Belote is one of the most popular card game in France.
It is a 2vs2 trick-taking game, played with a 32 card deck (7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A for each 4 suits).
Teammates are not allowed to communicate during the game, so please be fair and do not share information with your partner.
Belote usually plays in several hands, up until one team reach a total score of at least 1000. Unlike most game, it is also played counter-clockwise.
Each hand is played in two phases, a bidding phase and a playing phase.
During the bidding phase (see Bidding for more details), the players will determine one suit (Heart, Spade, Diamond, or Club) to be the trump suit for this hand.
During the playing phase, each player plays a card, one after the other. The player who played the strongest card wins the trick, and the 4 cards are added to the team points for this hand. This player then starts the next trick.
Points and card order
A trump card is always stronger than a non-trump card. Card order and points are different if this card is trump or not.
Each player starts this phase with 5 cards in hand, and will receive additional cards to reach 8 at the end of this phase. One card (out of the remaining 12) is made visible to all players.
Starting from the player to the right of the dealer, players are given the choice to take the revealed card, or not. If one player takes it, the bidding ends, and the suit of this card becomes the Trump for this hand.
If all 4 players refuse to take the card, they are once again (in the same order) given the choice of taking this card or not. But during this second time, if a player takes this card, he can choose any suit to be Trump for this hand.
If all 4 players refuse twice to take the card, then this hand is cancelled, the cards are shuffled, and the dealer changes for the next hand.
Each hand is composed of 8 tricks, during which each player will, in turn order, play a card. The player starting the first trick, is the player to the right of the dealer. Later tricks are started by the player who won the previous trick.
If possible, each player must play a card sharing the suit with the first card played during this trick (also called leading suit). Moreover, if that card was a trump, the player must play a trump stronger than each trump played during this trick if possible (called overtrumping).
If a player does not have any card of the leading suit, and if his partner has played the strongest card in the current trick (remember that trump is stronger than non-trump), then he can play any card.
If a player does not have any card of the leading suit, but his partner has not played yet, or not played the strongest card, in the current trick, then he must play a trump card if possible. Also, if another player has played a trump during this trick, he must play a stronger trump if possible (he overtrumps).
The player winning the last trick earns his team 10 additional points called Dix de Der.
If a team wins all 8 tricks of a hand, they get a bonus 90 points (for a total of 252). This is called Capot.
If the team containing the player who took the card during the bidding (called attacking team) has less points than the other team (defending team) for the hand, they lose the contract. If this happens, they end up with 0 points, and the other team gets all the 162 points for this hand.
If both attacking team and defending team have the exact same amount of points for a hand, there is a Contention. The defending team immediately earns its points, but the points of the attacking team will be attributed to the winner of the next hand.
During a hand, if a player has both the Queen and the King of the trump suit, he has what is called belote and rebelote. When playing one of these card, he says "Belote", and "Rebelote" for the second one, regardless of whether he starts by the Queen or the King.
The corresponding team will have a bonus 20 points, in any case, even if those cards are captured by the opponents.
Those 20 points are counted to know if a team lose the contract or if there is a contention. But this bonus of 20 points cannot be transferred to the other team in case of contract loss, and does not prevent the other team from winning a Capot.
This rules summary is a first draft. Please feel free to contact me if anything is unclear or poorly worded.