How To Play Bid Whist

 (our view)

 

Introduction

 
Bid Whist is a 4-player partnership game that has immense popularity among African Americans. It is similar to the game of "Spades", with the exception that the trump suit is not always spades and the scoring is different. The highest bidder determines which suit will be trump. The bidding starts clockwise, to the left of the dealer, giving the dealer last bid. The player who either picks the highest card, the lowest card or the first card in a predetermined suit determines the first dealer. Bid Whist is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus 2 jokers, for a total of 54 cards. The two jokers will be the Little Joker and the Big Joker. The 4 players consist of two teams with their partner sitting across from them. Each team starts with a score of zero. The object of the game is to reach a score of 7 points, which is called a set. Forcing the other team to get a negative 7 or more can also score a set. Winning hands, which are called books, scores points. The points are scored depending on your bid, which can be from 4 through 7. You can learn strategies on how to play Bid Whist from experience, other people or Books Published on the market. Review our Getting Started topic. Also, review our Bid Whist Example Score Sheet printable page.
 

Dealing

 
The dealer shuffles the deck and allows the player to their right to cut the deck. The cut must be at least five cards from the top of the deck and five cards away from the bottom of the deck. The dealer then distributes each player12 cards, one at a time, face down, in a clockwise manner. No player can see another player's cards. During the deal, six cards are arbitrarily placed, face down, in the center of the table to form the kitty. The kitty belongs to the winner of the bid. The winner of the bid is the only person who may view the kitty. The first five cards and the last five cards cannot be put in the kitty. After each hand, the deal passes to the left player in a clockwise manner.
 

Bidding

 
The bid is an offer by a player to win a stated number of books. The bid starts with the player to the left of the dealer and continues clockwise until the dealer has the last bid. The winner of the bid is the person with the highest bid stated first (see "The bid rankings from lowest to highest" below). Each bid consists of a number from 4 to 7 and a direction of "uptown", "downtown" or a suffix of "no trump". A player may pass on bidding. However, the dealer cannot pass a bid. If all other players have passed, the dealer must make a minimum bid of 4. Some examples of bidding are "4 uptown", "5 downtown", "6 no trump" or pass. A "no trump" bid score is doubled at the end of the game(e.g. a 4 bid is equal to 8, a 5 bid is equal to 10, a 6 bid is equal to 12 and a 7 bid is equal to 14). During the bidding process, no bidder who has made a bid with trump can announce his actual trump until he has won the bid. On the other hand, no bidder who has made a bid with no trump can announce his direction until he has won the bid. No talking, about the plays being made, is allowed during each hand. If a team wins all the books, the same as bidding a 7, this is called a Boston. The "Books Required to Win Bid", specified below, is the number of books required to make a bid. The "Books Required to Stop Bid", specified below, is the number of books required to set your opponents bid.
 The bid rankings from lowest to highest (7 being the highest bid):

Bid

Trump Suit

Direction

Books Required to Make Bid

Books Required to Stop Bid

4

Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades

Uptown or Downtown

10

4

4

No Trump

Uptown or Downtown

10

4

5

Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades

Uptown or Downtown

11

3

5

No Trump

Uptown or Downtown

11

3

6

Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades

Uptown or Downtown

12

2

6

No Trump

Uptown or Downtown

12

2

7(Boston)

Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades

Uptown or Downtown

13

1

7(Boston)

No Trump

Uptown or Downtown

13

1

NOTE: A No Trump bid is doubled after the game (i.e. 4=8 Books, 5=10 Books, 6=12 Books and 7=14 Books).

The Kitty

 
The kitty is the six cards that the highest bidder has access to. The cards were arbitrarily dealt, face down, in the center of the table during the deal by the dealer.
 

Playing

 
The object of the game is to win 7 books. The highest bidder names the trump suit, or in the case of a no trump bid specifies whether the game will be played uptown or downtown. The bidder then picks up the 6-card kitty, combines it with their other 12 cards and throws away their six worst cards. These six cards are placed face down and counted as the highest bidders' teams first book. The highest bidder makes the first play. They may lead with any card. The other players must follow with the same suit. If a player does not follow with the same suit and the player has that suit, the player has reneged. The reneging player's team pays 3 books to the other team. These books may be collected later, if the reneging team does not currently have the books. Bid Whist for Windows does not renege nor will it allow you to renege. A player who does not have that suit in their hand has the option to play a trump card or any other card they choose. In the case of a no trump bid, a player who does not have a particular led suit, should play a Joker. In a no trump bid, Jokers have no value. Also, in a no trump bid, if a Joker is the led play, the first non-Jokerwill be the lead suit and all other players must follow that suit. A trump card always beats any non trump card played in the book. If there is more than one trump played, the highest ranked trump card, based on the type of bid awarded, will win the book. If no one plays a trump, then the highest ranked card in the suit led wins the book. The winner of each book makes the next play.
 The ranking of the cards, from lowest to highest, depends on the bid:
Uptown TrumpUptown Trump - Big Joker highest ranked in Bid Whist - BidWiz
Uptown No Trump
 

(Jokers have no value in a NO bid)

Uptown NO Trump - Ace highest ranked in Bid Whist - BidWiz
Downtown TrumpDowntown Trump - Big Joker highest ranked in Bid Whist - BidWiz
Downtown No Trump
 

(Jokers have no value in a NO bid)

Downtown NO Trump - Ace highest ranked in Bid Whist - BidWiz
 

Scoring

 
The object of the game is to reach 7 books, which is a set. Each team begins with a score of zero. The highest bidder's team gets 1 book at the beginning of the game. This book is from the kitty. At the end of each hand, the bidding team will either win or lose books. A bid for "no trump" is doubled at the end of the game (e.g. 4 is 8, 5 is 10, 6 is 12 and 7 is 14). The game ends when a team reaches 7 books. A team that reaches a negative 7 will lose to the other team. When a team does not make their bid, they receive negative books. Books are counted at the end of each hand. You may bid and make a higher bid. The higher bid is what is counted. It's as though you originally requested the higher bid (e.g. Originally bid a 4 and make a 6).
 
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