Belote tips: our advice on how to play like a pro

Our 7 belote tips for winning the game!

From the distribution of the cards to the designation of the winners, discover our tips for
becoming a better player in belote or its many variants and avoiding rookie mistakes… And
most importantly, for scoring the maximum number of points with your team!


Let’s start with a short recap of the official rules of belote:
• Belote is a card game played by four players split into two teams: the accepters and
the defenders. The players are given 8 cards each in total.
• According to the rules of the game, the trump suit is designated by the face-up card
(or by the players themselves if none has taken by the second round of bidding and
in several variants such as coinche and belote contrée).
• The accepting side must fulfil a contract (bid at the beginning of the game). If they
don’t make it, points are scored by the opponents.
• In the trick, the players must play a card in the suit led, ruff with a trump or discard.


Here are the techniques and strategies of the FunBelote team! (finally ☺)
Just between you and us, we are going to share all our belote tips…

Belote tip #1: How to assess other players’ cards?

On the first deal, five cards are distributed to each participant by the dealer.
First, analyze the cards in YOUR hand! Do you have a predominant suit? A long one? Master
cards in several suits? How many tricks do you think you can take?
Based on this analysis, try to deduce which cards the other players have. Listen out carefully
for the bids and overbids made by each player. Your belote mantra must be “analyze and
observe”! That’s where the thrill comes from in belote! Think, assess, make hypotheses and
finally take risks…

Belote tip #2: To take or not to take?

L

The question is: do you have a good hand? We advise you to take only if you have at least
two or three master cards in the trump suit designated by the face-up card. In other words,
the Jack (the highest trump), the Nine or the Ace as well as aces or tens in the other three
suits. If you want to find out more about the rules of the accepting phase, check our page
dedicated to our robot Lancelot.
Note that holding the King and Queen of Trumps doesn’t guarantee that you will make your
contract, especially since its value rises: in case of belote rebelote, the total number of
points to attain increases from 82 to 92 points.
So, should you take or not? If and only if you have lots of trumps! Otherwise, wait until the
next round.

Belote tip #3: How to start a game?

It depends on whether you and your partner are the accepters or the defenders.
You should ask yourself the right questions. Do you have lots of trumps? In which seat are
you going to play? Are you “under the gutter”?
Here are a few principles you should follow and adapt according to the set-up and
participants:

  • You are the defender: play any suit except the trump one! You would favor your
    opponents whereas the idea is to take tricks in order to keep points in your side! If
    you have an ace, play it on the first round as it will be more likely to win. Singleton?
    Get rid of it asap! With no cards in a suit, you have every chance of taking the next
    trick in that same suit.
  • You are the accepter: start by drawing all of the trumps, then continue with your
    non-trump master cards. Remember to keep a trump for the 10 of der. You will make
    an impression! If you don’t have the Jack of Trumps, start the game with your aces
    and then insist in a given suit to oblige the defenders to ruff with the Jack and
    therefore save your lowest trumps.
  • Your partner took the face-up card: attack! Play a trump, your partner will necessarily
    follow. If you keep taking tricks, all you and your partner have to do is draw trumps. If
    you don’t have trumps in your hand, play an ace in another suit.

Belote tip #4: How to anticipate what will happen next?

Ok, you don’t have a crystal ball but here it is crucial to anticipate what the other players at
the table will do. You need to know which cards have been played, which ones are left and
who holds them. Each card matters!
To do so, there is only one technique: count the trumps and memorize the tricks. When you
are sure that all the top cards have already been collected, you will serenely be able to play
your lowest cards. This tip is also the most important of all if you want to keep your cards
and their points in your side.
If you can’t remember everything, start by training to count the trump cards first!

Belote tip #5: When and how to discard?

The discard is the card played by a player when he can’t follow suit and has no trump to ruff.
Discarding can take different forms: securing an important card (a ten for instance), sending
a direct signal to your partner or simply “ducking” with a low card.
Note that there is a tactic consisting in obliging the opponent to discard by playing in a
specific suit again and again. When the opponent will have no more cards left in that suit, he
will be forced to discard and you will get the points!

Belote tip #6: How to communicate with your belote partner?

Never forget that your partner is your main asset! Pay attention to the cards he plays and
the signals he may send… What experienced players like most in belote is precisely team
play and communication between partners!
Before starting a game, establish “codes” together to share information on your respective
hands. Using signals is a good technique here. By sending a signal, you can tell your partner
information about a suit.


There are several types of signals: indirect, direct, cross, modern, negative… The most used
is the direct one. When your teammate is about to take the trick, you have to discard a card
of the suit you want him to play. And vice versa, the indirect signal is about discarding a card
of the suit you don’t want him to play. You see the point in agreeing on the method first! ☺
Make sure you don’t oblige your teammate to ruff too much. Rookie mistake: you want to
draw other players’ trumps but by doing so, you put your own team at a disadvantage…

Belote tip #7: How to become a top belote player?

  1. Follow your intuition! The best players are those who have the game tactics at their
    fingertips and follow their intuition! Keep in mind your objectives: accumulate tricks to make
    your contract (or to force the accepters to go down), add more and more points to your final
    score, and win the game!
    So, it will sometimes be better to play a good card rather than trying to keep it until the end
    to score extra points for the 10 of der. Similarly, it will sometimes be wiser to open in the
    trump suit to keep the lead rather than trying to save your non-trump cards.
  2. Keep going! Gaining experience, you will feel more confident about yourself and your
    play. It is the key to success!
    Don’t wait any longer and come play on FunBelote, the official app for online belote and
    coinche! Our app is free to download and available for smartphones and tablets on the
    Apple Store and Google Play Store (compatible with iOS and Android).
    Join the large community of FunBelote players!
    Come play a few games on our mobile belote app without signing up or open a player
    account to get access to all of the features!
    The free and unlimited “practice” game mode will enable you to progress quickly by playing
    against our skilled AI system Lancelot.
    Discover our multiplayer belote games or register for our daily belote contests (classic
    belote, coinche or belote contrée) and win batches of FunBelote chips!
    Finally, try out a new game experience only available on FunBelote: duplicate challenges!
    Real players face up to each other on an equal footing in mini belote tournaments.
    If you put all of our belote tips into practice, you will be able to play a belote game like a pro
    and anticipate all kinds of situations!

So go to the FunBelote app and enjoy a variety of game modes adapted to all levels. Play forfree and become a pro! Don’t tell anyone but this is our best piece of advice! A word to thewise