Cards portal Matching Fishing Rummy Shedding Accumulating Trick-taking Other card games

King - card game

King is a card game similar to Bridge but played by four individual players rather than partnerships. Like Bridge, it is a game of tricks where each player gets 13 cards in each hand and must play them all.


The Dealer is decided by handing out cards clockwise. The player who gets the king of Hearts will be the first dealer. There is a rule in Brazil whereby the player who gets the king of Hearts can nominate the dealer, including himself. This, indirectly, allows him the advantage of choosing his turn at the auction. The player to the left of the dealer shuffles the cards. The game is always played clockwise, starting with the dealer and the winner of the trick is the highest card of the suit played at the start of the trick or the highest trump, if any was declared for that hand. Players must always follow suit whenever possible. There are 13 possible tricks in each hand. The cards are handed out in their entirety (one pack of 52 cards) one by one clockwise. The value of the cards is, highest Ace, then King, Queen, Jack, 10… lowest 2. This is an individual game comprising six negative hands and four positive hands. Scoring may be done in two ways:

The player with the highest final positive balance wins.


The total points for all the players in the six negative hands is -1300. The total points for all the players in the four positive hands (auctions) is +1300. At the end of the game, the sum of the total points for all the players should be zero.

Negative hands

The total negative points for the four players must total -1300. For a quicker game, players may combine the 1st with 6th hand, 2nd with 5th and 3rd with 4th, maintaining the point system.

Positive hands

Following the six negative hands there are four positive hands. In each hand the dealer (also known as the “Beneficiary” or “Auctioneer”), after dealing and analyzing the cards, has the possibility of deciding if the hand will be:

The total for each hand between all the players is 325 positive points.

Each player will have his turn to be the Beneficiary and decide upon the game, depending on what he believes benefits him most. The Beneficiary may even auction off his benefit to the highest bidder of positive hands thus allowing that player to elect a trump suit if he chooses to. Payment is made at the end of the hand.

The Beneficiary (original or auction winner) may choose a trump suit for a positive hand. Trump cards win against any other suit but can only be played if the suit cannot be followed or if the trick started with the trump suit. Between two or more trump cards the highest one wins.

In the four positive hands, after dealing the cards, each player will have a turn at choosing the trump suit or accept bids from the other players for that privilege. If the Beneficiary decides to negotiate his benefit, the auction is opened. During the auction, each player can bid in turn, clockwise, starting with the player to the left of the Beneficiary. It should be agreed beforehand if a player loses the right to bid again after previously passing. Each bid must be higher in total points than the previous one. It is considered that 3 positive (up) tricks (75 positive points) equal a negative (down) trick (75 negative points), which means, to beat 4 up a player must offer at least 5 up or 2 down. The order between up and down is 1 up, 2 up, 3up/ 1 down, 4 up, 5 up, 6 up/ 2 down, 7 up, 8 up. The bidding is limited to 8 up. The Beneficiary may make an ultimatum for the limit- 8 up or go down. If a bid of 8 up is made the Beneficiary must accept and the winner may choose a trump suit if any. Otherwise, he must play down.

During the auction, players must mention only the amount of tricks bid and whether it’s up or down. The trump suit must only be named if and after the Beneficiary has accepted a bid for positive.

Preference- It is possible that the first bidders preempt the subsequent bidders. Preference (or Preemption) means that a previous bidder (Preferred) can match a subsequent bid (Preempted) and win the auction. However, the match must be in exactly the same terms and conditions, i.e., if the Preempted bid 3 up the Preferred cannot bid 1 down, he must bid the same 3 up. The first player to the left of the Beneficiary has preference over the second and third players and the second player has preference over the third. That way, if the second or third players bid higher than the previous one, he can match and win by preference.

Once the bidding is finished, the Beneficiary must accept or decline, although he may try and negotiate an increase on the final bid. The final decision is at the Beneficiary’s exclusive discretion (except in case of an ultimatum) after which the auction is closed.

Payment- When the hand is finished, the auction winner must pay the bid. If he hasn’t made enough tricks (Playing Up), he must give up the ones he has and the difference deducted from his score and added to the Beneficiary’s. Playing Down, the auction winner will receive from the Beneficiary the number of tricks bid, so that his score is deducted and not the Beneficiary’s, provided he hasn’t won any more than that.

Foiled Auction - If only 3 or less bids are made, the Beneficiary may decide, without consultation, to forfeit the hand and the score of 4 up for him and 3 up for the others is marked. It should be agreed beforehand if the Beneficiary may even forfeit the whole auction and mark 4-3-3-3. This could be useful to whom may be leading in the last hand.

Scoring table

No Each Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4 Hand totals
Tricks -20 -260
Hearts -20 -260
Queens -50 -200
Kings & Jacks -30 -240
King of Hearts -160 -160
Last 2 Tricks -90 -180
Totals -1300
Each up trick 25pts;
Each down trick -75pts out of 325
Totals 1300
Final scores 0