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.



A few simple explanations to help understand the terms used in this web site.

Back Door: Minus 500 points or more. This means the game has been lost.
Bargaining Power: The number of points between your present score and minus 490. If your present score is +100 you have bargaining power of 590 points. 
Bid: After each new deal of cards, and starting with the player on the dealers left, each player may bid, with a minimum of six, a number and a suit, (or no-trumps), which will indicate either aces or strength held. A player who does not wish to make a bid may pass.
Bowers: When a hand is not being played in no-trumps, two of the jacks change value thus:-

  • When hearts are trumps, the jack of hearts becomes the right bower, the jack of diamonds becomes the left bower.
  • When diamonds are trumps, the jack of diamonds becomes the right bower, the jack of hearts becomes the left bower. 
  • When clubs are trumps, the jack of clubs becomes the right bower, the jack of spades becomes the left bower.
  • When spades are trumps, the jack of spades becomes the right bower, the jack of clubs becomes the left bower.
  • The cards in each suit rank joker high, right bower, left bower, ace, king, queen, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four.
  • Jacks in black suits have their normal ranking below the queen when a red suit is trumps.
  • Jacks in red suits have their normal ranking below the queen when a black suit is trumps.

Contract: The level of the last bid made after a new deal of cards, and the minimum target of the pair of players who made that bid. 
Court Card: The joker, aces, kings, queens, and jacks are known as court cards.
Dealer: The person who deals the cards to each player. The first dealer may be determined by any acceptable method, and the next dealer is the player on the left of the last person who dealt.
Discard: When a player cannot follow the suit led, he should play a card of low value, preferably not being held to support a king or queen. This card is called a discard. After picking up kitty, and before leading the first card of a new hand, this player also must discard three cards to reduce the number of cards in his/her hand to ten.
Finesse: A finesse is said to be played when a card less in value than a higher value card in the same hand is played. There has to be an element of risk involved before a finesse play can occur.
Front door: Plus 500 points or more. This constitutes a game win.
Hand: The ten cards dealt to each player. The conclusion of play of those ten cards.
Jump Bid: A jump bid is one which elevates the bidding by at least one more trick than is normally necessary. It indicates a lack of aces or joker, and is usually a strength bid. 
Kitty: The three cards dealt into the centre of the table face down. It is picked up by the last successful bidder, who combines it in his/her hand, and discards the three least wanted cards, to reduce his hand back to ten cards. Sometimes known as the “Widow”.
Lead: A player has the lead, if he was the final bidder in the contract, or won the last trick played.
No-trump: When a hand is played in no trumps, no suit has the power to trump any suit led. There are no bowers. The person who either leads the highest card in that trick, or plays the highest card in the suit led takes each trick. The joker may be played as the sole trump, but only if he cannot follow the suit led. He is not obliged to play it at the first opportunity.
Offsuit: The three suits which are not the trump suit in the hand being played.
Rags: All cards which are not court cards are known as rags.
Strength: A hand has strength when the cards in it suggest it has good trick taking potential in one or more suits. Strength in a suit suggests that it holds a majority of cards in that suit. Declaration of strength in a hand may depend on the score. The higher the present scores, the more the bidding of strength hands is necessary.
Suit: There are four suits, hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.
Trick: Each individual group of four cards played. A trick is won by the player who plays either the highest value card of the suit led, or by the highest trump card played in those four cards. 
Trump: Trumps are decided by the last bid. They can be any one of the four suits. A trump card of any value outranks any card in one of the other three suits. Thus the ace of hearts will lose to the five of clubs if clubs are trumps. You may not play a trump card on a lead if you hold any card in the suit led.

Last Updated April 7, 2011

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Copyright 1996-2000 to Bryce Francis
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