How To Play Preferans


Preferans is an Eastern European trick taking game which is very popular in Russia. It is a strategic game which features bidding, trick taking and an unusual scoring system. The version of the game described directly below is considered the classic or original version of the game (called Sochi). There are also a number of other similar versions of this game which will be described in the variants section below.

This game is designed to be played by three players, using the special Piquet deck. The Piquet deck is a 32 card deck which is created by removing all cards of ranks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 from a standard 52 card deck. The ranking of the cards in this deck for playing Preferans is, from high to low; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7.

A variety of methods can be used to determine seating positions for the players and the first dealer. The most common method used is drawing for low card. In this method, each player draws one card from the shuffled, face down deck. The player drawing the lowest card has first selection of seats, the player drawing the second lowest has the next choice and the player drawing the highest card takes any remaining seat. The player drawing the lowest card of all, becomes the first dealer. If two or more players draw cards of the exact same rank, these players draw additional cards to determine the ranking between themselves. The ranking of the cards in the deck as used for this draw is the same as that used for the game itself with the sole exception that the Ace is considered the lowest card in the deck for purposes of this draw. After the first hand, the deal rotates in a clockwise rotation around the table.

Once the seating and first dealer are determined, the dealer then reshuffles the deck and offers it to the player to his right for a cut. After the cut, the dealer then begins dealing the cards. The cards are usually dealt in a clockwise rotation, starting at the player to his immediate right. The cards are dealt in batches of two around the table to each player, until each player has a total of 10 face-down cards. After each player has his first batch of two cards, the dealer deals one batch of two cards face down to the center of the table, called the talon. This talon can be used by the eventual Declarer for the hand to attempt to improve his hand.

Before the game begins a required winning total should be determined. This is usually set at 10 or 20 and should be recorded in the central circle on the scoresheet.

Suit Ranking in Russian Preferans After the deal, bidding for the hand begins. The player who ultimately who is determines to have declared the highest bid becomes the Declarer who will have the right to declare the specific game declaration and the trump suit for the hand. The player to the immediate left of the dealer has the first opportunity to make a bid. A player's bid consists of a specific number (from 6 to 10 inclusive) as well as a specific suit. This bid is considered to represent the number of tricks the player will win as well as a trump suit for the hand. The opportunity to bid rotates around the table in a clockwise direction from player to player. On his turn to bid, a player generally has three options. He may make a bid higher than any previous bid, make the same bid as the immediately previous player, or pass. In general, when making a higher bid, a player makes the next highest legal bid, although higher bids are allowed. To be considered higher than a previous bid, a bid must either consist of a higher number or a bid of the same number as the current high bid but in a higher ranked suit. However, as mentioned, if a player makes a bid equal to the player immediately preceding him, his bid is considered the higher (this can only be done on bids higher than 6 spades). For purposes of the bidding, the suits are ranked in the following order (high to low); Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades. A player may also make his bid at No Trump which would rank next above Hearts in a bid of the same number. Another special bid which can be made is that of Misère (Mizer in Russian), which indicates a bid to win no tricks during the hand, with no trump suit declared or used during the hand. A bid of Misère, in the hierarchy of bidding, ranks between 8 tricks at No Trump and 9 tricks with Spades as trump. A player who had already made another bid during the current hand may not make a bid of Misère, and once a bid of Misère is made by a player, he may make no further bids during the hand (even if another player makes a bid of Nine spades or higher). Once a player passes during the bidding, he may make no more bids during the current hand and must pass each time it is his turn to bid. The bidding continues around the table until the highest bid is followed by two consecutive passes. The only exception to the requirement that a bid must be higher than the previous bid is that the player to the immediate left of the dealer need only make a bid that is equal to the current highest bid. If no other player exceeds that bid, he would become the Declarer for the hand. If all players pass before any bids are made, a special hand is played, called Raspasovka (described below).

During the bidding, a standard convention that is often used is to refer to the suit bid using its hierarchical position in the suit ranking; Firsts for Spades, Seconds for Clubs, Thirds for Diamonds, Fourths for Hearts and Fifths for No Trump. As an example, a bid of 8 No Trump might be stated as "Eight Fifths".

