Vincent Brévart

Vincent Brévart

Rules of the game - Elevator Whist EspañolFrançais

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Elevator Whist - All the basic rules

Elevator Whist - The basic rules of the game in a few simple lines, specially written for those who want to quickly learn to play. This page tells you all what you need to start playing Elevator Whist. Learn to play and then practice with the free program called Far Whist for PC (all Windows), Linux, Mac OS X.

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Basic principle
  • 4 players playing for themselves

  • a standard 52-card pack (without Jokers)

    • 4 suits ( Spades,  Hearts,  Diamonds,  Clubs)

    • 13 cards per suit (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2)

After the dealing, each player holds the same number of cards (which varies from 1 to 13), sorted by suit and rank. In Whist, the cards in each suit rank from highest to lowest in the following way:

A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Card ranks

The Ace is the highest, the 2 the lowest.

Whist is a trick taking game: each of the four players plays one card in turn, and the one who played the highest of the 4 cards wins the trick. Then, he collects the cards played, and leads to the next trick. On a trick, there are several simple rules to follow:

  1. The player who leads to a trick can play any card he wants (of any suit, of any rank). The suit of this first card fixes what is called the suit led.

  2. Then, the 3 next players must imperatively play a card of the suit led (if they have at least one).

  3. When a player has no more cards of the suit led, he may play any card he wants (which is called discarding).

  4. When the 4 players have played, the one who played the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The cards of the other suits cannot win the trick. The player who won the trick collects the cards and starts again like in (1).
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Aim of the game

Elevator Whist is a game played individually. At the end of the deal, when all the cards have been played, each player counts the number of tricks he won on his own. The aim of the game is to win a certain number of tricks.

The number of tricks required to gain points on a deal is fixed during the bidding (see further on). Each player then tells how many tricks he aims to make, and the aim for each of them is to make exactly the number of tricks bid during the bidding.

If a player makes more or less tricks than he bid, he will lose points. If he makes exactly the number of tricks bid, he will win points. The scored points accumulate from deal to deal. And the ultimate aim, to win a whole game, is for example to reach a certain number of points.

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The dealing and the trump suit

In Elevator Whist, the number of cards dealt on each deal varies. It starts with 1 card per player. Then on the next deal, 3 cards per player. Then 5 cards, and so on up to 13. After that, the number of cards dealt goes back down to 1, decreasing by 2 (11, 9, 7, etc.). Hence the name Elevator for this variation of Whist that makes the number of cards dealt going up and down.

  • When the number of cards dealt is lower than 13 (for example 5 cards), the top card of the deck (the 21st in our example) is turned face up on the table. This turn-up card in not in game, but its suit becomes the trump suit (see further on).

  • When the number of cards dealt is equal to 13 (all the cards have been dealt), there is of course no turn-up card, and therefore no trump suit (see further on).

Among the cards that remain in the stock (that are not dealt), there will often be aces and kings. So, one will be able to make tricks with intermediate cards (like a queen or a jack for example), if luckily the higher cards are not in game.

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Playing with a trump suit or in No Trump

In Elevator Whist, you can play either with a trump suit or in No Trump. What is the trump suit? The trump suit is a suit stronger than the three others, which is fixed during the dealing (see above). The rules specific to the trump suit are the following ones:

  1. Playing with a trump suit

    When a player has no more cards in the suit led (and only in that case), he may play a card of the trump suit (which is called ruffing) and thus win the trick, whatever the rank of his ruffing card. For example, he can ruff an Ace with the 2 of trumps and win the trick.

    • No obligation to ruff

      There is absolutely no obligation to ruff a trick. A player, who has no more cards in the suit led, always has the choice to ruff or to discard.

    • No obligation to overruff

      There is absolutely no obligation to overruff a trick. When a trick has already been ruffed, a player who has no more cards in the suit led may ruff with a higher card (overruffing), or ruff with a lower card (underruffing). Or finally he may discard (play a card of a non trump suit).

      As soon as a trick has been ruffed by a trump, the cards of the other suits can no longer win the trick. The player who wins the trick is then the one who played the highest trump.

  2. Playing in No Trump

    In No Trump, there is no trump suit. So, no suit is stronger than the others. If a player has no more cards in the suit led, he discards and can never win the trick.

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The bidding

The dealer deals the number of cards required by the dealing sequence, and if need be turns the trump card face up. Then the bidding begins. In this variation, the bidding is simultaneous: the four players declare at the same time the number of tricks they aim to take.

In Far Whist, each player bids in turn, but only the word Ready is displayed. When the four players are ready, the 4 bids are displayed simultaneously on the table.

So, a bid is simply made by declaring a number of tricks, going from 0 to the number of cards dealt. It is a contract that each player aims to fulfill. Note that to make his contract, a player must take exactly the number of tricks bid, neither more nor less. If he takes more or less tricks, he is said to go down.

Of course, to evaluate the number of tricks they think they can make, the players take into account their number of cards in the trump suit. As the trump suit is stronger than the others, the more trumps one holds, the more likely one is to make tricks.

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Other little rules

  1. Far Whist proposes several types of games: game with a number of points to reach, or game won after a fixed number of deals. In the preferences, you can also select different dealing sequences (1, 3, 5, 7... or 1, 2, 3, 4... for example).

  2. There are many games very close to Elevator Whist (like Oh Hell! or German Bridge for example) that differ mainly by their way of counting up the points. Far Whist offers numerous options concerning the points scoring.

  3. It is the simultaneous bidding that makes Elevator Whist so funny, for players evaluate their hand without knowledge of their opponents' intentions. The rule allowing to bid each in turn, with a limit for the last bid, is not really recommended. Still, it is available in Far Whist by setting the preferences.

  4. Romanian Whist uses a 32-card pack and some playing rules a bit different. Far Whist also proposes options to play that way.

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A few hints to make a good start

For the bidding

  • When there are many cards in the stock, count your kings and queens as almost sure tricks. Add also some extra tricks if you have many trumps, even low ones.

  • In No Trump, take into account your ability to take the lead. For one may sometimes have many tricks to make in a suit that nobody will ever play.

For the playing

  • Draw the opponents' trumps if you can, before cashing your winners. Doing so, you will reduce the risk of a ruff.

  • Don't forget to get rid of your high cards if you have too many tricks in comparison with what you have bid.

  • Also, don't forget to get rid of your useless trumps (by underruffing for example) if you have too many tricks.

If you have understood the basic principle of the game, feel free to download Far Whist (Elevator Whist and other variations), a card game in free full unlimited version that will allow you to play against the computer quietly. All the rules are detailed in its help pages. The program and the help pages are all in English, with multilingual support for the menus and dialog boxes (Spanish, Italian, German).
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Far Whist - bidding in NT

In Far Whist, with the simultaneous bidding and the play in No Trump,
it's not always easy to find the right number of tricks to declare!

Direct link to this page, that you are free to use: