Card player

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Forehand, middlehand and rearhand/dealer in a 3-player game
Bidding sequence in Schafkopf:
1: Forehand, leads to 1st trick
2: Middlehand
3: Rearhand, cuts the pack
4: Dealer, deals the cards clockwise

Card players are those participating in a card game. Various names are given to card players based on their role or position.


In games played in English-speaking countries, age refers to the order of priority in which players make the first lead, bid or bet, based on their position at the table.[1] This changes constantly as the dealer rotates either clockwise or anticlockwise around the table. They are traditionally referred to as follows:

  • Eldest hand or elder hand: the player who enjoys greatest priority and e.g. is the first to receive cards in the deal[2][1]
  • Youngest hand or younger hand: the player who has the lowest priority and who e.g. is the last to bid or play at the start of a game (often the dealer).[1]

In games originating in Europe, the players' priority is indicated as follows:

  • Forehand: the player who leads to the first trick.
  • Middlehand: the player between forehand and rearhand in a 3 or 4-person game. In Skat (and similar 3- or 4-hand games), the second player in turn to bid.[3]
  • Rearhand: in a 3-player game, the player with least priority, e.g. the last to bid or play, in practice the dealer.[1] In a 4-player game, the player following middlehand and who is the third to bid or play.[4]


Players may also be referred to by their roles as follows:

  • Cutter: the player whose is entitled to cut the cards; usually the opposite side of the dealer to forehand (or eldest/elder hand).
  • Dealer: the person who distributes or deals the cards to players in a card game.[5][6]
  • Declarer: the highest bidder, who declares and then strives to make good the stated contract.[1]
  • Defender: a player who plays against the declarer, usually with other defenders.
  • Partner: a player who plays co-operatively in a team and who shares the winnings or losses. Partnerships may be fixed for the whole session or vary from deal to deal.[1]
  • Soloist: a player who plays a Solo game,[1] i.e. plays alone, as the declarer, against 2 or more other defenders.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Language of Cards at Retrieved 4 August 2018
  2. '^ Eldest hand at Retrieved 4 August 2018
  3. '^ Middlehand at Retrieved 4 August 2018
  4. ^ Hinterhand at; retrieved 7 July 2017.
  5. ^ Dealer at Retrieved 4 August 2018
  6. ^ Dealer at Retrieved 4 August 2018