The player making the highest bid during this round wins the bidding and is the Declarer for the hand. After this is determined, this Declarer exposes the two cards which make up the talon and then adds them to his hand. He then discards any two cards from his hand face down to return the hand to 10 cards. These two cards are out of play and not used for the remainder of the hand. The Declarer then declares his contract for the hand. This contract may be any contract equal to or higher than his high bid for the hand, with the suit declared in the bid being set as the trump suit for the hand. If No Trump is declared as part of the contract, no trump suit will be used during the hand. If the high bid was Misère, the player must declare a contract of Misère.

The goal of the Declarer is to win at least as many tricks as Declared in his contract, while the opponents attempt to prevent him from doing so. In addition, the opponents have the option of striving for a secondary goal of winning a set number tricks of their own during the hand (called whisting). The player to the immediate left of the Declarer has the first opportunity to offer to whist. He states "Whist" if intending to whist during the hand or states "Pass" if he does not want to whist during the hand. His opponent then has the same opportunities. If both opponents decline to whist during the hand, the dealer automatically wins the hand with no cards actually played (equivalent to the Declarer winning all 10 tricks). If one or more of the opponents elect to Whist, the Whisting players then have a goal of capturing a certain number of tricks during the hand, which is directly dependent on the contract declared by the Declarer. For a Declaration of Misère or 10 tricks, the option to whist is not necessary or available to the opponents, and the hand is always played in these instances. If only one of the opponents opts to whist, that player must attempt to win the number of tricks required for a successful Whist. If both opponents elect to whist, they must win the required number of tricks between them. The following chart shows the required tricks for a successful whist:
Declared Contract TricksTricks Required to be Won by Whisting Player(s)
64
72
8, 91
10, MisèreN/A
In the event that only one player elected to Whist, the player who chose not to Whist then has the option of playing the hand either "Up" or "Down". If he elects to play the hand "Down" then both players must place their hands face up, exposed on the table. The whisting player would then play from both hands at the proper turn. If he elects to play the hand "Up" or both players elected to whist, each player plays his own hand as normal and is not required to expose the hand face-up on the table. For declarations of 10 or Misère, the opponents are also not required to expose the hands on the table. Another option available is that of a half-whist. This option can be opted for by a player if the other opponents first passed (electing not to whist). To do this, he states "half-whist" on his turn. In this case, the original passing player then has a last opportunity to Whist (even though they previously declined to whist). If that player elects to whist, the player who declared half-whist is then considered to have passed and play of the hand begins. However, if the original passing player elects not to whist, the hand immediately ends, with the player who called "half-whist" assumed to have won half of the tricks required for a whist and the Declarer the remainder of the tricks in the hand.

Sample trick in Preferans Play of the Hand: After the bidding and elections to whist are completed, the actual play of the hand begins. The player to the immediate left of the dealer plays the first card to the first trick. If this is an exposed dummy hand, the whisting player will play from that hand as usual. The lead may play any card of his choice from his hand to start the trick. Each player in a clockwise rotation then plays one card to the trick to complete the trick. If a player has a card of the suit led to the trick he must play it. If he does not have a card of the suit led but does have a card of the trump suit he must play it. If he does not have a card of the suit led or a card of the trump suit, he can play any card from his hand to the trick. The highest card of the trump suit in the trick wins the trick. If no cards of the trump suit have been played to the trick, the highest card of the suit led to the trick wins it. The winner of each trick leads the first card to the next trick. Play continues in this manner until all 10 tricks have been played.

Scoring: Scoring in Preferans consists of three types of scores which can be accrued during each hand; bullet points (also sometimes called pool points), mountain (or hill) points and whist points. If the Declarer is successful in winning at least as many tricks as bid, he wins a number of bullet points as per the following chart:
Declared TricksBullet Points Earned
62
74
86
98
1010
In addition, a whisting player who was unable to earn his necessary number of tricks would then be required to add this same number of mountain points to his own score. If both opponents elected to whist during the hand, each of these players would be considered responsible for half of these whist points, adding half the indicated total to his own mountain point score. A player who elected not to whist does not incur this penalty.

However, if the Declarer is unable to win at least as many tricks as contracted, he instead must add a certain number of mountain points to his current total, dependent on the number of tricks he is short of his contract. The following chart shows the number of such mountain points he would be required to add to his current total:
Declared TricksMountain Points Earned per Trick Short of Bid
62
74
86
98
1010
In addition, each opponent adds the same number of whist points to his own whist point total as the Declarer earned in mountain points for the hand.

