Klaberjass...also known as Clobby, Clubby, Kalabriasz, Clobber, Clob, Klobiosh, Klabiash, and other names. It is a fast-moving, remarkably subtle card game for two players. There is a fine strategic balance of technical skill, luck, reading the opponent, taking inferences, and bluffing. This game is very addictive.
The deck is 32 cards: A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7 in each suit.
RankRank of cards for counting sequences in a suit (meld before the play): A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7
Rank of cards for playing
Dealing and BiddingDeal six cards to each player, three at a time. Turn the next one up. Non-dealer bids first: s/he can accept that suit as trump (become the maker), pass, or "schmeiss." On this first round of bidding, schmeiss means "I am willing to defend; either you take this as trump and become the maker, or this hand gets thrown in, your choice." If non-dealer passes, then dealer has the same three options: take it, pass, or schmeiss.
If both players pass, there is a second round of bidding: non-dealer may call one of the three other suits, or pass, or schmeiss. On this round, schmeiss means "either you make me call something as trump, or this hand gets thrown in, your choice." If non-dealer passes again, dealer may call something or pass (throw it in) or schmeiss.
When a suit is eventually chosen by one player or the other, dealer gives each player three more cards one at a time, then turns up the bottom card of the deck (just for reference so the players can see another card that is out of play).
If the original turned-up card was used to choose trump, and one player has the 7 of that suit, s/he may optionally exchange it for the original turned-up card. This might perhaps complete a meld or increase the playing strength of the hand.
MeldingNow it is time to score for announced sequences (meld), if any. It is worth 20 to hold three cards in sequence in the same suit, and 50 to hold four or more. (Note above that the order of the cards for melding is not the same as the order for playing.) The non-dealer announces, "20 meld," "50 meld," or "no meld." If dealer holds a meld that has an equal or better score, s/he announces that similarly.
If both players have melds of equal length, then only the player whose sequence starts with a higher card gets to count anything. If there is still a tie, and one of the players' sequence is in trump, that one scores. If the two sequences are identical and neither is in trump, no one scores for melds.
The player who holds the most valuable sequence also gets to count any other sequences s/he holds. It is possible for a player to hold two or three 20 melds but score nothing: the other player might have a higher 20 meld or a 50 meld.
All scored sequences must be shown to the other player after the first trick has been played.
PlayNon-dealer leads. High card of the suit led wins; if the second player cannot follow suit, s/he must trump if possible. If trump is led, the second player must take it if possible. (This is as it is also in pinochle, skat, and some other similar games.) After the first trick, whoever is counting for meld shows it.
The winner of a trick leads to the next. The rest of the cards are played.
If a player holds both the K-Q of trump and announces "bella" at the moment of playing the second one, this is worth 20. (Sometimes it is wise not to announce bella: if you are the maker and anticipate being defeated by more than 20, keep the total score low!)
Capturing the last trick is worth 10.
ScoringScoring for captured cards: J of trump ("jass") is worth 20; 9 of trump ("menel") is worth 14; aces 11; tens 10; kings 4; queens 3; other jacks 2. Add all the points for these cards, and all points earned from melds, bella, and the last trick.
If the maker outscores the defender, each player gets the score earned. But if the maker gets fewer points than the defender, the defender gets both players' points and the maker gets zero. If it is a tie, the defender gets his/her own points while the maker gets zero.
The game is to 500.
The winner of a hand deals the next hand. If the hand has been thrown in, the deal alternates.
Brad Lehman, May 1999
hits since May 23, 1999