value 23 (sum of all 3 cards)
value 17 (9 + 8)
value 11 (the ace is worth more than the spades)
value 10 (the jack)
Determine the first dealer in
any manner you desire. The deal rotates clockwise with each
hand. The cards are shuffled and the dealer deals the cards
singly, starting with the player to dealer's left and
continuing clockwise until everyone has a hand of three cards.
The next card is turned face up
on the table to start the discard pile, and the remaining
undealt cards are placed face down next to it to form the
stock. During play, the discard pile is always kept
"squared up" so that only the top card is visible
and available to be taken.
The player to dealer's left
begins and the turn passes clockwise around the table. A
normal turn consists of:
- drawing the top card either
from the stock or from the discard pile;
- discarding one card on top
of the discard pile.
Note that if you choose to take
the top card from the discard pile, it is illegal to discard
the same card, leaving the position unchanged. You must keep
the card you took and discard one of the cards that was
previously in your hand. However, if you draw the top card of
the stock, you are free to discard the card that you drew onto
the discard pile, leaving your hand unchanged.
If at the start of your turn,
you believe that your hand value is at least as high as your
opponents can achieve with one more turn, you can knock
instead of drawing a card. Knocking ends your turn; you must
keep the hand you had at the start of that turn, but each
other player gets one final turn to draw and discard. After
the player to the knocker's right has discarded, all players
reveal their cards. Each player decides which suit is their
point suit, and totals up their cards in that suit.
The player with the lowest
hand value loses a life. If there is a tie
involving the knocker, the other player(s) lose a life, but
the knocker is safe. The knocker loses if his or her score is
lower than that of every other player, and in that case the
knocker loses two lives. If there is a tie
for lowest between two or more players other than the knocker,
then both (all) of those players lose a life.
There is just one case where it
is possible to pick up your own discard. This happens
when there are only two players left in the game and your
opponent knocks. The card you discarded just before the knock
is still on top of the pile, so it is now available for you to
take back if you want it - for example if you had just broken
up a suit for tactical reasons you can now restore it.
If after drawing and
discarding, or with the cards originally dealt, a player
achieves hand value of 31, they show their cards immediately
and claim victory. In this case all the other
players lose. A player who gets 31 can declare it even after
another player has knocked; victory is immediate and all the
other players lose. If it happens that two or more players get
31 on the initial deal then all the players other than those
with 31 lose.
The normal way of scoring in Scat
is that each player begins the game with three pennies. When
you lose a life, you have to put one of your pennies into the
kitty in the centre of the table. If you knock and lose,
having the sole lowest hand, you pay two pennies (if you have
If someone declares 31, all the
other players have to put a penny in the kitty. If someone
declares 31 after another player has knocked, the knocker just
pays one penny, like everyone else.
If you have no money left,
having lost all three of your pennies, you are said to be
"on the county" (meaning on the dole, on welfare,
receiving charity from the county, etc.), or "on your
face". If you lose while on the county, you are out of
the game. The game continues until only one player has not
been eliminated, and that player is the winner.
Some play that 3-of-a-kind of
any rank counts as 30 (or 30.5) points. When it counts 30, it
ties with three ten-point cards of the same suit. If it counts
30.5, it beats all hands except Scat.
Rarely, people play that any
straight-flush (three cards of the same suit in sequence) is
worth 30 (except for A-K-Q, which is 31).
Some play that there is a
minimum score with which you are allowed to knock - for
example 17, 19 or 21.
A variant played in
Philadelphia and perhaps elsewhere is the "throw-down".
Without first looking at the cards, the first
player to the left of the dealer can call a "throw
down" by exposing the hand. Everyone must show their
cards immediately - no one gets to draw a card. The
"throw down" is treated like the "knock"
in that if the player who called it has the lowest hand value,
the penalty is two "lives". Obviously, this round of
the game takes very little time, thus speeding up the game.
Ride the Bus
has a different way of keeping track of wins and losses. All
players start out "seated" at the back of the bus.
Players who lose a hand move toward the front in a sequence.
The sequence is usually: first, you stand at the back of the
bus, then you are in the middle of the bus, then at the front
of the bus, then you are on the stairs, then you are off the
bus. Players who are no longer "riding the bus" are
out of play. Winning a hand simply keeps your position; you do
not move back a step if you win a hand.
The scoring system of Ride the
Bus can be changed to suit how many hands people want to play.
Because this game is very casual, this often happens in the
middle of the game by mutual agreement of all players; for
example, a player who is "on the stairs" loses
another hand and would normally be out of play, but since
everyone is having so much fun, it is declared that the player
is "on the second step" or "asking the
driver to stop" instead of out. If extra levels are
introduced, they apply to all players.
On the site Cribbage.ca is a
description of a French Canadian version of 31
in which after a player has knocked and everyone else has
taken a turn, the player with the highest score is
awarded one point. If there is a tie the player who did not
knock wins it. Presumably if there is a tie between two
players neither of whom knocked they get a point each. A
player who makes 31 declares it and score a point immediately.
The game apparently goes on until someone reaches a score of
31 - a long game.