Jan 302013

Renaissance Card Games: All Fours

card players


All Fours is among the oldest extant card games in England. Its first known description was in Charles Cotton’s Compleat Gamester of 1674, where the game was reported as popular in Kent. All Four’s is probably of Dutch ancestry. David Parlett suggests that it played a role with the association of the name Jack with the card rank that was originally known only as the knave.

Number of Players

2 teams consisting of 1 to 3 players per team

Equipment Needed

A standard deck of cards


To play All Fours the dealer shuffles the cards and then each player is dealt 6 cards.
Players can then look at their cards.
The top card is then flipped over. If the card is a jack then the dealer gets one point. The suit of the card that is flipped over becomes the trump suit.
If the player does not like the trump suit they can refuse the suit by saying “I beg.”
Then the choice falls on the dealer, who can accept or reject the plea.

  • If the dealer accepts the plea the dealer gets one point and then turns the cards over until a card of a different suit appears. That suit then becomes the trump suit.
  • If the dealer rejects the plea, the dealer tells the player to “take one” and the trump suit stays, but the player gets a point.

Once the trump suit has been determined, the game then really begins.

The first player will start by playing a card. The next players have to play a card of the same suit or a trump card. The player with the highest card value wins the hand. If a player can not follow suit then they must play a trump card. If the player has no trump cards then they can play an off suit card.
This continues until all cards are used up. Each round you win is called a trick.


The first team/player to reach 49 points wins
Once play has finished the scoring begins
A player gets 1 point for each trump card they have
1 point for the highest trump card
1 point for the lowest trump card
1 point for having the trump jack
4 points for each Ace
3 points for each King
2 points for each Jack
10 points for each 10
0 points for cards from 2 to 9

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