Canadian Salad (also known as Wisconsin Scramble or any number of other things depending on where it’s being played) is a trick-taking game for three to six players. On each hand, players have a different objective, hoping to avoid certain cards that count against them. On the final hand of the game, all of the cards to avoid from previous hands all count against them at once—meaning the players have quite a lot to dodge!
Object of Canadian Salad
The object of Canadian Salad is to score the fewest points by avoiding the point-scoring cards or tricks in each hand..
Canadian Salad uses a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. It’s always a good idea to play with Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards if you’ve got ’em (and if you don’t, why not?). Some cards are removed depending on the number of players, to make the deal come out evenly. When playing with three players, remove the 2♣. With five, take out the 2♣ and 2♦. Playing with six, remove 2-3♣-2-3♦. For a four-player game, use the full 52-card deck. In addition to cards, you’ll need something to keep score with, like pencil and paper.
Shuffle and deal the cards out evenly to each player, using the whole deck.
The player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick. If able to follow suit, a player must do so. If they are unable to, they may play any card. The trick is won by the highest card of the suit led. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces high. Upon winning a trick, the player collects the cards and adds them to a won-trick pile. If knowing the number of tricks won is necessary at the end of the hand (i.e. on the first and sixth hands), each trick may be placed at right angles to the previous one to keep them separated. The player that wins each trick then leads to the next one.
Each hand has a different condition for awarding points. Since everyone’s trying to avoid points, these are the things you want to keep from taking. What gets you points on each hand:
- On the first hand, each trick captured scores ten points.
- Each heart captured on the second hand scores ten points.
- Each queen captured on the third hand scores 25 points.
- Capturing the K♠ on the fourth hand scores 100 points.
- Whoever takes the fifth hand’s last trick scores 100 points.
- On the sixth and final hand, all of the scoring conditions on hands one through five apply.
Each hand is scored after the final trick has been played. After the sixth hand, whoever has the lowest score is the winner.
Crates is a game in the Stops family that can be played by two to five players, with four players in partnerships being the usual arrangement. Like many games before and after it, Crates extends the basic game play of Crazy Eights, adding additional effects by various cards and an entire scoring system.
Crates was invented by a group of Chicago Contract Bridge players in 1970, who used it as a way to kill time waiting for Bridge sessions to start. It was spread throughout the United States by Bridge players traveling to tournaments in other states.
Object of Crates
The object of Crates is to have the lowest score at the end of fifteen hands. This is achieved by discarding as many cards as possible from your hand.
To play Crates, you’ll need a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. We don’t think it’s too crazy to recommend using Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. You’ll also need something to keep score with. The traditional pencil-and-paper combo works well, as does one of the many smartphone applications developed for the purpose of keeping score.
If you’re playing the four-player partnership game, determine your partners first, either by mutual agreement or by some random method. Each player should sit across from their partner, with their opponents at their left and right. In partnership games, the partners share a score, but otherwise, play is governed by the same rules as non-partnership games.
As in Oh Hell!, the starting hand size varies from hand to hand. The first hand is dealt with eight cards, the second with seven, and so on until a one-card hand has been played. Thereafter, the hand sizes start increasing again, by one card each hand, until the fifteenth and final hand, which is again played with eight cards.
Shuffle and deal the appropriate number of cards. Place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn the top card of the stock face up; this card, the upcard, will be the top card of the discard pile. If the upcard is an 8 or a 9, the dealer must name a suit for the first play of the game before looking at their cards. If it is a 9, the suit named must be the same color as that of the 9.
The player to the dealer’s left plays first. They play one card from their hand of the same suit or rank as the upcard. If a player is unable to play, they draw one card from the stock, ending their turn. Play then passes to the next player in turn.
