How to Play Sheepshead – Rules for Sheepshead Card Game

Sheepshead is a trick-taking type card game. With this guide on How to Play Sheepshead, you’ll be able to play the game in just 10 minutes. So, let’s start the guide on How to Play Sheepshead.

Required

Deck

A 32 cards deck is used. The deck consists Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), 10, 9, 8, and 7 of all suits.

Players

Five players are required to play this game.

The Object of The Game

The main objective of the game is to be the first player to reach the decided score. For Example: 25, 30, or 35 points.

Rank

The Diamond suit is the Trump suit for this game and all Queens (Q) and Jacks (J) are also the Trump cards. The other three suits are non-trump.

The ranks of the Cards from Highest to Lowest

  • Queens (Q) (Diamonds, Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • Jacks (J) (Diamonds, Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • Ace (A) of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 10 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • King (K) of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 9 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 8 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 7 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • Ace (A) (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 10 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • King (K) (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 9 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 8 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 7 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)

Determining Dealer and Dealing The Cards

The dealer is determined randomly or any player may accept the dealership voluntarily. After determining, the dealer deals six cards to each player, face-down, and also deals two cards in the middle, face-down. Dealership transfers to the player on the left of the dealer after each round.

Picking The Middle Cards

All the players have a chance to pick the cards dealt in the middle. The chance to pick the middle cards moves in a clockwise manner starting from the player on the left of the dealer. If a player does not want to pick the middle cards, he/she can pass the chance to the player on his/her left.

The player who picks the middle cards is called “The Picker”. The picker takes the middle cards in his/her hands and buries(Discards) two unwanted cards from his/her hand.

Selecting the Partner

The picker selects his/her partner by specifying a suit and the player having the Ace of that specified suit is the partner of the picker for the round. Remember, the picker can only specify a non-trump suit and he/she must have at least one card of the specified suit. Example:- If the picker does not have a card of the club suit then he/she cannot specify the club suit.

After specifying a suit, only the partner of the picker knows that he/she is the picker’s partner and he/she cannot tell anybody that he/she is the picker’s partner. However, he/she can reveal that he/she is the picker’s partner by playing the Ace of that specified suit in a trick.

The other three players are on the opposing team. The card values of the picker and his/her partner are combined at the end of the round and similarly, the card values of the other three players are combined at the end of the round.

The Gameplay

The player on the left of the dealer leads the first trick by playing a card in the middle. Then every player plays a card in a clockwise manner. The players have to follow the suit led. However, if a player cannot follow the lead suit, he/she can play a card of another suit. A trick ends when the last remaining player plays a card.

After completing the trick, if Trump cards are played in the trick then the player who played the highest-ranking trump card wins the trick, and if the trump cards are not played in the trick then the player who played the highest-ranking card of the suit led wins the trick. Winner of a trick leads the next trick. A round comes to the end when all cards are played.

Scoring

After completing the round, the card value of the picker and his/her partner are counted and totaled. The card values of the Two buried cards are also added to the picker and his/her partner’s total. The value that the picker and his/her partner get per card won is as follows:

CardValue
Ace (A)11
1010
King (K)4
Queen (Q)3
Jack (J)2
9, 8, 70

After totaling the card values of the picker and his/her partner and the two buried cards, all the players get some points based on that total. The number of points all the players get is shown below:

Total Card Value of Picker and His/Her PartnerPickerPicker’s PartnerEach Player on The Opposing Team
120 (All Tricks Won)63-3
91-12042-2
61-9021-1
31-60-2-11
0-30-4-22
0 (No Tricks Won)-903

The first player to reach the decided score limit wins the game.

Now, you know How to Play Sheepshead. Play with your friends and family and enjoy.

Thank you.

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