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Origin Iran
Alternative names Rok, Roque, Rokm
Type Trick-taking
Players 2x2
Cards 52-card
Deck Anglo-American
Card rank (highest to lowest) A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Random chance Low - moderate
Related games
Rook, Whist

Shelem(Persian: شلم ‎‎ Shělěm), also called Rok or similar, is an Iranian trick-taking card game with four players in two partnerships, bidding and competing against each other. It is similar to Spades and Hokm, but bidding and trump are declared in every hand by the bidding winner. Both the name and the point structure of this game are similar to the American game Rook, there being a possible connection between the two games, although it is not clear as from which game it derives.


Card-point values
Rank A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Value 10 - 10 - 5 -

Each player receives 12 cards in batches of 4. The remaining 4 cards form a widow, to be taken up by the player who makes a contract. Starting with eldest hand, the players bid (in multiples of 5) for the privilege of taking up the widow and making trumps. The minimum bid is 100, and there are 165 points in the game. A player who does not want to overbid the previous bid may pass, but cannot bid again later in the same round. The highest bidder becomes declarer, takes up the widow, and discards 4 cards face down to return to the original number of cards (12). The discarded pile becomes the declarer's team's first trick (including any points).

Declarer leads to the first trick. The suit of the card led becomes the trump suit. The remainder of the deal is played according to the standard trick-play rules as in Whist or Hokm. The cards discarded by the highest bidder count for declarer's party as in most comparable games, or for the winner of the last trick as in Rook.

Each party makes the card-points in tricks won plus 5 points for every trick. If declarer's party is successful, they score what they made, or 330 points if they win all tricks (i.e., they shut out the opposing team). If they are not successful, they lose what they bid, doubled if they make less than their opponents. The opponents always score precisely what they made. There's no penalty for scoring points above the bid amount.



Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy