First described in 1674 as "Five Fingers" (which, in this game, is a slang term for the five of trumps), Spoil Five is ancient and features elements that date back much further in time. The game's long popularity attests to its excellent play value. One variation, Twenty-Five, is a prominent game in Ireland. Yet another version, Forty-Five, is extremely popular in Nova Scotia.
While two to 10 people can play as individuals, the game is best for five or six.
The standard 52-card pack is used.
The ace of hearts is always third-best trump. There are 13 trumps when hearts are trump, 14 when any other suit is trump. Rank of spot cards is different in red and black suits.
Rank in trump suit:
Spades and clubs: 5 (high), J, A, A, K, Q, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Hearts: 5 (high), J, A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2.
Diamonds: 5 (high), J, A, A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2.
Rank of cards in plain suits (no trump):
Spades and clubs: K (high), Q, J, A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Diamonds: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A.
Hearts: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
The rule to remember is, "Low in black, high in red."
Any player shuffles the pack and deals the cards face up, one at a time to each player in rotation, beginning with the player at his left, until a jack is turned up. The player who gets the jack deals first. Thereafter, the turn to deal passes from each player to the player at his left. The dealer may shuffle last, and the player at the dealer's right cuts.
The dealer completes the cut and deals five cards to each player clockwise - three, then two (or two, then three) in rotation, to the left, beginning with the player on his left. After the deal is completed, the next card is turned over to indicate trump.
Robbing the Trump. The player holding the ace of the trump suit may exchange any card in his hand for the turned card. If the player does not choose to make this exchange, he must ask the dealer to turn down the trump card, thus announcing who holds the ace (otherwise that player's ace becomes lowest trump, even if it is the ace of hearts). If an ace is turned, the dealer may discard at once and take the ace into his hand after the first trick, or may play with his original hand, announcing this intention.
Object of The Game. The goal is to accumulate the most chips by winning tricks.
The Play. The player on the dealer's left leads any card. Each player, in turn, must follow suit if possible, or trump. If unable to follow suit, a player may play any card.
When a lower trump is led, a player is not required to follow suit with the five or jack of trumps or the ace of hearts.
A trick containing a trump is won by the highest trump played. Any other trick is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick leads next.
Scoring. Before every hand, players put one chip each into a pot. The pot may be taken by the first player to win three tricks in any deal. However, that player also has the option of continuing to play after winning three tricks. In that case, he must win all five tricks. If he does, that player wins the pot plus one chip from each opponent. If he does not win all five tricks, the player wins nothing, and the pot "rolls over" to the next hand.
Irregularities. Misdeal. There is a misdeal if too many or too few cards are dealt, if the dealer exposes a card in dealing, if the deal begins with an uncut pack (provided a new deal is demanded before the deal is completed), or if the dealer counts the cards on the table or in the pack. If there is a misdeal, the deal passes to the player on the original dealer's left.
Irregular hand. A hand with an incorrect number of cards is dead, and the other players continue play. However, if a player has won three tricks with an irregular hand before it is discovered, he wins the pot.
Revoke. If there is an illegal exposure of a card after any player has won two tricks, the offender's hand is dead, and he does not receive cards until the pot in progress is won. However, he must still add to the pot when other players do.