If a player is unable to draw when required to because the stock has been exhausted, they receive a pressure. A player’s first pressure of the game is worth five points. Each subsequent pressure in a game scores double the previous one; a player’s second pressure (even if on a later hand) is worth ten points. The third is then worth 20 points, the fourth 40, etc. (In partnership games, the two partners’ pressures are counted together.) Pressures are scored immediately as they happen. After scoring for a pressure, that player then turns the discard pile face down and shuffles it to form a new stock. They then draw from the replenished stock as usual, and their turn ends.
Special card effects
Many cards in Crates have special effects when played. The “typical” cards which do not have any immediate effect on game play when played are aces, 3s, queens, and kings.
When a 2 is played, it starts a run of cards called a 2-sequence. Normal play is suspended until the 2-sequence is resolved. The next player in turn from the player who played a 2 must play either another 2 or an ace. If they can, the next player in turn after them must do the same, and so on. This continues until a player is unable to play either of these cards. That player adds up the total pip value of all of the cards played in the sequence and draws that many cards from the stock. The next player in turn after the person who drew cards plays as usual off the last card of the 2-sequence.
When a 4 is played, the next player’s turn is skipped.
When a 5 is played, each player in turn draws a card, ending with the player before the one who played the 5. (The person who played the 5 does not have to draw a card.) It is important that each player draw in turn, in case a pressure occurs while resolving the 5.
When a 6 is played, the person playing it must play a second card before their turn ends. If they are unable to play another 6 or card of the same suit, they must draw a card, as per usual.
Should a player be stuck with a 6 as their last card, they cannot actually go out, because the 6 would require them to play a second card, which they do not have, so they must draw. Such a situation is called a Cooper.
In the two- and three-player games, the next player in turn draws a card. In bigger games, the player after the next one draws a card. (It’s your partner that draws the card in the four-player partnership version. Convention is to sarcastically thank your partner for the card when they play a 7.) In all cases, this does not count as a turn; they play as normal after drawing.
8s and 9s
Both 8s and 9s allow the player to call a new suit. The following player is required to play a card of that suit, or switch suits with another card of the same rank. The suit called when playing a 9 must be the same color as that 9. There is no such restriction when playing an 8.
The order of play reverses when a 10 is played. That is, if play had been proceeding to the left, it now goes around to the right, and vice-versa. In a two-player game, of course, 10s have no unusual effect.
In a two-player game, a jack acts the same as a 7—the other player draws a card. In a three-player game, the player before the person playing the card draws one card. Jacks have no effect in games of four or more players.
Ending the hand
When a player holds two cards, they must say “One card” upon playing one of them. (The player is jeered by their opponents if they say “Uno” instead.) If they fail to do so, they must start their next turn by drawing two cards. (Note that this means that if another player goes out before their next turn, the penalty is never actually assessed.)
The hand ends when a player ends their turn with no cards. The only exception to this is if a 2-sequence is in progress when this happens. In that case, the hand ends when the 2-sequence is resolved first. (This means it’s possible for a player to run out of cards, watch the 2-sequence to go around back to them, and be forced to draw because they have no cards. The hand still ends then, meaning nobody ends with no cards.)
Players score for the hand based on the values of cards left in their hand. Cards score as follows:
- Aces: 1 point
- 2s: 20 points
- 4s: 15 points
- 5s and 6s: 30 points each
- 7s: 20 points
- 8s: 50 points
- 9s: 30 points
- 10s: 25 points
- Face cards: 10 points each
Scoring for 3s is a little more complicated. A hand with only 3s in it scores –50 points per 3 held. If there are other ranks in the hand, each 3 “covers” one of the other cards. Each card covered by a 3 scores only three points. The only cards that cannot be covered in this way are 8s.
Game play continues until fifteen hands have been played. Whichever player or partnership has the lowest score at that point wins the game.
Through the Window
Through the Window is a simple game of quick thinking, perfect for children. It can accommodate three to thirteen players. Although it’s played with cards, it’s really more of a word game than anything else!
Object of Through the Window
The object of Through the Window is to be the first player to name a noun that starts with the same letter as the card just revealed.
Through the Window is played with a typical 52-card deck of playing cards. Kids tend to get rambunctious with cards—make sure you use durable Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.
