TAROT GAME PLAY

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These Tarot Cards may be used like the ordinary packs for games, as well as for divination; and it may be as well to give the general rules and mode of play. The Game of Tarot may be played by either two or three persons. The full pack of 78 cards is shuffled and cut in the ordinary manner. The dealer dears them out in three hands by five cards at a time, and places the remaining three cards at his own right-hand side. There will thus be three hands of 25 cards each, and three cards besides. The players sort their hands, and the dealer discards the three most useless cards in his own hand and exchanges them for the before-mentioned three cards. The deal is taken in rotation by each player. The method of dealing is the same, whether two or three players participate, three hands being dealt out in each instance, but if only two players contend with each other, the third hand is untouched by either party.

The points constituting the game are 100, which may be marked on a cribbage board, on paper, or by an ordinary bezique-marker.

Before the hands are played out their score is reckoned in the following way:

The 22 trumps are not all of the same value.
21, 20, 19, 18, 17, are called the Five Greater Trumps.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, are called the Five Lesser Trumps.

Whoever has three of the Greater or three of the Lesser Trumps in his hand, scores 5 points for the same; 10 points if he has four; and 15 points if he have all five. If the player has any ten trumps in his hand they will score 10 points, any thirteen trumps 15 points. It does not matter if Greater or Lesser Trumps, which have been already scored, form part of such ten or thirteen; all scores are independent of other combinations. Furthermore, for any cards to be scored they must be shown to the adversary at the time of scoring; this rule holds good in all cases. The non-dealer scores and leads first. If three play, the player on the dealer’s left hand begins.

Seven cards bear the distinguishing title of Tarot Trumps; they are:

The Universe, 21; the Mat, or Foolish Man, 0; the Pagad, Juggler, or Magician, 1; the King of Sceptres; the King of Cups; the King of Swords; and the King of Pentacles.

If the player has any two of these Tarot Trumps, he can ask his opponent for a third; if the latter cannot reply by showing a third Tarot Trump, the former can score 5 points; but if he has the third it must be given up to the asker, who then does not score, but gives him some card of small value in exchange. For every three Tarot Trumps actually held in the hand, the holder marks 15 points.

Sequences of trumps or of cards of the same suit count; for every four cards in sequence, 5 points; for every seven cards, 10 points; for ten cards, 15 points. All cards forming these scores must be shown to the adversary.

0, The Foolish Man, is the lowest card in the pack in playing the hand; can take no card of any suit, and may be played to a card of any suit. For instance, if the adversary leads a King, and you have only the Queen of that suit remaining in your hand, but have also the 0, you can play this instead of the Queen, and thus save her from being taken. A King cut counts 5 points to whosoever cuts it. In each suit King is highest, then come Queen, Knight, Knave, Ten, Nine, etc., down to Ace, which is lowest, and can only take the 0. The Trumps reckon from 21, which is highest, to 1, which is lowest. You must follow suit if you can; if not, you may trump. Each trick should be kept separate for counting afterwards. Of course, the principal care of the player should be directed towards saving his own important cards, and taking those of the adversary. The player who takes a trick leads next. When all the hand is played out, the tricks on either side are counted as follows:–

For every trick in which there is a Tarot Trump, 5 points (the 0 counts to its original possessor, while the Pagad, 1, counts to the player who takes it). For every trick with a Queen, 4 points; with a Knight, 3 points; with a Knave, 2 points; for every other trick, 1 point.

At the end of each hand the points made by each player are added up separately, then the lesser is taken from the greater, and only the excess points of the more fortunate player are scored. The same is done in each hand, and the player who, in this way, first reaches 100 points (or over in the final hand) wins the game.

For my reader’s convenience I append a table of the points which can be scored.

Scored in Hand = Points

For any 3 of the Greater Trumps held in hand = 5
For any 4 of the Greater Trumps held in hand = 10
For all 5 of the Greater Trumps held in hand = 15
For any 3 of the Lesser Trumps held in hand = 5
For any 4 of the Lesser Trumps held in hand = 10
For all 5 of the Lesser Trumps held in hand = 15
For any 10 Trumps held in hand = 10
For any 13 Trumps held in hand = 15
For any 2 Tarot-Trumps called unanswered = 5
For any 3 Tarot-Trumps actually held in hand = 15
For every Sequence of 4 Cards = 5
For every Sequence of 7 Cards = 10
For every Sequence of 10 Cards = 15

Scored in Play = Points

For a King, cut = 5
For each Trick containing a Tarot Trump = 5
The each Trick containing a Queen = 4
For each Trick containing a Knight = 3
For each Trick containing a Knave = 2
For every Trick of two plain Cards = 1
 
If three players contend, of course the third player will form an additional factor in the game. Then, when the three compare their various scores in the same hand, only he who has most should score, and then only the amount by which he exceeds the player who comes second. The other players do not score at all.

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