Cards: 24 cards: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and 9 of each suit. (Discard all 2s to 8s).
The Deal: Each player receives 7 cards, dealt two or three at a time, alternately. Place the remaining three cards face down in the middle of the table, to be used in the bidding process.
The Rank: The cards in each suit are ranked, highest to lowest, Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack, and Nine.
The Bidding Process: The player to the left of the dealer starts the bidding process. He is obligated to bid 99. Each player in turn either bids higher or passes. If both other players pass, that player wins the bid at 99 whether he wants it or not. The highest bidder obtains the three cards from the table and turns them face up so the other two players can see them. The more marriages he has, the higher he can bid. Then he places these three cards with his other cards and decides which ones he wants to keep from the combined set. He then selects the two cards he does not want or need and gives each of the other players one card each. Generally he will want to keep the longest and/or strongest suite and divest himself of short suits or week cards. (As a caution, a player should not bid over 120 if he does not have a marriage.)
The Play: By evaluating his hand, the winning bidder declares the trump. He then starts the play by deciding whether he wants to draw the trumps from the other players, or announce his marriages by playing the king or queen of each marriage. Points for the marriages do not accrue to him unless he plays the marriage (whether or not he wins the trick). A trick is won by the higher card played of the suite led, or by the higher trump. At this point, the other two players are playing against the winning bidder. They do this by giving high points to the other player and low points to the declarer. (An opposing player may ask the other opposing player to give him high points if he knows that he can take the trick.) The opposing players can also earn points by either trying to set the winning bidder, or by earning points during the course of the play. Any trick won by any player counts to his total points whether he is the winning bidder or not.
To Win the Game: You must make your winning bid or higher. You do this by counting the points in your tricks won and the points in the marriages played. See Counting Points below.
Marriages: A marriage is a meld of a King and Queen of the same suit. In the trump suit, a marriage counts 40. In any other suit, it counts 20. To score a marriage, you must show it after winning a trick, then lead one of the two cards, king or queen. The non winners of the bidding may also announce and play marriages provided they have the lead.
Alternate Play: Before play starts, if the winning bidder decides that he cannot make the bid, he may end the play by giving each of the other two players 25 points. In addition, he is penalized the amount of his bid. He does this to prevent the other players from earning more than 25 points.
Counting Points: Cards won in tricks are counted as follows:
Each King…………………… 4
Each Queen…………………. 3
Each Jack……………………. 2
In addition, each marriage played counts as follows:
A marriage played of the non-trump counts as 20 points
A marriage played of the trump counts as 40 points
The total points possible can amount to the minimum of 120 points without a marriage, or up to 220 points with all marriages.
Example: If a winning bidder bids 119, plays, and obtains 125 points, and the game has two non-trump marriages (of which he has one), then the total points awarded to each player may be thus: Winning bidder 125 points, opposing player #1 (he has one non-trump marriage) 25 points, opposing player #2 has 10 points for a total of the whole game of 160 points (120 regular points, and 40 marriage points.)
End of Game: The game ends by a pre-arranged understanding between the players, such as whoever reaches 1000 points first or 10 rounds played, or any other arrangement.