How to Play Twenty-Eight

Twenty-Eight is a fun trick taking card game which is very popular in many areas of India, particularly the southern states.

Twenty-Eight is played by four players playing in two partnerships. The game uses a 32 card deck which is formed by including all card of only the following denominations from a standard 52 card deck; 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. The ranking of the cards in this deck are as follows (from high to low); Jack, 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8, 7.
Card Ranking in Twenty Eight

Determination of partnerships, seating positions and first dealer can be done in a variety of ways. A common method is the drawing of cards, in which the two players drawing the two highest ranked cards play as partners against the players drawing the two lowest. The partners should be seated directly across from each other at the table. The player who draws the highest card of all would be designated the first dealer.

After determination of the partnerships and first dealer, the dealer then shuffles the cards and begins dealing the hand. He first deals out 4 cards to each player in a counter-clockwise direction around the table, one by one and face down. After each player has these initial four cards, they may pick up these cards and examine them. Based on these first four cards, the players then begin the bidding for the hand. The player to the dealer's immediate right is the first to bid. A bid is a player's estimate of the number of card points he believes he and his partner can take during the hand providing this player has the opportunity to name the trump suit. The minimum bid is 14 and the maximum is 28 (thus the game's name). The value of the cards used in this game are as follows:
CardCard Point Value
Jack3 Each
92 Each
Ace, 101 Each
King, Queen, 8, 70
Instead of bidding on his turn a player (other than the first bidder) may also opt to pass. The player to the dealer's right must make the minimum bid and may not pass. Once any player passes he is considered out of the bidding for the remainder of the hand and may make no further bids during the hand. The bidding continues until the last bid is followed by three consecutive passes. The player making the highest bid then becomes the Bidder for the hand. If a player's partner currently has the highest bid and he wants to overcall that bid, his bid must be a minimum of 20 and higher than that previous bid.

After being declared the winner of the bidding, the Bidder then determines the trump suit for the hand. However, he does not state this aloud. Instead, he selects any card from his hand and places it face-down beside him, separate from his hand. This unexposed trump card is called the turup. No other player should yet be aware of the suit of this card. Immediately after this, the dealer then distributes the remainder of the deck to the players such that each player has a total of eight cards.

The player to the dealer's immediate right then leads the first card to the trick, with each player in a counter-clockwise direction than playing one card to the trick. Until the trump card is exposed, the high bidder may never lead a card of the trump suit to a trick (unless he has no other cards of other suits). Although the trump card, while still unexposed, is still part of the high Bidder's 8 dealt cards, it is not actually considered part of the Bidder's hand until requested to be exposed by the Bidder or some other player on his turn. Thus, it remains face down on the table and may not played to a trick until it is exposed or it ends up being the Bidder's last card. Thus, even if a card of the trump suit is played and the face down card is the only card of the trump suit the player has, he is not obligated to play that card and may play another card to the trick. Each trick is won by the highest card of the card played to the trick.

Requesting Exposure of the Trump Card The first time that any player is unable to play a card to the suit led to the trick, that player has two choices. He may discard any card to the trick. He simply plays any card of his choice to the trick. This card can normally win the current trick (except in the event another player requests the exposure of the trump suit and the discarded card happens to be the highest card of that trump suit played to the trick). The player's second option is to call for the Bidder's face down trump card to be played. When this occurs, the bidder then turns over the face down trump card such that all can see it. He then adds the trump card to his hand. After that time, the suit of the card exposed is then considered the trump suit for the remainder of the hand. The Bidder himself can also call for the exposure of his own trump card on his turn when unable to follow suit if he wants.

After the trump card is exposed, the rules for playing to and winning a trick change slightly, beginning with the current play from the player who called for exposure of the trump suit. If a player is unable to play a card of the led suit he may play any card from his hand, including a card of the trump suit if he has one. If a player does play a trump card to a trick in which another suit was led, he must play a higher trump card than the player immediately before him, if that player played a trump card to the trick and if the player has a higher card of the trump suit.

On the trick that a player who requested exposure of the trump suit, that player must play a card of the trump suit to that trick if he has one. If he does not, he can play any other card from his hand. If the high Bidder himself requested exposure of the trump suit, on the trick he does so, must play that trump card or another form his hand. The highest trump card played to each trick then wins the trick. If no trump cards have been played to the trick, the highest card of the suit originally led to the trick wins it. The winner of each trick leads the first card to the next trick which may be any card of his choice remaining in his hand. If the trump card has yet to be requested to be exposed by the last trick of the hand, the Bidder must play the card during his turn. The card does retain it's status as a trump card for the trick.

After all eight tricks have been played and won during the hand, the Bidder then sorts through the cards his partnership has won in tricks to determine if his partnership was able to win at least as many card points as bid. If they are able to capture a number of card points which equals or exceeds their high bid for the hand, they earn a number of game points based on the amount of their bid. If the number of card points won during the hand by the Bidder's partnership is less then the amount bid, they lose game points based on the amount of their high bid. The following chart shows the points won or lost by the high Bidder dependent on the points bid for the hand:
High BidGame Points Won if Bid madeGame Points Lost if bid not made
14 to 1912
20 to 2423
25 or Higher34
The first team to score 10 points is declared the game winner.

                     

Variations and Optional Rules

Twenty-Nine: Twenty Nine is a closely related game to Twenty-Eight. This game is popular in Bangladesh and many other parts of India. The game is identical to Twenty-Eight, save for the following differences: Often this version of the game is played in which the last trick point is not factored in. Thus, the maximum bid value is 28. All other rules for playing Twenty-Nine are the same as those of Twenty-Eight.

Fifty-Six: Fifty-Six is another game played quite similarly to Twenty-Eight. This game gets it's name from the highest bid allowable during a hand. Fifty-Six can be played by four, six or eight players. The first version described will that for four players.

The four player version is played by two partnerships of two players each. Each player should sit directly across the table from his partner. The game also uses a sixty-four card deck which includes two cards of each suit in the following denominations: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9. The ranking of the cards in this deck is as follows (from high to low); Jack, 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen. The lower, remaining cards in the deck will be used as special counters for keeping score during the game (see scoring, below).

As in other, similar games each card in the game has a specific point value. The following chart shows the point score for each card used in the game:
CardPoint Value
Jack3
92
Ace1
101
King, Queen0
Determination of partnerships and first dealer can be performed in a variety of ways, with drawing for high card a common method. One determined, the partners should sit directly across from each other at the table and the dealing should begin. The dealer distributes the cards in face down batches of four cards to each player until all players have exactly 12 cards.

After all cards have been dealt, bidding begins, starting with the player to the immediate right of the current dealer. He bids a number as well as a suit, indicating the suit he wants to use as the trump suit for the hand should he win the bidding. He may also make a bid of No Trump, indicating a request to play the hand with no specific trump suit. The minimum bid is 28 and the highest bid is 56. The bidding then rotates in a counter-clockwise direction around the table, with each subsequent player either bidding a higher number or passing. In addition to specific bids, a player, on his turn may also elect to double or re-double.

If the current highest bid was made by a member of the opposing team, a player may, on his turn Double. When doubling, the current high bid stands, however all game points scored are doubled. If the opposing team has doubled a bid your team has made, you may also elect to redouble, which quadruples all bonuses or penalties for the current hand.

Once a bid or double is followed by three consecutive passes, the player with the highest bid is considered the contractor for the hand. Any redouble also automatically terminates the bidding, with the player making the high bid considered the contractor. If all four players pass without making any bid, an automatic bid of 28 No Trump by the opposing team to the dealer is assumed.

Once the bidding is completed, the player to the immediate right of the dealer leads the first card to the first trick. He may lead any card from his hand. Each other play, in a counter-clockwise rotation must then play one card to the trick. If a player has a card of the same suit as that of the card led to the trick he must play it. If he has no cards of that suit, he may play any card of his choice to the trick, including a card of the trump suit. A trick is won by the highest card of the trump suit led to the trick. If no cards of the trump suit have been played to the trick, it is won by the highest card of the suit originally led. If that highest card played to the trick is duplicated in the trick, the first of these cards played to the trick is considered the winner. The winner of each trick leads the first card to the next.

After all cards have been played, the scoring is calculated for the hand. If the contractor's team managed to capture in tricks at least as many card points as bid, they are determined to have won the hand. However, if they are unable to capture at least as many card points as bid they lose the hand. In either case, points are awarded or penalties assessed to the high bidding team. Each individual game point is called a table and is recorded using the unused lower cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) in the deck (called tables). 12 of these lower red cards (in the suits of Diamonds and Hearts) in the deck are given to one team and 12 of these lower black cards (in the suits of Clubs and Spades) are given to the other. The following chart shows the number of tables the contractor's team either wins from or loses to the opposing team:
Contractor's High BidTables Earned if MadeTables Lost if not Made
28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 3912
40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 4723
48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 5534
5645
      Table Cards in Fifty Six
Thus, the contractor either receives the indicated number of the table cards from the opposing team or must give them the designated number. When a team runs out of table cards and is unable to make a required payment, the game ends and the opponents of that team is declared the game winner.

Six Player Fifty-Six: This game has also been modified to be played by six players. In this case, the players are divided into two teams of three players each. The players should be seated at the table in such a manner that each player at the table is seated between two opponents.

In this version, each player receives 8 total cards to make up his hand. Other than the differing number of players and cards dealt, all other aspects of this version is identical to the standard four player game of Fifty-Six.

Fifty Six for Eight Players Eight Player Fifty-Six: Similarly, an eight player variant of the game has been developed. This game is designed to be played by two teams of four players each. Each player should be seated in such an arrangement that he is seated between two opponents at the table.

In order to accommodate the larger number of players, two cards in each suit of the following suits should be added to the deck used for this game, 7 and 8. This makes for a 64 total card deck. These additional cards are worth zero points when captured in tricks.

In this variant, each player receives a total of 8 cards. In addition, each team receives a total of 10 table cards.

Similar to other bidding, trick taking game the early bidding often consists of a player attempting to convey information about his hand to his partner. To that end, certain bidding styles have been developed that are widely used to help a player communicate this information while not using any type of secret or hidden signaling. The following are the normal conventions used: Other than these differences, this version is played identically to the standard game of fifty-six as described above.
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