Scotch Whist

The object of Scotch Whist (Catch the Ten) is to beat all cards thrown in each round of play and capturing tens and face cards (jacks, queens and kings).

This doesn't use a full deck of cards.

All twos, threes, fours, and fives are removed from the deck.

If there are five players, one six is removed.

Each player will then get the same number of cards.


4 - 6 players
Ages 6 and up
Need standard deck of cards and
Pencil and paper for score keeping


Each player picks a card, and whoever draws the highest card shuffles and deals all the cards, one at a time, face down.

Four players receive nine cards, five players receive seven cards and six players receive six cards.

When the cards have been dealt, the dealer turns the last card that was dealt over and shows it to everyone.

The suit of this card is the trump suit. A card from this suit beats any card from any other suit.

The turned over card is returned to the player's hand.

The player on the dealer's left starts by placing a card in the center. This can't be a trump card. The next player must play a card from the same suit.

If she cannot follow suit, she may play a trump card. If she doesn't have a trump card or doesn't want to play her trump card, she plays a card from another suit.

Play continues to the left until everyone plays a card. If no trump card is played, the highest ranking card of the suit that led wins the trick. Aces are high here.

If only one player throws a trump card, he wins the trick. If more than one player throws a trump card, the highest trump card wins.

The winner puts his trick aside and starts the next trick with one of the cards he is holding.

The hand is over when all the cards are played. At the end of each hand, each player counts his points.

Anyone who ends up with more cards than he had at the beginning of the hand gets a bonus point for each extra card.

Tens and face cards in the trump suit are worth points - jacks are worth 11, tens are worth 10, aces are worth 4, kings are worth 3, and queens are worth 2.


After adding up the scores, cards are shuffled and redealt by the player to the original dealer's left.

Play continues until one player wins and reaches more than 40 points. If more than one player scores more than 40 points, the player with the highest score wins.


In Scotch Whist, a player cannot play a trump card until she has no more cards of the suit that was led. It's good strategy to get rid of the suits with the lowest number of cards.

Higher trump cards, from queens to aces, should be saved if possible. These beat jacks and tens and add to the points. Play low trump cards when you can.

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