Let’s look at the official rules of two-player belote, known as “belote marseillaise” (or “belote from Marseilles”) in Paris and “belote corse” (or “Corsican belote”) in Marseilles!
The rules are quite similar to those of classic belote with four players but they have been adapted to two players.
Choosing the dealer and dealing the cards in two-player belote
Designating a dealer
To designate the first dealer, the players have to pick up a card at random from the deck. He who gets the lowest card becomes the dealer. The other player will be the dealer on the next deal.
The 32 cards of all suits are distributed among the two players. Each player receives 16 cards: 6 in hand and 10 on the table.
Dealing the cards
The dealer must distribute all the cards in two goes. In-between, each player makes a bid after discovering the face-up card designating the trump suit.
According to the version of two-player belote you are playing, the cards can be distributed in different ways.
For simplicity, we suggest you proceed as follows:
• In the first round of dealing, the players receive 5 cards each that they keep in their hands.
The cards are distributed in two rounds. Each player receives three cards and then two more cards.
• The face-up card and the bidding phase: the dealer places a card face up designating the trump suit in the middle of the table. The players can take it or not. The player who is not the dealer speaks first. Once the accepting phase is over, the accepter collects the face-up card while the defender receives one more card.
• In the second round of dealing, the dealer distributes 10 “table cards” to each player.
He places 5 cards face down horizontally on the table in front of each player. Then he continues distributing, covering each face-down card by a face-up card. When the dealing is complete, each player sitting at the table has 5 x 2 cards lined up (one face up, the other one face down) in front of him and 6 other cards in hand.
Two-player belote: let’s play!
The rules of two-player belote are the same as those of classic belote with four players. Of course, the set-up is a bit different since your opponent can see some of your cards and 5 of your cards remain unknown to you when the game begins…
It makes things more difficult. It’s up to you to find game tactics and make two-player belote even more thrilling!
The rules for taking a trick are the same. The highest card wins the trick. The trump is stronger than the suit required. The order and value of the cards follow the same hierarchy as in traditional belote. A good hand is made up of plenty of trumps and master cards in the three non-trump suits.
In the trump suit, the Jack is the highest trump. The 9 is also up there. After that, the order is: Ace, 10, King, Queen, 7 and 8.
In No-Trumps, the Ace is the highest card, followed by the 10, King, Queen and Jack. The 9, 8 and 7 are the weakest cards.
Each participant can play either a card placed on the table or one of the cards he is holding in his hand.
When a (face-up) table card is played, the face-down card underneath is turned over to be played. And so on for all of the playing cards.
The aim is to take as many tricks as possible.
At the end of the game, the tricks are totalled up and the points counted to find out whether the accepter managed to make his contract.
How do you count up the points in two-player belote?
Once all of the cards have been played, you will need to work out the number of points scored in the game.
Counting the points
The point counting is done in exactly the same way as in the rules of classic belote. You add the value of each card and total up the number of points in order to get the score for the game.
In the trump suit: the Jack is worth 20 points, the 9 is worth 14 points, the Ace is 11 points, the 10 is 10 points, the King 4 points and the Queen 3 points. The 7 and 8 have the same worth: 0 points!
In No-Trumps: the Ace is worth 11 points, the 10 is worth 10 points, the King 4 points, the Queen 3 points and the Jack 2 points. The 9, 8 and 7 are of equal rank and are not worth any points.
The accepter must reach a total score of 82 points (bonuses not included).
If he fails, he will not get any points (except for belote rebelote, which cannot be taken away) and it is his opponent (the defence) who scores the points.
Game bonuses bring in even more points.
The total number of bonus points for the announcements (square, tierce, fifty and hundred) and the bonuses (belote rebelote, 10 of der and capot)
are the same in two- and four-player belote.
If a player wins all of the 16 tricks, he “makes a capot” and earns 100 points (including 10 points for belote rebelote, i.e. the King and Queen of Trumps combination).
Quite naturally, the points achieved in each game add up and the player who gets the highest score wins the game. Otherwise, you can agree on a number of points to achieve with your partner from the beginning. In general, a total of 500 or 1000 points signals the end of the game.
We have tried to introduce you to the rules of two-player belote in a simple and methodical way. Now that you know this variant of the game of belote, you can challenge any member of your family, your partner or your best friend!
The important thing is to have a good time! Remember to be a good sport and share your passion for this card game with your opponents. With practice, you will be able to further develop your belote strategy and become an excellent player!
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