Ultimate Preferans

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Preferans (Preference) is the game similar to Bridge. In Preferans, strategy and tactics often have much more effect on the final score than the card quality. Preferans rules are learned easily. However, it takes a lot of playing experience to become a truly master of Preferans.


The following text has been mostly copied from website IgrajKarte.com


Introduction

  • Preferans is played by 3 player using 32 cards (7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A). A is the strongest and 7 is the weakest card.
  • Each player gets 10 cards.
  • In order to determine who gets remaining two cards faced down from the talon, a bidding is performed before the game.
  • Bidding winner (called declarer) takes two cards from the talon, takes out two cards from his hand and decides the game to be played.
  • There are 6 games - 4 suite based with trump (spades, diamonds, hearts, and clubs), and two without trump (Bettel and Sans).
  • Sans is played without trump.
  • In Bettel, the declarer undertakes to take no tricks.
  • After the game is declared, other two players decide are they playing or not. The Bettle is an exception since everyone must play.
  • In all games player must respond by playing the same suite. For example: if the first player played hearts, the second player must play hearts too (if he/she has it).
  • In case the player doesn't have the same suite, he/she must play trump card, if he/she has it. Otherwise, any card can be played.
  • In case of Bettel and Sans, player can play any card if he/she doesn't have the same suite.
  • Players fail (get bad points) or pass (get good points) in the games they play.
  • If player fails, the following phrases are used: fell, crashed, didn't pass.

Number of Players

  • Preferans is played by three players.
  • In some variations it can also be played by four, but in that case one of them always passes one round.

Cards

  • Game is played using 32 cards: 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A.
  • A (Ace) is the strongest.

Determining the Player Order

  • At the beginning of the game, each player draws one card.
  • The player with the lowest card deals, counter-clockwise.
  • Example 1: Milenko draws 7, Nikola 9, Igor A, and Dule J. Milenko shuffles the cards. Nikola sits on right from him. Dule sits right from Nikola, Igor sits right from Dule.
  • In four-player game, the dealer doesn't play the first round.
  • Example 2: Milenko draws 9, Duško 8, and Nikola also 8. Duško and Nikola draw one more card each until their cards differ. Then the order is determined like in the first example.

Shuffling

  • It is very important to reshuffle the cards because the cards are dealt in groups of 5 and cards are probably sorted by suits from the previous round.
  • Left hand neigbour should cut the cards. Cutting is optional, but it's recommended.

Dealing

  • Starting with the player on the right, cards are dealt by 5 to each. Then 2 cards are placed face down to talon, and finally 5 more cards are dealt to each player.
  • This way everyone gets 10 cards, while 2 cards remain on talon.
  • Cards from the talon are usually called the Cup.

Bidding

  • Bidding represents contest for Cup cards (with some exceptions) and ability to call one of the 6 games.
  • Spades represents the weakest game, while the Sans is the strongest one.
  • Each game has its value: spades-2, diamonds-3, hearts-4, clubs-5, bettel-6, sans-7.
  • Player can pass or quit the bidding phase when he/she finds out that he/she is over-bidded by an opponent. In that case player says "Pass".
  • The declarer shows the talon cards and takes it to his/her hand (making total of 12 cards now). He/she must put 2 cards faced down back to the talon, and calls the game (from Spades to Sans).
  • Example 1: Milenko: "2". "Dule: "Pass". Igor: "Pass". Milenko takes the Cup cards, puts 2 cards back, and declares: "The Clubs are played", or "The Game is Clubs".
  • Declarer can declare the game he/she stopped on during the bidding phase or any other higher (stronger) game. That means that in the Example 1 Milenko could play any game (2 or higher).
  • Example 2: Milenko: "Pass". Dule: "2". Igor "3". Dule: "Pass". Igor takes the Cup and he can now play Diamonds (3) or any other higher game.
  • During the bidding phase, players can say "I can" or "I can play that game" depending on the player order.
  • Example 3: Milenko: "2". "Dule: "3". Igor: "Pass". Milenko (because he is the first): "I can 3". Igor must say "4" in order to continue bidding.
  • Example 4: Milenko: "2". "Dule: "3". Igor: "4". Milenko (because he is the first): "I can 4". Dule:"5". Igor: "Pass". Milenko: "I can 5". Dule: "6". Milenko: "I can 6". Dule: "Pass". Milenko wins the Cup and he can declare Bettel or Sans.
  • In case the first player quits the bidding, "I can" passes to the second player.
  • Example 5: Milenko: "2". "Dule: "3". Igor "4". Milenko: "Pass". Dule: "I can 4". Igor: "5". Dule: "I can 5". Igor: "6". Dule: "I can 6". Igor: "Pass". Dule wins the Cup and he can declare Bettel or Sans.
  • If all players say "Pass" then that round is skipped. Cards are reshuffled and each player puts Refa on their Scoreboard.
  • Example 6: Milenko: "Pass". "Dule: "Pass". Igor: "Pass". The round is skipped and Refa is placed on everyones scoreboard.
  • The player who doesn't put 2 cards back to the talon fails automatically.
  • There is a special case of bidding called The Game. More details on it follows.

