How To Play Bezique


Bezique is one of the older members of the Pinochle family of games and is the direct ancestor of Pinochle. Like it's descendants, Bezique is a game consisting of bidding, melding and skillful play of the hand. Two player Bezique is the most commonly played version so it will be described first, however, variants for three and four players are described in the variations section below.

Ranking of cards in a suit at Bezique As mentioned above, the most common form of Bezique is for two players. The deck used for Bezique is an enhanced Pinochle deck consisting of 64 total cards. This deck contains two cards in each suit of the following denominations; 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. The ranking of these cards may be somewhat unfamiliar to those not used to playing games which use the German ranking. This ranking in each suit is, from highest to lowest, as follows: Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7.

The usual methods for determining the first dealer in this game is to have each player cut a card. The player cutting the lowest such card becomes the first dealer. Thereafter the deal alternates between the two players. If both players cut a card of the same rank, they would both perform another cut.

After the dealer shuffles and the opponent cuts, the dealer distributes the hands, starting with that of his opponent. He begins by distributing a packet of three cards to both players, then a packet of two cards, and lastly another packet of three cards, all face down. The next card is then turned up and placed partially under the remainder of the face down deck (called the stock). The suit of this turned up card designates the trump suit for the hand. If this turned up card is a seven, the dealer scores 10 points immediately.

The object of the game is to capture points during the hand through melds and winning of specific cards in tricks (called brisques) , and to be the first player (over the course of one or more hands) to reach 1000 points. The game has various phases of play.

The first phase begins with the non-dealer leading any card of his choice from his hand. The opponent then plays a card of his own to the same trick. This trick (and all subsequent tricks during the hand) is won by whichever player played the highest card of the trump suit to the trick, or, if the trick contains no trump cards, the highest card of the suit led to the trick. If both players play a card of the same suit and rank to the trick, the trick is won by the first card led. In this phase of the game a player is not required to follow suit to that first led to a trick if they do not want to and may play any card to the trick, even a card of the trump suit. During this phase, the winner of each trick draws the top card of the stock, with the opponent drawing the next.

Declarations:

After winning a trick and before leading the first card to the next trick a player may make one declaration. A declaration consists of melding a specific set of cards. These cards are laid face up on the table in front of the player. Once melded in this way, these cards must remain face up on the table in front of the player until played. These cards are still considered part of the players hand and he may play these cards to tricks as normal on his turn. Although a player may only score for one meld per turn, he may place additional melds on the table in front of himself and score for them after a later trick in which he wins. The following chart shows the valid melds a player can make:

Meld NameDescriptionScoring Value
Trump Seven (Dix)A seven of the trump suit10
Royal MarriageKing and Queen of trump suit40
MarriageKing and Queen of same suit (non trump)40
SequenceAce, 10, King, Queen, Jack of trump suit250
BeziqueQueen of Spades (♠) and Jack of Diamonds ()40
Double BeziqueTwo Beziques500
Four AcesFour Aces of any suit100
Four KingsFour Kings of any suit80
Four QueensFour Queens of any suit60
Four JacksFour Jacks of any suit40
When declaring a Trump Seven (also called dix or deece), in addition to scoring the designated 10 points, the player may also exchange the Seven for the trump card exposed at the start of the hand. If the exposed card is already a seven, the player simply shows it and scores 10 points.

The same card may never be used twice in making the same declaration (i.e. the same Jack cannot be used in two separate 40 Jacks melds), but may be used as part of different types of melds (i.e the same Queen might be used in a Royal Marriage, 60 Queens and a Sequence). In addition, one meld, after first being played and scored for, may be extended to another, larger meld and score for both. As an example, a player might put down a Bezique scoring 40, and then later add another Queen of Spades and Jack of Diamonds and score 250 more for the Double Bezique. Melding scores are added immediately to the players score as made, and if a player scores enough to make game (1000 points) through melding he is immediately declared the winner of the game.

