one credit each to both of the declarers). If the declarer(s) failed, they must pay the amount of their contract to each defender. (If keeping score with pencil and paper, simply score the amount of the contract under each declarer if successful or under each defender if not successful.)
More chip counting exercises
If our first batch of chip counting exercises was no problem, here’s five more to test your chip-counting skills! Are you good enough at counting chips to quickly calculate the correct totals?
You can click the images to zoom in. Each stack shown contains the same number of chips as the stack splashed next to it. The chips use the standard denominations:
This time, we’re including some exercises using a chip rack. Each row of chips shown in the rack represents a full tube of 20 chips. Don’t forget to include these in your total!
- 6 × 500 = 3000, 11 × 100 = 1100, 16 × 25 = 400, 60 × 5 = 300, 25 × 1 = 25, 3 × 50¢ = 1.50. 3000 + 1100 + 400 + 300 + 25 + 1.50 = 4826.50.
- 2 × 500 = 1000, 28 × 100 = 2800, 26 × 25 = 650, 84 × 5 = 420, 32 × 1 = 32, 9 × 50¢ = 4.50. 1000 + 2800 + 650 + 420 + 32 + 4.50 = 4906.50.
- 3 × 500 = 1500, 11 × 100 = 1100, 20 × 25 = 500, 19 × 5 = 95, 21 × 1 = 21. 1500 + 1100 + 500 + 95 + 21 = 3216.
- 4 × 100 = 400, 3 × 25 = 75, 16 × 5 = 80, 2 × 50¢ = 1. 400 + 75 + 80 + 1 = 556.
- 5 × 500 = 2500, 12 × 100 = 1200, 15 × 25 = 375, 46 × 5 = 230, 17 × 1 = 17, 7 × 50¢ = 3.50. 2500 + 1200 + 375 + 230 + 17 + 3.50 = 4325.50.
Durak is a Russian game for two to five players that is popular in the countries that once made up the USSR. Several sources call it Russia’s most popular card game, and John McLeod even asserts “It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that every Russian who plays cards knows this game.”1 Many variants exist, including partnership versions and versions for six or more players. The individual-play version is described here.
Object of Durak
The object of Durak is to avoid being the last one with cards left in their hand, who is labeled the durak (дура́к, meaning fool or idiot).
Durak is played with a diminished deck of only 36 cards. Starting from a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, remove all of the 2s through 5s, leaving only aces through 6s in all four suits.
Shuffle and deal six cards to each player. Turn up the first card of the deck stub; the suit of this card becomes the trump suit. Place the remainder of the deck on top of this card at a ninety-degree angle, forming the stock. Despite the fact that it is exposed, the turned-up card is the last card of the stock and will be the final card to be drawn.
The player holding the lowest trump in play serves as the first attacker, and the player to their left becomes the first defender. The attacker begins by playing any card that they wish face-up. The defender then attempts to defeat this card by playing a higher card of the same suit (aces are high), or any trump card, irrespective of rank. This card is played atop the attacking card in question. Any other player, including the initial attacker, may now contribute to the attack by playing another card of the same rank as any of the cards face-up on the table. The defender must then defend against this card. This continues until the defense is abandoned or defender successfully fends off all attacks, as described below.
The defense is abandoned when the defender is unable or unwilling to defeat one of the cards they were attacked with. When this happens, they collect all of the face-up cards and add them to their hand. Additionally, other players may give the attacker any cards from their hands that would have been possible to add to the attack. The player to the defender’s left then becomes the attacker for the next hand.
The defense is successful when:
- The defender has defeated all attacking cards and nobody is willing to play further attacking cards.
- The defender depletes their hand.
- Six attack cards have been played and defeated.
When the defense succeeds, all cards on the table are collected and discarded. The defender becomes the attacker in the next turn.
After each turn, players draw back up to six cards, in the following order:
- The attacker.
- Any other players that assisted the attacker by playing cards.
- The defender.
When the stock is depleted, play continues with no further draws, players short on cards or not. At this point, any player who runs out of cards simply sits out for the rest of the hand.
Game play continues until only one player remains with cards. This player becomes the durak. (If two players run out of the cards at the same time, with one player attacking with their final card and the other player successfully defending against it, the hand is a draw and the durak from the previous hand keeps the title.) The durak is responsible for collecting the cards, shuffling, and dealing the next hand. The player to the left of the durak becomes the first attacker in the next round.
- McLeod, John. “Podkidnoy Durak“. pagat.com. Version as of 2014-08-12, accessed 2015-04-30.