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  1. Play Bid Whist With Jokers
  2. What Is Whist
  3. Whist Game Wiki
  4. Whist Game Open
  5. Whist Game - Image Results


The Whist card game is a trick-taking card game of English origin, finding play since the early 18th century. Unlike other trick taking games, the Whist game is split into two phases.

How to Play Whist for Beginners?

Whist is a game designed for 2 or 4 players. Whist’s most classic form involves 4 players, but has since been superseded by the 2-player variant, which adds the multi-phase stages which rewards thinking ahead.

Bid Whist Plus presents a classic trick-taking card game where bidding determines the trump suit and ranking of cards. Play Classic Bid Whist with essential partnerships and bidding, or try Solo and Whist variants to play without partners or where the trump suit is pre-determined with each round. See full list on Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was widely played in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the rules are simple, there is scope for scientific play.

All you need to play Whist is the standard52-card Anglo American deck with Jokers removed. The following guide will befocused on the 2-player variation of Whist.

The Goal

In Whist, the aim is to win the most tricks in the 2nd phase. The player winning the most tricks will win the round. Before the game begins,players specify a point threshold. The player reaching the point thresholdfirst across multiple rounds wins the game.


Before the game begins, a dealer isdetermined by card splitting. The player drawing the higher card will be thedealer.

Each player is dealt 13 cards, one at atime. The remaining 26 cards are set aside to form the draw pile. The top cardof the draw pile is flipped over, and the suit of the revealed card will be thetrump suit for the round.

Trick-taking in Whist

Trick-taking involves each player plays acard. The player who leads the trick determines the leading suit, and theopponent must follow-suit if possible. Note that this rule is different fromother trick-taking card games, where players can choose to forfeit rounds bynot following suit even if they can.

If both players follow suit, the playerplaying the highest-ranked card will win the trick. Players can also overridesuits by playing the trump suit, which outranks other cards.

The player winning the trick will lead thenext trick.

Phase 1

  • The 1st phase of Whist gives players the chance to improve their hands. On each trick, the top 2 cards of the draw pile are at stake.
  • The winning player takes the revealed top card of the draw pile, and the losing player takes the unrevealed 2nd card of the draw pile.
  • The non-dealer leads the first trick. The leading player can choose to deliberately lose the trick by playing a low-rank card if the revealed top card is not desirable.
  • After each trick, the cards used in the trick are discarded and are not used in the remainder of the round. The next top card is revealed and the process repeats until all 26 from the draw pile are removed.

Phase 2

  • The player winning the final trick of Phase 1 will lead the first trick of Phase 2.
  • In phase 2, the game proceeds like a usual trick-taking game, with the same rules as the first phase.
  • Players play tricks with the winning player leading the next. Players must follow suit whenever possible. Each winning trick is kept by the player.
  • Players are then scored based on the number of tricks they’ve won.
  • The player winning the round then becomes the dealer for the next round. This continues until one player has reached the specified point threshold.

Whist Rules

The basic Whist game rules for 2 players are:

  • The dealer is determined by deck splitting.
  • Each player is dealt 13 cards each, with the remaining cards forming the draw pile.
  • The top card of the draw pile is revealed. The suit becomes the trump suit for the round.
  • Phase 1 begins allowing players to improve their hands by replacing cards by winning tricks. The winning player gets the top revealed card, and the losing player gets the unrevealed 2nd card.
  • Once all cards are depleted from the draw pile, Phase 2 begins. Players play out tricks using the cards from hand, and the player winning more tricks wins the round.

Scoring & Tricks

Whist scoring is based on the final number oftricks won after Phase 2 concludes. Each trick won is worth 1 point each, andthe winning player is awarded the difference between tricks won.

For example:

  • Player 1: 8 tricks won
  • Player 2: 5 tricks won

Play Bid Whist With Jokers

Player 1 wins and is awarded 3 points.

Hand Example

This is a whist hand played in Phase 1, showing how playerscan improve their hands.

