Glossary of card game terms

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Hand of cards during a game

The following is a glossary of terms used in card games. Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon slang terms. Terms in this glossary should not be game-specific (e.g. specific to Bridge, Hearts, Poker or Rummy), but apply to a wide range of card games. For glossaries that relate primarily to one game or family of similar games, see Game-specific glossaries.


The 'One' in a pack of cards. The Deuce or Two in German-suited packs. Usually the highest card of a suit, ranking immediately above the King. May also occupy the lowest rank.
Suit of Acorns
One of the four suits in a German-suited pack of cards. Symbol: Bay eichel.svg
  1. A card that is in play i.e. not sleeping.[1]
  2. See active player.
active player
  1. A player who receives cards in the current deal (i.e. is not sitting out because there are more players than the game is designed for as in four-hand Skat or five-hand Schafkopf).[2]
  2. A player who has not withdrawn from the current deal but elected to play on (as in Rams or Poker).[2]
Any opposing player, especially in two-hand games, or an opponent of the declarer. See defenders.[2]
Pertaining to an adversary or opponent e.g. an adverse lead is one made by an opponent; adverse trumps are those held by one's opponent(s).[2]
Order of priority for leading, betting or bidding, starting from the player next to the dealer.[3] See eldest and youngest.
A temporary partnership that lasts only for the current deal or hand[3] (e.g. Prop and Cop in Solo Whist or the normal game in Schafkopf).
Playing without the help of a partner. See declarer and soloist.[2]
See declare.[2]
  1. Often used in both senses of declaration. However, Dummett prefers to restrict 'announcement' for the intention to achieve certain feats in play, while preferring 'declaration' for a statement that one has a special combination of cards in one's hand.[4]
A mandatory stake made before the game begins - usually by all players, sometimes by the dealer only.[3] Chips required to be put into the pot before the deal; to put in such chips.[5]
around the corner
Phrase that describes sequences or runs that are built either side of the Ace e.g. Q K A 2 3 4 [6]
The period of bidding.[a] The phase in some card games where players may bid to lead the game, or bid on a certain hand or privilege in that hand such as naming the trump suit. The player with the highest bid wins the auction and plays his chosen game or exercises his privilege. Often used in trick-taking games.[7]


The banking game of Faro (1895).
Suit of Bells
balanced hand
A hand of cards with no void suit, singleton or very long suit.[8]
Also called the house or the bank, the person responsible for distributing chips, keeping track of the buy-ins, and paying winners at the end of a banking game. A dealer against whom the punters bet.[9][2]
banking game
A less-skilled card game of the gambling type in which one or more punters play against a banker, who controls the game.[10]
base value
A constant factor in working out the value of a game e.g. Skat.[11]
One of the four suits in a Latin-suited pack of cards. Symbol: Seme bastoni carte bergamasche.svg or Seme bastoni carte napoletane.svg
Term used in games of the Karnöffel family for quasi-trump cards able to beat those of lower rank or with no powers at all.
The last game of the rubber.[12]
One of the four suits in a German pack of cards. Symbol: Bay schellen.svg
Highest ranking.[9]
best card
Highest card of a suit not yet played. The commanding card, master card. Also king card.[13]
  1. Any wager on the outcome of a deal or game; any chips put in a pot; to put chips in a pot.[13]
  2. The first bet in a betting interval.[13]
bête, bate, bete or beet.
  1. A penalty payment in certain games for e.g. for failing to take the minimum number of tricks, or for a stake or money which a player has lost.[14]
  2. A player who fails to takes a single trick in Mistigri.[15] Likewise in Mauscheln, if the declarer, or Mauschler, fails to win a trick, he is the Mauschlerbete.
  3. Failure to make a contract.[13]
  4. Conceding defeat without playing.[16]
  5. Double bête: a double penalty, usually for failing to make a contract after choosing to play out the cards.[13]
bettel or bettler
Bid or contract to win no tricks. Also misère.[3]
  1. An offer to win a minimum or specified number of tricks or points or the privilege of naming the trump suit or the game.[17][13]
  2. To make a bid.
  1. Any player who makes a bid.[9]
  2. The player who makes the highest bid and plays out his announced contract.[9]
  1. In card-point games, a card that is worth no points.
  2. A hand with no court cards, i.e. only pip cards.[3]
  3. A card that is unprotected or (unguarded) by other, usually lower cards in the same suit: "I held the blank king of spades."
  4. To discard in such a way as to leave a card unprotected: "She blanked the King of Spades."
  5. To void a suit.[18]
blank suit
A suit of which one holds no cards. A void (suit). To blank a suit is to get rid of all the cards of that suit from one's hand. [13]
A hand consisting only of court cards.[13]
See skat or widow.
Blocking a suit is keeping a high card back so that the player with a number of smaller cards cannot win tricks with them.[19]
  1. To attempt to deceive one's opponent(s) about the value of cards in one's hand.[20]
  2. To use various tactics to mislead one's opponent(s) about the distribution of cards or one's strategy.
To add cards to those already on the table in order to extend a set or sequence.[7]
An extra amount added to a player's score for the game for holding or winning certain cards[7] or for achieving certain goals, such as Schneider.
Bowers when Diamonds are trumps.
The Jack of the trump suit or the Jack of the same colour as the trump suit e.g. in Euchre or Reunion.
Left Bower: the Jack of the same colour as the trump suit.[21]
Right Bower: the Jack of the trump suit.[21]
bring in a suit
Make tricks in a plain suit after the adverse trumps are exhausted.[19]
bury a card
To place a card in the middle of the pack or discard pile so that it cannot be easily located.[9]
  1. To receive a card from the dealer, face down, in return for a stake e.g. in Twenty-One
  2. To receive or draw the spare hand, (skat or widow) in return for one's own hand and, possibly, a stake e.g. in Newmarket.[22]
  3. To receive or pick up a card or cards in return for a hand card or cards e.g. in Préférence when the 2 talon cards are picked up and 2 discarded.
  4. To draw cards from the stock or talon.[22]


Cavalier from a Tarock pack
To declare, bid or pass. Any such declaration[22]
the player who directs the play of his team or who has the final decision in certain partnership games.[22]
card points
The scoring value of a card or cards in point-trick games. Card points are used used to determine the winner of a hand, based on the value of individual cards won. Not to be confused with game points. Sometimes called pips.
carte blanche
A hand with no court cards (see blank), for example, in Piquet,[3] Comet or Bezique; or with either no court cards or no pip cards in Briscan[23]
case card
The last remaining card of a denomination left in play.[9]
The court card in certain card packs that usually ranks below the Queen and above the Jack.[22]
A hand with no trumps.[3]
A token used in place of money; a counter; to put chips in the pot[24]
chosen suit
A suit characterised by a disturbed ranking and in which some cards have privileges over cards of the unchosen suits or special powers when led. Chosen suits are found in most games of the Karnöffel group. Sometimes called a selected suit. Sometimes also misnamed a trump suit.[25]
Suit of Clubs
  1. Establish a card or suit by forcing out adverse higher cards or stoppers.[24]
  2. Having taken no penalty cards e.g. in Hearts.[24]
To bar further use of the talon by turning the trump card over and placing it on the top in card games such as Sixty-Six and Schnapsen.[24]
One of the four suits in a French-suited pack of cards.[7] Symbol: SuitClubs.svg
coffee housing
To talk and act in order to mislead one's opponents about one's cards.[24]
7 of Coins
One of the four suits in a Latin-suited pack of cards. Symbol: Seme denari carte bergamasche.svg or Seme denari carte napoletane.svg
Two or more cards that score a bonus when melded. Often called a meld.
The best card of a suit, usually applied to suits which the adversary is trying to establish.[26] See best card, king card and master card.
commanding card
  1. The best card of a suit in play.[27] Also best card, king card or master card.
  2. The top trump or highest matador such as the Knave of Clubs in Knave Noddy[28] or the Right Bower in Euchre.[29]
compendium game
A game in which a number of different contracts is played in succession e.g. Barbu, Quodlibet and Poch.[30]
An agreement or obligation to play a certain type of game, to win a certain number of points or tricks in a hand, round or game.[17]
The highest bidder who then plays out his contract.[9]
A short rectangular counter or chip used in some French card games and Danish Tarok that is worth a number of jetons or fiches, typically 100 jetons.
  1. Object used to score. Token used in place of money; a chip.[24]
  2. Card with a point value. Also counting card.[3]
counting card
  1. A card that has an intrinsic scoring value when taken in a trick. Also counter.[31]
count out
  1. During play, to claim to have enough points for game, thus ending the play; to go out during the play.[24]
court card
One of the picture cards i.e. a King, Queen or Jack in a French pack;[32] a King, Ober or Unter in a German pack, or a King, Queen, Cavalier and Valet in a Tarot pack. Also face card, picture card or royal card.
To play a higher card of the same suit than any previously played to the trick.[24] Not to be confused with overtake. Also go over, head the trick or play over.
Two partners alternately trumping a different suit.[33]
Ace of Cups
Suit of the opposite colour.[34]
One of the four suits in a Latin-suited pack of cards. Symbol: Seme coppe carte bergamasche.svg or Seme coppe carte napoletane.svg
To divide the deck into two parts; usually after shuffling. Cards may also be cut to determine who deals or which suit is trumps.[32]


dead card
One that cannot be used in the play.[35]
Unmatched cards remaining in the hand e.g. in Rummy.[34]
  1. Verb: To distribute cards to players in accordance with the rules of the card game being played. In many games, this involves picking up all the cards, shuffling them, having them cut and redistributing them, but in other games (such as Patience games) it simply involves turning over the wastepile to act as a new stock.
  2. Noun: The play from the time the cards are dealt until they are redealt. Also referred to as a hand
The person whose turn and responsibility it is to deal the cards (even though this player may delegate the actual dealing to another).
May refer either to the pack or the stock / talon.
  1. Announcement of melds or scoring combinations, as in Piquet.[34] Dummett prefers to restrict 'declaration' to this sense, while preferring 'announcement' for the intention to achieve certain feats in play i.e. the 2nd meaning below.[4]
  2. The game at which a deal is played.[34] A call or bid.[36]
  1. To bid or to announce the trump.[22]
  2. To announce; predict schneider or schwarz.[22]
  3. To meld or show.[22]
  4. To count out.[22]

Note: Dummett prefers to restrict 'announce' for the intention to achieve certain feats in play, while using 'declare' for a statement that one has a special combination of cards in one's hand.[4]

In a contract game, the highest bidder who then tries to achieve the announced contract.[37]
The opponents of the declarer(s) in card games like Bridge or Skat.[7]
The rank of a card e.g. 2, 3, 4, etc.[38]
Suit of Diamonds
The Two of any suit. In German-suited packs, the Deuce is nowadays usually called the Ace despite having 2 suit symbols. In Austria and Bavaria usually called the Sow (Sau).
One of the four suits in a French pack of cards.[7] Symbol: SuitDiamonds.svg
  1. To get rid of plain suit cards when unable to follow suit and unwilling or unable to trump.[33]
  2. To lay away cards, e.g. of high value or to void a suit, after picking up from the talon or skat.
  3. A card that is removed from the hand in either of those ways.
discard pile
The pile of cards already rejected by players.[32] The common pile of discarded cards.[34] Also wastepile.
Only two cards of the same suit in the hand.[33]
A card that is dealt face down.
To take a card from the stock (talon).[32] Also 'buy' e.g. in Rummy.[39]
To withdraw from the current deal; to discard one's hand rather than stake enough chips to stay in the game.[31]
dummy hand
a hand dealt to an imaginary extra player, and often played out according to certain rules
durch, durchmarsch
See slam.


  1. Sitting at the left (when the rotation is clockwise.[31]
  2. Non-dealer in two-hand play.[31]
The first player to play in the round. Called forehand in many games. This is the player to the left of the dealer in games that are played clockwise; or to the right of the dealer in those played anti-clockwise. Some family games use eldest and youngest to refer to the players' actual ages.
See rearhand.
To make cards the best by forcing out adverse higher cards; to clear.[31]
established suit
A suit is established if when you or your partner can take every trick in it, regardless of who leads.[40]
To relinquish the lead; force another player to win the trick.[31]


face card
See court card.
faceup (US)
A card positioned so that it reveals its suit and value.[32] Also upcard.[41]
face value
The marked value of a card. Also pip value. Court cards are usually take to have a value of 10, the Ace 1 or 11.[7]
fall of the cards
The identity and order in which cards are played, especially as it gives an indication of the location of unplayed cards.[31]
  1. To spread cards fanwise.[42] To spread a hand or pack of cards, face up, in an arc so that they can be identified from their corner indices. Alternatively to spread them, face down, in order to enable players to 'draw lots' in order, for example, to choose teams or the first dealer.
  2. An arc of cards so fanned. A spread of face-up cards.[42]
  3. In Patience, a small number of cards laid in an overlapping row, so that only one is exposed.[43]
To discard counting cards to one's partner's tricks.[40] Also smear.
fat trick
A trick that is rich in counting cards.[31]
A long rectangular counter or chip used in some French card games and Danish Tarok that is worth a number of jetons, typically 10 or 20. See also contrat.
An attempt to take a trick with a card that is not the best of the suit.[40]
Flush of Diamonds
first hand
  1. The leader to a trick.[31]
  2. The first player to call.[35]
  3. Eldest hand.[31]
Cards of the same suit.[40]
To withdraw or surrender the current hand or game.[7]
follow suit
To play a card of the led suit.[17]
  1. To compel a player to trump a trick in order to win it.[40]
  2. A compulsory round or deal in which all players must play and none may drop out. Also known in German games as a 'muss'. See Schafkopf.
  1. Another term for eldest hand usually in card games originating from Europe. The player who is usually first to receive cards, bid and play. Sits to the left of the dealer in clockwise games and right of the dealer in anticlockwise games.
  2. The player who has the right to lead to a trick. Also said to be "in forehand".
French-suited pack
A pack of cards with the four suits: Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds. So-called because it originated in France, but now used worldwide. Compare with German and Latin-suited pack. The standard 52-card pack consists of French-suited cards which may be of various patterns (English/International, Belgian-Genoese, Dondorf, Swedish, etc.).
free card
  1. A card with special privileges when led to a trick e.g. the Sevens in Bruus or the Eights and Nines in Knüffeln.
  2. A card that cannot be beaten because all the trumps have been exhausted.[44][45]
  3. A card that cannot be beaten because all the trumps and higher cards have been played.


  1. A pastime in general, usually involving some form of competing.[46]
  2. A variant of a basic game e.g. Gin Rummy or Wendish Schafkopf.[46]
  3. A bid, declaration or contract.[46]
  4. A period in a session of play which results in a winner.[46]
  5. The target number of points as in "game is 100 points".[46]
  6. Fulfilment of the declared contract as in "their team made game".[46]
  7. A style or system of play.[46]
game points
In point-trick games, the score awarded to the players based on the outcome of a hand, the game value of a contract and any bonuses earned. Game points are accumulated (or deducted) to decide the overall winner. Not to be confused with card points.
German-suited pack
A pack of cards with the four suits: Acorns, Leaves, Hearts and Bells. So-called because it originated in Germany. Such packs are common in Austria, Germany, north Italy, Hungary and several other countries in eastern Europe. Compare with French and Latin-suited pack.
Concession by a player that he or she accepts the bid and does not wish to bid against it. May be announced with "good."
go out
To finish playing in the current deal because a) you have got rid of all your cards (e.g. in Rummy or Domino or b) you have achieved the tricks or points needed to win (e.g. in Fipsen or Sixty-Six).
go over
  1. To bid higher; overcall.[47]
  2. To play a higher card.[47] Not to be confused with overtake. Also cover, head the trick or play over.
One or more cards that protect a high card.[48] A high card may be singly guarded, twice guarded, etc.


