Illustrated Tarock

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Illustrated Tarock
The "queen" of 3-player Tarock games
Austrian-style 54-card Tarock hand.
DeckIndustrie und Glück
Card rank (highest first)Tarocks: Sküs, XXI-I
K Q C V 10 9 8 7
K Q C V 1 2 3 4[1]
Related games
Tapp Tarock, Strawman Tarock, Dreiertarock, Point Tarock, Kosakeln

Illustrated Tarock (German: Illustriertes Tarock) or Illustrated Dreiertarock[2] is an Austrian card game that has been described as the "queen" of all three-handed Tarock games played with the 54-card pack.[3] It was thought by Mayr and Sedlaczek to be extinct but, in 2009 when the two Tarock authors were guests on an ORF radio programme, players from Vienna called in who confirmed they still played the game.[4] It is sometimes called Point Tarock[5][6] which, however, is a different game, albeit a close cousin. Although it has "a reputation for being a little more convoluted than the others", Furr maintains that this is not so.[7] However, he recommends that players become familiar with Tapp Tarock before attempting this game.[7]


There is no consensus over the name of this game, which is variously called Illustrated Tarock (Illustriertes Tarock)[8][9] or Point Tarock[6][5] or both.[10] However, both these names are also used for another, simpler, form of game that involves point-bidding, some calling that game Point Tarock[11] and others, Illustrated Tarock.[12] Since illustriertes implies "embellished", there is a logic in using Point Tarock for the variant that involves point-bidding and Illustrated Tarock for the more complex variant here that is embellished (Dummett suggests "embroidered")[13] with additional announcements and bonuses making it "the queen of all Tarock games played with the 54-card pack, at least of three-handed ones."[3]


As in other Tarock games there are no official rules. Instead the rules vary from game to game and publication to publication. The rules given here follow those of Fritz Beck.[14] These instructions also offer occasional variations. In places, other variants from a set of rules used in Graz are mentioned; they are indicated in the text with (G).[15]


Like other Tarock games in Austria and other lands of the former Habsburg Empire, Illustrated Tarock uses a 54-card deck of the type described in the article on Königrufen. This deck contains 22 tarocks as trumps (I – XXI + Sküs) and 32 suit cards in the four French suits of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs. The game uses the same values as other Austrian tarock games like Königrufen.

5 Points – Kings, I, XXI, Sküs; 4 Points – Queens; 3 Points – Cavaliers; 2 Points – Valets; 1 Point – remaining tarocks and pip cards

Scoring of card points is carried out in groups of 3 cards. From the points in each group, 2 are deducted e.g. King + Cavalier + X = 9 points, minus 2 points gives 7 points. If fewer than 3 cards remain, 2/3 points are deducted from the total. 1/3 or 2/3 points are rounded up or down at the end to the nearest whole number.

Shuffling and dealing[edit]

As in most Tarock games, play proceeds anti-clockwise.

A player is nominated as the dealer by lots; in one variant (G), a recorder (Schreiber) is also chosen by lots. Rearhand deals; middlehand sitting to his left cuts or knocks.

Six cards are laid face down to for a talon. The rest of the cards, even if they have been 'knocked', are dealt in four packets of four cards. In one variant (G), if the cards have been knocked, after the talon three packets of 16 cards are dealt. Forehand and middlehand decide which packet to take up, the third is left for rearhand.


During the auction (Lizitation), players look to see if there is a contract that they can bid for.

The value of the contract depends on the number of talon cards to be used. Dreiblatt is a contract using 3 of the talon cards, Zweiblatt uses two, Einblatt uses one and Solo none.

Forehand names a contract or says "pass" (Weiter), whereupon the right to bid passes to middlehand, etc.

A declared game may be confirmed by the next player as follows:

  • "Good" (Gut heißen)
  • "Unteren", i. e. they want to play this contract themselves (das Spiel lösen)
  • Naming a higher value contract

Next, forehand decides, if necessary, whether to accept a declared "Unteren" or not ("hold the contract" – das Spiel halten). The contract 'held' could then be outbid by rearhand declaring a higher value contract.

In this case (three "passes") there are three options for reaching an agreement:

  1. The dealer re-deals the cards.
  2. Trischaken. Each player plays against the others and the one who scores the most points within the tricks, loses the game. In Trischaken, players must take the trick if they are able to (Stichzwang). Tarock I must be played as the last tarock in a player's hand. The talon is not used and no bonuses are awarded.
  3. (G) After three "passes" the hand cards are placed back on the table together. Rearhand picks up the talon without looking at it and may either put it back or keep up to six cards from it for the next game. At the start of the next game, the next dealer either deals rearhand no cards or correspondingly fewer cards. If cards are taken from the talon, rearhand is obliged to declare a contract no lower than Dreiblatt in the next game.


