Official Kaiser Rules

Introduction

Kaiser is played by four people; two against two as partners sitting across from each other. The first team to get 52 points wins the game or -52 will lose the game.

The Deck

Kaiser is played with 32 cards. 7 through ace in each suit, but with the 3S replaced by the 7S and 7H replaced with the 5H. The cards in each suit rank from high to low: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 then 5 & 3 are lowest.m.

Idea of the Game

This is a trick taking game, in which each trick is worth one point. In addition, the 5H is worth +5 points and the 3S is worth -3 points to the team which takes them in their tricks. The team which bids higher chooses the trump suit and tries to take at least as many points as they bid.

Deal

Deal and play are clockwise. The first dealer is chosen at random and after each hand the turn to deal passes to the left. The dealer deals out all the cards to the players, one at a time, so that everyone has eight.

Bidding

Each player in turn, beginning with the player at the dealer's left has one opportunity to bid. They may pass or bid; the possible bids are from 7 to 12, either with a trump suit or in "no trumps". The trump suit is not specified in the bid, but a player who wants to play no trumps must say so in the bid; for example, 8No. A bid in no trumps outranks an equal bid in a suit, so the possible bids in ascending order are: 7, 7 no, 8, 8 no, 9, 9 no, etc. The maximum possible bid is 12 no. If a player bids, their bid must be higher that the previous bid, except that the dealer has the special privilege that they only need to equal the previous bid in order to win the bidding.

Play of the cards

The highest bidder names trumps (unless the bid was a no trump) and leads a card to the first trick. Play is clockwise. Each subsequent player must play a card of the same suit as the card led, if able to; if unable to, they may play any other card they wish. If any trumps are played, the player of the highest trump wins the trick; if no trumps are in the trick, it is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of the trick leads to the next trick. When all the cards have been played, the tricks are counted and scores written down.

Bidding Example

Player A passes (isn't sure how many tricks he can make) Player B bids 7 no (believes he can make 7 tricks without a trump) Player C bids 8 (believes he can make 8 with a trump) Player D bids 8 no (8 tricks without a trump) Player D wins the bidding. Player D could also bid 8, equal to C's bid, and would then choose a trump suit. If all four players pass, the dealer is forced to bid.


Scoring

The score is depending on the bid, the number of tricks taken, and who took the 5H and the 3S in their tricks. The first team to reach a cumulative score of 52 or more points wins the game. Each team counts how many points they have taken as follows:

+1 point for each trick won
+5 points for winning a trick containing the 5H
-3 points for winning a trick containing the 3S

The bidding team's score

If the team which chose trumps took at least as many points as they bid, they add to their score the number of points they took. If they took fewer points than their bid they subtract their bid from their score. If the team which won the bidding played with no trumps, and took at least as many points as they bid, the add double the number of points they took to their score. If they do not make their bid, then they subtract double their bid from their score. At the end of the hand the bidding team will count points before the non-bidding team.

The opponents' score

If the opponents of the team which won the bidding have a cumulative score of less than 47, they simply score the points they took, irrespective of whether the bid was won or lost. It is possible for this team to score less than zero (if they took the 3S with fewer than 3 tricks); in this case their cumulative score will go down. If the opponents of the bidding team have a cumulative score of 47 or more, they cannot add any points taken to their score, but they still lose points if they took less than zero in tricks. If a team has a cumulative score of minus 52 or less, they lose the game and the other team wins. This helps prevent the opposing team from preventing the bidding team from bidding out.

Variations:
Some play that if you are dealt no aces, no picture cards and no 3 or 5, you can throw in the hand for a misdeal.
We do not follow this play. Some play with a minimum bid of five or six, rather than seven. This is old town style of playing.
Some play with a bid of Kaiser (12No), by which the bidder undertakes to win all eight tricks alone (partner does not take part in the play).
This scores 40 points if successful and loses 40 otherwise.

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(2005) Kaiser Network

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Played  in Saskatchewan for many decades

K.C. Magic Data
PO Box 21081
Saskatoon, Sask
S7H 5N9 Canada
kevin@kaisergame.com