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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 scoring cards
The Phat The Muck
Card Points Card Points
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.

Match format

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.