The Break: When the stock pile is down to one face down card remaining, the second phase of the game begins. The previous trick winner then takes this card and his opponent takes the exposed trump card (which at this point in the game is probably the Seven of trumps). The winner of this trick and all subsequent tricks, players may no longer meld and must pick up all the melds they had on the table and add them back in to their concealed hands. The winner of that previous trick then leads to the next trick. During this phase, a player must play a card of the suit led to the trick if they possess one and must make every effort to win the trick if able. As before, the highest trump card in the trick wins the trick, and in the absence of trump cards in the trick, the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads the first card to the next trick.

Brisques in Bezique Scoring and Winning the Game: After the last trick has been played, the players then sort through their won tricks and earn 10 points for each Ten or Ace in their hands. Each such card is called a brisque. The winner of the last trick also earns 10 points for the effort. These scores are added to both players score at the end of the hand. At such time if a player reaches 1000 points, he is declared the winner. If both players reach this total at the same time, the highest score is declared the winner. If both players have reached this score the player with the higher of the two scores is set as the winner. However, if both have reached or exceeded 1000 and their scores are equal, the game winning total is raised to 1500.


Variations and Optional Rules

1500 Makes Game: In order to make for a somewhat longer game, some players like to set the winning total to 1500 vice 1000 points. In all other respects the game is identical to the standard version.

No Trump Turn-Up Bezique: In this version, no trump card is turned over. Instead the trump suit is determined by the first player declaring a marriage. The suit of this marriage sets the trump suit for the remainder of the hand. In addition, a Seven of trump can not be declared and does not score 10 points. The break occurs when there are two face down cards remaining, with the winner taking the first card and the opponent taking the last card. For all other purposes the game is played exactly the same as standard Bezique described above.

Pinochle Style Melding: In some versions of Bezique, the requirements for some of the melds are slightly more stringent. In this version the specific melds "Four Aces", "Four Kings", "Four Queens" and "Four Jacks" are removed and replaced with the following similar but somewhat more difficult to acquire melds:

Meld NameMeld DescriptionMeld Score
100 AcesOne Ace in each of the four suits100
80 KingsOne King in each suit80
60 QueensOne Queen in each suit60
40 JacksOne Jack in each suit40

All other rules and scoring values are identical to the standard game.

Six Pack Bezique: This is probably the most popular form of Bezique currently played. Winston Churchill was one of the most famously known experts at its play and it was also his favorite card game. This game is also commonly known as Chinese Bezique. It is a very fast moving game and has many intricacies making it an exciting addition to any card players repertoire.

An ideal deal in Bezique Like standard Bezique this game is designed to be played by two, however unlike the standard game, it uses a much larger 192 card deck. As the games name suggests, the deck used for this game is created by combining six 32 card Pinochle decks together into one large pack. Although it is best if the decks all have the same back design, it is not strictly necessary and will generally not affect the game if they are not. The ranking of the cards in the decks is also the same as in the standard game (from high to low); Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7. When two cards of equal rank are played to a trick, the first of the two played is said to win the trick.

Due to the large size of the deck, shuffling may require participation of both players, each shuffling a portion of the deck and then re-combining it into one large, shuffled deck. After the shuffle, each player then performs a cut and exposes the card cut. The ranking of the cards for the purposes of this cut is the same as used in play of the game. The highest card selects the seat of their choice and can opt whether they or the opponent is the first dealer. If identically ranked cards are cut, the players cut again. In the case of repeated ties, the players continue to cut until one player has a higher card then his opponent. The player drawing the higher card takes his choice of seats and states which player he prefers to be the first dealer.

The deal is a somewhat elaborate event in Six Pack Bezique. The dealer first pulls a packet from the top of the deck, attempting to grab exactly enough cards needed for the deal (24). The opponent then states their own estimation of the number of cards in the pulled off packet. If the packet pulled, indeed does contain 24 cards exactly, the dealer scores 250 points immediately. If the opponents estimate is correct on the number of cards in the packet, he scores 150. The remainder of the large deck is pushed over (ensuring all cards to remain face down), allowing players to easily draw a card from the large pile. Using the packet pulled off, the dealer then begins distributing 12 card hands face down, one card at a time to each player, starting with his opponent. Any extra cards in the pulled off packet after this deal are returned to the stock. If not enough cards were in the packet, the dealer pulls enough additional cards from the stock to complete the deal.

As in standard Bezique, the object of this variant is to score more points than your opponent, mostly from melding certain special combinations or declarations. The following charts shows all legal declarations in Six Pack Bezique:

DeclarationDescriptionScore
Trump SequenceAce, 10, King, Queen, Jack in the trump suit250
SequenceAce, 10, King, Queen, Jack of same suit (non-trump)150
Marriage in TrumpKing and Queen of Trump suit40
MarriageKing and Queen of Same Suit (non-trump)20
BeziqueDepends on current trump suit for the hand:
Trump SuitCards to Form Bezique
SpadesQueen of Spades (♠) and Jack of Diamonds ()
DiamondsQueen of Diamonds () and Jack of Spades (♠)
HeartsQueen of Hearts () and Jack of Clubs (♣)
ClubsQueen of Clubs (♣) and Jack of Hearts ()
40
Double BeziqueTwo Beziques500
Triple BeziqueThree Beziques1500
Quadruple BeziqueFour Beziques4500
AcesAny four Aces100
KingsAny four Kings80
QueensAny four Queens60
JacksAny four Jacks40
Aces in TrumpFour Aces in the Trump suit1000
Tens in TrumpFour Tens in the Trump suit900
Kings in TrumpFour Kings in the Trump suit800
Queens in TrumpFour Queens in the Trump suit600
Jacks in TrumpFour Jacks in the Trump suit400
          

As can be seen in the chart, the specific cards that are needed to form a Bezique are dependent on the current trump suit for the hand. As an example, if Spades becomes the trump suit for the hand, the Bezique would consist of the Queen of Spades and the Jack of Diamonds.

If a player is initially dealt his 12 card hand containing no face cards (Kings, Queens or Jacks) they are said to have Carte Blanche. This immediately nets that player 250 points. However, in order to claim Carte Blanche and the point reward, the player must show their entire hand for verification. Furthermore, each time that player draws a new card, if that card is not a King, Queen or Jack, they score an additional 250 points, but must show the card drawn before adding it to their hand. Once the player draws a face card or declines to display the card drawn they may no longer earn the carte blanche bonus during the current hand.
A Carte Blanche hand in Six Pack Bezique

Once the deal has been completed, the non-dealer begins the play phase by leading any card of his choice to the first trick. The dealer then plays a card of his own to complete the trick. At this phase of the game, the dealer may play any card of his choice, as he is not required to play a card of the same suit as led to the trick. For this and all other tricks played during the game, the highest card of the trump suit played to the trick wins it. If the trick contains no cards of the trump suit, the highest card of the suit led to the trick wins it. If both players play a card of the same rank to the trick, the first card led is considered the winner of the trick. No points are gathered from actual play of tricks, so the cards forming the tricks are simply left in the center of the table, with player not collecting them. The winner of each trick leads the first card to the next trick. The player winning the trick takes the top card of the stock and his opponent takes the next card.

A player winning a trick may then make one declaration and score the appropriate points from the chart. These points are immediately added to the player's score. The meld must be placed face up in front of the player on the table. These cards remain on the table until played to tricks, but are still considered a part of the player's hand, and he may play cards from his melds on the table to tricks during his normal turn.

Unlike in regular Bezique, in Six-Pack Bezique a card can be used and scored in the same meld multiple times. The only requirement is that at least one card of the meld has changed. As an example, suppose a player has melded the non-trump Sequence (Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack of diamonds) for a score of 150. Then, that player were to play the 10 of diamonds from the meld to a trick. If he later melded another 10 of diamonds to the table (after winning a trick) to re-complete the sequence still on the table, he would again score the full 150 points for the Sequence. However, a player may never place extra cards on the table that do not create or complete a valid meld. A player may never score for a meld that might be created by removing cards from an existing meld (i.e. a Marriage could not be counted by removing cards from a Sequence, or a Bezique could not be scored by removing cards (by playing to tricks) from a Double Bezique. A player may lay multiple melds on the table after winning a trick, but may only score for one each time they win a trick.

