How to play Bezique
April 17, 2019
Bezique was developed in France from the game Piquet, although the word Bezique, formerly Bésique or Bésigue, was known in France in the 17th century, coming probably from the Italian card game Bazzica.
French historians trace the origins of Bezique to a game called Bezi or Bezit which descended through a form of Single Bezique also known as Cinq Cents or Binage to early modern Bezique.
The word bezique once meant “correspondence” or “association”. In English-speaking nations, Binocles, meaning eyeglasses with this pronunciation, became the name for Bezique with minor rule variations, ultimately evolving into Pinochle. Two-handed Pinochle, two-handed Bezique and two-handed Binokel are almost identical, the main difference is that the last-named is played with two packs of 24, German-suited, cards, instead of two packs of 32, French-suited, ones. The former, together with Six-Pack Bezique and Rubicon Bezique, is still played in the United States.
The game achieved its greatest popularity in Paris by 1860 and in England a few years later. Perhaps the most famous proponent of the game was Winston Churchill, an avid player and early expert of Six-Pack, or “Chinese” Bezique. There is some evidence that the English writers Wilkie Collins and Christina Rossetti were also enthusiasts. However, since the late nineteenth century the game has declined in popularity.
OBJECTIVE OF BEZIQUE: Score 1000+ points by melding cards and winning valule tricks.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 2 standard 52-card without 6s-2s (64 cards total)
RANK OF CARDS: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking
AUDIENCE: Teens, Adults
INTRODUCTION TO BEZIQUE
Bezique or Bésigue is a Swedish trick-taking game that recevied notarity in France, especially 19th Century Paris. However, it is also believed that the game developed in France from Piquet, while the name was adapted from an Italian card name Bazzica. The game moved to the United Kingdom around the 1860s but never gained much popularity in the anglo nations. For example, in the United States, its variant Pinochle is more commonly played.
The players cut to determine the first dealer. After, each player receives 8 card each, dealt in groups of 2 (or 3). THe cards that remain from a stockpile. The top card of the stock is flipped over, the suit of this card is the trump suit.
The game is divided into two parts of play: the Preliminary and the Play off.
The goal of this portion of play is to score points by making particular card combinations.The non-dealer leads in the first trick. From thereafter, the winner of the previous trick leads in the next. After each trick, both players draw from the stockpile, the winner draws first.
Players can lead with any card and their opponent is under no obligation to follow suit. The trick is won, or taken, by the highest trump card or (if none are played) the highest ranking card of the leading suit. If the cards are of equal rank, the player who lead that trick takes it.
After winning a trick, and before drawing, players can meld their cards (if they fulfill the conditions). These melds score points for players. Place the cards face-down on the table and declare them and their point value. Players can only produce 1 meld per turn. Below is the melding combination chart:
Meld Combo Points
Bezique (Q of Spades & J of Diamonds) 40 points
Double Bezique 500 points
Royal Marriage (Q & K of trumps) 40 points
Common Marriage (K & Q plain suit) 20 points
Four Aces 100 points
Four Kings 80 points
Four Queens 60 points
Four Jacks 40 points
Sequence 250 points
(A, 10, K, Q, J of trumps)
You can also score 10 points for:
Playing OR showing the lowest trump (7 of trump suit)
Exchanging the lowest trump for face-up trump. After winning a trick, players can exchange the lowest trump for the upturned trump card from the stockpile.
There is little incentive to win tricks in this stage. If the stockpile is exhausted to the last two cards, the winner of that trick takes the last face-down card and reveals it to their opponent. That player leads in the next trick and the other player draws the face-up trump card that remains.
Once the stockpile is completely exhausted, melding has ceased and trick-taking begins. Play eight tricks according to the following rules, try and win tricks with valuable cards AND win the very last trick.
Follow suit if possible
Try and win tricks by playing high cards
If you are unable to follow suit, play a trump if you have one in hand. If not, play any card.
The player who wins the last trick scores an extra 10 points.
Tricks are won by the highest trump card. However, if no trump card is played, the highest value card that follows suit takes the trick. If the cards are equal, the trick is taken by the player who lead it.
Once play has finished, and melding and trick-taking closes, players score their tricks. Players earn 10 points per Ace and 10. There is a total of 160 points there alone.
Points from the melds should have already been configured, total the scores to determine the winner of that round. The game continues until someone reaches 1000 or more points.