Shuffle and deal four cards, face down, to each player. Players may not look at their cards. Set the rest of the deck aside; it will not be used in further game play.
The dealer goes first. They say “I looked though the window and saw…” and, at that point, turn over one of their face-down cards. Players immediately say any noun that starts with the same letter. (For those of you who don’t remember, or haven’t yet taken, English class, a noun is a person, place, or thing.) For example, if a 3 is turned up, players might call out “tree”, “tiger”, “tank”, “tomato”, “Texas”, or whatever else they might think of. Whether or not something might realistically be seen out the window is beside the point, and coming up with particularly amusing things to see outside is part of the fun.
Whichever player was first to name a word collects the card and keeps it face up in front of them, separate from their face-down cards. The player to the dealer’s left goes next. They, too, say “I looked through the window and saw…” and turn over a card. Again, the players call out nouns to try to win the card. At this point and beyond, players may not repeat any words that successfully won a card. (Words that were called out but beaten to the punch by another player, however, are fair game.)
Game play continues until all of the cards have been awarded to a player. Each player counts the number of cards in their won-cards pile. Whoever has the most cards wins.
Most of the game involves quickly seeing the card, recognizing its first letter (which may not be as obvious as it seems at first; 8→E is not necessarily a quick association for some people due to the A sound at the beginning of it), and recalling a word that starts with the right letter. The first two parts are just practice. If you’re having problems thinking of words, come up with some before the game. You only need words starting with A, E, F, J, K, N, Q, S and T. At this point it just becomes an exercise of quick memory.
Comet, also known as Commit, is a game in the Stops family for four to about eight players. As in Pope Joan, the players know about one of the game’s “stops”—the 8♦ is removed from play. Unlike in that game, though the 9♦, called the comet, is much easier to play—it functions as a wild card!
Comet is supposedly named after the 1758 pass-by of Halley’s Comet, having been invented in France around that time period. The name Commit circulated just as early, however, leading to some question as to whether it was the original name and which, if either, is a corruption in spelling for the other.
Object of Comet
The object of Comet is to be the first to score 100 points. Players score points by being the first to run out of cards on each hand.
Comet is typically played with a deck composed of 51 cards or fewer. You can make such a 51-card deck by removing the 8♦ from any standard deck, like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. You will also need something to keep score with, such as pencil and paper.
There are two methods to dealing the game. One is to simply deal out the cards as far as they will go, then simply set aside the stub. The unknown cards in the stub will be the “stops” that halt progress in the game, which players will have to discover as they play. The other method is to simply remove additional 8s (and 7s if necessary) until the deck is evenly divisible by the number of players. This has the effect of allowing players to know the stops ahead of time and adjust their strategy.
In Comet, cards rank in their usual order, with aces low.
The player to the dealer’s left goes first. They may play any card they wish, face up, to the table in front of them. Whoever holds the next higher card of the same suit then plays their card, then the next higher, and so on. Ideally, this continues until someone plays the king of that suit. Sometimes, however, it will be because the next card in the sequence would be one of the cards in the stub or the 8♦. As the game progresses, sequences may also stop due to previously-played cards. If the sequence is broken for any reason, the last person to play a card is free to play any card they desire, and the chain begins anew.
The role of the 9♦
The player holding the 9♦ (the comet) is free to play it at any time, even out of turn in an existing sequence. They may play it immediately after playing an in-sequence card, or after another player. When the 9♦ is played, normal play stops. The player to the left of the one who played the 9♦ must either play the 10♦ or the next card in the previous sequence, if any. If the player is unable to play either card, the next player to the left has the same option, and so on. Play proceeds normally after that.
For example, say a sequence begins with the A♣ and continues normally through the 6♣. Someone then plays the 9♦. The person to that player’s left must then play either the 10♦ or the 7♣. If they cannot, the next person to their left must play one of the two cards, if able, and so on.
The player that runs out of cards first wins the hand. They score one point for winning the hand, another point for every card in their opponents’ hands, and two points for each king that was not played. If a player holds the 9♦, unplayed, at the end of the hand, they lose one point.
Pass the deal to the left, shuffle, and deal a new hand. Game play continues until one player reaches a score of 100 or more points. That player wins the game.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Ultimate Texas Hold’em, often abbreviated as UTH, is an adaptation of Texas Hold’em to the player-versus-the-house format of casino table games. Two to eight people (including the dealer) can play. Introduced during the height of the 2000s poker craze, Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a more approachable game for players that may be intimidated by the more confrontational style of betting found in traditional poker games.
Like Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em is a proprietary game owned and licensed by Scientific Games. UTH was originally developed by Roger Snow of ShuffleMaster, a manufacturer of card shuffling equipment. As with Three Card Poker, ShuffleMaster created specialized shuffling and dealing machines customized for UTH. ShuffleMaster was later acquired by Bally Technologies, which was later purchased by Scientific Games.
As with Three Card Poker, you won’t usually find the UTH tables in the poker room. Instead, look for them in the pit, alongside the Three Card Poker and Blackjack tables.
Object of Ultimate Texas Hold’em
The object of Ultimate Texas Hold’em is to recognize when you hold a hand that is likely to form a better poker hand than the dealer’s. This allows you to take advantage of opportunities to bet higher (and thus hopefully be paid higher). Alternately, the object is determine when the hand isn’t worth playing and exit the game to avoid a greater loss.
Ultimate Texas Hold’em is played with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. If you’re playing at home, why not take advantage of the opportunity to get out your Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards? You’ll also need chips for each player to bet with. The dealer should be provided with a generous amount of chips for paying out winning wagers.
Casino UTH tables are covered in a felt surface with betting circles pre-printed on them, to organize the four bets that are available to the players. (An example of such a betting layout is shown at below right.) Unlike public-domain games like Blackjack, you’re unlikely to find UTH layouts available from anyone but Scientific Games. If you’re planning on dealing a home game instead of just playing in a casino, you’ll need to put one together yourself.
Players make their initial bets, as described below in “Making the initial bets”. After each player has bet, shuffle and deal five cards, face down; these will be the board cards. Deal two cards, also face down, to each player, including the dealer. These are the players’ hole cards.
Cards rank in their usual order in UTH, with aces high (although they can be used in an A–5 straight). Hands rank in the typical order; see rank of poker hands if you need a refresher.
Making the initial bets
The basic bets in UTH are the Ante and Blind bets, which most players will usually make. A player must make both bets, or neither of them; the amount placed in each betting circle must be equal.
A player may also choose to make an optional Trips bet. The Trips bet pays based on the best hand a player can make between their two cards and the five community cards. Whether or not the player’s hand is better than the dealer’s is immaterial to the outcome of the Trips bet. A player may choose to bet only the Trips bet, and not the Ante and Blind bets.
The Play betting circle remains empty until later on in the hand.
Play of the hand
After receiving their hand and being allowed to do so by the dealer, the player looks at their two cards. The dealer proceeds around the table, from left to right, giving each player their turn. On their turn, they may, if they wish, make their Play bet, which must be either three or four times the amount of the Ante bet. Otherwise, they check by tapping the table.
After all players have had a chance to bet or check, the dealer reveals the flop (the first three board cards). Each player who has not already made a Play bet gets a turn now. If they wish, they may now place a Play bet equal to twice the Ante bet. They may also check again, if they still do not wish to bet.
The dealer then reveals the last two board cards. Players have one last chance to make a Play bet, which is now limited to be exactly equal to the Ante bet. If a player still doesn’t want to bet, then they fold, surrendering all of the bets they’ve made to the dealer.
When all players have made a Play bet or folded, the dealer turns their hole cards face up. They declare the best five-card poker hand they can make using their two hole cards and the five board cards. If the dealer has at least a pair or higher, they are said to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify, the Ante bet will push, but the other two bets will still be paid out normally.
