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Big Two
thum
Origin Chinese
Alternative names Big Deuce, Deuces, 大老二, 鋤大地, 步步高昇, Pusoy Dos
Type Shedding-type
Players usually 4, but sometimes adapted to different numbers of players
Cards 52, 13 per person with 4 players
Deck Anglo-American
Card rank (highest to lowest) 2 A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3,
(Spades) >
(Hearts) >
(Clubs or Clovers) >
(Diamonds)
Related games
Winner (爭上游)

Deuces (Chinese: 大老二; pinyin: dà lǎo èr; Cantonese: 鋤大D; jyutping: co4 daai6 di2) is a card game similar to the game of Asshole, Crazy Eights, Bullshit, Winner, and other shedding games. It is sometimes called "Chinese poker" because of its Chinese origin and its use of poker hands, though there is actually a different game by that name of an entirely different nature. In Malta it is often referred to as Giappuniza or Ciniza due to its Asian origin.

Description[edit]

This card game has many names, including Big Deuce, Big Two, Top Dog, Da Lao Er (Mandarin Chinese), Sho Tai Ti, Choh Dai Di, Dai Di (Cantonese), Cap Sa (Hokkien, used in Indonesia), "Poker in the Asshole" (due to its mixture of the two), and Pusoy Dos (a Philippine variant of the game). A common mistake is to confuse this game with Tien Len or Thirteen or 13 because these two games are actually different in the sense that Big Two involves poker hands but Tien Len does not.

The game is very popular in East Asia and South East Asia, where it originated, especially Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is played both casually and as a gambling game. It is usually played with two to four players, the entire deck being dealt out in either case (or sometimes with only 13 cards per player). The objective of the game is to be the first to get rid of all of your cards.

A commercial version of the game was published as Gang of Four[1] in 1990.

Rules[edit]

Note: Like many other popular card games, there are a wealth of variations to these rules. Rules with variations are noted.

Valid combinations[edit]

Cards may be played as singles or in groups of two, three, or five (var. 1 and 8), in combinations which resemble poker hands. The leading card to a trick sets down the number of cards to be played; all the cards of a trick must contain the same number of cards. The combinations and their rankings are as follows.

  • Single cards: Any card from the deck, ordered by rank with suit being the tie-breaker. (For instance, A beats A, which beats K.)
  • Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the K and K beats a pair consisting of K and K.)
  • Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank, ordered by rank, twos rank high, as usual.
  • 5-card hand: There are five (var. 2) different valid 5-card hands, ranking, from low to high, as follows:
  • Straight (also known as a snake in cantonese): Any 5 cards in a sequence (but not all of the same suit). Rank is determined by the highest valued card with the suit used only as a tie-breaker. Therefore 10-J-Q-K-A > 2-3-4-5-6 . However, A-2-3-4-5 is lowest possible straight for strategic purposes.
  • Flush (also called flower): Any 5 cards of the same suit (but not in a sequence). Rank is determined by highest suit ,and then by highest value card. In some popular variations, flushes are not permitted as a playable hand, and thus it is the lowest possible combination.
  • Full House: a composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Rank is determined by the value of the triple, regardless of the value of the pair. Also known as a Fullen.
  • Four of a kind + One card (nicknamed King Kong or Bomb): Any set of 4 cards of the same rank, plus any 5th card. (A 4 of a kind cannot be played unless it is played as a 5-card hand) Rank is determined by the value of the 4 card set, regardless of the value of the 5th card. It is also known as a poker. (Some play the Four of a kind hand as the beat all, therefore nicknamed the bomb or also tiki.)
  • Straight Flush: A composite of the straight and flush: five cards in sequence in the same suit. Ranked the same as straights, suit being a tie-breaker. (Sometimes also played as a bomb or tiki, larger than a Four of a Kind)

The dealer (who may be chosen by cutting the cards, as usual) shuffles the deck to begin with and begins dealing out the cards singly, starting with the person of his right, in a counter-clockwise manner around the table. The cards are dealt out among the players as far as they can go while retaining an equal number of cards for each player. Leftover cards (not possible if there are 4 players) are then given to the player holding the 3. If this card is in the kitty, then the holder of the next lowest card adds them to his pile (var. 5).

At the beginning of each game, the player with the 3 (var. 6 and 9) starts by either playing it singly or as part of a combination, leading to the first trick. Play proceeds counter-clockwise, with normal climbing-game rules applying: each player must play a higher card or combination than the one before, with the same number of cards. Players may also pass, thus declaring that he does not want to play (or does not hold the necessary cards to make a play possible). A pass does not hinder any further play in the game, each being independent, referred to as jumping-back. (var. 7).

When all but one of the players have passed in succession the trick is over (some variations have when 1 player has passed the trick is over), and the cards are gathered up and a new trick is started by the last player to play. When a player plays the 2 either as a single or as part of a pair of 2s, it is often customary for that player to start the next trick immediately by leading a new card or combination, since the 2 cannot be beaten whether as a single or as part of a pair of 2s, and the passes are mere formalities.

It is often courteous for a player to warn others when he/she is one playing combination away from winning. The goal is, then, for the other players to play (and get rid of) as many cards as possible while avoiding the combination that would allow the calling player to win the game. For example, if the said player has one last single card, the other players would play doubles or other combinations to force him/her to pass.

The game ends when one player runs out of cards. Refer to scoring section.

In most popular variations, ending with a single or double two is not allowed.

Reshuffling[edit]

If a player receives a hand with only 3 points or less, he may declare his cards, and the cards shall be reshuffled and dealt again. Point counting rules: J=1, Q=2, K=3, A=4, 2=5, others=0. This pointing counting rules may vary from place to place, or may be voided. A variation states that a player holding a hand with no cards with faces on them (namely Jacks "J", Queens "Q", and Kings "K") may request a reshuffle and the cards shall be dealt again.

Scoring[edit]

Scoring varies from place to place. The most common version is that after a game each player with cards remaining scores -1 point for each, unless they have 10 or more remaining, in which they score -2 for each. If they didn't get to play any cards at all, they score -3 for each. Then the winner of the hand scores +1 for every -1 his opponents got. (So, for example, if North won, and East, West, and South respectively still had 3, 11, and 8 cards left, East would score -3, West would score -22, South would score -8, and North would score +33.)

Likewise for a 3-player game, a player with 17 cards remaining is deducted triple points. A player with more than 11 cards and less than 17 cards remaining is deducted double points. An alternative scoring method to deduct one point per remaining card, is to double the count for each unused 2.

Penalty for assistance[edit]

If Player B won a game by playing his last card (the case of more than one card played is excluded) after Player A has played his or hers and Player A could have prevented this from happening by playing a higher card, he is deemed to have assisted Player B.

There are several ways to penalize Player A. The most common way is for Player A to be deducted the total points that the other 2 losers have lost on top of his own so that the other two lose no points.

This rule can vary between styles of play. If the scoring system is by ranks (e.g. who finishes first, second, third or last), then this rule doesn't apply.

Cheating[edit]

Players in collusion in each other have massive advantages over a non-colluding player(s). The basic strategy of colluding players is to preserve the high "control" cards against the non-colluder, and not to waste these cards amongst themselves. Other collusive techniques include signaling techniques (through the played cards, e.g. odd/even as in bridge, or non-verbal cues) where the strength of the hand, number of controls, hand type, exact high cards and other features of the hands are transmitted to the partner.

Other cheating methods includes false shuffles, peeking and cold decking. Cheating, especially collusive techniques, is rampant in online and higher stakes games.[citation needed]

References[edit]