Suaro is a card game for two players. It is similar in nature to trick-taking card games such as bridge, euchre, spades, or hearts. Thus, unlike other two-player games, a moderately high degree of skill is required. While not as good as similar four-player games, Suaro is a great game for just two people.
Suaro was created in 1998 by Jason Short and Matt Bourland, who were tired of playing the same old crappy 2-player card games. Almost all of the people who have played Suaro agree that it is the best two-person card game there is.
In Suaro, after the cards are dealt a bidding sequence (similar to bridge) takes place to determine who has the bid for the hand and how many tricks they must take. The player who is willing to bid highest has the contract for that hand, and must try to fulfill the contract by taking as many tricks as the contract requires. When the hand is playedout, the player with the contract attempts to take that many tricks, while the other player attempts to take enough tricks to stop them.
Suaro is played with a deck of twenty-eight cards, comprising the 8 through ace of each suit: 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. Aces are high.
Designate one player as the "red" player and the other as the "black" player. This is used in determining bidding order.
Nine cards are dealt to each player. The remaining ten cards are placed to the side, with the top card of this stack being turned face-up. The nine face-down cards are called the kitty. Players should generally alternate dealing from hand to hand.
Each player looks at their hand, and then bidding begins. The player of the color of the turned-up card (see above) bids first.
The bid consists of any one of
As mentioned above, each number/suit bid must be higher than the previous bid. A bid is higher than another bid if either
The bidding is over when the first pass (not including the very first bid) is made. At that point, the "declarer" is the player who made the highest and most recent number/suit bid, and the "defender" is the other player. If both players passed, the hand is redealt.
For example, the bidding might go:
The hand is played out in a series of nine "tricks". In each trick, the person who won the previous trick ("leader") leads a card from their hand, and the other player ("responder") plays a card from their hand on the trick. The responder must "follow suit" whenever possible: they must play a card of the same suit that was led. If they do not have a card of that suit, they may play any card. The defender leads on the first trick.
The way tricks are won depends on what the trump is.
In simple english, this breaks down to
Players should keep track of who wins each trick. After all nine tricks have been played out, the hand is over.
The bid is "made" if the declarer won at least as many tricks as the bid indicated. Each trick after that is an "overtrick". For example, if the declarer bids 5 hearts and takes 7 tricks, the bid was made and there were 2 overtricks. If the bid is not made, then the declarer is "set".
The base score value is determined as follows:
If the bid was doubled, then the base number of points earned (as determined above) is doubled. On a redouble, the base number of points earned is multiplied by four. For example, if the declarer bids 7 clubs/doubled and takes 9 tricks, then the declarer gets 10 points. If the declarer bids 9 diamonds/redoubled and takes 7 tricks, then they are "set" and the defender gets 36 points.
Games are played to a certain number of points, determined beforehand. A short game may be to 36 points, while a long game may be to 100 points. Once one player has that many points, the game is over and that player has won. Since only one player may earn points on each hand, and it is impossible to lose points, keeping track of the score is simple.
Shotgun Suaro is a slightly more complicated variation of Suaro.
The sole difference is that, in shotgun suaro, you may bid on the kitty. Recall that, out of 28 total cards, 9 were dealt to each player, one was left face up, and the remaining 9 (the equivalent of one hand) comprised the kitty.
A bid on the kitty is just that: instead of bidding on your own hand (as in, "five hearts"), you may bid on the kitty (as in, "kitty five hearts"). Once you have won such a bid, you pick up the kitty and place your original hand, face up, in its place.
A kitty bid is equivalent to a normal bid in terms of height. That is, a kitty bid is no higher than a similar normal bid, nor is the normal bid higher than the kitty bid. Thus, a bid of "kitty five spades" may not be overbid with "five spades", nor may a bid of "five spades" be overbid with "kitty five spades". A bid of five notrump (or kitty five notrump) would be higher than both, and a bid of five hearts (or kitty five hearts) would be lower.
Note that the hand is placed down face-up in a kitty bid. Otherwise, the player making the kitty bid would have an advantage, since they know what is in that hand. However, this means that each player now knows what the other has, and the playing of the hand is changed completely.
Those who favor shotgun suaro over suaro like it because it is generally more fast-paced, with more bidding and higher bids. It also allows for a significant amount of bluffing...which will not be explained here.
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