Bezique Playing Cards

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Popular in France in the nineteenth century, Bezique came to Britain in the 1860's, where it enjoyed a vogue when Queen Victoria's son, later Edward VII, showed a liking for it. In the United States it has largely been superseded by Pinochle.

Players

Bezique is principally a game for two players, as described here, but can be played by three or four players.

Cards

Two packs of cards are required, from which the 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s, and 2s, are removed, making a 64-card pack. The cards rank in order Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8,7.

Preliminaries

The cards are cut by each player, and the player with the lower card deals. The dealer shuffles and non-dealer cuts the pack.

Dealing

The dealer deals eight cards to each player, a bundle of three to each player, then two,m then three, non dealer receiving first. The next card is turned up to denote the trump suit. The rest of the cards form the stock, are placed face down beside the trump indicator. if the turn-up is a 7 dealer scores 10 points for it.

Object

The object is to score an agreed number of points, 2,000 being the most common. The game is a trick-taking game, and points are scored in various ways. Each Ace or 10 taken in a trick counts 10 points tp the holder at the end of the game. These cards are known as brisques. Either player, on winning a trick, may exchange a 7 of trumps for the trump card, and score 10 points. The winner of the last trick scores 10 points. Points are also scored for making declarations. upon winning a trick a player may place on the table in front of him combinations of cards which score points as follows:

Double bezique (Queen Hearts, Jack Diamonds, Queen Spades, Jack Diamonds) - 500
Bezique (Queen of Spades, Jack Diamonds) - 40
Sequence in trumps (Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack) - 250
Any four aces - 100
Any four Kings - 80
Any four Queens - 60
Any four Jacks - 40
Royal marriage (King, Queen of Trumps) - 40
Common marriage (King, Queen of plain suit) - 20
Dix (pronounced 'deece') (7 of trumps) - 10

Declarations can be made only one at a time - a player holding two must win two tricks to declare them both.

A card may be used in two or more different declarations, but not twice in the same declaration. For example, if a marriage of King and Queen of spades is declared, it is possible later to add Jack of diamonds and the Queen of Spades and declare Bezique. However, if King, Queen of Spades is declared as a marriage, and the King subsequently played, it i snot permitted to add a second marriage.