Furthermore, in the event the Declarer was unable to equal or exceed his declared contract, if an opponent elected to whist, that player earns additional whist points. If one player elected to whist, that player earns a number of points as per the following chart. If both opponents elected to whist during the hand, each earns one half of the total whist points to his own score.
Tricks Declared by DeclarerWhist Points Earned
62
74
86
98
1010
Ending the Game: The game continues until every active player has reached the total number of bullet points agreed on before the start of the game. This number is mutually agreed on by all players before the game begins and is usually set at 10 or 20 total bullet points and is recorded in the small circular area in the center of the scoresheet.

American Aid: When a player, at the end of any hand, reaches or exceeds the necessary bullet point total and one or both of his opponents have still not reached the required amount, a procedure called American Aid is performed. When this occurs, any bullet points this player earns over the number required for each player is instead distributed to opponents that have not yet reached the required total (starting with the player with the next highest bullet point total, but who is still below the required total). In exchange for these bullet points the player originally earning the bullet points adds 10 times the number of bullet points exchanged, to his own whist point total while the player receiving the bullet points also adds 10 times this number of points to his current mountain point total. This exchange only occurs for each bullet points the opponent might have below the required, agreed upon number before start of the game. If that opponent then also reaches the necessary total, any leftover would then be added to the last opponents total with the same change conditions. Once, at the end of any hand, the total bullet points for every player has reached the agreed upon total the game ends and final scores are calculated. This final scoring calculation is performed as follows:

- The score of the player with the lowest number of mountain points over the course of the hand is subtracted from each players current total mountain score. This gives that player's final mountain score. Each player then multiplies his revised total of mountain points by ten. This total is then divided by the number of players in the game. The resultant number is then recorded in the whist point section for each other player. A player's final, net score is then the sum of the players points earned in the various whist sections of his section on the scoresheet subtracted from a sum of the number of whist points that opponents earned against this player (as recorded in the individual sections of the scoresheet). The player with the highest grand total in whist points is the overall winner of the game.

Preferans Scoresheet In order to help simplify the tracking of the various kinds of points used in this game, a specially designed scoresheet is used (called pulja). This scoresheet usually consists of a triangular scoring area drawn for each player, which is further divided into sections detailing the differing kinds of points calculated during the game. Each players individual sections is divided into three portions, one to record each of the different point types used in the game. The top, triangular shaped section is used to record that players mountain points. The next section is used to record the bullet points. The bottom section of each players section is further divided into individual sections which record the total whist points scored against each other player in the game. Click this link for a printable version of this scoresheet. Recording Scores in Preferans All points earned by the player are then placed into the correct section for that player. Previous score recordings on the scoresheet are usually not erased, but rather the new total score for that section is recorded next to the previous score, with a period between each score. The current score for that section would then be the latest score shown in the list for that section.



Special Games: In most hands the normal rules of play and bidding will occur. However, there are two special cases that can occur during a hand.

Raspasovka: In the event that all players initially pass at the beginning of a hand, the rules for play of the hand change somewhat. In this case the game is played at Raspasovka. In a Raspasovka game, there is no trump suit for the hand. There is no Declarer for the hand and each player attempts to win as few tricks as possible. The standard rules for play of the hand are followed. On the first trick, the top card from the widow is turned over setting the trump suit to be used for the first trick. The card from the widow is not actually considered part of the trick, so cannot actually win the trick, even if that card is the highest card. On the second trick, the second card of the widow is turned over to determine the suit to be used for the second trick. Again, this card cannot win the trick. The player to the immediate left of the dealer then plays the next card to each of these tricks. For the third and subsequent tricks, the first card led to the trick sets the trump suit for that trick. The player to the immediate left of the dealer leads the first card to the third trick and, for the remainder of the hand, the player who wins each trick leads the first card to that trick. Each trick won by a player during a Raspasovka hand adds 1 point to the current mountain point total for the player. If a player manages to win no tricks during this special hand, he adds 1 bullet point to his current bullet point total.

Misère: As mentioned in the bidding section, if the high bid during the bidding stage of the game was Misère, the Declarer attempts to win no hands during the hand. Actual play of the hand is the same as with any other bid, however no trump suit is used. If the Declarer does manage to take no tricks during the hand he earns 10 bullet points. However, if takes one or more tricks during the hand, he scores 10 mountain points for each trick he wins during the hand.

       


Variations and Optional Rules


The rules described above are for the basic version of Preferans, called Sochi. However, there are several other scoring variants which are often encountered. The following are the most popular of such variants:

Leningrad: Leningrad scoring (also called Piter) is another popular scoring variant used. In this variant, however, all mountain and whist points earned during a hand are doubled before recording on the score sheet. Furthermore, at the conclusion of the game but before final scores are calculated, each player's bullet points are doubled. In all other aspects this version of the game is played identically to the standard version described above.

Rostov: Another scoring variant often used is called Rostov scoring. In Rostov scoring, all whist points scored by the players are divided by two before being recorded on the score sheet. In addition, mountain points are not recorded or used during the game. Instead, each time a player would normally score a mountain point, each opponent adds five whist points to his own total in the appropriate section of the scoresheet. In all other respects, this game is played the same as standard Preferans.

In addition to these scoring differences, there are a number of other optional rules and variants to the standard game which are used throughout the world. These include the following:

Stalingrad: This variant differs from the standard Sochi variant only in one way. If the winning, high bid for the hand ends up being Six Spades, both opponents are required to whist. Additionally, the opponents do not have the option, on any hand in which this is the highest bid, to play their hands open.

Gentleman's Rule: A variant rule which is common to many games of Preferans is called the Gentleman's Whisting Rule. When this rule is used, whist points scored by the opponents of the Declarer are divided evenly amongst them. Thus, in the case in which the Declarer is unable to win as many tricks as required during the hand, the total whist points to be scored by the opponents is divided equally amongst them. All other rules and scoring are identical to the standard game.

Bullet Point Sum Total: Another change to the basic game which is sometimes used is to modify the end game condition. One such variant is to, instead of requiring each player to reach a certain point, is to have a sum total requirement. Thus, before the game begins, a grand total of points (from amongst all the players) is agreed as the game completion condition (such as 50 points). Thus, at the end of any hand, when the summed bullet points from every player equals or exceeds this number the game ends and the scores are calculated. In all other respects the game is played identically to the standard variant.

Balkans Preferans: A common variant of Preferans that is played in the Balkan Islands has rules similar to the standard game with several key differences. The primary difference is in the bidding. In this variant, there are six possible bids, from high to low; Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, Bettler, No Trump. Thus, players never bid a specific number but rather an individual suit, a bid of Bettler or No Trump. A bid of Bettler is a bid to win no tricks during the hand using no trump suit. Each bid must be higher, in the hierarchy, then any other bid. The highest suit bid will also be set as the trump suit for the hand. During the bidding, these suits are usually instead referred to by their hierarchical ranking, as follows; Seconds, Thirds, Fourths, Fifths, Sixths and Sevenths respectively. Bidding begins with the player to the dealer's left and continues normally in a clockwise direction. In the first round of the bidding any player on his turn may make a call of "Game". This is a declaration to play the hand closed and not using the talon. In all situations (except Bettler), the Declarer must win six or more hands to be considered to have fulfilled his contract.

Four Player Preferans: Preferans is also commonly played by four players. In this variant, there are actually four participants but only three players receive cards on any given hand. The dealer in each hand receives no cards for that hand and normally takes no part in the scoring for that hand. In the event that both opponents pass after the declaration by the Declarer, the dealer may himself opt to whist during the hand. If he does so, he then takes the hand of one of the opponents. For this hand, the dealer than plays the hand in the stead of this player, and earns any scores or penalties for the hand as appropriate. In the event the hand is played open, the dealer may consult with the non-declarers in proper play of the hand. In a hand where all active participants pass, the two talon cards are considered to be owned by the dealer, who only plays to the first two tricks of the hand. If, during this hand the dealer manages to win neither of these tricks, he wins 10 pool points as normal. However, if he wins one or more tricks with these cards he scores mountain points for each trick won. If the dealer wins the second trick, the lead for the third trick moves to the player to his immediate left. If the Rostov scoring variant is being used, the talon is not used, with the player to the dealer immediate left leading to the first trick. In addition, in the Rostov variant, when all players pass, the dealer scores one bullet point automatically. If the Declarer, after looking at the Talon decides not to add it to his hand, he may push it to the dealer. The cards of the talon are not used further in the hand, but the dealer scores 1 mountain point. The dealer is also considered to have won the following number of "whists" during the hand when the following cards are found to be in the talon when it is exposed: Four Player Preferans Scoresheet The scoresheet used for the four player variant is designed somewhat differently than that of the three player game. In addition to including four triangles corresponding to the four players in the game, the whist points section for each player is divided into three sections vice two. Click this link for a printable version of a Preferans scoresheet for four players.

In all other aspects, the four player variant is played identically to the standard game, with the role of the dealer rotating around the table in a clockwise direction.

Hussar: Hussar is a variant of Preferans designed to be played by two players. In this variant, three hands are still dealt out, one being a dummy hand (similar to that in Contract Bridge). These cards are not seen or exposed during the bidding, which is between the two players based on their own hand. If a high bid is made (with that player becoming the Declarer for the hand) and the opponent opts to whist the dummy hand is then exposed. The defender also places his own hand face up on the table and plays from both hands, playing from the dummy hand as if it were an actual player in it's normal turn of play. If the defender opts not to whist during the hand, the Declarer is considered to win all 10 tricks with no cards actually played during the hand.

Prefa: Prefa is a Greek variant of Preference which is also thought to be one of the ancestors of some of the other related games. Gameplay is identical to standard Russian Preferans (Sochi scoring), with the following differences from that game:

The game continues until every player, at the end of a hand has zero pouch points. If a player, when subtracting pouch points at the end of a hand finds that the subtraction would cause the total to drop below zero, the remaining points are instead subtracted from the current player's score who currently has the highest number of pouch points remaining. In exchange, the player who had these points subtracted must give the Contractor for the hand a number of chip points equal to the number of points subtracted from his own score multiplied by ten. At this time, the player with the highest number of chip points is declared the winner of the game.
  • The score sheet used for Prefa is somewhat similar to that used for Preferans. It consists of three sections on the scoresheet. One large section for each player to record that player's pouch points and two smaller areas to indicate the number of chip points won or lost from the other two players.

  • Austrian Préférence: Préférence is an Austrian game played somewhat similarly to Preferans and is thought to be the direct predecessor for that game. The bidding and scoring for this version is considerably less complex than its successor.

    Préférence is designed for 3 players using the 32 card Piquet deck. The ranking of the cards in this deck are as follows (from highest to lowest); Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7.

    Before start of the game each player is provided with an equal number of chips (100 or so). Each player then places an equal number of his provided chips into the center of the table (say 25) to make the pool. During the game, players will win and lose chips to the pool (and to his opponents). If the pool becomes depleted (all chips having been won), all players must then place that same equal number of chips from his own collection to the pool.

    Determination of first dealer and seating positions can be done in any manner with cutting for low card a common method. Once this has been determined the first dealer begins dealing the cards in a clockwise rotation, starting with the player to his immediate left. For the first round of the deal he distributes packets of three cards to each player. He then places two cards face down in the center of the table as a talon. He then distributes a four card packet to each player and then lastly another three card packet. Each player should then have a total of 10 cards.

    After all cards have been distributed, the bidding begins. The player to the immediate left of the dealer has the first opportunity to bid and the bidding continues in a clockwise rotation. A bid usually consists of a number from one to four, each number which corresponds to a specific suit in the deck. In addition, a player may add "Hand" to his bid which ranks higher, for bidding purposes, than the same bid without the hand designation. The "Hand" designation indicates a bid in which the winning high bidder is contracting not to use or see the talon for this hand. The highest allowable bid, called Preference, sets Hearts as the trump suit and the player will not use the talon. The following chart shows the relative ordering of the bids and the corresponding suit that bid represents:
    Bid RankingBidCorresponding Suit
    11Clubs (♣)
    22Spades (♠)
    33Diamonds ()
    44Hearts ()
    5Hand 1Clubs (♣)
    6Hand 2Spades (♠)
    7Hand 3Diamonds ()
    8Preference (Hand 4)Hearts ()
          Bids in Austrian Préférence
    The bidding in this game is quite rigid, and the next allowable bid is exactly one higher (with or without the hand designation on the bid) than the last bid. The exception to this is a bid of Preference which a player must make as his first bid if he intends to make this bid. Once a player passes during his turn he may make no further bids during this hand.

    The bidding continues until there is either a bid of Preference or there are three consecutive passes. If a player bids, his bid must be higher (as per the bid ranking given on the chart) than any previous bid. If all three players initially pass (no bids on the hand), the dealer automatically becomes the Declarer for the hand.

    Once the bidding is completed, the high bidder is set as the Declarer for the hand. If the Declarer's high bid was not a Hand bid the first action the Declarer performs is to take the talon into his own hand and discards any two cards from his hand to the side, out of play. For hand bids, the talon itself is set aside not to be seen or used during the current hand. The Declarer then names the trump suit for the hand. He may name as the trump suit either the suit corresponding to his high bid or any higher ranked suit. The ranking of the suits is as follows (from low to high); Clubs, Spades, Diamonds, Hearts. As mentioned previously, if no players bid for this hand, the dealer becomes the Declarer and may name the suit of his choice as trump suit for the hand.

    Before actual play of the hand begins, each player has the opportunity to drop from the hand. If the Declarer or both defenders drop from the hand, there is no play and the hand is immediately scored. If just one defender drops from the hand, only the Declarer and the defender (who did not drop from the hand) play out the hand.

    The Declarer leads the first card to the first trick and may lead any card of choice from his hand. Play continues in a clockwise rotation with each player playing one card to the trick. If a player has at least one card of the same suit as led to the trick he must play it. If the player does not have a card of that same suit he may play any card from his hand, including a card of the trump suit. The highest card of the trump suit played to the trick wins the trick. If no card of the trump suit has been played to the trick, the highest card of the suit led to the trick wins it. The winner takes the won trick, setting it aside face-down. He then leads the first card to the next trick.

    Play continues in this manner until all 10 tricks have been played and won, after which time the scoring for the hand occurs. If the Declarer is able to win six or more tricks he wins 10 chips from the central pool. If he wins five or less tricks during the hand he must pay 20 chips into the pool. If a defender fails to win two or more tricks during the hand, he must pay 10 chips into the pool. However, if a defender does manage to win two or more tricks the Declarer must directly give the defender one chip. If the Declarer dropped from the hand before actual play begins, he must give each defender 3 chips. However, if one defender also dropped, he must give the other defender 5 chips.

    At any point, if a player completely runs out of his own collection of chips, the game ends. The player with the current most number of chips is declared the game winner.

    Illustrated Préférence: Illustrated Préférence is played very similarly to Austrian Préférence. However, this game features several additional bids. The following chart shows all allowable bids and their relative ranking. Bid
    Bid RankingCorresponding Suit/Bid NameDescription
    11Clubs (♣)-
    22Spades (♠)-
    33Diamonds ()-
    44Hearts ()-
    5Hand 1Clubs (♣)-
    6Hand 2Spades (♠)-
    7Hand 3Diamonds ()-
    8PreferenceHearts ()-
    95None (Misère)Declarer attempts to win no tricks with no trump suit
    106None (Slam)Declarer attempts to win 10 tricks with no trump suit set
    11Hand 5None (Misère)Declarer attempts to win no tricks with no trump suit
    12Hand 6None (Slam)Declarer attempts to win 10 tricks with no trump suit set
    137None (Open Misère)Declarer attempts to win no tricks with no trump suit and with his entire hand exposed
    148None (Open Slam)Declarer attempts to win 10 tricks with no trump suit with his entire hand exposed
    15Hand 7None (Open Misère)Declarer attempts to win no tricks with no trump suit and with his entire hand exposed
    16Hand 8None (Open Slam)Declarer attempts to win 10 tricks with no trump suit with his entire hand exposed
    If the bidding reaches a level higher than the bid of Preference, one defender may never drop. The defenders can both decide to drop, but if one defender opts to play the hand, both defenders must play the hand. As in the standard variant of this game, the bids of Hand indicate the player will not use or see the talon during the hand.

    Scoring for the bids of Preference and lower are the same as in the standard game. However, the scoring in the additional eight bids is somewhat different. On these bids, the defenders are not obligated to win any specific number of tricks and they neither win or lose any tricks for winning or failing to lose a set number. If the Declarer wins a bid of 5, the defenders must each pay him 10 chips directly. If he wins a bid of 6 each opponent must give him 20 chips. For a bid of 7 made, each opponent must give him 30 chips and for a successful bid of 8 each opponent must give him 40 chips. If the hand version of the contract is played, the defenders must give him this amount times two. If the Declarer fails to make the required bid, he must pay this same amount to each defender directly.

