Whist has been played by all ages, both in the family home and in public halls, clubs and institutions (known as whist drives) for a very long time. There are many variations of Whist that have developed over time and at Doncaster Whist Club we have done much to both revive the game and make it more lively and interesting. At a drive you can have as many players as the venue will cater for.
The basic game of whist is played by four players at each table. Players seated opposite one another (partners) compete against the other two players at the table for that particular game. For the purpose of clarity as to who shuffles and deals the cards, players elect to either play “lady” or “gent” before the start of the drive (one day someone will come up with a more appropriate name, as all too often you will get a lady playing “gent” and vice versa). The two “gents” cut from the pack of cards to decide whom shuffles and deals (after shuffling but before dealing, the opposing gent cuts the pack for the dealer). Normally Ace is high and the gent cutting the lowest card shuffles and deals the cards to the player on his left. This could be a lady or gent player and it is they who subsequently lead the first card of that game. A trick is scored after each of the four players has played one of their cards into the centre of the table.
Each player must play a card from the same suit of the first card to be led for each individual trick, provided they have one. The highest card of the suit that has been led wins that particular trick unless a player is void of that suit and plays a card from the trump suit. A card from the trump suit beats all cards in a non-trump suit. The trump suit is pre-determined and indicated on the scorecard for that particular game. If a player is void of the suit led, they have a choice of discarding a card from another suit or playing one from the trump suit. Depending on the type of whist played, there may even not be a trump suit (known as “no trumps”).
The player winning the previous trick plays the next card until all 13 cards by each player have been played out in sets of four (13 tricks to each game). Winning tricks are normally picked up by the gent and placed face downwards in front of them but kept separately for ease of counting at the end of each game. Each player records their score (number of combined tricks won by them and their partner) at the end of each game. The pair winning the majority of tricks (seven or more) stay seated opposite one another and play together for the next game, whilst the losing pair split up and move in opposite directions to the next table. The losing lady normally moves to the next highest numbered table and the losing gent moves to the next lower number table. (This can vary depending on the type of whist played, for example in Pairs Sequence, Military, Progressive, and Rainbow Whist- the movement sequence differs slightly.– see “Types of Whist”).
Usually a whist drive consists of 24 games (also known as hands).
Semi –Partner When playing “semi-partner” whist, you stay and play with the same partner so long as you win your game. When you lose your game both you and your partner separate and move in opposite directions to the next table. Play is as described in “Basic Whist”.
Full Sequence Pairs In “full sequence pairs” whist, you play with the same partner for the duration of the drive. Your score card indicates which numbered table you need to be at for each individual game and in turn ensures you play against all other pairs in sequence. Play is as described in “Basic Whist”.
Rainbow Whist Unlike basic whist, each player elects to play a “colour” as opposed to a lady or gent. The colours are usually yellow, blue, red and green. To start off with, yellow and blue play together opposite red and green. The four players play four games at the same table and at the start of the four games each player in turn will shuffle and deal the cards.
After a set of four games has been played, each player moves as indicated on their score card. This will either be up one table, up two tables, down one table or down two tables.
Military Whist Probably one of the most interesting types of whist to be played today and certainly the most popular in our Club by far. The game is played in teams of four. Each team nominates a "captain" and the other three team members are known as "scouts". Each team is based at a table where the captain remains throughout the drive. Each of the scouts take it in turn to partner the captain to play against two players from a visiting opposing team, whilst at the same time the other two scouts play at one of the other teams table. At each table the captain shuffles the cards, one of the opponents cuts the cards and they are then dealt starting with the player on the left of the captain who also has the first lead of the game. So in essence, visiting opponents have the lead at your table whilst the two scouts playing away from their home table have the lead against the team they are playing away against. (It is well recognised that in a game of whist, the lead can be an advantage, so this way of playing is fair to everyone).
The card tables are arranged around the border of the room and two scouts from each of the teams progress clockwise around the room playing at each of the other team's table in turn. At the start of the drive each captain is given a set number of trophies which he only gives away to winning opponents. After each game the returning scout to each team, after having played away, returns and brings with them any trophies they may have just won.
The major difference in Military Whist is that the objective is to win each game by taking seven or more tricks. Each game is played for a different point-value trophy such as "flags", "trenches", "guns", "tanks", "planes", "royal standards" etc. Bonuses in the way of "spitfires" are awarded by the M.C. when ten or more tricks are scored. Usually one for ten and eleven tricks, two for twelve tricks and three for thirteen. At the end of the drive, each team returns to their "home" table and the total point score of all trophies won are calculated.
All drives are normally held at the Earl of Doncaster Hotel, Bennetthorpe, Doncaster where the Club has been based since 1978.
Drives are held on a Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week throughout the year.
Tuesday – Semi –Partner
Friday – Full Pairs Sequence
Saturday – Rainbow
All drives commence 7 p.m. prompt.
The Club attracts its’ membership from a very wide and diverse cross section of the community, of all ages, from a wide geographical catchment area.
Existing card players and beginners are always made to feel welcome. The Club offers free basic tuition and regularly runs improver/refresher sessions.
Anyone wishing to join the Club should in the first instance contact either the secretary (see “Contact”) or make enquiries through an existing member if known.
Competitions & Dinners
In addition to the four weekly drives, we have hold four annual Club competitions which are run in tandem with the different types of whist played. These are spread throughout the year, the first of which is the Club Challenge Shield Competition. This is played for during the months of February and March. The Challenge Shield Presentation lunch is normally held on the first Sunday in April. Semi- Partner Whist is played throughout this competition.
The next is the Military Competition which is played for during May/June. The Military Presentation usually takes place at our annual day excursion dinner, which is normally the first or second Sunday in July. This competition is based on individual Military teams playing Military Whist.
Throughout August and early September, we play for the Ladies Rosebowl and Gents Cup. Once again, Semi-Partner whist is played during the competition. The Rosebowl & Cup Presentation normally takes place at one of the Club’s “special” evenings in October.
Finally, we have the pair’s Plate competition which is played for each Friday night over a six week period from late October to the end of November. This competition is for regular partners and the Pair’s Shield presentation takes place at the annual Christmas Drive & Dinner held in early December.
From time to time we hold Solo Drives. The game of “solo” is based on the basic game of whist but individual players play only for themselves and compete against the other three players at the table. Hence the name “solo”.
Annual Day Excursion
This is a very popular, action packed fun day outing to different places of interest. The day is rounded off with a superb meal in first class restaurant and normally takes place early July.