After the auction and declaration of any bonuses have been made, the talon is uncovered (except in Trishaken and Solo) without changing the order of the cards. In a variant (G), however, bonuses are not declared before the talon is uncovered. Depending on the outcome of the auction, the player takes three, two or one card into his hand, whereby only adjacent cards may be selected. After evaluating the hand, a corresponding number of cards are dealt face down. These are counted at the end together with the cards in the player's tricks.

The soloist then declares "Ich liege" and makes any bonus declarations. The defenders, in clockwise order, say "good" (Gut) or "Kontra". When the Kontra process has finished, forehand leads to the first trick. Subsequently, the player who wins a trick leads to the next trick. Higher suit cards beat lower ones of the same suit; tarocks beat suit cards and lower tarocks. Players must follow suit (Farbzwang) but do not have to win the trick (no Stichzwang). If the lead suit cannot be followed, a tarock card must be played.

At the end of the game the card points gained are counted up. To win the contract at least 36 points (rounded up or down as need be) are required.


This describes how points are awarded for games won and the multiplication factors depending on the number of cards drawn from the talon. See Bonuses for the settlement of bonus declarations and Valat.

Game points and excess points[edit]

The following game points apply:

  • Dreier: 3 points
  • Unteren: 4 points
  • Held game: 5 points

To these game points are added "excess points", i.e. the number of points above 35, the number needed to win. For example, a declared contract won with 40 points counts 3 + 5 = 8 points.

Trischaken scores as follows:

  • Win: 5 points
  • Lost: 10 point deduction
  • Win with no tricks: 5 additional points

Multiplication factors[edit]

The scoring of contracts and bonuses depends in the number of cards taken from the talon, as follows:

  • Dreiblatt: scores the basic game value
  • Zweiblatt: scores double
  • Einblatt: scores triple
  • Solo: scores quadruple

So a contract of Zweiblatt won with 39 card points scores (3 + 4) × 2 = 16 game points.

In the literature slightly different scoring schemes may be found.[16]



A number of bonuses (declarations) may be awarded in Illustrated Tarock. These are bonuses for certain card combinations, bonuses for points earned, bonuses for last trick declarations and bonuses for the Valat. There are several declaration options:

  • Still (declared only when the game is finished and being scored): basic game value (for last trick declarations)
  • After talon exchange, before the game starts: counts double for last trick declarations, basic value for other bonuses
  • Before talon exchange: scores quadruple for last trick declarations, scores double for other premiums

Bonuses and their scoring[edit]

The respective basic values for Still contracts are given.

Card combinations[edit]

Bonuses for card combinations do not depend on the outcome of the game, they are always awarded. Beck assigns the basic value when the declaration has been made after talon cards have been exchanged, at G only the basic value is assigned for a declaration after the game has ended .

  • Royal Trull (all four Kings in the hand): 5 points
  • Tarock Trull (I, XXI, Sküs in the hand): 4 points
  • Heads (two trull cards in the hand): 2 points

These bonuses can be won both by the soloist and by a defender. Here, too, Beck assigns the basic value when the declaration has been made after talon cards have been exchanged, at G only the basic value is awarded for a declaration after the end of the game.

  • Without Kings (no king in the hand): 5 points
  • Without Trull (no trull cards in the hand): 4 points

These bonuses can only be earned by the soloist.

Card point bonuses[edit]
  • "With Forty" ("Absolute") i.e. 40 card points scored: 5 points
  • "With Fifty" ("Panzer"): i.e. 50 card points scored: 10 points

For these bonuses, too, Beck doubles the basic value doubled for declarations made after the talon exchange. G only awards a bonus for "With 50", 10 points, awarded at the end of the game.

Ultimo bonuses[edit]
  • Pagat Ultimo, winning the last trick with Tarock I: 5 points (Still, declared after talon pick-up 10 pts., before talon pick-up, 20 pts.)
  • Owl Pre-Ultimo, winning the penultimate trick with Tarock II: 5 points (as for Pagat Ultimo)

Owl Pre-Ultimo (Uhu Pre-Ultimo) is a variation that needs to be pre-agreed.

Mondfang bonus[edit]

Beck is silent about any Mondfang ("Moon capture") bonus. The Graz rules state:

If Tarock XXI is take by the Sküs, the winner of the Mond gets an extra 5 points and the player who lost the Mond has 5 points deducted.


Valat is when a player wins all the tricks in a game.

In this game of three, there is very rarely a distribution of cards that enables Valat to be achieved. The possibility of declaring Valat is even rarer.

