How do you become a pro in belote? Start by learning how much each playing card is worth!
The value of the cards in belote games
The order and value of the cards differ according to whether you are playing classic belote (or variants such as belote with announcements, two-player belote, three-player belote, etc.) or coinche belote (and contrée).
The value of the cards in classic belote
In classic belote, four players divided into two teams play with a 32-card deck made up of 8 cards in each of the four traditional suit: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.
The official rules of the game make a distinction between trump and non-trump cards.
- 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 are not worth anything.
- The Ace is worth 11 points, the 10 is 10 points, the King 4 points, the Queen 3 points and the Jack 2 points. The 7, 8 and 9 are not worth anything.
The hierarchy of the cards is intrinsically linked to their value, i.e. the number of points each card is worth. So the first card in hierarchical order is the strongest:
- In the trump suit, the Jack is the highest trump, followed by the 9 which is still up there. Then come weaker cards: Ace, 10, King, Queen, 7 and 8.
- In No-Trumps, the Ace is the highest card, followed by the 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8 and 7.
The value of the cards in coinche and belote contrée
The basic rules of coinche and contrée are identical to those in classic belote: four players, 32 cards, 8 cards in each player’s hand.
The rules for taking a trick are the same too. The highest card wins the trick. The trump suit is superior to the led suit. A good hand has as many trumps and master cards as possible in the three non-trump suits.
The order of the cards is the same as in traditional belote. However, their value in All-Trumps and No-Trumps is different.
In coinche and contrée, during the bidding, the participants can bid (or bid higher) in All-Trumps or No-Trumps.
In All-Trumps, all of the suits are trumps, whereas in No-Trumps, there is no trump suit at all.
The cards are not worth the same in these two scenarios.
- Value of the cards in No-Trumps:
The Ace is worth 19 points, the 10 is 10 points, the King 4 points, the Queen 3 points and the Jack 2 points. The 9, 8 and 7 are not worth anything.
- Value of the cards in All-Trumps:
The Jack is worth 13 points, the 9 is worth 9 points, the Ace is 6 points, the 10 is 5 points, the King 3 points and the Queen 2 points. The 8 and 7 are not worth anything.
Value of the cards and point counting in belote
On each deal 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 for each team (accepters vs defenders).
The score of a team is calculated by adding up the value of the cards (i.e. the number of points each card is worth – see details above) from all their tricks.
In a game of classic belote, 162 points in total are awarded. 152 come from the value of the playing cards and 10 extra points go to the team winning the last trick (10 of der).
Counting the points also allows you to determine if the accepter (helped by his partner) made his contract or not. The accepting side must reach at least 82 points thanks to their tricks to fulfil their contract.
How do you play a game of belote without knowing the value of the cards? It is then impossible to count the points achieved and determine the winning team!
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