Sit back, relax and learn how to enjoy this fantastic game in a better way!Bryce Francis, Inventor of many games.  For the game of 500, explaining a totally new concept in how to play.




There is a very good version of two handed 500, which is quite exciting. At least two versions of three handed, one of five handed, and six handed 500 as well.


Two Handed 500

The best game is still played with 43 cards. The two players sit adjacent to each other in say a South, and West position. Ghost players occupy the North and East positions. Deal three cards face down to each human player, then five cards face down in a line to the ghost players opposite each human player. 

Deal the next card into Kitty, then four cards face down to each human player. Now deal five cards face up, placing one card on top of the five cards which were dealt face down, and then another five cards face up on the other five face down cards. Another card goes into Kitty, then three more face down cards to each human player, and the last card into Kitty as usual. 

Players then pick up their cards, and make their calls based on those cards, and the five cards they can see in their partners hand which is on the table opposite to where they are sitting. Highest bidder picks up Kitty, discards three cards and then leads as usual. Each human player plays the cards of his ghost partner when it is the normal turn of that hand to play. 


As those cards are played after each player has played on the card led, the card which was under the top card is now turned over and comes into play for the next lead. There is of course no opportunity for aces and joker to be called, as very often the first call is the only call. For two players who really enjoy 500 this form of the game provides many incredible results. 

You may attain ten no trump calls with hands which start off looking so weak you would prefer not to call at all. You may lose a call which you thought was impossible to lose. The opportunities which arise to cross-trump, and to finesse high cards are never ending. All the principles of using your bargaining power, and making crafty calls to go down, or to trap an unwary opponent apply in this game as well. 

It really is a very good game.

Three Handed 500

You can play with a normal pack of cards as for four handed 500 dealing as usual with the player making the highest bid having the spare hand turned face up opposite him or her and being played by the person with the last bid in it's proper turn to play. I prefer however to reduce the pack to the top 33 cards and deal three hands. Players calling first should always call a bid they are happy to be left on, but all other bids may be bluff calls until someone is the highest bidder. 

This game is very hard to win if all players play it hard. Not only is one player calling with only one third of the cards, but the other two can and will gang up on the third player if it suits them to do so. As an instance of this consider that player A is 400 up, and B and C are 200 down. Clearly player A can easily go out with a low call. Under these situations B and C should ensure that one of them calls, even beyond the safe limit of that hand. 

The remaining low score player must then play for him, rather than taking him down and leaving A to win. To play for him means throwing the right bower away on the joker, and discarding high cards instead of small ones. Or not playing aces when this would take the trick. It is quite remarkable what can be achieved if this sort of assistance is given. 

Properly played by three players who are all dedicated winners, a single game of 500 can be a long affair.

Five Handed 500

Played with 53 cards and with the final bidder able to call for his partner by nominating a specific card holder to be his partner. You may not call on the Joker, or any trump card. You can elect to go alone. If you have called on a partner both players go up or down depending on whether the call was successful. The score is kept for each player. 

There are occasions in this game when the final bidder may not discover who his partner is until the last card is played, even if he had led to that card early, only to have it trumped by another player. This game is strictly for laughs, and I confess that I have played it so rarely that I have never tried to play it According to Francis. Perhaps it could work like that!

Six Handed 500

This game needs the special pack of 63 cards produced for this purpose, though you could use a normal pack, and include the 2's, 3's and black fours from the original pack, and add four 2's, four 3's and the two red 4's from another pack, even if the back of the cards is different. If you do that then a player who played say the five of hearts would be bettered by a second player playing another five of hearts on top of it.

It is possible to play either as three partnerships of two players, or two partnerships of three players the latter being a much better balanced game. Again I have never played this way but I see no reason why it should not be played exactly as suggested in the text of these notes. It should be a very good game and I suspect that it could become as addictive as the 500 we enjoy. Another good feature would be that you can vary the mix of players through six people more than with a group of four.

I have had many requests from players wanting to buy 6 handed packs. 

Six handed packs of 500 cards are normally available from any good stationers shop in Australia. We have found that you should be able to get them from Kardwell International, Box 607, Orient, New York 11957, Phone 516 323 3880, and Fax 516 323 3904. We think they are also available from Wooden Horse Books, address is

In Australia and New Zealand these packs are readily available from your local stationer, marketed  under the brand name Queens Slipper, as an addition to the normal 53 card packs. I consider the rules in these packs as being totally unsuitable, so give them a miss.


Last Updated April 7, 2011

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