The first Marriage in Bezique determines trump suit Each hand begins with no specific trump suit, but the first Marriage or Sequence played dictates the trump suit for the hand, with the suit of this marriage or sequence set as the trump suit for the remainder of the hand. In addition to indicating the trump suit the player also scores for a Marriage in Trump or Trump Sequence as appropriate (40 or 250 respectively). The same suit may not be set as the trump suit on two consecutive hands. Thus, if a Marriage or Sequence is declared of the same suit as the last hands trump suit, the meld scores the normal score (20 or 150 points) but does not set the trump suit for the hand. The first marriage or sequence of a different suit than that of the previous hand becomes the new trump suit for this hand.

The game continues in this manner until there are only two cards remaining in the stock. The winner of the previous trick takes the second to last card and his opponent takes the last card. At this point and forward no more melds may be made or scored for. The players would then pick up any of their melded cards still on the table and play the last 12 tricks, in which the winner of the previous trick leads to. In this phase of the game, a player must play a card of the suit led to the trick if they possess one and must attempt to win the trick if they can.

Once all tricks have been played, the scores for each players are compared. The player with the higher score is considered the winner and adds an additional Game bonus of 1000 points to their score. If the loser has not reached or exceeded 3000 points (called Rubicon), the total score of the winner is the sum total of both players score, plus the 1000 point Game bonus.

Since the scoring in this game can happen very rapidly, some players use special scoring devices. Another common method is to use special chips or tokens. Three piles of chips would be placed in the center of the table in three colors (i.e. red, blue and white). Each color would represent a specific point denomination of 10, 100 and 1000. As a player accumulates scores in the game, they would take the appropriate number of chips from the piles. At the culmination of the game the player with the largest number of points represented by these chips would be declared the winner.

Some players of this game opt to set Bezique the same regardless of the trump suit set for the hand. When this variant rule is used, Bezique is always set as Queen of Spades (♠) and Jack of Diamonds (). In addition, when using this rule the restriction allowing the same suit not to be set for two consecutive hands is removed.

Eight Pack Bezique: Eight Pack is very similar to the Six Pack version but using eight 32 card Pinochle decks shuffled together. Due to the larger deck used for this game, a few other differences are also practiced: All other rules for Eight Pack Bezique and meld scoring values are identical to that of Six Pack Bezique, described previously.

Rubicon Bezique: Rubicon Bezique is another two player version of Bezique, this time using four 32 card Pinochle packs. The ranking of the cards is also identical to the other forms of Bezique; Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7. The game is played identically to standard Bezique, with a few differences in the rules as detailed below.

Each player receives a hand consisting of 9 cards with no trump card being turned over. The first Marriage to be played during the hand will set the trump suit for the hand. The melds which can be declared for and scored after a player wins a trick are the following:
MeldDescriptionScoring Value
Royal MarriageKing and Queen of trump suit40
MarriageKing and Queen of same suit (non trump)40
SequenceAce, 10, King, Queen, Jack of trump suit250
Back DoorAce, 10, King, Queen, Jack of same suit (non-trump)150
BeziqueQueen of Spades (♠) and Jack of Diamonds ()40
Double BeziqueTwo Beziques500
Triple BeziqueThree Beziques1500
Quadruple BeziqueFour Beziques4500
100 AcesOne Ace in each of the four suits100
80 KingsOne King in each suit80
60 QueensOne Queen in each suit60
40 JacksOne Jack in each suit40
A player who is dealt a Carte Blanche hand (a hand containing no Kings, Queen or Jacks) may show the hand and earn 50 points. Each time that player draws a card, if this card is not a face card, he may show the card and score an additional 50 points. Once he declines to show the card or obtains a face card he may no longer claim the 50 point Carte Blanche bonus during the current hand.

A player may use the same card in multiple melds, as long as at least one card in the meld has been replaced by a card of the same rank. For example, say a player has played a Back Door earning him 150 points. If he at some later point played the Ace in that meld to a trick, he could later add a different Ace (after winning a trick) to the meld on the table and again score 150 points for a Back Door. One exception to this rule is that a player may only score once per hand for a meld consisting of four trump Aces.

