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Golf - card game

Golf (also known as Polish Polka, Polish Poker, Turtle, Hara Kiri, Poison, or Crazy Nines) is a card game where players try to earn the lowest number of points (as in golf, the sport) over the course of nine deals (or "holes" to further use golfing terminology). It is a game for four or more players using a double-deck of 108 cards, and has little in common with its solitaire cousin.

Deal

Four or more players use two standard 52-card decks plus 2 or 4 Jokers . Each player is dealt 6 cards face down from the deck, the remainder is placed face down and the top card is turned up to start the discard pile beside it. Players arrange their 6 cards in 2 rows of 3 in front of them and turn 2 of these cards face up. This arrangement is maintained throughout the game and players always have 6 cards in front of them.

Play

The object is for players to reduce the value of the cards in front of them by either swapping them for lesser value cards or by pairing them up with cards of equal rank and try to get the lower score.The highest score lost the game and the lower score wins the game. You have to play 10 games.

Beginning at dealer's left, players take turns drawing single cards from either the stock or discard piles. The drawn card may either be swapped for one of that player's 6 cards, or discarded. If the card is swapped for one of the face down cards, the card swapped in remains face up. The round ends when all of a player's cards are face-up. Remaining players then have one turn to draw a card to improve their hands and then scores are totaled and recorded on a running score sheet.

During play it is not legal for a player to pick up a card from the discard pile and return it to the discard pile without playing it, to allow another player to retrieve the card. A card picked up from the discard pile must be swapped with one of the current players cards.

Game is nine or eighteen "holes" (deals), and the player with the lowest total score is designated winner.

Pairs

Pairs are formed by cards of equal rank in the same column and override the normal point values of those cards. Pairs score as follows:

Variations

The variants in multiplayer golf are endless. Some common ones include:

Single-pack golf

For two to four players. Rules are the same as in double-pack golf. Sometimes jokers are not used.

Four-card golf

It can be played single or double pack. Each player receives four cards face down in a 2x2 grid and looks at two before play begins. Thereafter, players do not look at their face-down cards. Play proceeds as in six-card golf, but a player may knock (instead of drawing) at any time - even before all of the players cards have been swapped for face-up cards - and then all other players have one chance to improve their hands before scores are tallied. Pairs are counted vertically, with diagonal pairs being an optional rule. Each card from 2 to 10 represents its own points (i.e. any 3 card is worth three points, any 10 card is worth ten points, and so on). Aces are one point, jacks are eleven, queens are twelve and kings thirteen points. The goal is to get the fewest points.

Nine-card golf

Two packs, with each player laying out a 3x3 grid and facing 3 cards at the outset. Pairs do not count, but 3-of-a-kind in a row, column or diagonal scores zero, and a 2x2 block of 4 equal cards scores -25. Player turns over 1 card

Alternative scoring

There are many variants for point values of cards, including:

Knocker's penalties and bonuses

Some play that a player who knocks (turns over all cards first) but doesn't end with the lowest score is penalized:

If the knocker's score is lowest, some play with a bonus:

Other penalty notions

Given that the game's relative simplicity is conducive to a party setting, a "strip golf" variant has been popularized as well.The majority of the game is confusing, but is easily learned.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy