There are a wide variety of variations of Tien Len found at many card tables around the world. The following are some of the more popular and common such variations.
: This variation, also called VC, is a variation of Tien Len that is often played in the United States. The game is very similar to the standard game with the following differences:
- Twos may never be played as part of a run. Thus, the highest card allowable in a run is the Ace. However, twos may be played as part of a double run, and are considered the highest cards in the double run (i.e. Queen, Queen, King, King, Ace, Ace, 2, 2).
- On every hand the player holding the three of Spades always plays first. That player must always play the three either solo or as part of a larger combination on his first play.
- Any player who is dealt all four twos should show them immediately. The game ends immediately with this player being declared the winner.
- The normal bombs from the standard game are not used, and are instead modified with the following similar combinations that can beat twos, called slams:
When a slam is used to beat two's, a higher combination of the same type and same number of cards can then beat the slam combination played.
- A three pair double run can beat a solo two, but no other solo card.
- A four of a kind can also beat a solo two. It cannot, however, be used to beat any other solo card.
- A five pair double run can beat any pair of twos. However, it cannot beat any pair BUT a pair of twos.
- Two consecutive four of a kinds can also be used to beat a pair of twos. This only applies to a pair of twos, however.
- A seven pair double run can beat any three twos. No other triplets can be beat in this way, however.
- Three consecutive four of a kinds can also beat a triplet of twos. However, it can not be used to beat any other type of triplets.
In all other respects VC is played identically to the parent game it is derived from.
|After the first hand, the fourth place and first place players must exchange two cards and the second place and third place players exchange one.|
Another rule that is sometimes added to Tien Len is that of card trading. When this rule is used, the loser of the last hand must give his two highest cards to the winner of the previous hand. In return, the winner gives this player any two cards of his choice. A similar trade also occurs between the second and third players from the previous hand, with the second player receiving the highest card held by the third player in exchange for any card of the second winners choice. Obviously, on the first hand of every game no card trading occurs. When the card trading variant is used, instant wins are not usually counted (including holding 4 deuces).
More Instant Wins
: In addition to the normal rule of four twos resulting in an instant win for the holder, sometimes the following additional combinations, when held by a player also result in an instant win for that participant:
In the rare instance when more than one player has a combination of cards that could result in an instant win, the ranking of the instant win types is as follows (from low to high): Double run of six pairs, Three consecutive triples, Complete sequence, four Twos. If two players hold the same classification of instant win hand, the normal rules for comparing these types of combinations is used (highest denomination of card in the combination and then suit ranking). Before the hand begins the player holding such a hand should display it and is instantly declared the first winner of that hand.
Additional Playable Combinations
Many of the variations of Tien Len revolve around the addition of playable combinations. Some of the more common such additions found at Tien Len games are as follows:
|Additional combination types are sometimes added in Tien Len, such as Suited Runs and Two card sequences.|
: Similar to a normal run, however a suited run consists of 3 or more cards in sequence, all of the same suit. This is considered a different combination type than a regular run, so if a player leads with this combination, any other player attempting to beat the combination can only beat it with a higher suited run consisting of the same number of cards. When comparing two suited runs, the combination containing the highest denomination card is considered the higher. When comparing two suited runs consisting of the same denomination of cards, the run in the higher suit is considered higher. A player may play a suited run in response to a regular run, but when played in such a manner, it is considered only a regular run with no special ranking for being a suited run in that case.
Two Card Runs
: Some games allow the addition of two card runs. This consists of two cards in sequence. The cards are not required to be in the same suit. As with longer Runs, a two card run can be beat by a higher two card sequence. If comparing two such sequences that contain the same cards, the suit of the higher card in the sequence can be further used to rank the two card run.
Twos used in Runs
: Although most versions of Tien Len do not allow 2's to be contained in runs or double runs, some variations allow their inclusion. If this rule is adopted, the 2 is considered the highest allowable card in the run.
Tien Len for Differing Numbers of Players
: Although most commonly played as a game for four, there are also variations of this game designed for 2, 3, 5 or more players. Variations for these differing number of players is described below.
In any version of this game where there are extra cards not distributed to the players, the three of Spades may not be in play. In this case, the player with the lowest card in hand would have the first play in the first hand. To determine this, the dealer will sometimes begin calling out the lowest ranking cards in the deck (starting with the three of Spades and continuing to name cards in ascending order from the three of Spades up). The first player (including the dealer) to possess a card the dealer names would state this, and then would be entitled to the first play of the hand.
- Tien Len for Two Players: Tien Len is also often played by two players. The rules are identical except that after each player is dealt the normal thirteen cards, there will be cards remaining in the deck. This stack should be set aside and unused in the hand.
- Tien Len for Three: This game can also be played by three players, similarly to the standard version. Each player would receive 17 card hands, with the last card in the deck set aside face down and not used in the hand. The game itself is played the same as the four player version of Tien Len.
- Tien Len for Five or More: This game is also sometimes played by five or more players (up to eight players). When playing with 5 or more, two standard 52 card decks are shuffled together to be used for the game. This larger deck is then shuffled, cut and each player would receive thirteen cards. Any remaining cards in the deck would be set aside and unused for the remainder of the hand. When using a double deck there will be more potential for identical combinations. A combination can never be beaten by another combination consisting of the exact same cards (rank and suit), but must be higher in some respect.
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