Magyar változat

Magyar változat


Standardization of

the Rules of Paskievics Tarokk


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The page is under revision. It will be

finalized soon.


   This site is an attempt to create a standardized rule system of Paskievics tarokk. There are quite a lot of difficulties around it, mainly the many bad or at least vulnerable tradition and unique rules. This is a special phenomenon of Hungarian tarokk. There is no other difficult game where so many stable but wrong strategies and playing elements can be found while their owners are very convinced – sometimes even against the most obvious facts – that they play really well. Its reasons might be found in the history of the game. Specially in the era of communism the game was considered as a part of the “imperialist” times therefore it was not officially supported whatsoever, and was played only in isolated clubs and families. This must be one of the main reasons why we can find so many stubborn and irrational traditions that hinders the deliverance of bad habbits and wrong, worthless tactics.
   There are some vulnerable elements in Endre Kovács's Tarokk-őr, as well. (For example discarding the XX or annulling the game with singleton pagat.) Most of them are not fundamental though and that book is still considered a basic work among the (Paskievics) tarokk players, actually with reason. Moreover I also think it is a very essential description, but it should be handled with some small caveats.
   Below are the playing elements that make the most differences and make the most discussions in the different clubs. In case that both alternatives are reasonable or at least have a strong tradition, there is a description of both and a recommendation about their usages.


  ♣ Discarding the XX (or the invitation card in case of invitation bids) is forbidden. Therefore it is not allowed to call any trump when somebody announced a trump discarding, it is useless;

  ♣ One can call himself only with the XX. It is forbidden to call a card that is discarded by the caller himself. If an invitation is played, it is obligatory to call the invitation card (XVIII or XIX);

  ♣ A player is allowed to call himself only with the XX;

  ♣ Though “High game” bonus was invented and applied a few years later than the original tarokk game itself, now it is an importan part of Tarokk game so it should not be eliminated;

  ♣ In a contract of 3 if the declarer announces trull and nobody announces anything else the game should not be played. In this case each opponent will pay the 3 units to the declarer and his partner. (It is possible not to use this rule, but it is not really worthwhile, because these games are boring and the result will be different only in extremely few cases.);

  ♣ If there are 5 players in the game it is not recommended to include the dealer apart from dealing. Therefore even in this case a discarding trump should be announced still by the one who discarded it and the dealer should not get money for the honours that were in the kitty;

  ♣ The rule of the expected 48 points is not changed if somebody doubles the game. It means still the declarers are expected to make 48 points for the game, because the opponents only announced that the declarers won't make the game (48 points);

  ♣ One is not obliged to declare which team he supports if he announce a trump count. It means that a trump count can be announced by anybody without announcing anything else. Also this keeps the announcement on, so the other 3 players can announce afterwards;

  ♣ If a silent four kings and a silent high game is done, the four kings is not paid;

  ♣ If a volat is made, occasional silent trull, silent four kings or silent high game are not paid;

  ♣ If the game has not been doubled and a silent high game is done (by any team), the basic game is not paid. Also if the high game was announced, the basic game is paid only if the declalers failed to manage not only the high game but the simple game as well. (In this case they pay 5 times the price of the basic game and 9 times if the high game was doubled.) If the game was doubled, it is always paid beside of the a silent or announced high game.


Announcement Rules


Expected Announcements

After yielding or inviting with only the pagat it is expected to announce pagat ultimo immediately when it is possible. (Yielding with the pagat is forbidden in many clubs, though there is no logic behind it. It is not worthwhile to play anyway because it could happen only if the holder of the pagat sits and bids in the first place (because one should yield or invite with only the pagat only to his left), but in the first place it is worthless to bid with XX and only the pagat. In many clubs the invitation with only pagat is forbidden as well, but this is definitely a bad habbit, it wastes a rare but exciting case of the game making it less interesting;

If one has announced (or doubled, redoubled, etc.) pagat ultimo, he is expected to announce the trump count as well (if he has that and if he has not announced it before);

If the discarded trump is called, the one who discarded it is expected to announce “officially doubled game”, of course in the first round of announcing*. (This is extremely rare, because the XX cannot be discarded, in other cases it can happen practically only by a player's wrong play. An addition is that in this case the declarer gets all 6 discarded cards at the end of the game.

   Apart from these 3 there are no other expected announcements! (For example expected trull if a player is called by the declarer and has a high honour, or any expectation of the one who accepts an invitation, etc.)

   * An officially doubled game is expected to announce in this case even when the game has been doubled (by the partner) before. (Though this is a theoretical case if every player plays well.) Then of course the second double does not mean any additional units, it is only a signalization.


Other Announcement Rules

Rules of the constructive (not oppositional [double ...]) announcements:

    1. The declarer can always announce constructively;
    2. The opponents can announce constructively only having doubled the game (or having superdoubled the redoubled game);
    3. The partner of the declarer can announce constructively if the game has not been doubled or if he or the declarer
    redoubled the doubled game.

High game and volat cannot be announced by a player at once. The players should agree if they can be announced by the same player but in different rounds. (This version is recommended);

Trull can be announced only by a player who has a high honour (or both);

A trump count can be announced only with the exact number of trumps in hand (meaning 8 trumps cannot be announced with 9 trumps in hand);

Having announced volat trull, four kings and high game must not be announced. (It could happen only with wrong play anyway.)


