Tue. Sep 19th, 2023

Are you looking for information on how to play 45s (Forty-Fives, Forty Fives). This page offers three sets of rules – 45’s the Irish version of the game as well as the 45s Canadian version (includes Auction 45s), commonly played in the Eastern provinces (Newfoundland, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick). Use our quick links to find the game you want to learn – How to Play 45s (Irish), How to Play 45s (Canadian).

Basic Rules for Playing Card Game 45s

To start, each player receives three cards starting with the first player to the left of the dealer. The cards are dealt at once, meaning the first player will receive the first three cards off of the deck, followed by the player to his or her left.

Next, the dealer will give each player another two cards dealt in the same manner.

Once the initial deal is done, the players will turn the next card face up and place it at the top of the deck. This card will become the trump suit. Should an Ace turn up, the dealer will take the Ace and discard a card from their hand. The trump suit will be whatever suit the Ace was. If the dealer refuses to discard, he revokes his ability to rob the deck (explained below). If by chance a Joker is turned face up, the dealer takes the Joker but the trump suit will be determined by the next card.

If a player receives the trump Ace during the initial deal he must claim the card that was turned face up and discard one of his own prior to playing his first card. If he fails to do this, his Ace will become the lowest “Trump” card.

Other rules

  • Players must follow suit of the player that lead before them unless they lay down trump.
  • Trump beats non trump cards except for the Ace of Hearts
  • You must follow trump suit if you have trump in your hand unless you have a five or non trump cards.
  • Holding out on playing the five of trump is called reneging.

Rules for Playing the Game

Now that the deal is out of the way, each player will take their turn in a clockwise position and lay down one card. The winner of the trick is determined in the same manner as Euchre, whereby the player with the highest card takes the trick. The winner for each trick receives five points.

Bonus points can be awarded at the end of each round whereby the player that laid the best card wins an extra 10 points.
Depending on which version of the game is being played, the object of the game is to be the first person to earn 120 points (of in the Irish version 45 points). Once a round is complete, the dealer will pass the deck of cards to the person on his left, who will deal a new round using the same format as above.

45s Irish Version

  • In the Irish version of 45s (Forty-Fives, Forty Fives), the object of the game is to be the first person to reach 45 points.
  • The bonus points is only awarded if the highest trump in play is the 5, Jack, Joker or Ace of Hearts.
  • The trump five is the only card that can be reneged.
  • If a player scores five tricks, they automatically receive 45 points and win the game.
  • Players can opt to play with both jokers, whereby they have the same traits as the left and right bower in Euchre.

Canadian Version of 45s (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick)

45s is a popular card game in the Atlantic Provinces spreading across Cape Breton to Halifax. The 45s tournaments are played in a round robin fashion, similar to Euchre tournaments with three teams winning out of hundreds participating.

  • The Canadian version of 45s (Forty-Fives, Forty Fives) does not use Jokers.
  • The deal is usually mixed up a bit where the dealer gets to decide how many cards are dealt in consecutive order. This is sometimes called “Dealers Choice” or the “Newfoundland Deal”.
  • Before any deal begins, the player to the right of the dealer must cut the deck.
  • If no trump is played during a round, the final score will not exceed 25 points.
  • The winner is the first team (or person) to reach 45 points.
  • Scoring after the first round must not exceed 30 points (Full 30, 25-5, 2 x 15, or 20-10.
  • Scoring during the second round must be 60.
  • Nearly all games that make it to a 3rd round, finish on round 3. (A 4th round is possible although rare)
  • Similar to Euchre rules, players must throw their trump if a trump is played, including a five.

History of Forty-Fives

Forty-fives, also known as Forte fives, is an enjoyable, fun card game. Similar to the game One-hundred and ten, Forty-fives requires a medium amount of skill and concentration. The fascinating history of forty-fives began in the 17th century where King James VI of Scotland had popularized one of the early predecessors of Forty-fives, a game known as Maw. The game has since become popular all over the world, particularly in New Hampshire. Adjusted versions of the game can be found in Ireland and Nova Scotia, with a similar game found as far as New Zealand.

Nova Scotia Auction 45s Rules

Auction 45s is another variation of Forty Fives played by Canadians. The biggest difference between standard 45s and Auction 45s is when you’re able to renege your trump. Auction 45s can be played as partners, cut throat and heads up. Auction is generally played with a kitty which consists of a four card hand .

Players will also bid on the trump prior to trump being declared. Players will have the option to pass on bidding, bid 20, 25 or 30 points. Determining how much to bid is based on how many points you think you will win during the game. Each player receives a turn bidding in the same manner as the initial deal. Players must bid at least 5 points above the previous player in order to bid, or can choose to hold. Holding allows them to steal the highest bid. Bidding will continue around the table until the dealer holds all bids, or passes , leaving trump up to winning player. In order to declare a suit trump, you must hold at least one trump card in your hand. Once trump has been determined, the player who called trump will add the kitty to their hand and discard 4 of the 9 cards in their hand.