The Game

  • During the bidding phase player can declare The Game. This means that he/she have cards good enough to pass without help from The Cup.
  • The Game is declared immediately.
  • Example 1: Milenko: "Pass". Dule: "2". Igor "The Game". Igor doesn't take The Cup cards and declares 2, 3, 4, 5, but not Sans or Bettel.
  • Bettel and Sans are declared immediately.
  • Example 2: Milenko: "Pass". Dule: "The Game Betl" or "Betl". Igor: "Pass". Dule plays Bettel.
  • Example 3: Milenko: "Pass". Dule: "The Game Betl" or "Betl". Igor: "The Game Sans" or "Sans". Igor plays sans.
  • The Game can be declared by more than one player, with limitation that the player planning to declare The Game 2 must not do that if someone has already declared The Game.
  • Example 4: Milenko: "The Game". Dule can say: "The Game" if he plans to play 3, 4, or 5, or "Bettel", or "Sans".
  • After declaring The Game Posle, players are asked the game they intend to play (Example 1) but only if the higher game hasn't already been declared.
  • Example 5: Milenko: "The Game". Dule: "The Game". Igor: "The Game". Milenko: "Mine is 2", Dule: "Mine is 5", "Igor: "Mine is lower". That means Igor doesn't declare his game, since the game 5 has already been declared.
  • What happens if two players target the same game? For this very rare situation the rules are not clear. By some rules, the first player is Declarer. Or he/she can let the second player that role and than play Counter.
  • The Game is valued one point more than standard. The Game 2 counts as standard game with Diamonds as a trump (3), The Game 3 counts as standard Hearts (4), and so on.

Following

  • Declarer (bidding winner) declares the game to be played..
  • In Bettel everyone follows by default, while in other games each player declares whether he follows or not.
  • Player from the right declares if he follows by saying "I follow" or "I don't follow".
  • The third player declares: "I follow" or "I don't follow"
  • Example 1: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I don't follow". Nikola: "I follow". The round is played by Milenko and Nikola.
  • Example 2: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I follow". Nikola: "I follow". All three play.
  • Example 3: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I don't follow". Nikola: "I don't follow". The round is not played, and Milenko takes 10 tricks.
  • The player who follows can "call" the player that doesn't follow. The calling player is being punished by points if he lets the Declarer to take more than 6 tricks. On the other hand, the calling player is rewarded with all the tricks the Declarer doesn't win. Trick taken from the Declarer is called Supa and is discussed more in chapter 13.
  • Example 4: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I follow". Nikola: "I don't follow". Duško "I call". All three players play this round.
  • Example 5: Milenko: "I play Hearts". Duško: "I don't follow". Nikola: "I follow. I call.". All three players play this round.
  • Also, all players play when the Counter is called.

