Pluck is a three-person
trick-based card game.
It's different from
most of these games in at least two ways: it's
explicitly designed for three players, and
there's no real score to keep. On a
complexity level, it's probably a little
less challenging than spades: the trump is
declared by the dealer, but the number of
tricks each player must take is fixed.
It uses the standard 52-card (poker) deck,
with some modifications: remove all twos
("deuces") except the two of clubs; add both
of the jokers into the deck, and make sure
that the two jokers have different faces. One
of these will be the "big joker" and the other
will be the "little joker"; these are the
highest-ranked trump cards in any turn.
This should leave you with a deck of 51 cards
(52 - 3 deuces + 2 jokers). Since there are
three cards played every trick, this gives
us 17 tricks per hand. Aces are high.
The point of each round is to win at least as
many tricks as your position (relative to the
dealer) dictates. Of the 17 total tricks per
round, you need to take:
- Dealer: 7 tricks
- Left of dealer: 6 tricks (deals next round)
- Right of dealer: 4 tricks (dealt last round)
Falling short of this goal in one round means
you will get plucked at the beginning
of the next round. If you fell short, someone
else must have an excess -- and that person is
the one who gets to pluck from you!
The Order of Play
- Shuffle and deal
- Dealer declares trump suit
- Play opens with Deuce of Clubs
- Play 17 tricks
- Count up tricks, determine plucks
- Deal passes to the left
Shuffle and Deal
Each round starts by having the dealer shuffle
(optionally letting one of the other players
cut), and dealing out all 51 cards.
There are no plucks in the first round.
The person who has the most plucks (that is,
the player that went over their quota by the
most tricks in the previous hand) goes first.
If two players are entitled to the same number
of plucks, start with the dealer and go left.
To pluck, the plucker passes a card face-down
to the pluckee. After looking at this card,
the pluckee must pass back the highest-ranked
card in the same suit. The jokers are not
in any suit, and are always valuable -- so,
a plucker would not want to pass one, and a
pluckee cannot be forced to give them up.
Dealer declares trump
After plucking (or getting plucked), the
dealer has to declare trump. Since they have
to take the most tricks, they get this serious
advantage. They can pick any suit; as with
any trick-based game, this is a tradeoff
between quantity and quality. Finally, the
dealer should remember that there are two
jokers in the game, and they are higher than
any card in the actual trump suit.
Play opens with the Deuce of Clubs
Whoever is holding the deuce (two) of clubs
puts it down as the first lead card. This has
two side effects: one, it's a guaranteed loss;
and, if clubs were chosen to be trump, then
trumps are open from the very start.
Play 17 tricks
This portion of the game should be very
similar to any other trick game. Whoever took
the last trick has to lead for the next
trick. You have to play in suit if you can;
if you have a void in that suit, you can
either slough or trump. You can't lead
trumps until they have been opened (but see
the comment above regarding clubs as trumps.)
For the purposes of determining which cards
are in what suit, the jokers are considered to
be the same suit as trump.
A trick is taken by the highest-ranked
lead-suit or trump card on the pile.
Players receive (or get taken from them) as
many plucks as they won tricks over (or below)
Deal passes to the left
After a hand is scored, deal passes to the
left of the current dealer.