  • The game starts with the first person to the left of the player who won the bid.
  • Players will play for 120 points to win.
  • The player who won the bid has to obtain the same number of points or more. For example if John won the bid with 25 points, he needs to earn at least 25 points or more. If he is successful, his score will increase by the amount of points won. If he fails to meet his bid, his score will decrease by the amount of the bid.
  • Another noteworthy rule to Auction 45s is the 100 rule. Once a player or team reaches 100 points they have to win the initial bid in order to receive points. Basically, your hand is locked at 100 until you meet your bid.
  • Finally, a 30 bid is called 30 for 60. If a team is able to earn all 30 points, they will receive an extra 30 bonus points, giving them a total of 60.

Hand Rankings in Card Game 45s (Forty Fives)

Black is played low to high, while red is played high to low. General rankings are as follows;

Hand Rankings for Red Trump

5 of suit, Jack of Suit, Joker, Ace of Hearts (regardless of what suit is), Ace of Suit (not applicable if trump is hearts), K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2

Hand Rankings for Black Trump

5 of Suit, Jack or Suit, Ace of Hearts, Joker, Ace of Suit, K, Q, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Hand Rankings of Non Trump Red Cards

K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A (Ace only in Diamonds

Hand Rankings of Non Trump Black Cards

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

By admin

62 thoughts on “How to Play 45s – Forty Fives”
  1. can you bed 60 for 120 in a game of 120,s and when you play call your partner do you call for the next lowest card to the 5 or the next lowest you have in your hand ?of what ever suit you are going to go on.
    thank you

      1. In auction 120 I have never heard of asking your partner to bid a trump during play of the game??
        This search site does note provide a very good place to get info on games from my point of view!!!!!!!!

      2. I asked my father, “ what happens, after trump is declared and after you discard, you can draw up to four cards, but the dealer only gives you three? He said”make sure you get four, otherwise you have to play short one card.” Then I asked, what if he deals me five by mistake. He said “then you drop one on the floor.”
        Before, bidding, if there is a mis-deal , the dealer just deals over.

    1. It sounds like you’re talking about Newfie growl that’s what I was looking for cuz it’s kind of foggy in my head but that’s what it sounds like you’re talking about to me because that’s what I remember of the game is calling for your partner I guess you and I are still on the same search okay thanks and good luck

    1. yes, you do have to play a trump card,(spade) you may hold back the five of spades (Irish version)

      1. Can’t throwing the ace of hearts first eventhough spades are trumps be hit with the jack of trumps or the five of trumps? ( Irish Version) also I have some confusion over the aces of non trump and trump cards,does the ace of spades or clubs (non trump) beat the two of Spades or clubs (non trump) also does the Ave of Diamonds ( non trump) beat the ten od diamonds (non trump).?

    2. Yes you will have to throw a trump card; in this situation you would have to throw a spade. If you had the 5 and jack of spades you could reneg on those.

    1. Yes they do as 45 is the amount of points you need to win, unless you get a Ginx which means you win every trick in the first round of the game ,you also win the game. (irish version)

  2. in the game of forty five if you forget to rob the ace of heart does it become the lowest trump if hearts are trump

  3. If AH is led, a trump must be played except for the J or 5 of trumps which can be reneged.

    I know that in Newfoundland, you can bid 60 for 120.

    When playing railroad auction (call for partner) you can only call for the card below your highest trump ie if you have J as your highest trump, call for the AH. If AH is highest in your hand, call for A of trumps.

    In NL game is 120 and is called Auction 120 where players bid.

    Auction 45s is the game where top card is turned for trump.

  4. Question regarding the proper playing of a hand; situation is the bettor has the 5, Jack & 10 of spades on a 20 bed. playing partner draws 5 cards, opponents draw 2 & 3 respectively. He does not improve his hand on the draw and the question is. does he take the first lift with the 5 or does he keep the 5 & jack together, until he see’s what his partner has?

    1. If trumps were not led I would leave the first trick go to allow the play to go back into your partner. This requries first opponent to have to 2 decent cards to beat your partner instead of one.

  5. In game of forty fives, if spades are trumps , and a player with the ace of
    spades forgets to discard a card and claim the card turned up, what happens to
    the ace in hand ? Is it a dead card ?

      1. So if the dealer claims the Ace on top of the deck, and renegs to discard a card from his hand (Rob the deck). That would mean he has 6 cards in his hand, and everyone else has only 5 cards. One of his cards must go dead after the last round, because nobody else can lay a card on the table for another trick to be won.

