“All-Trumps” and “No-Trumps”: when should you bid these contracts in belote?
Learn how to play a game of belote in “All-Trumps” or “No-Trumps”! Alexandre, our FunBelote ambassador, will give you his tips on these two types of contract, to be used liberally in games of coinche and belote contrée!
Discover all of their specific aspects, such as the value of the cards, game tactics and communication techniques used between the players on each team!
Alexandre, you are our ambassador and an experienced player of belote contrée. What will you be talking to us about today?
Hi FunBelote community! This is Alexandre (alias Captain_Hook21). Today, I would like to speak to you about two contracts, called “All-Trumps” and “No-Trumps”, which only exist in belote contrée and coinche. You would, in fact, never be able to announce these two contracts in a game of classic belote…
Why do the “All-Trump” and “No-Trump” contracts not exist in classic belote?
Quite simply because in order to accept one of these contracts, a player has to have all of his cards in hand right from the beginning of the game… The situation in coinche and belote contrée is that the dealer carries out the distribution of the cards in full: the four players each receive eight cards and must make their bids by choosing their trump suit for themselves. But in classic belote, the cards are dealt in two goes and the trump suit is imposed on the players. Each player receives five cards at first. Then the dealer puts one card face up in the middle of the table, which starts off the bidding round. The players have to bid only knowing 5 of their cards and they are obliged to accept the same trump suit as the face-up card… It is only after the bidding round that three extra cards are then dealt to each player (or two cards for the accepter, who inherits the face-up card).
Will you explain these contracts for this specific type of belote a bit more for us?
Before getting into the details of these two contracts, you need to know some very important rules of the game:
- When a player offers one of these belote contracts, he should also announce the total number of points that he thinks he will be able to make. In the bidding phase, this player must announce the value of the contract like the following, for example: “80 All-Trumps”.
- An “All-Trump” contract means that all of the suits are trump suits.
- Conversely, a contract in “No-Trumps” means that there is no longer any trump suit.
- As such, in both cases, it is not possible to trump!
- The order and value of the cards in these two contracts follow specific rules. Keep in mind that the order will stay the same but that certain cards will not have the same value as they do in a traditional contract.
- The same goes for the counting of points, which is not done in the same way as for a traditional contract.
As you can see, the official rules applied to these two contracts are very different to the traditional contracts where the trump suit is picked from one of the four suits in a deck of cards (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs).
Now, let’s go into more detail…
We’ll start with “No-Trumps”. For this type of contract, the order of the cards is as follows: Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8 and 7. This order is the same for all four suits. Therefore, the Ace is the strongest card in “No-Trump” mode. The number of points for each card is:
- Ace = 19 points
- 10 = 10 points
- King = 4 points
- Queen = 3 points
- Jack = 2 points
- 9, 8 and 7 = 0 points
In the “No-Trump” game mode, only the Ace has a different value to its value in a traditional contract (where it is weaker and only worth 11 points). Note, too, that you will not get any belote-rebelote points as, since there is no trump suit, that combination does not exist…
It really is very different from a contract in classic belote! And what about the “All-Trump” mode?
For the “All-Trump” contract, the order of the cards is as follows: Jack, 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8 and 7. This order is the same for all four suits in All-Trumps. Therefore, the Jack is the highest card in the “All-Trump” mode. And the points are as follows:
- Jack = 14 points
- 9 = 9 points
- Ace = 6 points
- 10 = 5 points
- King = 3 points
- Queen = 1 point
- 8 and 7 = 0 points
So here, counting up the points is much more complicated! Each card has a different value to its value in classic belote…
In All-Trumps, there can be up to four belote-rebelotes! I’m sure you will very quickly grasp the advantage of such a belote contract if you are holding several kings and queens in your hand! A nice opportunity to score the extra bonus points four times, boosting your score!
However, this type of belote contract seems to be a bit complicated, doesn’t it?
Oh no, not at all! Try out the experience of playing in “All-Trumps” or “No-Trumps” and you will notice that it’s actually very simple! You’ll get used to it quickly and you will see that you use it a lot 😉
If you say so 😊 What’s your advice for using these two types of contract in games of belote?
These two types of contract will not appeal to players of classic belote, even very experienced ones. But for those who play belote contrée or coinche, you will soon realize that these two ways of playing are very interesting and often used. Personally, I like them a lot because they add spice to the game! And above all, every game can be played, since with six contracts (instead of just four), that opens up more possibilities for taking and fulfilling your contract. Your opponents will just have to hang on!
The tips I would give are:
- You must pay close attention to your starting position if you are playing in one of these two modes as, seeing as it is impossible to ruff, if you or your partner are not the first player to start the game, that can complicate things… Imagine that you have 3 aces in your hand and that you start with “No-Trumps” but that it is the defenders who are starting and the player who is attacking has a “long suit” with the Ace and the 10. The risk is that he takes a bunch of tricks before you can take back control of the hand… And you will surely have to play (and therefore might lose) some valuable cards before gaining back control of the hand. This inability to trump is very important. It raises the level of risk and complicates the participants’ gameplay considerably.
- The second piece of advice I can give you is to discard cards from the suit in which you do not hold a master card (like the Jack and/or 9 in “All-Trumps” and the Ace and/or 10 in “No-Trumps”). I imagine you’re wondering why. I shall explain! If it’s your partner who is master of the trick and he sees you play a different suit to the one led, then your teammate will understand that you are discarding a suit and that he should not, therefore, play that suit. This is different in a classic belote contract as this can conversely be perceived as a call for the suit 😉 The aim of discarding this suit is to be able to keep the suit or suits in which you have the master cards, in order to win the most tricks and collect the opponents’ cards. I hope that you’ve been able to follow me on this second piece of advice 😊 If not, feel free to ask me a question.
- My last piece of advice is to communicate well with your partner in advance, to decide on a strategy to adopt, and to listen carefully in the bidding. Stay focused, especially if you are playing in tournaments! For example, if your partner at the card table announces a bid of “No-Trumps”, this means that he has at least 2 or even 3 aces. And if you have a jack and a 9 in a suit, you know that you can take tricks in that suit and that your partner can help you with the rest 😉
Any final words on this article about the “All-Trump” and “No-Trump” belote contracts?
I imagine that these two modes are not easy to understand… Especially if you have never played them before! But you will quickly see that after a few games, they are simple and effective! I am sure that you are going to use them more often than you think.
Feel free to react and ask questions on social media!
And looking forward to seeing you soon on FunBelote, the official app for playing belote online!
Alexandre, alias Captain_Hook21