The rules for when a player can meld and playing to tricks is the same as in the standard game, but the melds and meld values listed in the table directly above are used in this game.

In Rubicon Bezique, the winner of the last trick earns 50 points, however brisques (10s and Aces) are usually not counted. However, if both players have a tie with regular scoring, both players will then count their brisques to determine the winner. Also, a player may request they be counted (for both players) if doing so would allow him to avoid a Rubicon for the hand.

Each hand is considered a complete game and the player with the higher score gains a 500 point bonus for doing so. If the lower scoring player did not reach or exceed 1000 points (including brisques) he is considered to be rubiconed. In this case, the winner earns the total of both players totals added together (including the brisques) and a 1000 point Game bonus (vice the 500 point normal game bonus).

Three Hand Bezique:: Three Hand Bezique is a variation of standard Bezique designed for three active players. Three 32 card Pinochle decks, all shuffled together, are used for this game. The rules of standard Bezique apply to this game with a few exceptions which relate to the increased number of players. These include the following:


Four Hand Bezique: Versions of Bezique have also been developed for play by four active participants, one in which the players play independently for themselves and another version where they play as partners. Both four player variants use a deck consisting of 128 cards which is made from four 32 card Pinochle decks shuffled together.

Four Hand Bezique - Individual Play:

The rules for this variant are the same as in the standard game with the following exceptions: All other rules are the same as in standard two player Bezique.

Four Hand Partnership Bezique: A four player version of Bezique has also been designed for four players in two partnerships of two players each. The rules for this game are the same as in the Individual Play version, with a few differences which are detailed below: Partners sit across from each other at the card table Fildinsky: Fildinsky, also called Polish Bezique is a unique variation of the standard game of Bezique.

The same deck as used in standard Bezique is used in this variation and this deck has the same card ranking. The method of selecting the dealer the deal are also the same as in the base game as is determination of the trump suit for the hand.

The play of the cards to individual tricks is also the same as in the standard game.

However, where this game is significantly different is regarding declarations. In Fildinsky a player makes declarations using cards he has captured in tricks rather than using cards from his hand. Thus, when winning a trick, he places the cards from the trick face up in front of him, to be potentially used sometime during the hand for creating these melds. After winning a trick, a player may make exactly two melds, if able. A card can only ever be used in one specific declared and scored meld and once used cannot be used in any other such melds. In addition, the players score 10 points for each brisque (Ace or ten) captured during the hand. The following are all allowable melds during the hand:

Meld NameDescriptionScoring Value
SequenceAce, 10, King, Queen and Jack of trump suit250
Royal MarriageKing and Queen of trump suit40
Common MarriageKing and Queen of same suit (non-trump)20
Ace QuartetOne Ace in each suit100
King QuartetOne King in each suit80
Queen QuartetOne Queen in each suit60|
Jack QuartetOne Jack in each suit40
BeziqueQueen of Spades (♠) and Jack of Diamonds ()40
Double BeziqueTwo Queens of Spades (♠) and Two Jacks of Diamonds ()500
DeeceOne 7 of the Trump suit10
          
Melding in Fildinsky
In Polish Bezique, a player creates melds by combining melds from cards won in tricks during the hand.
The winner of the last trick of the hand also wins 10 points. The first player to win a trick containing the Deece and melds it has the opportunity to switch it for the exposed trump card (at their option). This exposed trump card then is added to his unmelded cards won in tricks and he may use it in a meld as appropriate. If the first player declines to exchange the card, the player winning the second Deece may make the trade when melding the Deece.

Like the standard game, Fildinsky is played in two distinct phases. The first phase, is played while there are still cards in the stock, players are not compelled to play a card to the trick of the same suit as led and may play any card. In the second phase, however, they must play a card of the suit led if they have one and must attempt to win the trick if possible. They must trump if they have no cards of the suit led and possess any cards of the trump suit. However, one major difference is that in this variation, players may continue to make and score for declarations during the second phase.

The first player to reach or exceed 2000 points at the end of a hand is declared the winner of the game. If both players reach or exceed this total at the end of a hand, the player with the highest total is declared the winner.

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