The dealer now proceeds around the table to each active player in turn, starting with the player to their right and working around to the left. The dealer reveals the player’s hole cards and announces the best poker hand the player can make. This hand is then compared to the dealer’s. If the dealer has a better hand, the dealer collects the Blind and Play bets, the Ante bet if the dealer qualified, and the player’s cards. Should the player have a better hand, they are paid out at even money on the Play bet and the Blind bet, as well as the Ante bet if the dealer qualified. If the player wins and has a straight or higher, they are paid at a higher rate on the Blind bet, as shown in the table below.
If the player made the Trips bet, it is settled regardless of if the player won or not. The Trips bet pays only if the player has three of a kind or better. If they do not, the bet loses and is collected by the dealer. If they do, it is paid according to the table below.
The payouts for the Trips and winning Blind bets are as follows:
|Royal flush||50 to 1||500 to 1|
|Straight flush||40 to 1||50 to 1|
|Four of a kind||30 to 1||10 to 1|
|Full house||8 to 1||3 to 1|
|Flush||6 to 1||3 to 2|
|Straight||5 to 1||even money|
|Three of a kind||3 to 1||even money|
After every player’s bets have been resolved, the cards are shuffled. Players then make their bets for the next hand.
Divide and Conquer
Divide and Conquer is a simple game for two players. Much like Gops, the exact composition of each player’s hand is known to both players, and all of the strategy comes from simply playing the right cards at the right time! As in Mate, the only element of luck is the cards the player is initially dealt, and this is canceled out by the players switching hands after playing through them. As a result, the game is one of the rare examples of a card game that is entirely based around strategic play.
Divide and Conquer was invented by Claude Soucie, a Canadian-born game designer with several published board games under his belt. Soucie was a longtime friend of renowned game inventor and author Sid Sackson; the latter published Divide and Conquer in his 1981 compendium Card Games Around the World.
Object of Divide and Conquer
The object of Divide and Conquer is win the majority of the game’s ten matches. A player does not necessarily know what card their opponent will play next, so this more or less involves outwitting the other player.
Divide and Conquer uses a very small number of cards. Take a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards and extract one queen, and one each of all of the cards 2–10. (Suit doesn’t matter.) These ten cards are all you need to play the game.
Shuffle and deal five cards to each player, exhausting the pack.
Before beginning play, each player should carefully examine their hand. It is important to realize that the five cards they don’t have are the ones their opponent does have. Furthermore, all of the plays are left face-up on the table. That means that at any given point in time, each player knows the exact cards their opponent holds.
Each player places one card from their hand face down on the table. When both have done so, the cards are both revealed, and compared to see which is the winner. In most cases, the higher card wins (cards rank in their usual order). However, if the pip value of the lower card divides evenly into the higher card, the low card wins. The queen has a value of twelve for the purposes of division. Also, if the low card has a pip value of exactly one below the high card, the low card wins.
- 9-5. The 9 wins because it is higher.
- Q-6. The 6 wins because 12 ÷ 6 = 2.
- 10-9. The 9 wins because it is one lower than the 10.
- 9-3. The 3 wins because 9 ÷ 3 = 3.
After the winner of the match is determined, both cards are placed in the middle of the table. The cards should be placed so that the two cards are clearly next to each other, with each card on the same side of the table as the person who played it. The losing card should be turned at right angles to signify its loss. The next match is then played the same way.
After the fifth match, both players will be out of cards. The cards are assembled back into their original hands, and the two hands are then swapped. The players then play five more matches, using the cards their opponent was originally dealt.
Whichever player wins a majority of the matches wins the game. If the players evenly split the matches, the game is a tie.
For a longer game, use a fourteen-card deck composed of 2–10 of one of the black suits and 2-4-5-6-8 in one of the red suits. The values of the red cards are equal to ten plus the pip value, so the red 2 has a value of twelve, the red 4 is fourteen, etc. Deal seven cards to each player. The best of fourteen matches wins.