Phat is a trick taking game for four players, played in fixed partnerships. A standard 52 card pack is used, with cards ranking (from highest to lowest): A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.
The aim is to be the first to win 181 points as a team. Points are awarded for winning tricks containing valuable cards, known as the phat. Winning a trick containing valuable cards causes the team who won the trick to immediately score the relevant points. There are a total of 80 points in the phat. Once all tricks are played, there is an extra bonus of 8 points for winning more than half of the muck. The valuable cards are as follows:
|The Phat||The Muck|
|Ace of trumps||4 points||Each Ace||4 points|
|King of trumps||3 points||Each King||3 points|
|Queen of trumps||2 points||Each Queen||2 points|
|Jack of trumps||1 point||Each Jack||1 point|
|Nine of trumps||18 points||Each Ten||10 points|
|Five of trumps||10 points|
|Non-trump nines||9 points|
|Non-trump fives||5 points|
The most valuable cards are the Big Phat, i.e. the 9 of trumps, and the Little Phat, i.e. the 5 of trumps. In total, there are 80 points to be won in the phat, and an extra 8 from the muck.
Deal and play
On each deal, the first player to play will be the pitcher. The suit of the first card that they play will determine the trump suit for that deal. The initial pitcher is selected randomly from the four players, and from then on, the responsibility passes clockwise.
Players play to tricks as in whist; they must follow suit if possible, or otherwise discard any card. The trick is won by the highest trump in it, or otherwise by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads to the next.
Scoring for the 80 points in the phat occurs as tricks are won. Thus it is perfectly possible for a team to reach 181 points before a whole deal is played out. After all tricks are played out, 8 points for the muck is scored to the team that won more than 40 of the muck points. If the muck is tied 40-40, the 8 points are carried over to the next deal, in which the muck will be worth 16 points.
If you are playing a match of more than one game, the right to pitch will simply continue to rotate to the right after each hand is played.