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Revoke

In trick-taking card games, a revoke (or renege) is a violation of the rules regarding the play of tricks serious enough to render the round invalid. A revoke is a violation ranked in seriousness somewhat below overt cheating but is considered a minor offense when unintentional.

Trick-taking games normally have several rules regarding which cards may and may not be played to a trick. For example, most games require a player to follow suit or play in the suit led, if possible. Rules of this sort are sometimes called "honor rules", because there is no way to detect a violation at the moment of its commission. However, the irregularity will normally be discovered later, and there are usually strict penalties for revokes.

Some "honor rules" in different trick-taking games

Penalties for revokes vary:

Normally revokes are given a penalty equal to the most severely negative outcome of the round possible. The intention is to discourage the practice, which upsets other players' strategies to the point where the only acceptable resolution may be to declare the round void.

Therefore, a revoke rarely has a strategic advantage, except in kingmaker scenarios.

Since hands are (usually) concealed, a player can revoke (accidentally or intentionally) without being caught immediately. For example, if a player does not play a spade to a trick where spades were led, other players will simply assume that player has no spades and note the fact in future play decisions. However, most trick-taking games play a hand until exhaustion, and attentive players will soon notice the violation when a spade is played to a subsequent trick.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy