# Belote

## Game rules

Belote is believed to have originated in France, although there is no concrete proof. Nevertheless, the game is most popular in France, where it is sometimes nearly considered a national sport, similar to Jass in Switzerland. There are quite notable differences with Jass but the two games are still considered to be similar.

The objective is simply to get points by judiciously playing your cards. It is played in two teams of two players with a deck of 32 standard French cards and is organized in rounds of 8 tricks.

### Course of the game

Players make two teams of two and place themselves on the table so that the turns of each team alternate.

At the beginning of the round, dealing goes in two steps.

- The dealer deals 5 cards to each player, by groups of 2 and then 3 or 3 and then 2.
- The dealer turns the next undealt card and shows it to everybody. This card is proposed as trump suit for the first round of the bidding phase (see below).
- At the end of the bidding phase, once the contract to be played is determined, the dealing of the remaining cards (3 for each player) continues starting with the taker. That player will thus have the card previously shown in his hand.
- Then, once all cards have been dealt, the card play can start.

At the end of the round, points are counted and the player to the left of the current dealer becomes the dealer for the next round.

### Bidding and contracts

After the first deal, when each player has 5 cards in their hand, the next undealt card is returned and proposed as trump suit.

At their turn starting with the player after the dealer, each player can choose whether to *take* or *pass*.

The player who decides to take chooses the trump suit and obliges their team to make at least a certain number of points.

During the first turn, the trump suit must be the suit of the returned card. If nobody takes at first turn, another suit can be chosen as trump but then it's no longer allowed to choose the suit of the returned card.

If nobody takes after the second turn, the cards are collected, shuffled and dealt by the next dealer.

According to the basic rule, the player who takes makes the bidding phase end and the second part of the deal restarts with that player (it isn't possible to overbid). They then oblige their team to make at least 82 points.

There exist a number of variants allowing and even encouraging overbidding: belote countered, coinched, etc. where a number of points is announced in addition to a trump suit. These variants aren't available on the Playroom yet.

### Card play

On their turn, the player must:

- If there aren't any cards on the table, they have to begin a new trick. As such, they can play any card of their choice. This first card will determine the
- If they aren't the first one, then:
- If they own a card having the same suit as the
*base suit*(the first card played), then they have to*follow*, that is being obliged to play that suit. - If they don't have any cards of the required suit, they must
*cut*if possible, meaning they should play a trump card unless their partner is currently winning the trick, in which case they aren't obliged to do so. - If they don't have any card of the required suit and if someone already cut before them, they are still obliged to play a trump and to
*overtrump*, i.e. play a stronger trump if they can. - If and only if they have neither the required suit nor trumps, then they can discard any card of their choice

*base suit*.

When everybody has played their card, the player who put the strongest one wins the trick. The strongest card is defined by:

- If there are trumps, the highest trump card wins the trick
- Otherwise, if there aren't any trumps, the highest card of the base suit wins the trick

### Belote and rebelote

If a player owns the king and the queen of trump, their team can obtain 20 bonus points. To get them, they must announce "belote" when playing the king, and "rebelote" when playing the queen, just after having played the corresponding card but before the next player plays.

The king and the queen must be played in that order; playing the queen and then the king doesn't give the bonus.

Of course, the bonus is lost when forgetting one of the two announcements.

### Card values

For trump cards, the order and value are as follows:

- Jack, 20 points.
- 9, 14 points; this card is often called "the fourteen".
- Ace, 11 points
- 10, 10 points
- King, 4 points
- Queen, 3 points
- 8 and 7 don't give any points

For non-trump cards, the order and value are the following:

- Ace, 11 points
- 10, 10 points.
- King, 4 points
- Queen, 3 points
- Jack, 2 points
- 9, 8 and 7 don't give any points.

Be careful about the particularity of the 10, which is placed just after the ace and thus wins against other face cards.

Last trick is worth 10 points. A round counts exactly *162 points*. A complete belote game is often played to 1000 points.

### Scoring

At the end of the round, three cases are possible:

- The attacking team, the team where the taker is, obtained at least the number of points required by the contract and made more points than the opposing team: in this case the contract is met and each team gets the amount of points effectively obtained during the round. In the standard belote game, the minimum required number of points is always 82, which is at least more than half of 162.
- The attacking team didn't obtain the required points or defenders obtained more points than the attackers, the contract is thus failed. The non-taking team in this case earns 162 points, while the takers receive 0 points.
- The two teams obtained the same amount of points, there is a tie (typical case: 81). In this case, defenders immediately mark their points, while the points of the attackers' team are taken back to the game; they will be given to the winner of the next round.

A *match*, which means earning 162 points by taking all the tricks, gives a bonus of 90 points, making a total of 252 points.

The 20 points for belote and rebelote are always counted for the team which made them, independently of the result of the contract. They can help avoid a failure or a tie and are never carried over to the next round.

## Keyboard shortcuts summary

- Enter: start the game or play a card
- C: announce cards currently on the table
- A: announce the trump suit
- F: announce the current required suit
- S: announce the scores
- Space: announce "belote" and "rebelote"