The Counter

  • If the Following player is convinced that he can crash the Declarer, he can declare Counter.
  • The Counter requires the follower to take 5 trick (along with other follower, summarized).
  • In case of The Counter, all points (good and bad) are multiplied by 2.
  • The follower that declared The Counter takes all the responsibility and takes all negative or positive points earned against the Declarer.
  • The other follower takes no points and just helps the player who declared The Counter to crash the Declarer.
  • The Counter is declared after Followings.
  • Example 1: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Duško "The Counter".
  • Since the Counter is optional during the game, player whose turn is to declare Counter must let other players know if he does or doesn't have the Counter. If he doesn't have it, he says "It's ok".
  • Example 2: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Duško: "It's ok". That means he doesn't have the Counter. Nikola: "Counter."
  • Example 3: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Duško: "It's ok". That means he doesn't have the Counter. Nikola: "It's ok." That means the game is without Counter.
  • The player that doesn't follow plays the game if the Counter is declared.
  • Example 4: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Nikola: "Counter." All three play.
  • Example 5: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško: "I don't follow". Nikola: "I follow and Counter." All three play.
  • If the Declarer is convinced he will not fail, he can play Re-Counter on the Counter.
  • If the Re-Counter is declared, all points are multiplied by 2 again.
  • Example 6: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško:"I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Duško "It's ok. Counter." Milenko: "Re-Counter"
  • After Re-Counter received, the Follower can declare Sub-Counter. After that the Declarer can play Mort-Counter.
  • Both Sub-Counter and Mort-Counter double the points.
  • Example 7: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško:"I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Duško "It's ok". "Coutner." Milenko: "Re-Counter". Nikola: "Sub-Counter". Regular points are multiplied by 8.
  • Example 8: Milenko: "I play Clubs". Duško:"I follow". Nikola: "I follow". Duško "It's ok". "Coutner." Milenko: "Re-Counter". Nikola: "Sub-Counter". Milenko: "Mort-Counter". Regular points are multiplied by 16.
  • The Counter is mandatory when the Declarer plays Spades. The Counter is not mandatory for Spades-Game.
  • Example 9: Milenko: "I play Spades". Duško:"I follow". Nikola: "I follow." Duško "It's ok". Nikola "It's ok". That means no Counter and Spades is not played.
  • In case that no Counter on Spades is given then the Refa (doubling) occurs, or the Declarer passes if no more Refa available.

Refa

  • Having in mind some exceptions, Refa usually occurs when all players say "Pass" during the bidding phase or no Counter on Spades is played.
  • If the maximum number of Refa occured or at least one player is under the hat or "is negative", Refa does not occur. These terms are defined in next section.
  • If the Declarer has unplayed Refa, all points are doubled. Maintaining the scoreboard is the topic of the next section.
  • Example 1: Igor plays Clubs. He has 2 Refa not played, so the points for this game are doubled.
  • After the game with Refa is played, the Declarer marks his Refa as played.
  • Example 2: After the Clubs played, Igor marks one of his Refa and now he has one more left.

Playing the Game

  • The player who started the bidding plays first. If he doesn't play then the one on his right plays first.
  • When Sans is played the game starts through the Declarer. That means the player from his left plays first.
  • The first player plays the card on the table. The second one responds on the suite. The third player responds on the suite (if he/she plays). The player with the biggest card takes the trick.
  • Example 1: Milenko plays Hearts-A. Duško plays Haerts-7. Nikola plays Hearts-9. Milenko takes the trick.
  • If the game with trump is played and player can not respond with the same suite, he/she must play the trump. The trump is always stronger.
  • Example 2: The trump is Spade. Milenko plays Hearts-A. Duško plays Hearts-7. Nikola has no Hearts and playes Spades-7. Nikola takes the trick.
  • If the game with trump is played and player can not respond with the same suite and has no more trumps, he/she can play any card.
  • If Sans and Bettel is played and if player can not respond with the same suite, he/she can play any card.
  • Tricks from 2 to 10 are played in the same manner as the first one.
  • At the end of the game/hand players count tricks in order to determine who passes and who fails.
  • If the game with trump or the Sans is played, the Declarer must take at least 6 trick in order to pass.
  • If the Bettel is played, the Declarer must not take any trick. The Followers do not fail, except one of them declared the Counter.
  • The Follower must take 2 tricks or 4 tricks together with other Follower in order to pass.
  • The Player who called passes if he/she takes at least 4 tricks along with called player.
  • The player who declared the Counter or Sub-Counter must take at least 5 tricks along with the third player, in order to pass.

