Objective: Each player holds five cards, aims to contract a bid, and take enough tricks to fulfill that bid. Almost always played for stakes.
Players: From two to seven. No partnerships.
Cards: A standard deck of 52. In each suit, the cards rank: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
Deal: Each player is dealt five cards, in batches of 3-2 or 2-3.
Bidding: Each player in turn, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, has one chance to bid or pass. A bid is a number of tricks from one to five where no suit it mentioned. Each bid must be higher than any previous bid.
Play: The high bidder makes the opening lead, and the suit of this lead becomes trump. The hands are played out in tricks with clockwise rotation. A player must follow the suit led if able. If unable to follow lead suit, any card may be played. A trick is won by the highest trump card in it. If no trump is in the trick, the highest card of the suit led wins. The winner of the trick leads for the next one.
Scoring: After each hand, settlement is made using chips or tokens. If the bidder fails to make the bid, he pays each other player. If the bidder succeeds, he collects from all. Nothing is gained by winning extra tricks over the bid.
The rate of settlement is usually one unit for each trick bid. But if nap (all five tricks) is bid, the bidder collects 10 if he wins but pays only 5 if he loses.
Added Bids: Some features often added are the bids of Wellington and Blucher. Like nap, these are bids to win all five tricks. The difference is the payout for losing the bid. Wellington pays 10 if it loses and Blucher pays 20 for losing. Wellington overcalls nap and Blucher overcalls Wellington.
Another bid which may be added is Misery, which is a declaration to lose every trick. This bid ranks between three and four, and carries the same stakes as three. There are no trumps in this bid.
Misdeal: If the deal is irregular in anyway, the same dealer redeals.
Wrong number of cards: If a player is dealt the wrong number of cards, he may demand correction before declaring; otherwise he must play on with the incorrect hand. If he is the high bidder, he cannot collect if he wins, but must pay if he loses. If the bidder's hand is correct but an opponent's is wrong, the bidder does not pay if he loses but collects if he wins.
Play out of turn: There is no penalty against the bidder for play out of turn, but the error must be corrected before the trick is gathered. If an opponent plays out of turn, he must pay 3 units to the bidder and he collects nothing if the bid is defeated.
Revoke: Failure to follow suit when able is a revoke. If a revoke is claimed before settlement of the deal, the cards are thrown in. A revoking bidder then pays as though he lost. A revoking opponent pays the bidder the full amount he would have won from all the players by making his bid; the other players pay nothing.
Each player may exchange any number of cards for fresh ones from the stock, for a price of one chip for each new card. These payments are put into a kitty, won by the first player to make a bid of Napoleon.
Each player receives seven cards. Bids of Wellington and Blucher are not permitted.
The order of bids with their stakes are: three, stake of 3; four, stake of four; nap, stake of 10; misery, stake of 10; six, stake of 18; seven, stake of 24. Players losing nap, misery, six, or seven pay half stakes.