Three-Handed Whist

Last updated

Three-Handed Whist, also known as Widow Whist, is a variant of the trick-taking game Whist.

Trick-taking game type of card game

A trick-taking game is a card or tile-based game in which play of a hand centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called tricks, which are each evaluated to determine a winner or taker of that trick. The object of such games then may be closely tied to the number of tricks taken, as in plain-trick games such as Whist, Contract bridge, Spades, Napoleon, Euchre, Rowboat, Clubs and Spoil Five, or to the value of the cards contained in taken tricks, as in point-trick games such as Pinochle, the Tarot family, Mariage, Rook, All Fours, Manille, Briscola, and most evasion games like Hearts. The domino game Texas 42 is an example of a trick-taking game that is not a card game. Trick-and-draw games are trick-taking games in which the players can fill up their hands after each trick. In most variants, players are free to play any card into a trick in the first phase of the game, but must follow suit as soon as the stock is depleted. Trick-avoidance games like Reversis or Polignac are those in which the aim is to is avoid taking some or all tricks.

Whist card game

Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was widely played in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the rules are simple, there is scope for scientific play.


"Widow" whist is named because of an extra hand that is dealt just to the left of the dealer. This extra hand is called the "widow" and players may have a chance to use the widow instead of their own hand.

Card rank

A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

  1. ♣ are trump.
  2. ♠, and are not.

Order of play

  1. Everyone cuts the deck and high card is dealer.
  2. Deal out 4 hands, with the widow always being the first hand to the left of the dealer. Each hand should have 13 cards.
  3. Now, the person just to the left of the dealer has first choice at the widow. If the first person to choose has a good hand, he/she just passes it to the next person on their left.
  4. If someone takes the Widow, that person needs to collect 4 tricks total for that round. Otherwise, only 3 tricks are needed to break even.
  5. After taking the widow, that person's hand is passed to the left (unless you are back to the dealer, in which case you are done). If someone else would take that rejected hand, they only have to get 3 tricks. Please note that if someone else rejected that hand, it's doubtful that you would want it. However, if your hand is bad enough...
  6. Play begins with player to the left of the dealer.

Minnesota whist is a simplified version of whist in which there are no trumps, and the goal of the game is to take 7 of the 13 tricks. Four-handed whist is played with two teams. The players of each team sit opposite each other at the table. One person is elected to keep score. Typically the scorer's team is labeled as "Us" and the other team labeled as "Them". In this game, the ace is high. This style of whist is sometimes referred to as Norwegian Whist as it has been passed forward to the Upper Midwest by Norwegian immigrants.

Taking tricks

Similar to 4 handed, the person who leads lays down a card from his/her hand. Everyone must follow suit if they can (in clockwise motion). If you don't have the suit, lay down any other card. Highest card of the lead suit takes the trick, with the exception of the clubs suit. Clubs are trump and will always take any other suit. Whoever takes the trick leads the next one. Play continues until all cards are gone. Dealer moves one to the left.


Related Research Articles

Oh Hell is a trick-taking card game in which the object is to take exactly the number of tricks bid, unlike contract bridge and spades: taking more tricks than bid is a loss. It was first described by B. C. Westall around 1930.


Euchre or eucre is a trick-taking card game most commonly played with four people in two partnerships with a deck of 24, 28, or sometimes 32, standard playing cards. It is the game responsible for introducing the joker into modern packs; this was invented around 1860 to act as a top trump or best Bower. It is believed to be closely related to the French game Écarté that was popularized in the United States by the Cornish and Pennsylvania Dutch, and to the seventeenth-century game of bad repute Loo. It may be sometimes referred to as Knock Euchre to distinguish it from Bid Euchre.

Solo whist trick-taking game

Solo Whist, sometimes known as simply Solo, is a trick-taking card game whose direct ancestor is the 17th-century Spanish game Ombre, based on the English Whist. Its major distinctive feature is that one player often plays against the other three. However, players form temporary alliances with two players playing against the other two if "Prop and Cop" is the current bid. It requires four players using a standard 52 card deck with no jokers. Aces are high and the deal, bidding and play are clockwise.

Pedreaux is an American trick-taking card game of the All Fours family based on Auction Pitch. Its most popular variant is known as Cinch, Double Pedro or High Five. Developed in Denver, Colorado, in the 1880s, it was soon regarded as the most important member of the All Fours family. Although it went out of fashion with the rise of Auction Bridge, it is still widely played on the western coast of the United States and in its southern states, being the dominant game in some locations in Louisiana. Forms of the game have been reported from Nicaragua, the Azores, Italy and Finland. The game is primarily played by four players in fixed partnerships, but can also be played by 2–6 individual players.

Bid whist

Bid whist is a partnership trick-taking variant of the classic card game whist. As indicated by the name, bid whist adds a bidding element to the game that is not present in classic whist. It is generally accepted that the game of bridge came from the game of whist. Bid whist, along with spades, remains popular particularly in U.S. military culture and a tradition in African-American culture with probable roots in the period of slavery in the United States.

German Whist is a variation on classic whist for two players. Also called "Chinese Whist", the game is most likely of British origin. For instance, in Sweden the game is sometimes known as Hamburger Whist after the German city of Hamburg., but other names can well be used. There are several variants of this game. The most important difference between variants is whether all the 26 tricks count or only the last 13. Another difference is whether trumps should be used or if the game should be about taking as many - or as few tricks as possible.

3-5-8, also known as Sergeant Major for its popularity among members of the Royal Air Force, is a trick-taking card game for 3 players, using a standard 52 card deck. 3-5-8 may be played as a gambling game, or not, and there are many variations with names like "8-5-3" and "9-5-2" played throughout the world. The version "9-5-3 variation with no kitty" was played in the Royal Navy over fifty years ago, when fellow crew would sit around to continue their game from the previous night.

Knock-out Whist

Knock-out Whist is a member of the Whist family known by a variety of names including Trumps in Britain, Reduction Whist, Diminishing Whist and Rat. It is often simply called Whist by players who are unfamiliar with the game properly called Whist. It is a basic trick-taking game and is a good way to teach the concept of "tricks" to children.

304, pronounced three-nought-four, is a trick-taking card game popular in Sri Lanka, coastal Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, in the Indian sub continent. The game is played by two teams of two using a subset of the 52 standard playing cards.

Nines is a trick-taking game played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Nines is played by three people, and the object is to lower your score from 9 to zero.

Smear is a North-American trick-taking card game of the All Fours group, and a variant of Pitch (Setback). Several slightly different versions are played in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Minnesota, Northern and Central Iowa, Wisconsin and also in Ontario, Canada.

Euchre variations

Euchre is a 19th-century trick-taking card game and has many variations.

Pluck is a trick-taking playing card game for four players. The game is played similar to Spades and Hearts. A standard deck of playing cards is dealt out evenly among the players. The objective is to get ten points before the other team.

Serbian whist is a variant of whist. It is popular in Serbia, and there it is simply called "whist".

Dummy whist

Dummy whist is one of many variants of the classic trick-taking card game Whist. The general rules of dummy whist are similar to that of bid whist, with two notable exceptions. Bid whist is played by four players, whereas dummy whist is played by only three. Secondly, instead of dealing a kitty, a dummy hand is dealt to be on the team of the player who wins the auction.

Boston (card game) card game

Boston is an 18th-century, trick-taking, card game played throughout the Western world apart from Britain, forming an evolutionary link between Hombre and Solo Whist. Apparently named after a key location in the American War of Independence, it is probably a French game which was devised in France in the 1770s, combining the 52-card pack and logical ranking system of partnership Whist with a range of solo and alliance bids borrowed from Quadrille. Other lines of descent and hybridization produced the games of Twenty-five, Préférence and Skat. Its most common form is known as Boston de Fontainebleau or French Boston.

Euchre game variations

Euchre has many variations in game playing. Some of them are designed for two, three, five or even six hands. Described below are some of these variations. Some are called “Johann.”


Julepe, , is a gambling card game of Spanish origin, similar to the English five-card Loo, and best for six players. It spread rapidly across the Spanish-American countries during the 19th century.