Scoring

  • Players starts with initial amount of points at the beginning of the game. These starting points are also called "Bula".
  • Players agrees on the amount of starting Bula. The game of 100 Bula usually takes about 2 hours.
  • The Declarer goal is to pass, in order to lower the Bula number.
  • The Follower's goal is to pass, in order to increase number of points against the Declarer. These points are also called Supa.
  • The final score represents the sum of Supa and Bula.
  • Example 1: Here is how to track the scoreboard. Create 3 columns. Your name and initial Bula (100 in this example) goes in the middle. Left and right columns are used to enter Supa against left and right player. If you play in four, add another column for the fourth player. Supa and Bula are automatically calculated after each game. "-----" is the symbol for Refa. "--/--" is the symbol for played refa.
    Left Player (Your Name)
    100
    Right Player
    32 90 40
    52 --/-- 80
    62 ----- 96
    70
  • The game is over when the all players' Bula sum equals 0.
  • Example 2: Milenko has 10 Bula, Duško has 8 Bula, and Nikola has -18 Bula, The sum is 0, which means the game is over.
  • Example 3: Milenko has 20 Bula, Duško has 10 Bula, and Nikola has -10 Bula, The sum is greater than 0, which means the game is still on.
  • Bula count is determined based on the game played by the Declarer; if passed player subtracts Score = Game * 2; if failed player adds Score = Game * 2. Spades=2, Diamond=3, Hearts=4, Clubs=5, Bettel=6, Sans=7 Game-Spades=3, Game-Diamonds=4, Game-Hearts=5, Game-Clubs=6, Game-Bettel=7, Game-Sans=8 As mentioned earlier, if Counter, Re-Counter, Sub-Counter or Mort-Counter is played then the Score is doubled. That is multiplied by 2, 4, 8 or 16.
  • Example 4: Milenko passed on Clubs. Duško failed, and Nikola passed. Milenko subtracts 10 Bula, Duško adds 10 and Nikola's Bula remain the same.
  • Example 5: Milenko passed on Game-Karo. Duško passed, and Nikola failed. Milenko subtracts 8 Bula, Duško remains the same, and Nikola adds 8.
  • Example 6: Milenko passed on Bettel. Igor declared the Counter and failed. Milenko subtracts 12 Bula, Igor adds 12, and Duško remains the same.
  • Tradicional Preferans players uses the term "The Hat" to mark the transition from positive to negative Bula.
  • Example 7: Milenko has 8 Bula and passes on Bettel. Now he draws The Hat under his current score and writes 4 under it. That means the current score is 4 under The Hat.
  • Example 8: Alternatively, Duško (who draws very bad) has 8 Bula and passes on Bettel. He writes -4 under the 8.
  • If there is at least one player with negative Bula (under The Hat), no one marks Refa.
  • Supa counts based on taken tricks (except for Bettel) as Supa = Tricks*Game*2. Spades=2, Diamond=3, Hearts=4, Clubs=5, Bettel=6, Sans=7 Game-Spades=3, Game-Diamonds=4, Game-Hearts=5, Game-Clubs=6, Game-Bettel=7, Game-Sans=8 Also, if Counter, Re-Counter, Sub-Counter or Mort-Counter is played then the Supa is doubled. That is multiplied by 2, 4, 8 or 16.
  • Example 9: Milenko takes 6 tricks on Clubs. Duško and Nikola follow and take 2 tricks each. In that case, both Nikola and Duško writes 2*5*2=20 Supa against Milenko.
  • Example 10: Milenko takes 6 tricks on Clubs. Duško takes 3 tricks and Nikola takes 1. Duško writes 30 Supa and Nikola writes 10 against Milenko.
  • Example 11: Milenko takes 7 tricks on Hearts. Duško calls Nikola and they take 3 tricks together. Duško writes all Supa 3*4*2=24 (but he also fails).
  • Example 12: Sekula fails the Counter on Game-Clubs. Jasmin played The Counter. In this case, Supa = Tricks*Game-Clubs*2*2(because_of_Refa) = 5*6*2*2 = 120.
  • Example 13: Filip failed Re-Counter on Clubs. Igor declared the Counter and writes 5*3*2*4(Re-Counter)*2(Refa) = 240 Supa against Filip.
  • If the Declarer fails on Bettel, the Followers write 60 Supa. If the Declarer fails on Game-Bettel, the Followers write 70 Supa.
  • If the game must be ended before the Bula sum is 0, then each player subtracts the same Bula amount so the Sum is 0.
  • Example 14: Nikola has 20 Bula, Duško 30, and Milenko 40. That means there is still 90 to play (20+30+40). Everyone subtracts 30 Bula, so Nikola now has -10, Duško has 0, and Milenko has 10.
  • If the players can not lower for the same Bula amount, than the worst player subtracts little bit more than the player with better score.
  • Example 15: Nikola has 24 Bula, Duško has 34, and Milenko has 28 - means there is still 86 to play. Nikola subtracts 28 Bula, Duško subtracts 29, a Milenko subtracts 29.
  • Example 16: Nikola has 8 Bula, Duško has 2, and Milenko has 0 - means there is still 10 to play. Nikola subtracts 4 Bula, Duško subtracts 3, and Milenko subtracts 3.

