Faulty deal and other cases of irregularities in belote: which sanctions?
Classic belote, coinche belote, belote contrée… Whatever the variant, the players must know
how to recognize and deal with the following situations: faulty deal, revoke and play out of
What are the most common irregularities? What are the penalties? FunBelote answers all of
Dealing of the cards and faulty deal in belote: what to do?
What is a faulty deal in belote?
In belote with or without announcements, there are official rules to follow when it comes to
distributing the cards to the players sitting at the table.
According to the Laws of Belote as promulgated by the French Belote Federation (FFB), “a
faulty deal refers to an irregular distribution of the cards violating the established rules of
dealing, regardless of whether or not each player holds eight cards in the end”.
The rules of belote say that:
- Eight cards in total are dealt out to each player by the dealer. They represent the eight
tricks of a deal.
- The distribution may differ according to the variant of belote:
• In classic belote, the dealer distributes five cards (3+2 or the other way round) first.
Then he places a card face up designating the trump suit at the center of the table.
In the second round of dealing, three extra cards are distributed.
• In coinche and belote contrée, the players bid and announce the value of the
contract they think they will be able to make once they have received their eight
- The cards are distributed by the dealer as follows: 3-3-2, 3-2-3 or 2-3-3.
When these rules are not complied with or each participant doesn’t have a total of eight
cards in his hand at the end of the deal, it is called a “misdeal” or a “faulty deal” in belote.
Which sanctions apply in case of a faulty deal in belote?
Regarding sanctions, remember that faulty deal in belote means redeal! No point penalty, no
game in progress cancelled… If a faulty deal is discovered before the game starts, the deal is
simply cancelled. The same dealer must shuffle the cards and distribute them again. But if
the wrong player deals the cards, they are not distributed again.
Which other irregularities can be found in belote?
Faulty deals exist in all card games and are never subject to penalties. This is not the case for
all the irregularities occurring during a game of belote between friends.
During the auction
The auction takes place at the beginning of the game.
Any breach of the following rules constitutes a fault:
- All the players have to wait for their turn to call.
- In the first round, it is forbidden to announce a trump suit other than the one designated
by the face-up card.
The partners who are at fault lose their right to call on the deal in progress and the bid is
During the announcements
A player must announce his combination (square or sequence) after playing his first card. He
also needs to wait until his partner plays his. Otherwise, whatever the announcement
(square, tierce, fifty or hundred), it is declared null and void.
Which irregularities can occur during the card play?
Revoke in belote
Unlike the faulty deal, the revoke is considered as gross negligence.
Failure to follow suit (deliberately or not) when you have a card of the suit led or discarding
instead of ruffing when able to do so constitute a revoke.
There are three types of revoke:
- The revoke is not established when the offending player has not played to the next trick
yet. Here the card is considered as “wrongly played”. The card play progresses. No sanction
or penalty apply to the offending side and the card in question is given back to the right
- The revoke becomes established as soon as the offender plays to the next trick. The
offending side is penalized and subject to a score penalty. The points in question are
transferred to the non-offending side and the deal may be cancelled if the offending side,
whether accepters or defenders, wins the game.
- A revoke on the last two deals is treated differently because it cannot be established. Here
the deal is restored to normal.
C’est une faute redoutée par les joueurs du monde entier… Celle où on dévoile
accidentellement une ou plusieurs de ses cartes aux deux équipes : partenaire et/ou
Players from all over the world dread committing this mistake: when one or more of your
cards are accidentally in position for the face to be seen by both sides (your partner and/or
opponents). In that case, they must be “immobilized”. They are placed on the table and
played by their owner at the right time.
Playing out of turn
Another careless mistake: a player plays when it is not his turn… He “plays out of turn”.
If the next player doesn’t draw attention to the irregularity and plays the next card, the
game continues and no sanction applies. If an opponent draws attention to it, the same
sanction as for an exposed card applies.
Please note that the four players sitting at the table can decide to change the sanctions
listed above and agree on other types of penalties.
As the FFB states, whatever the irregularity, each side shall take a fair and measured
attitude: “The players sitting at the table shall have a short discussion on how significant the
irregularity is, whether it is committed deliberately or not, accidentally or repeatedly, as well
as its impact on the game play first. All players shall show common sense, fair play and
tolerance, key elements to any self-arbitration situation that will help to reach an amicable
The players can summon the Director who usually supervises belote competitions.
Settling disputes between the participants of a belote game is not always easy… Never
forget that belote must remain an entertaining game!
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