  1. The cards held by one player.
  2. The player holding the cards, as in "Third hand bid 1."
  3. Synonymous with the noun usage of deal.
hand game or handplay.
A type of contract in certain games in which the skat or widow is not used. See Hand game (cards).[47]
hard score
A game played for 'hard score' – as opposed to those played for soft score – is one played for money. Coins may be used to stake; alternatively chips or counters with an agreed monetary value may be utilised.
head the trick
Playing a better (i.e. higher) card than any already played to the trick.[47] Not to be confused with overtake. Also cover, go over or play over.
Suit of Hearts (Swedish-pattern pack)
One of the four suits in a French pack or German pack of cards.[7] Symbols: U+2665.svg or Bay herz.svg
hold up
To refrain from playing (a high card).[47]
A card with special privileges, usually a top trump. From the French honneur. See matador.
See banker.


The number or letter printed in the corner of a playing card, so that it may be read when held in a fan.[47]
in turn
A player, or an action, is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules. Jerry said "check" while he was in turn, so he's not allowed to raise.
To lead a small card of the long suit.[49]


Wooden counters. Jetons are round, fiches are long and contrats are short and rectangular.
The court card ranking, naturally, between the Queen and the Ten. Also called the Knave or Valet in certain card games.
A circular token, chip or counter which forms the basic unit of scoring or payment, especially in French card games. Often used along with fiches and contrats which are worth more.
A card, usually depicting a jester, used as the highest trump or as a wild card.[50]


Four Kings (Spanish-suited pack)
Onlooker at a card game.[51]
See rank.
The highest court card, usually ranking between the Ace and the Queen.
king card
The best card remaining unplayed of the suit.[49] Also best card, commanding card and master card.
Additional cards dealt face down in some card games.
The Jack in certain card games. Also Valet.


Latin-suited pack
A pack of cards with the four suits: Swords, Batons, Cups and Coins. So-called because it originated in Spain and Italy. Compare with French and German-suited pack.
lay away
To discard after picking up the skat or widow.[50]
lay down
To meld a combination.[50]
lay off
To add cards to another player's melds or combinations.[7]
  1. To play the first card of the trick.[7]
  2. The card played first to the trick.[52]
  3. The privilege of leading e.g. "A has the lead".
Suit of Leaves
One of the four suits in a German pack of cards. Symbol: Bay gras.svg
led suit
The suit of the first card played to a trick. The suit of the lead card.
lone hand, lone player
A player who chooses to play without the help of his partner's hand.[53]
long card
A card left in one's hand after all opponents are exhausted of that suit.[53] Similarly, long cards are the dregs of a suit which has been led several times and exhausted in the hands of other players.[49]
long suit
A suit containing more than four cards e.g. at Whist[49] or the suit with the most cards in a player's hand.[53]
  1. A player who has lost a game.
  2. A losing card.[54]
losing card
A card that is unlikely to win a trick.[54]
low card
  1. A card of low rank
  2. A card of low value, especially in Tarot and Tarock games.[55]
A player is 'lurched' or 'in the lurch' in card games like Cribbage, Saunt or Cassino if they not only lose but fail to score a minimum number of points, typically half of a winning score. Being in the lurch typically costs double. Similar to schneider.[54][53]


Euchre term, from the German Marsch or Durchmarsch. To win every trick in a deal. The score for doing so. The same as slam.[53][54]
  1. Fulfil a contract.[54]
  2. Name the trump suit or contract.[54]
The player who names the contract.[54] Also declarer or contractor.
master, master card
The best (i.e. highest) card left in a suit which has been played. Also best card, commanding card or king card.[56][53]
The highest card in play from a particular suit.[1]
A top trump, sometimes with special privileges.[57] However, in some card games such as Skwitz, it is not a trump but a bonus-earning card. Any high trump.[53]
  1. A slam in certain Austrian or Bavarian games.
  2. Failing to win at least a quarter of the points available in some German games. Equivalent to a schneider.
  1. Any scoring combination of cards announced, shown or played, e.g. three of a kind or a sequence of three or more cards.[38] A declaration of such a combination.[57]
  2. To make a meld.
A contract or undertaking to lose every trick.[57] Also bettel, bettler or null.
mixed deal
A hand dealt wrongly. Or to make a mistake while dealing cards.
A slam in certain Austrian or German games.
Factors by which the base value of a declaration (and sometimes any bonuses) are multiplied to determine the value of a game.[58]


Without the use of a wild.[58]
natural card
A card that is not wild[58]
natural order
The normal hierarchical sequence of cards within a suit. In a 52-card, French-suited pack the natural order is from Ace (high) to Two (low) i.e. A > K > Q > J > 10 … 2. In a 36-card German-suited pack, it is from Deuce ("Ace") to Seven i.e. D (A) > O > U > 10 … 7. Many games do not follow the natural order, for example, in Ace-Ten games the ranking is A > 10 > K > Q > J... or D (A) > 10 > K > O > U...
natural suit
The suit that a card would naturally belong to if not designated as e.g. a trump
negative game
A negative game or negative contract is one in which the aim is either:[57]
  1. to avoid taking tricks or
  2. to lose every trick (as in bettel or misère)
The suit of the same colour as the trump suit.
A card which is not a counter i.e. has no scoring value.
null, null game
  1. In games of the Skat family, a contract in which the declarer undertakes to lose every trick.
  2. In Swedish Whist, a game in which both sides aim to take the fewest number of tricks.
A card for which the rank is a number (Ace usually counts as 1 in this case), as opposed to the court cards. Also pip. See also Pip (counting).


Four Obers
The court card usually ranking between the King and the Unter in a German-suited pack. The equivalent of the Queen in a French-suited pack. Formerly also Obermann ("overlord").
  1. To make the first bid, declaration or move.[58]
  2. To make the first bet.[58]
  3. To make the first lead of a suit.[58] "It was correct to open Diamonds..."
opening lead
The first lead of a deal.[58]
To bid higher than an earlier bidder. Same as overcall, but distinct from overbid.
A contract played with the player's hand of cards spread out face up on the table so it is visible to the other players[57]
  1. A bid of more than the value of the game.[58]
  2. Overcall.[58]
  3. An unduly optimistic bid.[58]
To bid higher than an earlier bidder. May take the form of a suit overcall (bid a higher-value suit e.g. in Preference), majority overcall (bid to take a higher number of tricks e.g. in Fipsen) or value overcall (bid to win more card points e.g. in Binokel)[57] The name of such a bid.[58]
Excess points in e.g. Cassino.[59]
To play a card higher than the winning card played by your partner, unnecessary to win the trick but necessary to gain the lead. Not to be confused with cover, go over, head the trick or play over.
To take more tricks than bid or contracted.[57]
overruff, overtrump
To play a trump higher than any previously played to the trick.[58]


A complete set of cards. In English-speaking countries, a standard pack comprises 52 French-suited cards. In other countries, packs of 24, 32, 36, 40 or 48 cards are common as are German or Latin-suited packs. Also deck.
A portion of a pack, less than the whole pack.[59]
pair royal
Three cards of the same denomination (rank).[60] Also called a 'prial' or 'triplet'. See set.
A game which requires a specified number of deals to decide it,[60] especially at Piquet.[57] See also rubber.
Another player with whom one shares a common score, and with whom one therefore cooperates in bidding and play.[59]
  1. In bidding games, to make no bid.
  2. In vying games to pass the privilege of betting first.
  3. In close-up magic, a type of card manipulation
A score awarded for common violations of the rules of the game. It can be awarded either negatively to the violating player/partnership, or positively to their opponent(s)
penalty card
A card that incurs a penalty, usually a minus score, e.g. the Queen of Spades and all hearts in Black Lady.
penny ante
A game played for insignificant stakes.[59]
picture card
Usually the same as court card,[61] but can include the Aces as well.
A set of cards placed on a surface so that they partially or completely overlap. Also stack.
  1. A numeral.
  2. A suit symbol (e.g. , , , or Bay eichel.svg, Bay gras.svg, Bay herz.svg, Bay schellen.svg) on a card.
  3. A card point in point-trick games. Not necessarily the same as the actual number of pips (symbols) on a pip card. Court cards also have a pip value.[62]
pip card
See numeral.
pip value
The numerical, index or face value of a card.[63]
plain card
a card other than a court card.[61]
plain suit
Any suit that is not a trump suit.[60]
  1. To contribute a card to a trick.[59]
  2. To move a card to a place on the table (either from the players hand, or from elsewhere on the table), in Patience games.[59]
  3. The card played or the move made.[59]
  4. The stage of the game during which the players' hands are depleted by plays to tricks or to a common pile, etc.[59]
  5. Betting in general.[59]
play over
To play a higher card; cover.[59] Not to be confused with overtake. Also go over or head the trick.
US term for non-dealer in some two-player card games e.g. Colonel[39] or the player on the dealer's right, who cuts the cards.[b][64]
See pot.
positional priority
The priority a player has by virtue of his position in relation to the dealer and direction of play. Normally forehand or eldest hand has the highest priority, followed by the other players in the order of play. So, for example, in an auction if two players bid the same ranking contract and play is clockwise, the player nearest the dealer's left hand usually has priority.
A virapulla - traditional Swedish tin for holding gaming counters. The pot for gaming chips is in the reversible lid.
  1. A container into which money or chips are paid initially and during a game and from which the winnings are paid out.[65]
  2. The contents of the pot.
A suit that has bidding preference over the rest, as in Boston, Préférence or Fipsen. A bid in the preferred suit.[66]
A 'pair royal'. A set of three cards of the same rank.[7]
Cards that guard others, normally of higher rank.[66]
Person who lays bets in a banking game.


Four Queens
A sequence of four cards of the same suit.[67]
quart major
The Ace, King, Queen and Jack of one suit.[67]
The court card ranking naturally between the King and the Jack or Knave. In Tarot and Tarock games, it ranks between the King and the Cavalier.
quinte or quint
A sequence of five cards of the same suit.[67]
quinte major or quint major
The Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten of one suit.[66]
quinte minor or quint minor
The King, Queen, Jack, Ten and Nine of one suit.[66]
quitted trick
A trick that has been taken and turned face down.[68]


