Welcome everyone to a series of playing 500 with a little bit of review for those who know how to play and a little bit of advice for those wishing to learn. 500 is played around the world by family and friends and has a basic set of rules.

House rules or local rules are prevalent, often different and should be discussed and made clear when attempting new games. We will be sticking to the printed rules as closely as possible to start but I am happy to modify them if enough people wish.

The basic game is for 4 people playing as pairs. It can range from 3 to 6.
The cards are shuffled and dealt.
The cards are dealt * 3 to each player, 1 to the kitty: 4 to each player and 1 to the kitty then 3 to each player and 1 to the kitty.
Everyone has 10 cards with 3 unknown in the kitty.

The 43 cards are red suits from the 3 to the Ace.
Black suits from the 4 to the Ace.
There are three special cards if playing in a suit [trumps], they are the top card, the Joker, the jack of the suit is the second highest card  called the right bower. The jack of the other suit of the same colour becomes the third highest card [left bower] in the suit called even though it did not belong to that suit originally.

There are 13 cards [trumps] in a red suit: Joker, 2 bowers [jacks] and 4-10 plus Queen, King and Ace of the suit
There are 12 cards [trumps] in a black suit: Joker, 2 bowers [jacks] and 5-10 plus Queen, King and Ace of the suit.

To start the player to the left of the dealer is the first to bid which can be a suit or a No trump starting at the 6 level going to the 10 level. Suits are called from the lowest ranking up, Spades, clubs diamonds and hearts. Higher again is no trumps where no suit is named as a trump suit.

The object is to win the stated number of tricks, or more, with your partner. The highest card wins and trumps are higher than all other cards but can only be payed if out of a suit or playing in the Trump suit.

Opponents get 10 points for each trick taken. Each increase of a level is worth a 100 points. The first team to bid to a score of 500 or more wins, If negative 500  you lose.

Today we will separate into newcomers and more experienced and play mostly 4 handed games  though if numbers are uneven we can try a table with 5 or 3 players. Pick a partner and find a table or we can just pair up alphabetically to start. Rounds will last 40 minutes and then pairs will exchange tables North south sitting still, East west going to the right

A few words on basic play.

You need two top cards, aces , Joker or bower and at least 4 cards in a suit, preferably 5 [counting left bower of the other suit and the joker as being in that suit] to bid 6 of a suit. You hope to pick up one more in Kitty.  6 small cards is always worth a bid due to the length. Kitty and your partner will provide the rest.
If you can see that you can win 6 tricks on your own you should bid 7. If you can win 7 you should bid 8.

500 is not a game for the faint hearted so there is one special rule in the  first few weeks. The opening bidder must make a 6 spade call even if they have no points and no spades*. This  is called a holding bid. The reason for this will become clear in following weeks when we learn and use misiere.

*There will be some disasters.
*Remember if you have no points and no-one else bids you only lose 40 points and they miss out on hundreds. Anyone who is the partner of a 6 spade bidder must realise that they have no support from their partner at all.

Always lead a trump when playing trumps. If you have the highest Trumps lead them. If only one of the top trumps lead a low trump and hope you have a special partner.

Raise partner 1 level with good support and 3 winners. 2 levels if you have good support and 4 winners. Remember she was counting on you and Kitty in the first place for 3 tricks.


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