“Being under the gutter” in a game of belote

What are the advantages of this position in belote? 

Today we will be talking about belote strategy. Does the French belote expression “being under the gutter” ring a bell? In belote games, it refers to the strategic position allowing you to play by guessing which cards you are holding and to try to score even more points to become the winning side. Read on to find out how! 


In belote, four players are split into two teams around a table. The variant of belote doesn’t matter. This expression simply means that you are sitting at the dealer’s left.  
This is a key position offering belote players two advantages: 

1 – You will be the first player to speak during the first taking phase.  

2 – During the deal, you will receive the two or three cards following the face-up card since the dealer distributes them in clockwise direction. Keep in mind that this face-up card designates the trump suit of the round.  You are wondering how to make the most of these game rules? You will find out soon!

How to play in that position in belote?

If you are in such a position, you are VERY likely to receive cards of the same suit as the face-up card… In other words, trumps! How is that possible? Let’s start with a quick reminder of the official rules.

First, in belote, the dealer doesn’t shuffle the cards. Once played, they are just stacked. And so on after each trick. On the next round, the dealer collects the cards from all the tricks to form a new deck that is cut by another player. The cards are then dealt by the dealer to the players of each team in batches of two or three. The way the cards are distributed makes it very likely for players to get some cards from the tricks of the previous round.

Second, the deal consists of two phases. The moment when the face-up card is turned and each participant announces his bid in turn is referred to as the “intermission”. So, the taking phase proceeds while the players don’t know the rest of their cards. But the player who is “under the gutter” is the first one to receive a second round of cards from the dealer. Since the cards of the previous tricks remain in the same order as collected (provided that the dealer hasn’t shuffled them), he will probably receive cards of the same suit as the face-up card… QED! 

So, this is a strategic position! This is one of the tactics you should know before starting a game of belote. Not only that player can guess the rest of his cards (very likely trumps from the same trick as the face-up card), but he is also the first to decide if he will take or not.  

However, here is a tip from experienced players to beginners: it is better to pay attention to the cards played on the previous round and memorize the tricks.  
When the face-up card is turned over, try to remember which trick it belongs to. If you remember which cards exactly were played with it, you will definitely be one step ahead of your opponents and able to score extra points with your teammate.

To take or not to take? That is the question… 

Being the first to speak is a bit like having the king’s choice: are you a taker or a defender?

If you have any doubt, this favorable position can change your verdict. Analyzing each card is important if you don’t want to fail to make a contract…  

Before starting a game, here are a few tips to help you assess your hand when you are in that position.  

First of all, look at the order and value of your cards. To do so, sort them out hierarchically by suit (Spades, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds). Count your trumps and master cards in all non-trump suits. A good hand has:

– As many trumps as possible (the Jack is the most important one followed by the 9), 

– Aces, 10s, Kings and Queens in the other three suits (from highest to lowest).  

This type of hand allows you to play well in a game of belote whatever the suit required.  

Remember that you have a partner too! You are not alone; your teammate also has a certain number of cards to play. Never forget that belote is above all a team game. Hands complement each other in each side (takers vs defenders) during the card play phase and when points are counted up at the end of the game.

You want your team to win the game? Then keep an eye on the opposing side too… Try to guess which cards each opponent is holding. Trust your instinct and clear signs during the bidding phase! 

And of course, anticipate which cards you will receive. “Being under the gutter”, you will receive the first cards distributed after the face-up card. They are likely to be of the same suit.  

Here is a case study as a conclusion. You are in that position, so you can hope that you will get trumps if you take. It is your turn to speak…

– You already have good cards in the trump suit designated by the face-up card? Go for it!  

– You have good cards but in another suit and the cards that remain to be distributed won’t make any difference as to whether to take or not? Then you’d rather bid on the second round. But don’t show anything on the first one. Otherwise, your opponents could find out what’s been going on and try to double you by taking the trump designated by the face-up card! 

Are you ready to make the most of being in such a position in belote and achieve the best possible score? 

Play on FunBelote!

To practice, don’t hesitate to play on the FunBelote app, the official online belote and coinche app. Play with a great community, and experiment what we have just seen together, namely playing under the chute or not!

Open a player account on FunBelote and play multiplayer belote games or compete in the daily tournaments! You will find opponents of your level, in coinche or classic belote. These are all opportunities to compete with our community of real players whatever your level of play!

To play belote online, go on the Apple and Google Play stores.

Download the FunBelote application on your tablet or mobile, compatible with iOS and Android. Come and try this new game experience! Lots of chips are offered for any new registration or sponsorship of your friends.

See you soon on FunBelote, the official online belote app.