Trick 1

Revealed Card: 5♦
Player 1’s hand: J♦ 8♦ 4♦ 3♦ K♣ J♣ 10♣ 6♠ 4♠ 2♠ A♥ K♥ 2♥
Player 2’s hand: A♦ K♦ 10♦ 8♦ 7♦ 9♣ 8♣ 7♣ 5♣ Q♠ J♠ 10♠ 7♥

Since the first card is the trump suit for the round, it is always desirable, and players should always seek to win the trick for it. Player 1 leads the trick, and plays theA♥ to guarantee the trick. Player 2 must follow suit, and plays their only 7♥.

Player 1 wins the trick and gets the card. Player 2 gets the unrevealed 2nd card of the draw pile, which is a Q♣.

Trick 2

Revealed Card:Q♦
Player 1’s hand: J♦ 8♦ 5♦ 4♦ 3♦ K♣ J♣ 10♣ 6♠ 4♠ 2♠ K♥ 2♥
Player 2’s hand: A♦ K♦ 10♦ 8♦ 7♦ Q♣ 9♣ 8♣ 7♣ 5♣ Q♠ J♠ 10♠

Since Player 1 won the 1st trick, they lead the 2nd trick as well. Knowing that Player 2 does not have good cards from the ♥ suit, Player 1 plays their K♥ card. Player 2 is unable to follow suit since they do not have a card from the ♥ suit. Hence, Player 2 plays their 7♦ card, which wins by default since it is of the trump suit.

This continues until all cards are removed.

Strategy and Tips

  • The main aspect of whist strategy is to improve your hand during the 1st phase.
  • Try to anticipate what cards your opponent has to win tricks.
  • Play out lower ranked cards when you know you can’t win tricks.
  • Count cards, there are only 1 card of each suit and rank.
  • Know that you can bluff by deliberately losing tricks.
  • Try to win as many tricks as possible to maintain momentum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I play Whistonline for free?

What Is Whist

Whist can be played online through simulators, such as on They also offer popular games like go Euchre and Cribbage.

Does thisgame have variations?

Whist has popular variations such as Bid Whist and Knockout Whist.

What is the highest card rank in Whist?

In Whist, Aces are the highest rank, and 2s are the lowest.

Whist Game

How to play 4-player Whist?

4-player Whist removes the 1st phase, but retains the rule that players must follow suit if possible.

Card games are a great way to spend time with family and friends. They’re even better when you get to team up. The whist card game is played by two teams of two players each with the goal of winning hands based on the value of the cards you’re dealt. Its basic rules are easy to learn, making it a perfect game for beginners, but the game is deceptively simple, and strategy is important. And while a game of classic whist passes quickly, variants of the game are easy to master and can extend play as long as everyone’s up for it.

What Is the Whist Card Game?

Whist is a trick-taking game. (Tricks are sets of cards counted as a unit. Don’t worry: If you’re not familiar with the term, it will become clear.) The whist card game evolved from card games popular in England in the 1500s like Ruff and Honors. In the 1700s, formal rules were codified; a century later, they were revised. Over the centuries, the game has evolved, and it has inspired other trick-taking games such as contract bridge. It’s still considered the national card game of England, where whist drives are popular fundraising and social events.

How To Play

The whist card game is played by four people. It uses a standard 52-card deck, although it is traditional to play with an extra deck so that the dealer’s partner can shuffle as the dealer hands out cards from the live deck, making the game proceed more quickly. With the exception noted below, cards rank from ace high to two low.

To determine teams, each player draws a card from the deck. The players with the two highest cards play together. The player with the lowest card is the dealer. (Ace is the lowest card for determining partnerships and dealer.)

The player to the dealer’s left shuffles the deck, and the player to the dealer’s right cuts it. Starting with the player on the dealer’s left and going clockwise, the dealer hands out cards face down.

Whist Game Wiki

At the end, each player has 13 cards. The final card which goes to the dealer is placed face up in the middle of the table. This card is the trump card, and its suit is the trump suit.

The player to the dealer’s left lays down any card he or she chooses face up in the center of the table. Going clockwise, the other players must lie down cards that match the suit of the first card if possible (these cards “follow suit”); otherwise, they may choose a card of another suit.

On the first turn, when the play reaches the dealer, he or she may pick up the trump card and lay down a different card, or leave the card, using it as his or her play for that turn. As with the other players, the dealer must follow suit if possible.