The position of a card relative to others in the same suit. The order of the ranks depends on the game being played.
  1. Usually refers to the player who sits to the right of the dealer in a four-handed, clockwise game.[69] However, in a three-hand play, rearhand is the dealer; the last active player to receive cards. Also called endhand.[31]
  2. The last player to the trick. Also said to be "in rearhand".
  1. A new deal by the same dealer after an irregularity.[66]
    A new deal of some of the cards, e.g. the wastepile in Patience games.[66]
  2. The action of dealing again.
To double, again, a bid that has already been doubled once.
To shed one's hand of deadwood e.g. in Rummy.[66]
regular pack
A pack of cards comprising suits each distinguished by a suit sign and divided into numeral and court cards, as opposed to a Tarot pack that has additional cards known variously as tarots, tarocks or tarocchi and which do not have suit signs, numerals and courts.[70]
  1. To revoke.[59] This is the most common usage.
  2. To legally play a card of a suit other than the led suit.[65]
  3. To legally withhold a high trump when a lower trump is led.[66]
  1. To fail to follow suit legally because one is void; a void.[66] This is the most common usage.
  2. Of a suit, void.[66]
  3. To play a card of a different suit from the led suit. May be legal or not, depending on the rules.[65]
To lead back, usually the suit that partner led.
  1. To fail to follow suit when able to do so and the rules require it. Normally incurs a penalty.[65]
  2. To breach the rules of following suit, trumping, heading or going over.[71]
  1. To exchange a hand card for the trump turn-up.[67]
  2. To discard several cards in exchange for the remaining trumps in the pack.[67]
The direction of dealing, bidding and playing e.g. clockwise (to the left) is standard for American and English games. Anticlockwise (to the right) is common in traditional European games.[71]
The events between the eldest player's action, and the youngest player's action of the same type (i.e. deal, bid, play), inclusive. A phase of play in which everyone has the same opportunity to perform such an action.[65]
round game
One in which there are no partnerships and everyone plays for himself or herself.[67]
One playable by an indefinite number of players, typically 3 to 7.[65]
royal card
See court card.
A match consisting of a number of games, typically three.[65]
To trump a suit.[72]
A combination of three or more playing cards with consecutive rank values. Also called a sequence.[73]


To withhold an action on a good hand in order to trap an opponent into greater loss.[71]
See smear.
When a player or team wins over 3/4 of the available card points in point-trick games, thus scoring a bonus. Typical of the Skat and Schafkopf families. The team scoring less than 1/4 of the points is said to be schneidered or 'in schneider'. The successful player or team is said to have won schneider. See also lurch.
When a player or team wins every trick of the hand, thus scoring a bonus. The other side is said to be schwarzed. Common in games of the Skat and Schafkopf family.
Position relative to the dealer: for example, in bridge, the dealer's left-hand opponent is said to be in second seat.
second hand
The second player in turn to call or play.[73]
second turn
The turning over of the second card of the skat for trump,[73] e.g. in Reunion or Skat.
see saw
See cross-ruff.
selected suit
See chosen suit.
Sequence from Ace to Five
Three or more cards adjacent in rank. The adjectives ascending and descending may be applied (i.e. "building in ascending sequence" means "laying cards out so that each has the next highest rank to the previous one"). A sequence need not all be of the same suit. Also run.[73]
Three or more cards of the same rank.[74]
To discard.[74]
short deck
See short pack.
short game
Any game in which not all the cards of a pack are put into play, e.g. kurzer or short Schafkopf which is played with 24 cards.[74]
short suit
A suit with less than four cards,[72] two cards or fewer than the average cards for the suit.[74]
short pack, shortened pack
A set of cards that has been reduced in size from a full pack (normally of 52 cards) by the removal of a certain card or cards.[75]
Rearrange (a deck of cards) by sliding the cards over each other quickly.(verb)
An act of shuffling a deck of cards. (noun)
shut out
Defeated without a single point.[74]
side card
A card of a side suit; a non-trump.[74]
side money
A bet in a side pot.[76]
side pot
A pot that is separate from the main pot,[76] either for specific bonuses or used when the main pot reaches a certain limit.
side strength
A player with side strength has high cards in side suits.[76]
side suit
A suit that is not the trump suit; plain suit.[74]
Any convention of play whereby the team members properly give each other information as allowed by the rules.[74][76]
single, singly
The basic, usually lowest, value of a game is described as 'single'. A game is won 'singly' if its value is not increased by bonus factors such as winning schneider which would double the score or winning schwarz which might quadruple it.
Only one card of a suit.[17]
skat or scat
Widow; extra cards dealt to the table which may be used for exchanging later. Also blind.[74]
Winning every trick. Sometimes called a 'grand slam', with a 'little slam' being every trick bar one.[65] Also called a march (e.g. Euchre), mord (e.g. Brandle and Grasobern), durch or durchmarsch, (e.g. Skat and Schafkopf), matsch, tout or vole.
Said of cards that are not in play because e.g. they are in the unused part of the pack.[1]
sluff or slough
To discard.[77] To play a card of little or no value.[78]
smear or schmear
To play a high-scoring card to a trick if it is likely to be won by one's partner, especially in Schafkopf or Sheepshead. Also fatten.[77]
Lead a singleton in order to be able to trump (ruff) the second round of the suit.[72]
soft score
A game played for 'soft score' – as opposed to hard score is one played for anything other than money, usually points. The score may be chalked on a slate, recorded with pencil and paper. Equally, counters, tokens or chips or even matches may be used.
  1. A hand contract i.e. one played without the aid of the skat or widow.[77]
  2. A contract played alone against the combined efforts of all other players.[65]
Player who plays a solo.
See underforce.
Suit of Spades (French-pattern pack, Écarté ranking)
One of the four suits in a French pack of cards.[7] Symbol: Naipe espadas.png
spot card
See numeral
In trick-taking game, a player is 'squeezed' if he has to weaken himself in either of 2 suits, but has no way of deciding which.[79]
A pile of cards, less than the whole pack, placed on top of each other and usually face down.
  1. The money, counters or chips that a player places during a game.[77]
  2. The agreed monetary amount to be paid for each point, game or rubber.[77]
staking board
A board with compartments, cards or marked areas on which stakes are laid during a game as in Newmarket or Poch.
staking layout
A marked-out area on the table or a set of face-up cards on which stakes are placed.
  1. Refuse to draw additional cards.[77]
  2. Accept the turn-up as trump.[77]
  3. Remain in the current deal or pot, as opposed to drop.[77]
  1. Remain in the current deal or pot, as opposed to drop.[77]
  2. Refuse to draw additional cards.[77] Also stick.
Stand fast and refuse to draw additional cards.
A pile of cards, face down, which are left over after setting up the rest of the game (i.e. dealing hands, setting up other layout areas) and will be used in the rest of the game.[80] Also talon.
stop, stop card
A card which, when played, ends a sequence of cards on the table or a card that is undealt whose absence prevents the completion of a sequence. Gives its name to the Stops family of games.[77]
Any of the sets of cards in a pack that share the same pip symbol. For examples see French-suited pack, German-suited pack and Latin-suited pack.
Trey of Swords
  1. An additional stake anted to the pot in Poker to encourage players to stay in the game.[81]
  2. A small bet in Poker not meant to cause an opponent to fold but to build up the pot.[82]
  3. An agreed amount that everyone pays into the pot following an auction in which all passed e.g. in Schafkopf. The pot goes to the next player to win a bid.[83]
  1. Lead the master card of a suit.[77]
  2. One of an unbroken sequence of cards from the top of the suit downwards.[77]
One of the four suits in a Latin-suited pack of cards. Symbol: Seme spade carte bergamasche.svg or Seme spade carte napoletane.svg


