Return to the Online 'Enquire Within'

118. Ecarte.--This game, which has lately revived in popularity, is played by two persons with a pack of cards from which the twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes have been discarded. In the clubs it is usual to play with two packs, used alternately. The players cut for deal, the lowest card deals. The pack is shuffled and the non-dealer cuts. The dealer then from the united pack gives five cards to each, beginning with his adversary, by twos and threes, or threes and twos; and always dealing in the same way throughout the game. The eleventh card is turned up for trump. If the turn-up be a king, the dealer marks one point; five points being game. The non-dealer looks at his cards, and if he be dissatisfied with them, he may propose--that is, change any or all of them for others from the stock, or remainder of the pack on the table. Should he propose, he says, "I propose," or "cards," and it is in the option of the dealer to give or refuse cards. When he decides to give, he says, "I accept," or "How many?" Should he refuse to change he says, "I decline," or "Play." The dealer may, if he accept the proposal, change any or all the cards in his own hand. Sometimes a second discard is allowed, but that must be by previous agreement. Of course the non-dealer may play without discarding, in which case the dealer must play his own hand without changing any of his cards. When the hands are arranged the non-dealer plays a card, which is won or lost by the playing of a superior card of the suit led. The second must follow suit, or win the trick if he can; otherwise he may throw any card he chooses. The order in value of the cards is--king, queen, knave, ace, ten, nine, eight, seven. The winner of the trick leads for the next trick, and so on till the five cards on each side are played. The winner of three tricks scores one point; if he win the whole five tricks--the rôle--he scores two points; if he hold the king, he names it before playing his next card--"I mark king." Should the non-dealer play without proposing, and fail to make three tricks, his adversary marks two points; should the dealer refuse to accept and fail to win three tricks, his opponent scores two. The game is five-up; that is, the player who first marks five points, wins. The score is marked by two cards, a three and a two, or by counters. The deal is taken alternately; but when the play is for rubbers it is usual to cut for deal at the end of each rubber.

119. Rules of Ecarté.

i. Each player has [the] right to shuffle the cards above the table.

ii. The cut must not be fewer than two cards off the pack, and at least two cards must be left on the table.

iii. Where more than one card is exposed on cutting, there must be a new deal.

iv. The highest ecarté card cut secures the deal, which holds good even though the pack be imperfect.

v. The dealer must give five cards to each by three and two, or by two and three, at a time, which plan must not be changed during the game.

vi. An incorrect deal, playing out of turn, or a faced card, necessitates a new deal.

vii. The eleventh card must be turned up for trumps; and the remaining cards placed, face downwards, on the table.

viii. The king turned up must be marked by the dealer before the trump of the next deal is turned up.

ix. A king of trumps held in hand must be announced and marked before the player lays down his first card, or he loses the right to mark it. If played in the first trick, it must be announced before it is played to.

x. A proposal or acceptance cannot be retracted or altered.

xi. Before taking cards, the player must place his discarded cards, face downwards, on the table, and neither look at nor touch them till the round be over.

xii. The player holding king marks one point; making three tricks, one point; five tricks, two points.

xiii. The non-dealer playing without proposing and failing to win the point, gives two tricks to his opponent.

xiv. The dealer who refuses the first proposal and fails to win the point (three tricks), gives his opponent two points.

xv. An admitted overscore or underscore may be amended without penalty before the cards are dealt for the following round.


Return to the Online 'Enquire Within'