3-7 players (4-5 best) - 1 pack (52)
A game consists of several deals, the turn to deal passing to the left. In the first deal each player receives one card; in the second, two; in the third, three; and so on, the cards being gathered in and shuffled at the end of each deal. This continues until there are not enough cards to go around for the next deal, so the number of deals in a game depends on the number of players. At each deal each player’s object is to take exactly as many tricks as he bid – neither more nore fewer.
Deal the appropriate number of cards and turn up the next to establish a trump suit. If no cards are left over, play at no trump. Starting at dealer’s left, each player announces how many of the tricks he proposes to win – i.e., none or one in the first deal; none, one or two in the second, and so on. Dealer notes his bid for future reference and, after bidding himself, announces whether the total of bids equals, exceeds or undercuts the number of tricks to be played. Eldest hand leads and normal rules of trick-taking are applied: follow suit if possible; if not, trump or renounce ad lib. The winner of one trick leads to the next.
A player who takes exactly the number of tricks he bid scores that number plus 10; any other result scores nothing. (Some players vary the score for bidding and taking no tricks – e.g., 5 plus the number of tricks in the deal.)
Most variants are concerned only with the scoring. There is, however, a version called Up the River, Down the River in which, when the maximum card deal has been played, the whole sequence is gone through again in reverse, so that the last deal is again of one card and one trick. In this version, too, players bid by simultaneously raising their hands with the appropriate number of fingers extended. This prevents one from being influenced by another’s bid.