Oh Hell

(aka: Pshaw or Blackout)

Basic Rules:

Objective: Each player tries to win the exact number of tricks he bid.

Players: Four-handed is the best, but three to seven can play. Each player is for himself.

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.

Game: The game consists of a fixed number of deals. The players receive one card in the first deal, two cards in the second deal, and so on. In three-hand there are fifteen deals, four-hand has thirteen deals, five-hand has ten deals, six-hand has eight deals, and seven-hand has seven deals. The number of deals can be decreased before starting for a shorter game.

Deal: The deal rotates clockwise. The cards are dealt one at a time clockwise, until the number due per hand that deal are dealt. The dealer turns the next card of the pack face-up on the table. This turn-up fixes the trump suit for that deal. The rest of the pack is dead for that deal. In the last deal of the game, the trump card is not turned, the hand being played as no-trump.

Bidding: Player left of the dealer bids first. Each player in turn must make a bid, there is no pass. Each player bids the number of tricks that he plans to win. A player may bid zero if he desires. The largest possible bid is limited by the number of cards in the hands that deal. Thus in the first deal, the bids are zero or one. In the last deal of a four-handed game, the bids can range from zero to thirteen.

Scorekeeper: Appoint one player to keep score. Divide the score sheet into columns so there is one for each player. The scorekeeper records the bids each hand and answer questions about the bids when asked. During bidding, a player on his turn may ask how many total tricks were bid before him. During play, a player on his turn may ask for what bids were made by the various players. At the end of bidding, the scorekeeper should announce whether the deal was even, underbid, or overbid (that is, if the total of all the bids is equal to, less, or more than the number of cards in that hand).

Play: The player to the dealer's left makes the opening lead. The hands are played out in tricks. Players must follow the suit led. If unable to follow sute, any card may be played. A trick is won by the highest trump card played on it; if no trump are played, the highest card of the suit led wins. The winner of a trick leads the next. Each player must keep his tricks segregated so that any other player may easily see how many they have taken.

Scoring: A player does not fulfill his bid by winning more tricks than he bid. To score, he must win the exact number he bid. He busts if he takes more or less.

At the end of the hand, the scorekeeper records the scores in running totals on the score sheet. Players who bust score nothing. Players who make their bid score the amount of their bid plus 10. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins.

Scoring Variant: In a hand of more than 5 cards, a successful bid of small slam (winning all but one trick) earns a 25 point bonus. Similarly, a successful big of grand slam (winning all the tricks) earns a 50 point bonus.

Irregular Bid: If a player bids out of turn, his bid stands. If a player bids in proper turn, he may change his bid as long as it is before the next player bids.

Exposed Card: If a player exposes a card from his hand or leads out of turn or plays out of turn, he must leave the card face up and the table and play it at his first legal opportunity thereafter.

Revoke: Failure to follow suit when able is a revoke. A revoke may be corrected before the next trick is led. Any cards played to the trick after the revoke may be retracted. The card retracted by the revoker becomes and exposed card. If a revoke is not corrected in time, the hand is redealt by the same dealer and 10 points are deducted from the offender's score.

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