Layout of face-up table cards in games like Yellow Dwarf, Zwicker and games of the Patience family. See Glossary of patience terms.
The undealt portion of the pack which will be used in the rest of the game.[84] Also stock.[79]
Hand of Tarock cards
Trump cards in tarot games of Italian origin. Also Tarock or Tarocchi in games from other countries.
A trump card in tarot games of Austrian or German origin. Also Tarot or Tarocchi in games from other countries. Also spelt Taroc or Tarok.
A trump card in tarot games of French origin. Also Tarock or Tarocchi in games from other countries.
A combination of high cards not in sequence. Major tenace: A-Q (or K-C in Tarock games); minor tenace: K-J (or Q-J in Tarock games); double tenace: A-Q-10 (or K-C-10/A in Tarock games).[85]
throw off
To discard or smear.[85]
Said of cards that are adjacent in rank.[86]
Winning all the tricks in European games. Also durch, durchmarsch, march, matsch, slam or vole.
The Three of any suit. Also 'three-spot'.[17]
See Trick-taking game. A set of cards played by each player in turn, during the play of a hand.
Three of a kind.[85]
Three cards of a suit in the hand.[85]
  1. A privileged card whose trick-taking power is greater than any plain suit card.[85]
  2. The trump suit.[85]
  3. A card in the special suit of trumps found in tarot packs such as the Tarot Nouveau.
  4. To play a trump after a plain suit has been led.[85] Also ruff.
trump suit
A privileged suit in which, in the current deal, all its cards rank higher than any plain (=non-trump) card.[85]
turn the corner
Said of a sequence of cards when the top card (typically the Ace or King) is preceded by high cards on one side and low cards on the other e.g. 3-2-A-K-Q-J.
A card turned up at the start of a game to determine the trump suit.[79]


Winning the last trick with the lowest trump[87] or, sometimes, with a King.
unchosen suit
In games of the Karnöffel Group, a suit, usually ranking in the natural order, most of all of whose cards have no special privileges, in contrast to the chosen suits. Sometimes called an unselected suit.[25]
underforce or under-force
To answer a card with one of the same suit, but inferior value to those remaining in hand; e.g. putting the Nine of Clubs on the Ten, having the Ace in hand.[88] Also under-force, under-play or sous-forcer.[89]
To lead a low card when holding the top card or cards in a suit.
underplay or under-play
  1. To lead or follow suit with a lower card when holding a higher one; hold up; refuse to cover.[87]
  2. See underforce.
To fall short of the declared number of tricks.[87]
See blank.
To get rid of dangerous cards from one's hand.[86]
Four Unters
unselected suit
See unchosen suit.
The court card usually ranking between the Ober and the Ten in a German-suited pack. The equivalent of the Jack in a French-suited pack. Formerly also Untermann ("underling").
  1. A card laid on the table face-up.[87]
  2. The top card of a pile, turned face up.[61]


The Jack in certain card games. Also Knave.
See rank
To claim you have, or will have, the best hand and stake money on it. Vying includes an element of bluffing.[90]
Having no card of a given suit. Also blank suit.[79]
To discard all cards of a given suit.
Winning all the tricks in some English and European games. Also durch, durchmarsch, march, matsch, slam or tout.


wastepile or waste-pile
A pile of discards or cards that a player is unable to play. Also discard pile.
Losing without scoring a point.[91] See also schwarz.
Also called a blind or a skat. Hand of cards dealt face down on the table at the start of play that may subsequently be used by players to exchange cards.[79]
wild card
A card that may be designated by the owner to represent any other card.[87] A Joker is often used as a wild card, but can also have other uses.


