Belote is a French card game, typically played by four players with a deck of 32 cards. Playing with 2 or 3 players is also an option. It is quite similar to Baloot, which is enjoyed in the Middle East and North Africa. Belote is most popular in Europe, particularly in France, Belgium, and Switzerland.
With popularity comes variety. Thus, Belote is also known by several other names, including Belotte, Belot, Belote Coinche, and Coinche. These different names reflect regional variations in the game and preferred rulesets in different countries.
The game’s objective is to reach a predetermined number of points, usually 501 or 1,000 first. You want to reach that as a single player or as a team, depending on the number of players. Players gain points by winning tricks and declaring specific combinations of cards.
First, the dealer deals all 32 cards to the players. Then players can bid to play with a certain trump suit or no trump suit at all. Bidding goes on until three players pass in the bidding.
The player to the dealer’s right starts the round by playing any card. Then, the other players must follow suit if possible. If they cannot follow suit, they cannot win the trick. The player contributing the highest card of the suit that was played first in this trick wins this trick and leads the next one.
But before the first trick of a round is over, players can meld, which means announcing and showing certain combinations of cards from their hand to gain bonus points for themselves or their team in the final scoring. The following combinations can be announced:
- Tierce: a sequence of three; worth 20 points
- Quarte: a sequence of four; worth 50 points.
- Quinte: a sequence of five; is worth 100 points
- Carré: 4 of the same rank
- Of Jacks worth 200 points
- Of Nines: worth 150 points
- Of Aces, Kings, Queens, Tens: worth 100 points
After announcing the card combinations, all players continue playing tricks as described above until all tricks are played. Then it is time for scoring.
During scoring, each card won per player or team is scored in addition to the respective points from melds and a bonus for taking the final trick.
Then, the next round can begin. This continues until one player or team reaches a certain score, for example, 501 or 1,000 points, and wins!
If you are interested in the concept of combining trick-taking with announcing card combinations, why not have a look at our Pinochle Palace?