Winner (card game)
Winner (Chinese: 争上游; pinyin: Zheng Shangyou) is a card game similar to the game President, the game Big Two, and other shedding games. It is the game from which Tien Len and other similar games are derived.
The game uses a standard 52-card deck, with thirteen cards in four suits. Diamond is the lowest suit, followed by clubs, then hearts, then spade. Like Big Two, twos rank high, and the rest of the deck ranks as usual: aces above kings, kings above queens, and so on, with threes being the lowest. The Jokers are the highest singles, and the red joker ranks higher than the black joker. Two decks may be used for four or more players.
Cards may be played as singles, pairs, three of a kind, full house, four of a kind, straights (3 or more in a row), straight flushes (3 or more in a row of the same suit), pair straights, and three of a kind straights. The leading card to a trick sets down the type of play. 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, Ace of Spades will beat the Ace of Diamonds, which will beat the King of Spades.) The red Joker is the highest single.
- Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the King of Spades and the King of Clubs will beat a pair consisting of the King of Hearts and the King of Diamonds.)
- Two [or more] pairs. Any number of pairs of cards with consecutive rank, e.g. 5-5-6-6-7-7
- Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank.
- Full House: A composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Ordered by the rank of the triple, regardless of the pair.
- Straight: Any five or more cards in a row. Twos are low in a straight (so K-A-2-3-4 is not valid, but 2-3-4-5-6 is), and Aces can be played high or low. A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest straight. If a [x] card straight is the current play type, it is only possible to beat it with another [x] card straight with a higher lowest card.
- Bomb: Any four cards of matching rank. Can be played on all tricks excepts higher bombs (i.e. the four same cards having a higher value) or straight flushes. (see Bomb variation)
- Straight Flush: Any five or more cards in a row of the same suit. Same rules apply as a straight. A straight flush can be played on any tricks except for a higher straight flush [see straight].
Dealing and Playing
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 himself, in a clockwise manner around the table. The cards are dealt out entirely. In a three player version of the game, the dealer ends up with one more card than the other two players.
At the beginning of the first game, the player with the 3 of diamonds starts. The three of diamonds does not need to be played in the first play. Play proceeds 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.
When all but one of the players have passed in succession 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 of spades either as a singleton or as part of a pair of 2s, it is often customary for that player to restart play immediately by leading a new card or combination, since the 2 of spades cannot be beaten whether as a singleton or as part of a pair of 2s, and the passes are mere formalities.
The game continues until the Winner and Loser have been determined, the Winner is the first person to play all their cards, the Loser is the player still holding cards when everyone else is out. After a Winner and Loser are established, the Loser must shuffle and deal out the next game. The Loser must then give their highest card to the Winner in exchange for one card out of two cards of the Winner's choosing. The cards exchanged will be shown to the other players.
Scoring varies from place to place, and it is rare to keep score. 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.
- It can be played that a straight must be higher than another straight by a full rank, not just a suit
- Bomb: a four of a kind can be played as a bomb. It beats any other play (other than a higher 4 of a kind)
- Revolution: a four of a kind makes low cards high and high cards low. (this is not playable with the Bomb variation.)