The last player to play before the eldest player's second turn. Some family games will use eldest and youngest to refer to the players' actual ages.

Game-specific glossaries[edit]

A few games or families of games have enough of their own specific terminology to warrant their own glossaries:


  1. ^ Goren
  2. ^ Play being assumed to be left to right


  1. ^ a b c Arnold 2007, p. 203.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Phillips 1957, p. 395.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Parlett 2008, p. 642.
  4. ^ a b c Dummett 1980, p. 245.
  5. ^ Goren 1950, p. 590.
  6. ^ Moss 1995, p. 94.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Glossary of Card Game Terms at Retrieved 11 August 2018
  8. ^ Kansil 2001, p. 316.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Kansil 2001, p. 317.
  10. ^ Parlett 2008, p. 591.
  11. ^ Goren 1950, p. 592.
  12. ^ Foster 1897, p. 674.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Phillips 1957, p. 396.
  14. ^ Bete“ In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Band 2. Leipzig 1905, S. 765.
  15. ^ Mistigri“ In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Vol. 13. Leipzig 1908, p. 907.
  16. ^ Goren 1950, p. 593.
  17. ^ a b c d e Galt, David. Card Game Glossary at Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  18. ^ Goren 1950, p. 595.
  19. ^ a b Foster 1897, p. 675.
  20. ^ Golick 1998, p. 120.
  21. ^ a b Arnold 2007, p. 386.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i Phillips 1957, p. 397.
  23. ^ Le Briscan at Retrieved 11 Jan 2019.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Phillips 1957, p. 398.
  25. ^ a b Karnöffel Group at Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  26. ^ Foster 1897, p. 676.
  27. ^ Forbes-Lindsay & Bergholt 1902, p. 463.
  28. ^ Dyche 1740.
  29. ^ Euchre at Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  30. ^ Parlett 2008.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Phillips 1957, p. 400.
  32. ^ a b c d e Golick 1998, p. 121.
  33. ^ a b c Foster 1897, p. 677.
  34. ^ a b c d e Phillips 1957, p. 399.
  35. ^ a b Kansil 2001, p. 320.
  36. ^ Arnold 2011, p. 388.
  37. ^ Parlett 2008, p. 643.
  38. ^ a b Moss 1995, p. 95.
  39. ^ a b Rummy Glossary at Retrieved 29 Nov 2019.
  40. ^ a b c d e Foster 1897, p. 678.
  41. ^ Parlett 2008, p. 648.
  42. ^ a b Gibson 1974, p. 386.
  43. ^ Parlett 1979, p. 27.
  44. ^ Weber 1840, p. 310.
  45. ^ Heinsius 1828, p. 861.
  46. ^ a b c d e f g Phillips 1957, p. 401.
  47. ^ a b c d e f Phillips 1957, p. 402.
  48. ^ Arnold 2007, p. 390.
  49. ^ a b c d Foster 1897, p. 680.
  50. ^ a b c Phillips 1957, p. 403.
  51. ^ Parlett 2008, p. xxv.
  52. ^ Arnold 1988, p. vii.
  53. ^ a b c d e f g Phillips 1957, p. 404.
  54. ^ a b c d e f g Kansil 2001, p. 325.
  55. ^ Dummett 1980, pp. 199/200.
  56. ^ Foster 1897, p. 681.
  57. ^ a b c d e f g h Parlett 2008, p. 644.
  58. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Phillips 1957, p. 405.
  59. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Phillips 1957, p. 406.
  60. ^ a b c Foster 1897, p. 682.
  61. ^ a b c Arnold 2011.
  62. ^ Pardon 1864, p. 44.
  63. ^ Kansil 2001, p. 327.
  64. ^ Foster 1897, p. 621.
  65. ^ a b c d e f g h i Parlett 2008, p. 645.
  66. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Phillips 1957, p. 407.
  67. ^ a b c d e f Foster 1897, p. 683.
  68. ^ Kansil 2001, p. 328.
  69. ^ Hinterhand beim Kartenspiel at Retrieved 28 Jun 2020.
  70. ^ Dummett 1980, p. 7.
  71. ^ a b c Phillips 1957, p. 408.
  72. ^ a b c Foster 1897, p. 684.
  73. ^ a b c d Kansil 2001, p. 329.
  74. ^ a b c d e f g h i Phillips 1957, p. 409.
  75. ^ Arnold 2011, p. 394.
  76. ^ a b c d Kansil 2001, p. 330.
  77. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Phillips 1957, p. 410.
  78. ^ Sluff at Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  79. ^ a b c d e Parlett 2008, p. 646.
  80. ^ Foster 897, p. 685.
  81. ^ Silberstang 1972, p. 18.
  82. ^ Pot Sweetener at Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  83. ^ Parlett 2008, p. 229.
  84. ^ Foster 1897, p. 685.
  85. ^ a b c d e f g h Phillips 1957, p. 411.
  86. ^ a b Kansil 2001, p. 332.
  87. ^ a b c d e Phillips 1957, p. 412.
  88. ^ Crawley 1866, p. 103.
  89. ^ Walker 1838, p. 31.
  90. ^ Parlett 2008, pp. 555–556.
  91. ^ Foster 1897, p. 686.


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