Once the dealer has played, the winning partnership is awarded the trick. Tricks are won by the team that laid down the highest card that follows suit, unless any card in the trump suit was laid down, in which case the team that laid down the highest card in the trump suit collects the trick.

Whist Game Open

The winning team takes the cards and places them to the side face down. A player may ask to review the cards before the next hand deals, but once a new hand is on the table, tricks must remain face down.

The player who laid down the winning card now leads the next hand, placing any card he or she wishes, face-up in the center of the table. The game continues until players discard all 13 cards in their hands.

At the end of a round, partnerships count up the number of tricks they’ve won. The first six tricks are considered a “book”; they do not count toward a partnership’s points. Only tricks above six count. For example, if one partnership won five tricks, and the other won eight tricks, the score would be zero points to two.

The play continues until one partnership reaches an agreed-upon number of points. Traditionally, the game continues until one partnership reaches five points, although the players can agree to other point totals. While five points is typical in English play, American Whist goes to seven points, and Long Whist goes to nine.

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Tips, Strategies, & More

As with any game that has a long history, whist players observe both formal rules and a system of etiquette designed to facilitate the play. Players are highly discouraged from commenting on their hands. Signaling to a partner is also forbidden.

The whist card game has several variants. For games with higher point goals, players may wish to add “honours” points: If a partnership has all the face cards from three suits between their two hands, they receive two extra points; if they have the face cards from all four suits, they receive four extra points. These points are calculated at the end of each hand, but they can’t be used to win a game. For example, in a nine-point game, a partnership has six points. They are then dealt all face cards. Their point total will now be eight points because, even though they would otherwise receive four honours points, that would bring their total up to ten and win the game.

The whist card game is highly situational; no strategy will work in every situation. There are, however, some things to keep in mind as you develop your own tactics.

If you are leading (that is, laying down the first card of a hand), choose a card from your longest suit. (A long suit means a suit in which you have many cards. In the whist card game, a suit in which you have four or more cards is long.) If you do not have the highest cards in your long suit (that is, ace, King or Queen), in early turns, lead with your low cards in that suit. This will flush out the higher cards and allow you to take subsequent tricks in it. For example, a player has the King, 10, 8, 4 and 3 of hearts. He or she may want to lead with the 3 to force the other players to lie down the ace, thus assuring that the next time that suit leads, the player will take the trick.

If you have a high sequence of cards in the same suit, such as King-Queen-Jack of hearts, lead with the highest card, unless you also have the ace, in which case lead with the ace.

Whist Game - Image Results

Alternatively, you may want to lead with a singleton (a card in a suit you don’t have any other cards in). This is because if that suit leads in subsequent turns, you’ll be able to play a trump card.

If you are long in the trump suit, lead with that. This will force the other players to use their trump-suited cards early in the game, making it easier for you and your partner to win tricks using non-trumps.

If you are second to the lead (that is, you are sitting to his or her left), you should generally play a low card. This is because there are two other players, including your partner, who has yet to lie down, and you don’t want to waste a high card. The exception is if you have a high sequence, such as King-Queen-Jack, in which case you may want to play the lowest card in that sequence, regardless of whether you have other, lower cards in the suit.

If you are third to the lead and you have cards that follow suit, play the highest card you can. This will force the final player either to lose the trick or to play a high card of his or her own. If, however, you have a high sequence, such as King-Queen-Jack, play the lowest card in the sequence. If the player behind you plays a higher card, such as an ace, it will show your partner you have the cards in between.

If you are the final player, you will have the benefit of seeing everyone’s cards before you play. Just make sure you don’t unnecessarily win a trick! If your partner has already laid down the highest card in the hand, you get a chance to discard your worst card.

At all times, you want to play the lowest card you can while still winning tricks. Your play will also be vastly improved if you have a good memory. Remembering the high cards that have been played, and keeping in mind what high cards haven’t been played, will allow you to avoid losing tricks.


The whist card game may be an old game, but it’s just as fun to play now as it was when it was developing in the taverns of Elizabethan England. It’s a simple game to learn and a challenging game to master, but with a little effort, anyone can become a whist wiz.

Last update on 2021-02-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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