    In all other aspects this game is played identically to standard Austrian Préférence.

    Preference (American): American Preference is version of Preferans which plays somewhat similar to Balkans Preferans. This version is not as popular as some of the other versions but is often found in many card books and can be quite fun.

    Suit Ranking in American Preference Like the other variants of Preferans above, this version also uses the Piquet deck. The ranking of the cards in the deck for this game are also similar to the other variants listed above, as follows (from high to low); Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7. For bidding purposes, the suits in American Preference also have a ranking. This ranking is, from highest to lowest; Hearts (called the Preference suit), Diamonds, Clubs then Spades. American Preference is designed to be played by 3 players. Before the start of the game, each player should be distributed an equal number (such as 50) of chips or tokens.

    Determination of seating positions and first dealer can be performed in a number of ways, with drawing for low card a common method. Although the Ace is considered the highest card in the deck, for purposes of this draw, the Ace is temporarily considered the lowest card in the deck. When two or more players draw cards of the same rank, the ranking of the suits can then be used to further rank these cards. The player who draws the lowest card of all is set as the first dealer. Thereafter, after each hand the deal rotates in a clockwise direction from player to player.

    After the players are seated and the dealer selected, the deck should be thoroughly shuffled and offered to the player to the dealer's immediate left to cut. After the cut the dealer then begins distributing the cards. He deals the cards face down in a clockwise rotation. He begins by dealing a three card packet to each player. He next deals two face down cards in the center of the table as the widow or talon. He then deals a round of four more cards to each player (but no more to the center of the table) and concludes with a final three card packet to each player. Each player should thus end up with ten face-down cards.

    After the deal is complete, each player places a previously agreed on number of chips into the pot (say 10). After this, the bidding begins, starting with the player to the dealer's immediate left. A bid simply consists of a suit, which would normally consist of the suit he would prefer to set as the trump suit for the hand. A player may also elect to pass on his turn. The bidding continues around the table from player to player in a clockwise direction such that each player is given one opportunity to make a bid or pass. In order for a bid to be valid it must be considered higher, as per the previously indicated suit ranking, than any previous bid. The player who named the highest ranked suit during the round of bidding becomes the Declarer for the hand with the suit named as that high bid set as the trump suit for the hand. The widow hand is left in the center of the table, unused during this hand.

    If, however, on this first round of bidding, every player passes, a second round of bidding progresses. During this round, a player must either pass or place some number of chips from his stock into a growing pile in the center of the table. Whichever player has placed the highest number of chips into the pool is considered to have won the bidding and is the Declarer for the hand. In this case, the player takes the two card widow into his hand and then discard any two cards from his hand face-down to the table. These cards will not be used for the remainder of the hand. After discarding, this bidder may declare any suit to be the trump suit for the hand.

    If all players again pass during this second bidding round, the cards are all shuffled together and the deck is passed to the next dealer in turn for another hand.

    After the Declarer has been determined for this hand, play of that hand begins. The player to the immediate left of the Declarer leads the first card to the first trick. Each subsequent player then plays one card to the trick. If a player has a card of the same suit as that originally played to the trick he must play it. If he does not have such a card he may play any card from his hand, including a card of the trump suit. The highest card of the trump suit played to the trick wins the trick. If the trick contains no cards of the trump suit, the highest card of the suit originally led to that trick wins it. The leader of each trick leads the first card to the next trick. The goal of the Declarer during the hand is to win at least six tricks, while the opponents attempt to prevent him from doing so.

    After all ten tricks have been played the hand may then be scored. If the Declarer manages to win at least six tricks during the hand, he is entitled to take some previously agreed number of chips from the center pile (say 25). However, if he wins five or less tricks during the hand, he must instead give that same number of chips from his own stock to the center pile. If the center pile runs out of chips, each player must again replenish it by adding a number of chips from his pile as originally placed by each player into it. The game continues until at such time a player is required to give chips from his stock to the center and does not have the necessary chips to do so, the game immediately ends. Whichever player currently has the highest stock of chips is declared the winner.

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