  6. Scenerio: (When playing non bidding 45’s) Player #1 has 35 points and Player #2 has 40 pts. The other players have lower scores. A card is played and player #1 picks up the trick with a Jack of trumps. This would bring him to 45 if the jack is the highest trump card. This is not yet determined. Player #2 picks up the next 5 pt trick bringing him up to 45 pts also. The game is over because player #2 cannot exceed 45pts if he should pick up another trick. One of the other players actually had a 5 of trumps that was not yet played. Does player #2 win this game?

  7. If the ace of hearts is led and hearts aren’t trumps do you have to play heart if you don’t have a trump and you do have a heart.

  8. I would like to ask the question …..must you cut the cards each time you deal the deck in auction 45’s Canadian game thankyou

  9. If the trump is hearts,I lead with a spade does everyone else have to play spades,or could Someone use a heart and hold spade in their hand?( 4 players)

    1. You have to follow suit. If spades is lead and you have have a spade in your hand, you must play it. If you have no spades, the you can use a trump card to win the trick.

  10. in Newfoundland playing 45’s on the first hand of cards if a player plays a kind of clubs that’s not trump do everyone have to follow suit if they have clubs in there hand or can they play a trump to kill it even if they have a club

  11. If your score is 100 plus do you need to bid 20 and make it. Some people at saying even though your score is 100 you still can bid 15. Which is correct?

  12. In call for your partner, during the second round, do you have to lay the card called for if someone previously layed a card that beats the called for card?

  13. I don’t have an answer but a question. Three-handed 45’s …
    Spades are trump. A small spade is led, second plays Jack. I hold the Ace of hearts (my only trump). Do I have to play it, or does the Jack have to be led for me to have to play it. I always played that unless a higher card is LED (5, J or AH) I can reneg? I hope you can help solve this dispute. Joyce

  14. If clubs are trumps (say the 2 of clubs is played and my app0net plays the jack of clubs,do i have to play the ace of hearts onthat play

  15. In a game of irish 45 ..If someone has only the ace of hearts and someone throws a trump card out on first go and is not the jack or five ..can
    Can You renaig the ace ?

  16. In a game of 45, is one obliged to rob, even if one has been dealt the 5 best cards, joker, 5 ,jack, ace of hearts, and the ace of trumps ??

  17. Can a person bid higher if the dealer passes the first bid, as auction 45s is a bidding war, if not why. Bidding at a auction, the bidder, bidding on an item gets to bid more as that is what a auction is for .

  18. Can a person bid higher if the dealer passes the first bid, as auction 45s is a bidding war, if not why.

  19. if im the dealer in the game auction 45 and every player passes and it comes back to me ,can the dealer bid if everyone else passes

  20. if im the dealer in the game auction 45 and every player passes and it comes back to me ,can the dealer bid if everyone else passes ?

  21. The way we play in Lawrence Massachusetts, bidder goes out, you can reneg the 5, J or A of Hearts unless a higher trump is led. We play mostly partners 2 sets of 2.

  22. I Lawrence Massachusetts, we play 45’s with a 3 card kitty, you can reneg the 5, J or A of hearts unless a higher Trump is lead, the game goes till someone reaches 120 points in the case of two people reaching 120 points on the same hand bidder wins or first to 120 points, you must follow suit if trump is lead or if trump is not lead. Based on these rules, what type of 45’s do we play, or are these rules unique to Lawrence Massachusetts?

  23. What version of 45’s is this game that goes until someone goes over 120 pints? Does the bidder go out in this version of 45’s or the first one to go over 120 points ?

  24. What is the correct action for the following situation: two teams of two players playing Auction 45’s are both frozen, (there scores are over 100 and they must bid and successfully make at least 25 to win. All three players pass on their bids for the Kitty, leaving the hand up to the dealer. HE PASSES AS WELL….. here is where the fun starts. Is the hand dead at this point and require a re-deal or is it a misdeal and the dealer looses his deal and his right to “hold” on the next hand? Need help in PEI…

  25. If the 5 best cards have been dealt, there is nothing to rob from the top of the deck.

    There is never an obligation, it’s the dealers choice. Only an Ace of trump or a Joker can be claimed. If the dealer renegs to replace the Ace if trump with another card from his hand, his Ace of trump becomes the lowest card if that suit.

    If the Ace of trump gets renegged, I believe that Ace determines the trump for the round.

  26. What happens if it ends in a tie?
    Playing cutthroat I bid 20, made my bid final score 120
    Another player was 115 got 5 ended also at 120.
    I believe I won because I had the bid. Or can it be a tie??

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