Golf (card game)
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Golf (also known as Polish Polka, Polish Poker, Turtle, Hara Kiri, Poison, or Crazy Nines) is a card game where players try to earn the lowest number of points (as in golf, the sport) over the course of nine deals (or "holes" to further use golfing terminology). It is a game for four or more players using a double-deck of 108 cards, and has little in common with its solitaire cousin.
Four or more players use two standard 52-card decks plus 2 or 4 Jokers . Each player is dealt 6 cards face down from the deck, the remainder is placed face down and the top card is turned up to start the discard pile beside it. Players arrange their 6 cards in 2 rows of 3 in front of them and turn 2 of these cards face up. This arrangement is maintained throughout the game and players always have 6 cards in front of them.
The object is for players to reduce the value of the cards in front of them by either swapping them for lesser value cards or by pairing them up with cards of equal rank.
Beginning at dealer's left, players take turns drawing single cards from either the stock or discard piles. The drawn card may either be swapped for one of that player's 6 cards, or discarded. If the card is swapped for one of the face down cards, the card swapped in remains face up. The round ends when all of a player's cards are face-up. Remaining players then have one turn to draw a card to improve their hands and then scores are totaled and recorded on a running score sheet.
During play it is not legal for a player to pick up a card from the discard pile and return it to the discard pile without playing it, to allow another player to retrieve the card. A card picked up from the discard pile must be swapped with one of the current players cards.
Game is nine or eighteen "holes" (deals), and the player with the lowest total score is designated winner.
Pairs are formed by cards of equal rank in the same column and override the normal point values of those cards. Pairs score as follows:
- A pair of Jokers scores -4
- Any other pair scores zero
The variants in multiplayer golf are endless. Some common ones include:
For two to four players. Rules are the same as in double-pack golf. Sometimes jokers are not used.
Can be played single or double pack. Each player receives 4 cards face down in a 2x2 grid and looks at 2 before play begins. Thereafter, players do not look at their face down cards. Play proceeds as in 6-card golf, but a player may knock (instead of drawing) at any time – even before all of the players cards have been swapped for face-up cards – and then all other players have one chance to improve their hands before scores are tallied. Pairs are counted vertically, with diagonal pairs being an optional rule. Each card from 2 to 10 represents their own points (i.e. any 3 card is worth three points and any 10 card is worth ten points and so on). Aces are 1 point. Jacks are eleven. Queens are twelve and Kings thirteen points. The goal is to get the lowest amount of points.
Two packs, with each player laying out a 3x3 grid and facing 3 cards at the outset. Pairs do not count, but 3-of-a-kind in a row, column or diagonal scores zero, and a 2x2 block of 4 equal cards scores -25.
There are many variants for point values of cards, including:
- Queens score 12, 13 or 20 points each.
- Queen of spades scores 40 points, other Queens 10 each, and Eights are zero points.
- One-eyed jacks are wild and automatically form a pair with an adjacent card (or complete a triplet in 9-card golf).
- Jacks score zero, Queens 12, Kings 13.
- Jacks are worth 20 points each and when a Jack is discarded, the following player loses a turn.
- Twos are minus 2 instead of plus 2 (usually played in games without Jokers)
- Jokers are minus 1, minus 2, minus 3 or minus 5 points each.
- Jokers are +15 individually, or minus 5 as a pair
- Four of a kind wins all nine game automatically (usually played in 4-card golf).
- A player who has a 9 card straight scores -12. This hand is considered a "hole in 1". If player does not obtain correct number of cards for a straight, then all points are added as usual.
Knocker's penalties and bonuses
Some play that a player who knocks (turns over all cards first) but doesn't end with the lowest score is penalized:
- Knocker adds a penalty of 10 points, or...
- Knocker's score for the hand is doubled with 5 points added, or...
- The knocker takes a score equal to the highest scoring player for that hand, or...
- Knocker adds twice the number of people playing.
If the knocker's score is lowest, some play with a bonus:
- Knocker scores zero instead of a positive score, or...
- Knocker's score is reduced by the number of people playing.
Other penalty notions
Given that the game's relative simplicity is conducive to a party setting, a "strip golf" variant has been popularized as well.The majority of the game is confusing, but is easily learned.
- "Rules of Card Games: Golf". Pagat.com. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- McLeod, John, ed., Golf, Card Games Website
- Parlett, David (2004), The A–Z of card games (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 169f, ISBN 978-0-19-860870-7.