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Carte française carreau 07.png
The 7 of Diamonds, the permanent trump
OriginAustria / Germany
TypePlain-trick game
FamilyRams group
DeckWilliam Tell or Piquet pack
Card rank (highest first)A K Q J 10 9 8 7
A K O U 10 9 8 7
Related games
Contra, Kratzen, Lupfen, Mauscheln, Mistigri, Tippen
Features: pot, 3 cards, 'hop and jump',
7 as 2nd highest trump

Zwicken is an old Austrian and German card game for 4 to 6 players, which is usually played for small stakes and makes a good party game. It is one of the Rams group of card games characterised by allowing players to drop out of the current game if they think they will be unable to win any tricks or a minimum number of tricks.[1][2]


Zwicken is played with 32 cards of a William Tell pack (especially in Austria) or a Piquet pack. The suits are illustrated in the table below. Card ranking is: Ace / Sow > King > Queen / Ober > Jack / Unter > Ten > Nine > Eight > Seven. However, as the permanent, 2nd highest trump, the 7 / Bay schelle.png7, outranks all cards except for the Trump Ace / Sow.

Playing card suits
French deck
German deck
Bay herz.svg
Bay schellen.svg
Bay gras.svg
Bay eichel.svg
Name of the suits Hearts (Herz) Diamonds (Karo) Spades (Pik) Clubs (Kreuz, Treff)


Zwicken is a very common Austrian and German gambling game that is usually played for small stakes and makes a good party game.[3] It is like a more intense version of the German game of Tippen – the general rules and mode of play are much the same – but there are significant differences, especially its permanent trump, the 7, and its 'hop and jump' (Hupf und Sprung) element, in which, like Kratzen and Austrian Lampeln, the role of dealer may 'hop' to the next player or 'jump' over one or more players as a result of the cut.[2][4] As in all games of the Rams group, players may always drop out of a particular deal at the start.[5]

The main differences from Tippen are outlined below and are based on Katira, except where stated.[4]

  • Permanent Trump. 7 / Bay schelle.png7 is the permanent, 2nd-highest trump, ranking just below the Trump Ace / Sow.
  • Hop and Jump. Between shuffling and dealing, the player sitting to the right of the dealer (rearhand) cuts the cards and reveals the lowest card. If it is an Ace / Sow or Seven, the deal passes to the next player without playing, but the dealer's stake remains in the pool and the next dealer also pays 3 units.Alvensleben 1853, pp. 201ff[a] If it is the 7 / Bay schelle.png7, the deal passes to the rearhand in clockwise order and both he and all the players in between pay the basic stake of 3 units.
  • Trump Ace. The player with the Trump Ace / Sow, must play it the first time he is leading to a trick.


The aim is to win as many tricks as possible. After the dealer has been decided, taking account of any 'hop' or 'jump' as described above, he antes 3 chips to the pot and deals 2 cards to each player, turns the next for trumps and then deals a third card to each player. At this point, beginning with forehand, players may exchange up to 3 cards with the talon or announce that they will "pass" and drop out of the current deal. Forehand leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit if possible, otherwise must trump and must head the trick if they can. The winner is the player with the most tricks.[6]


Players earn a third of the pot for each trick taken. In addition a player is gezwickt (i.e. has lost) and pays a basic stake if:[4]

  • he plays and fails to take a trick
  • as the dealer, he fails to check the lowest card
  • he has the Trump Ace and does not lead it to a trick at the first opportunity
  • he has the 7 / Bay schelle.png7 and loses it to the Trump Ace.

Anbieten, Freibieten and Sticheln[edit]

An historical variant of Zwicken was played in which only the last trick counted. This was variously known as Anbieten, Freibieten or Sticheln, and was banned, for example, in Upper Austria as in 1825 because it was "very similar to the forbidden card game of Zwicken and belongs to those games in which winning and losing depend more on the luck of the cards than on the skill of the player" and "because the stake could be increased time and again by the declarer" (Freibieter).[7]

This variant should not be confused with Sticheln, another Austrian game which resembles Whist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alvensleben describes, as a variant, that the deal passes to the next player but one, and both the new dealer and the skipped player pay 3 units into the pool.


  1. ^ Card Games: Rams Group at Retrieved 16 Oct 2018
  2. ^ a b Geiser 2004, pp. 37 & 40.
  3. ^ Danyliuk 2005, p. 93.
  4. ^ a b c Katira 1983, p. 132.
  5. ^ Alvensleben 1853, pp. 201ff.
  6. ^ Danyliuk 2017.
  7. ^ Edler von Lützenau 1846, p. 392.


  • Alvensleben, Ludwig von (1853), Encyklopädie der Spiele (in German), Leipzig: Otto Wigand
  • Danyliuk, Rita (2017). 1x1 der Kartenspiele, 19th ed., Humboldt, Hanover. ISBN 978-3-86910-367-9
  • Edler von Lützenau, Alois (1846). Handbuch der Gesetze und Verordnungen, welche sich auf den zweiten Theil des Strafgesetzbuches über schwere Polizei-Übertretungen beziehen., Volume 2, Carl Ueberreuter, Vienna, p. 392.
  • Geiser, Remigius (2004). "100 Kartenspiele des Landes Salzburg" in Talon, Issue 13.
  • Katira, Kay Uwe (1983). Verbotene Kartenspiele. Wilhelm Heyne, Munich. ISBN 3-453-41550-7

External links[edit]