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Card Games: Whist Group

Games of this group form a good introduction to trick taking, as the rules are very straightforward. You just deal out the cards and play tricks. The cards have their familar rank from ace (high) down to two (low). Despite their apparent simplicity, these cannot be the oldest trick taking games because:

  1. in the earliest games the king was highest and the ace (or one) was in its logical position next to the two - promotion above the king came later;
  2. whist has trumps, an idea probably introduced from tarot - the earliest trick taking games would almost certainly have been without trumps.

Classic Whist and its close relatives are for four players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite.

There is also a group of Whist games for three players, in which each player has a quota of tricks to fulfill.

Whist-like games also exist for other numbers of players.

One of the most fruitful developments of Whist over the last two centuries has been the incorporation of a bidding process, whereby players undertake in advance to win a certain number of tricks.