Our Version of the Rules for 500

Players, Cards:

Played with four players as partnership.

From a standard deck of cards, remove the 2's, & 3's and leave the one Joker in for a total of 45 cards.

The Joker is always the highest trump. The jack of the same suit as the trump suit is the Right Bower and is the second-highest trump.  If the trump is a red suit, the jack from the other red suit is the Left Bower and is the third-highest trump. Thus, if hearts were trump, the rank of the trump suit would be: Joker, Jack of hearts, Jack of Diamonds, Ace, King, Queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4 of hearts.  

If clubs were trump, the ranking would be: Joker, Jack of clubs, Jack of spades, Ace, King, Queen and 10 on down to the 4 of clubs.

In none trump suits, the rank is: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4. If the Jack is the same color as the trump suit, it will always be the Left Bower and thus, is not ranked after the Queen in this instance. In a no trump bid playing hand, the rank is, Joker, Ace, King, Queen, Jack  on down to the 4.                                                                     

Deal:                                                                                                                                        

After choosing who deals first, (usually first Jack deals), each player is dealt ten cards in batches of 3-3, and 3 to the "missy", 2-2 and 2 to the "missy". The "missy" cards are dealt  face down to the middle of the table.

Objective:

Each partnership attempts to win the bid and then to take enough tricks to avoid being "set". If they do not take the number of tricks as declared by their bid, they then must subtract the score value amount relating to the bid, from their total score or "go in the hole" if there is no score at that point. The bid values are noted in the table following. The main objective of course, is to win the championship by accumulating points each hand and finally bidding out to a score of at least 500.

Bidding:                                                                                                   500                          

The players pick up and sort their hands and the bidding begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Each player has a chance to bid, in turn, either passing or making a bid higher than any preceding bid. They must name a suit and a number of tricks, such as "seven spades", indicating they will attempt to take seven tricks, or "eight no-trump", indicating eight tricks. The bidding may be repetitious and continues in a clock-wise direction until three players "pass", leaving the bid to the last highest bidder. Once a player passes, they may not bid again for that hand. If all the players pass, the round is nullified and the deal passes to the next player on the left.

Bids are higher than a preceding bid if they have a higher scoring value according to the following table:

Value of Bids:
                       NUMBER OF TRICKS
     SUIT        6     7     8     9     10   Miseres

     No-trump   120   220   320   420   520
     Hearts     100   200   300   400   500
     Diamonds    80   180   280   380   480
     Clubs       60   160   260   360   460 
     Spades      40   140   240   340   440
     Misere					250
     Spread Misere				350

Play:                                                                                                                                     

The highest bidder picks up the five cards from the "missy" and discards five undesirable cards face down, out of play. He then starts the play by leading out with a card.

The hands are played out in tricks. A player must follow the suit led, (failure to do so if they have the suit is called a reneg). If they don't have a card in that suit; they may choose to sluff off an undesirable card or perhaps trump in, (if trump had not been led). The highest trump in a trick wins it, or the highest card of the suit led when no trump are present. The winner of a trick leads to the next trick.

With a no-trump bid, the joker is the only trump card. It wins any trick that it is played on and may be played whenever a player wishes to take command of the lead. It is not required that the player be void in the suit led.

If the joker is led, the player must specifie it's suit and the other players must follow that suit, if they can.

The tricks for each team are kept in neat piles by one of the partners and arranged so they can be easily counted.

Misere and Open misere methods of play are described below. Note: In both miseres, the joker cannot be declared as belonging to a suit and will always take a trick and is therefore, a detriment and should be dicarded if the bidder finds it in his hand.

Misere:

This is an offer to lose every trick in a no-trump hand. This bid has a value of 250 points, putting it between "eight clubs" and "eight spades" on the bidding table. The bidder plays the hand alone, against the opposing team and leads out the first card to a trick and must continue to play out the hand in turn. The partner's hand is tossed in out of play. If a misere bidding team fails, it is set back 250 points on the score sheet.

Spread Misere:

This is again an offer to lose all the tricks in a no-trump hand. This bid has a value of 350 points which puts it between "nine clubs" and "nine spades" on the bidding table. The bidder must play the hand alone, against the opposing team but, with the hand laid face up on the table from which a card must be led and the rest of the hand played out in turn. The partner's hand is tossed in out of play. If an open misere bidding team fails, it is set back the 350 points on the score sheet.

Scoring: (Regular)

If the bidder team wins at least as many tricks as were bid, it may score the value of the bid according to the bid table. If they win all ten tricks, they still only score the bid value.  If the bidder team is "set", (fails to make the bid), the value of the bid is deducted from its total score. Thus a team could possibly have a minus score. Regardless of whether the bid is made or not, the opposing team scores 10 points for each trick they take.(this not applicable in misere).

Scoring: (Misere)

There is a big difference in the misere scoring in that if the bidders takes even one trick, they are "set" and the value of the bid is deducted from their score.

Game:                                                                                                           500

The game is played to 500 or minus1000. The game cannot be won by scoring only the "diverse" tricks won against the bidder. The champions must have reached the 500 score by winning a bid. Or, the game can be won if the opposing team reaches minus 1000 points.

The partnerships will always score the "diverse" tricks even if they go "over" the 500 mark, as this will then serve as a cushion for a possible future failed bid. If they win a bid while sitting on the "over" 500 score, they would automatically win the game.

Strategies:

A player may convey extra information to their partner by a slight variance in bidding. They may say, for example, "Seven No" rather than "Seven No Trump", to indicate they have either the joker or split bowers. Split bowers are having a jack of each color, thus a guarantee of a high trump either way. To bid no-trump without the joker is speculative and you should have stoppers in all four suits.

Figure the tricks that can be won by force: e.g., a non-trump ace or a king-queen is one trick, a king without the ace is only a possible trick. A probable trick is the fifth card in line of the trump suit.

Don't depend on it too heavily, but you should expect some help from the "missy". After the bidder picks up the "missy", they usually get rid of the short suits and save the long suits, with the hope that their partner may have some of the short suits to lead so that they may trump in. Similarly, in no-trump bid you should save all long suits intact and discard what you can of the short suits.

In a normal suit bid, the bidder should lead out trumps in an attempt to pull adverse trumps from the opposition. In no-trump, you should usually lead the long suit and continue at every opportunity. With no real long suit you should attempt to force out the adverse aces and kings that stand in the way of your lower card tricks.

As the opponent, you should try to open new suits, usually trying to develop your own strongest suit and also hope, with your partner, to catch the bidder in a cross-trump situation.

Misdeal, or New Deal:

The same dealer must redeal if a card is exposed or hands have the wrong number of cards.

The deal passes to the next player on the left if all the players pass and the round is nullified.  

Exposed card:

There is no penalty for exposing a card to an opponent. However, if player exposes a card to his partner, the card must be left face up on the table and be played at the first legal chance. (Dropping a card face up on the table or just naming a card in one's hand, is technically an exposed card.)

Reneg:

Failure to follow suit when able to do so is a reneg. A renege may be corrected at any time before the next lead, otherwise it becomes an established reneg. When a reneg is corrected in time, the offending card is treated as exposed. If it is an established reneg by the bidding team, their bid is defeated. If the offender was not the bidding team, then the bid is scored as made with the opponents not scoring.