Beck scoring[edit]

Valat is scored, according to Beck,[17] as follows: Variant A:

  • Undeclared Valat (Still): 12 points
  • Valat declared after talon pick-up: 24 points
  • Valat declared before talon pick-up: 48 points

Values apply to Dreiblatt; in addition to other in-game points and bonuses.

Variant B: The numbers 12/24/48 above are considered multiplying factors for the points scored in the game and for bonuses. Beck writes: "However, this method of calculation is controversial [...] and we do not necessarily recommend it either." [18]

Graz scoring[edit]

In this variant, multiplication factors are used.

  • Undeclared Valat (Still): 6 x basic value
  • Valat (declared after talon pick-up): 12 x basic value

Multiplication basis: points for declared/'taken'/'held' contract; surplus points; bonuses for card combinations; bonuses for last trick declarations. The multiplication factors for Zweiblatt etc. are applied.

If Valat is not achieved, the game is won by the defenders with the points of the cards that were in play, i.e. 70 minus the remaining cards in the talon.


Both contract and bonus declarations may be responded to with Kontra ("double!") and the first declarer may reply with Rekontra.

Beck variant[edit]

Kontras may be declared before or after the talon pick-up, and always double the game points and bonuses.[19] Beck is silent as to whether Kontra is only valid for the defender who says it or whether it is also valid for his partner.

Graz variant[edit]

Kontras always take place after the player has said "Ich liege!". Game and bonus declarations are treated separately (if necessary only one of them). Kontra also applies to a defending partner.


Revoking is a violation of the rules. If the soloist 'revokes', his game and bonus declarations are considered lost, the game is scored with ten surplus points, and they are awarded to the defenders. In the case of revoking by a defender, the game awarded to the soloist, he receives all points for game (including ten excess points) and bonuses credited.



Illustrated Tarock is played in series. A series ends as soon as at least one player reaches 100 game points. Players who earn 100 points will receive 10 extra points. This does not happen if it was the result of a revoking.

For each player, the total points achieved after each game are recorded. It is quite possible that player A gets points for the game won, player B and C get points for a Pagat Ultimo that player A did not get through.

The notation is done line by line. Either each player can write down their own series or a player (the Schreiber) is drawn by lot and records the results of all players.


  1. ^ Dummett, The Game of Tarot, pp. 440r
  2. ^ Mayr and Sedlaczek 2016, pp. 368–370.
  3. ^ a b Dummett 1980, p. 480.
  4. ^ Illustriertes Tarock 1: Ein interessantes und herausforderndes Spiel zu Dritt by Wolfgang Mayr & Robert Sedlaczek in Wiener Zeitung, 7 February 2009.
  5. ^ a b Dummett 1980, pp. 131–146.
  6. ^ a b Bamberger 1983, pp. 43–48.
  7. ^ a b Furr 2009, p. 133-138.
  8. ^ Beck 1972, pp. 69–93.
  9. ^ Mayr & Sedlaczek 2016, pp. 368–370.
  10. ^ Kastner & Folkvord 2005, pp. 234–237.
  11. ^ Beck 1972, p. 135.
  12. ^ Alscher 2003, p. 170.
  13. ^ Dummett 1980, p. 479.
  14. ^ Beck.
  15. ^ Spielweise Grazer Tarockrunden
  16. ^ Mayr and Sedlaczek (2001), p. 114.
  17. ^ Beck (1972), pp. 83–84.
  18. ^ Beck (1972), p. 83.
  19. ^ Beck 1972, pp. 86–88.


  • Alscher, Hans-Joachim (ed.). "Tarock" mein einziges Vergnügen. Vienna (2003). ISBN 3-85498-283-6.
  • Bamberger, Johannes. Tarock: Die schönsten Varianten, 22nd edition. Vienna (2011). ISBN 978-3-99006-000-1.
  • Beck, Fritz. Tarock komplett. Alle Spiele. Perlen-Reihe Vol. 640, Vienna: Perlen-Reihe (1972).
  • Dummett, Michael. Twelve Tarot Games. London: Duckworth (1980). ISBN 0-7156-1488-6.
  • Dummett, Michael. The Game of Tarot London: Duckworth (1980). ISBN 0-7156-1014-7.
  • Kastner, Hugo and Gerald Kador Folkvord (2005). Die große Humboldt-Enzyklopädie der Kartenspiele, Humboldt, Baden-Baden. ISBN 978-3-89994-058-9
  • Mayr, Wolfgang and Robert Sedlaczek. Das große Tarock Buch. Perlen Reihe Vol. 642, Vienna – Frankfurt/M. o. J. (2001). ISBN 3-85223-462-X.
  • Mayr, Wolfgang and Robert Sedlaczek. Die Strategie des Tarock Spiels, 5th expanded edition. Vienna: atelier (2016). ISBN 978-3-902498-22-9.