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Preference

Game Type
Trick Taking
Age
Adults
Players
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Deck
Standard

Preference is played in parts of Europe, including summer resorts in Russia and the Ukraine. There are several versions of the game.

Number of Players. Three people can play this version.

The Pack. The standard 52-card pack is stripped to remove the sixes down through the deuces, leaving a 32 card-deck.

Rank of Cards. A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7.

Rank of Suits. Hearts is the highest suit, followed by diamonds, clubs, and then spades which is low. Hearts is known as the "preference suit."

The Draw, Shuffle, and Cut. From a shuffled pack spread face down, each player draws a card. The highest card deals first, and thereafter the deal passes to the left.

Any player may shuffle, the dealer last. The player on the dealer's right cuts.

The Deal. The dealer completes the cut and distributes the cards clockwise in packets of three, face down, clockwise, to each player. The dealer then deals a widow of two cards, face down, to the center of the table. Finally, the dealer deals each player a packet of four cards and another packet of three cards. Each player should have a hand of 10 cards, so that along with the two-card widow, all 32 cards are distributed.

Object of the Game. Each player attempts to make the highest bid and then fulfill it.

Stakes. Chips are used and the players must agree beforehand how many chips will be placed in the pot, how many chips will be paid from the pot to the successful bidder, and finally, how many will be paid to the pot by a bidder who fails to fulfill his contract.

Bidding. The bidding in this game is only for the right to name the trump suit, not for the number of tricks expected to be won.

Starting with the player to the dealer's left, each player either bids a suit or passes. A player bids the suit he would prefer to use as trumps in order to make at least six tricks. Players bid only once, and any subsequent bid must be in a higher-ranking suit. If all the players pass on the first round, there is a second round of bidding. For this extra round, a player either passes or, in turn, places extra chips in the pool. The person who puts in the highest number of chips wins the bid and names the trump suit. The winning bidder then has the option of discarding two cards and picking up the two-card widow to add to his hand. (When a bid is made on the first round, the widow is left unused.)

The Play. The player to the left of the winning bidder leads first. A player must follow suit if possible. If not, he may trump or discard. The highest trump or the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner of a trick leads next. When all 10 tricks have been played, the players settle their scores.
Settlement. If the bidder fulfills his bid by taking six or more tricks, he receives the agreed-upon amount of chips from the pot. If the player fails to take at least six tricks, he puts an agreed-on number of chips into the pot.