Bidding, Invitation


   Here there are 2 principles in conflict. The first says that every invitation that can be accepted by only bidding or holding Solo is an invitation of the XVIII, the second says that if a bid jumps 1 then it is an invitation of the XIX, if a bid jumps 2 then it is an invitation of the XVIII. Though behind the first version there is more logic (briefly: it is better to ease the possibilities of invitation with the XVIII than with the XIX) the second one (written by italic below) has quite strong traditions as well. We still use the first.

Also the alternative described below corresponds to this problem though not directly:

A:3, B:2, A:1
A is inviting with the XVIII, B can accept it only by bidding Solo A is inviting with the XIX, B can accept it either with “Hold” (or with Solo)
A:3, B:2, A:Solo
A is inviting with the XVIII (almost the same as the previous one) A is inviting with the XVIII (the only reverse invitation with the XVIII)

   The (fortunately very rare) situations described below, obviously the 2 principles are in conflict:

A:3, B:2, C:Solo
C is inviting with the XVIII C is inviting with the XIX
A:3, B:2, C:1, A:Solo
A is inviting with the XVIII A is inviting with the XIX (or this is not an invitation at all)

   Both are reasonable as well, but because of the previous considerations, here also the first version is recommended. (But if in the previous situations the second version is played even against our recommendations, then the second is more consistent here, too.)


   The bid A:3, B:2, A:Hold, B:Solo is not an invitation (after “Hold” there is no way to invite), therefore it is useless, but – as a simple pushing bid – theoretically it can be played. (So just like the yielding with only pagat there is no point to prohibit it because it will not happen anyway if everybody plays well.) Actually there is a case when it is worthwhile to play like this (by B), when he has the singleton XXI and wants to get no cards from the kitty to be able to annul the game.

   As a first bidder it is possible to jump bid (it means to say directly 2, or 1 or even Solo), but if somebody accepts the presumed invitation, the first player must “take it back”, mostly by saying “hold”. (It is allowed to bid Solo as well in this case though it is useless.) To prohibit this playing element makes the game less interesting. Of course if one has taken the invitation back once, he has already declared that it is not an invitation, so if the other bidder pushes down to Solo, the first is not obliged to hold it any more.
In addition if somebody has bid 3 and all the others have passed he cannot get less than 3 cards from the kitty. (The situation of a player who has already a good hand should not be eased more.)

   At the last place (after 3 passes) it is possible to bid without an honour and get cards from the kitty, but if the player does not get any honour, after annulling the game he alone has to pay into the ultimo pot (if it is used). He has to pay the value of a doubled 3 contract game (2 units) multiplied by the number of the players [4 or 5]. (If the last player did not try to play, everybody [the dealer as well] has to pay 2 units.) If the ultimo pot is not used, then he has to pay 2 units to all 3 players in the current game. (If he made a higher bid, he would have to pay the higher price of course. Though it is a theoretical case, because it is wrong and too risky to do this.) If he gets an honour from the kitty, he has to play the game anyway.


Annulling the game and the ultimo pot


   The game can be annulled in 4 cases (it is also worthwhile but not expected except the 4th case) after getting cards from the kitty but before announcing bonuses:

 ♠ Only suit cards in a hand [including the cards from the kitty];

 ♠ singleton XXI (and only suit cards [including the cards from the kitty]) in a hand;

 ♠ 4 kings in a hand;

 ♠ Everybody passes or in case of a failed attempt by the last player to get an honour from the kitty.

   If the 1st or the 2nd case can be created only by discarding one or more trumps, the game cannot be annulled. (This is a very bad habbit, it decreases the amount of the interesting games.) There is a strong tradition of annulling the game with singleton pagat or with a dubleton pagat and XXI, though there is no logic behind them and it also decreases the amount of interesting games, so they are not recommended. (Though these cases are fortunately very rare, the players should be agreed about it before playing.)

   If a game is annulled, 2 units should be paid in the “ultimo pot” by each players (except in case of a failed attempt by the last player to get a honour from the kitty when he has to pay the whole amount alone). This amount can be won out by an announced pagat ultimo and it has to be doubled (by the announcer and his partner) if an announced pagat ultimo is failed. It is not obligatory to use “ultimo pot” but it makes the game more interesting, because when it has a relatively big amount it modifies the worthwhile strategy in long term that should be followed by the players. The amount that can be won out or doubled at once should be limited in 24 (or if there are 5 players then 25) units per player. (In the rare case when somebody plays the game alone [by intentionally calling himself with the XX or not intentionally calling a discarded trump], he wins or doubles alone as much as he and his partner would win or double if they were two in the team. That means he alone can win out or has to double the pot, or at least the limited amount [48 or 50 units]) The “ultimo pot” should not be created directly (before the first deal and right after it has been won out).
  All the other procedures (for example a round [4 games] with doubled units) that are caused by annulling a game are unserious habits.


   So to make the (Paskievics tarokk) game the fairest and most interesting, it is recommended to play with the rules that are described before. The rules that have to be agreed are the followings (in order of importance): reverse invitations (and the invitations when 3 players bid), if a player can announce high game and volat (in 2 rounds of announcements), the cases when a game can be annulled and the usage of the ultimo pot and if the 3 contract game is played when the declarer announced trull and nothing else and all the other players only passed. I have written down the alternatives because of the strong traditions, but it is guaranteed that the game will be the most interesting by accepting the written recommendations in long term. (And also it is guaranteed that one can win the most or lose the less in long term by following the strategies written on the main page.) Behind these seemingly assertive statements there are quite a lot of experience and even more mathematical and statistical considerations.