Final Score

  • Final result = -(Sum_Of_Your_Supa_Agains_Others)+(Sum_Of_Supa_Against_You)+Final_Bula_Number*10
  • Example 1: Nikola ends with 12 Bula, 100 Supa against Milenko and 100 against Dusko. Duško claims 80 Supa from Nikola, and Milenko claims 40. Nikola's score is -(100+100)+(80+40)+12*10 = 40.
  • The result below 0 means "Good", and the result above 0 means "Bad".
  • Example 2: From the previous example, Nikola finished 40-bad.
  • For some traditional reasons, players sometimes puts + on Good result, and - on Bad one.

Special Rules

  • There are several rule variations.
  • Going down on Spades when no Counter is declared is allowed when all Refa is played and (a) player is below The Hat or (b) always.
  • If the last game is played and there is a fail than (a) the failed player's Bula is doubled and other players takes standard Supa(not doubled) or (b) fail is written as usual.

Agreements

  • Before the game starts, players can make agreement to use several rules that are valid only for that game. For example:
  • The player who stops on 2,3,4 or 5 during the bidding phase must have at least 3 trumps.
  • The player who stops on 2,3,4 or 5 during the bidding phase must have at least 3 trumps where the strongest of them is Queen, King, or Ace.
  • If the player called on Sans plays first, he/she must start from the bid of the player who declared the Counter. If the player who declared the Counter didn't bid, then the starting card must be (1) Clubs, if no Counter was declared, (2) Spades, there was a Counter.
  • When someone starts on Spades, he/she must have at least 2 Aces, or one trump trick and one Ace.
  • In case that one player does not follow, the Follower and the Declarer can make agreement on the number of tricks to be taken.
  • Example 1: Miran plays Clubs, Milenko follows, Duško doesn't follow. Milenko: "You give me three?". Miran: "Yes". Miran subtracts 10, and Milenko writes 3 tricks and that round is not played.
  • Some experienced players ban bad play (some obvious mistakes) with fail. For example, if it turns out that the follower A fails because of the obvious mistake of follower B, B fails instead of A and writes his Supa.

Opponent Relationsships

  • Followers play against the Declarer as partners. This means they try to take as much as possible tricks together, even at the expense of one of the followers.
  • Example 1: Nikola plays Clubs. He starts with Queen-Clubs. Duško plays Kink-Clubs. Milenko has Ace-Clubs and 7-Clubs. Since Duško already played stronger card than Nikola's Queen, Milenko plays 7-Clubs because Duško is his partner. Milenko will later take the trick with Ace-Clubs.
  • Player who is called to play by another follower or plays because of the Counter, plays in order to help the follower. This means, every card played must help the follower.



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