Sounding like a game for a single player, Solo Whist is anything but. It requires four players who actually play for their own wins, but who can form alliances during each hand. The game is played in hands of 13 tricks each. Each hand is opened by a bidding/auction period, and scores are adjusted after the last trick.
To play a game of Solo Whist, the dealer will hand out the entire deck of 52 cards by giving each player three cards each until only four cards remain, these last four are handed out one to each player with the last card overturned in front of the dealer.
This card determines trump and is also one of the dealer’s cards. After this first game, the deal passes in a clockwise direction around the table for each game thereafter.
Bidding begins with the player on the dealer’s left. The player may also pass, but should they bid, the subsequent players must either pass or bid higher. The bidding will continue until the contract is settled. If all players pass, this is considered as “prop without a cop” and the hands are all re-dealt.
Bidding in Solo Whist
The bidding table for a game of Solo Whist is as follows:
- Prop and Cop – this is when an alliance is formed between two players who think they can take eight of the thirteen tricks together. This is done by a player calling Prop and one of the remaining players responding with Cop.
- Solo – this is a bid in which one player believes they’ll win five tricks on their own
- Misere – this is a bid in which one player thinks that they will not one a single trick
- Abundance – this is when a player thinks they’ll take nine tricks
- Royal Abunance – this bid is for the player who thinks they’ll win nine tricks in the trump
- Misere Ouverte – this is the bid made by a player who thinks they’ll win no tricks and whose hand is placed face up on the table once the first trick is completed
- Abundance Declared – this bid is for the player who thinks they’ll take all of the tricks
To play, the player to the left of the dealer leads. This can be any card, and the remaining players must play in the same suit if possible or with any card if a match isn’t available.
If a trump card is played to the trick, the highest trump wins. If no trumps appear, the trick is won by the highest card in the lead suit. The winner of each trick leads the next one.
To score a game of Solo Whist, the bidder is paid by all three opponents (with the exception of the Prop and Cop who each get one unit if they win, and whose opponents must each pay one unit) if they win, and must pay their opponents if they fail.There are many variations for Solo Whist, and one of the most common is to actually eliminate the Prop and Cop bid from the game to allow for higher bid amounts.
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