Trex (card game)

Last updated

Trex, pronounced Tricks or Trix, and also known as Ticks, is a four-player Middle Eastern card game mainly played in the Levant region (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine). Similar to European games like Barbu, Herzeln, Kein Stich or Quodlibet, Trex is a compendium game in which there are four rounds with each round consisting of five games. Each cycle is called a "kingdom" in reference to the fact that in each cycle one player (the King) determines which contract to play in each of the five games.


Players, cards and deal

Trex is played by four people using a standard international 52-card pack without jokers. The cards in each suit rank from high to low: A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. Deal and play are counter-clockwise.

To begin the session, the cards are shuffled, cut (by player to left of dealer) and dealt out to the four players, one at a time, so that each player has 13 cards. It does not matter who deals first, but the player who is dealt the 7 of hearts in this first deal is said to "own the kingdom." This player chooses which contract to be played each hand, and is also the dealer for the next four deals. During his or her "kingdom" a player may choose to play any contract based on his or her cards. There is no rule for playing the contracts in a set order, and there are 120 possible combinations of contract orders.

After the first dealer has played all five contracts, the kingdom passes to the player to his right, and so on. In some variations the game passes to the right first two times, then to the person opposite of the second player then to the remaining player. Each of these players, during their kingdoms, must deal five times, choosing a different contract each time, without repetition. After the four kingdoms are complete, 20 deals have been played, every player has chosen every contract once: the game is over.

The five contracts

Four of the five contracts are trick-taking games in which the aim is to avoid taking tricks, or particular cards. The dealer always leads to the first trick, and the winner of each trick leads to the next. Players must follow suit if they can, and the highest card of the suit led collects the trick.

King of hearts or "roi de coeurs"

The player who takes the trick containing the king of hearts loses 75 points in standard setting. When the contract is announced, the player who has the king of hearts has the option of revealing it to the other players and in doing so doubling its value. Hence, this process is called "doubling". If the player doubling the card fails, and collects it, he or she is reduced 75 points. Oppositely, If another player collects it when it is "doubled" he or she is reduced 150 points (double the standard value) and the player who originally had it gets 75 points.

One common strategy followed in the pursuit of forcing the card's holder to collect it him or herself is for players to purposely lead hearts when possible.

If this contract is chosen and a player holds either the king of hearts alone, the ace of hearts alone, or the king of hearts and the Ace of hearts, he or she may request that the hand be re-dealt. This is because such a player would most probably collect the card, which would be unfair for him or her! The player making the appeal should show all his or her cards to the other players. If this happens the replayed contract does not have to be King of Hearts.


Each card of the diamond suit taken in a trick costs 10 points off the running total of the collecting player. In some variations the collected diamonds are kept face up in front of the players taking them so that everyone can see which diamonds have been taken, and/or played, although this is not the standard method of play. Normally they are not shown.

Girls or "femmes"

Each queen taken in a trick costs the collecting player 25 points. Queens are stored face up in front of the winner of the trick in which they were played. Queens can also be doubled, causing the player who collects a doubled queen to be reduced 50 points and the one giving it to gain 25 points. If a doubled queen is collected it has a card placed over its half. Among some Trex players this is called "a blanket to keep her warm". If a normal queen is collected it has a card placed under its half. This is called "a pillow for her head".

Collections/ "slaps"/"slapping"/"lutoosh"

Each trick taken costs the collecting player 15 points.

Trex or trix

Despite its name, this is the only contract that is not a trick-taking game, but a game of the Card Domino family. Players try to get rid of their cards as soon as they can by playing them to a layout, which begins with the jacks, and continues upwards in each suit to the ace and downwards to the two. The dealer begins and play continues counter-clockwise. Players must play one card if they can. Legal plays are: any jack, or any card that is one rank higher or lower than a card that has already been played. If a player is unable to play, they pass. The first player who runs out of cards scores plus 200 points. The others continue playing and the second scores plus 150 points, the third plus 100 points and the last gets plus 50 points.

If Trex is announced, any player who holds four twos or three twos and the three of the fourth suit can require the cards to be thrown in. The cards are shuffled and redealt, and the dealer can choose any contract that he has not already played (including Trex).

The game is repeated if a suit is closed without all jacks on the table


After 20 deals, when all four players have completed their kingdoms by choosing all five contracts, the game is over. The final scores indicate the result - the players with positive scores win by that amount, and the players with negative scores lose similarly.

The total points available in the five contracts are -75, -130, -100, -195, +500, so the total scores at the end of each kingdom and at the end of the whole game are always zero.

Playing Online

Online version of the game is available here:


Common tactics

King of hearts

Generally, the king of hearts is an important game, and the easiest to pick if the player has the right cards. One should choose this contract and double the king if they (in order of risk):

  1. Have 5 or more hearts including the king (protected king)
  2. Have 3-4 hearts of high value (the ace and queen are helpful) including the king, with 2 or less cards of at least one other suit.
  3. Have 3-4 hearts including the king with 1 or less cards of at least one other suit.

If the player doesn't have the king of hearts, they should choose this contracts only if all other contracts available are extremely risky, because they might lose the chance to double the king and give an opponent the chance to control the game. It's important to have a high number (4 or more) of high value hearts. It's also preferable to have low values (2's and 3's) in the other suits, to avoid collecting the king of hearts on a trick of another suit.


If a player has the king, one tactic is to start with the suit with the fewest cards until they run out, they can then play the king on that suit if their opponent will collect it.

If a player has 7 or more high value hearts including the king, they can almost guarantee success by leading with hearts until everyone runs out, then play all their high value cards from the other suits, before handing the game to another player with a low value card.

If a player counts cards correctly, they may be able to lead with the king when an opponent has the ace alone in their hand.

When playing partners and the king is on a player's left, they can try not to play hearts until their partner does so, making sure they don't have the ace in their hand. If they do, the first partner should play a suit they ran out of to let them get rid of the ace.

If one partner opened with a card other than 2, and that suit was played one time only, the other partner should play a high rank of that suit to make sure their partner runs out before wasting their low rank card.

If a player only has high cards of the suit their partner has run out of, they should keep playing that suit (high to low) until their partner runs out of another one, or an opponent is forced to collect.

If a player knows for a fact that the player on their right has the ace of hearts, and that the player's partner has the king, it could be possible to lead with hearts to force them to play the ace.


The strategy for picking queens is the same for the king of hearts, except it applies to all suits. It is preferable to be able to double at least two queens when a player pick this contract, but not necessary. Queens in a player's hand that they cannot double can at least assure that no one else will double them, and the player can mediate the loss from collecting one with a doubled queen given to an opponent.


Same as the king of hearts except it applies to all suits. Also, the player has to pay to keep track of both kings and aces of each suit.

It is always preferable for a player to collect a non-doubled queen if they can, to make their opponent to collect a doubled queen.

Queens is usually an economic game, where the player has to weigh their wins and losses.

Tafreesh (see above) is a very common strategy in this contract, and especially useful when a player has a queen with a lot of protection of low ranks.


Diamonds is the go-to contract when a player has no other contracts to pick, since each diamond is worth -10 and usually they are distributed between multiple players. A perfect diamond hand is a hand with a lot of low rank diamonds (especially a 2), and generally low rank cards of other suits (although with a hand like that it might be preferable to pick slaps because it's a riskier game). The player can also pick the game if they have only one or two very low rank diamonds. Having another suit with one or two cards is also important, especially if the player has a high run of diamonds.


Generally similar to other trick games. Keep an eye out for high rank diamonds and avoid playing tlata'shawy.

It's also a good idea for a player to keep at least one high-mid rank diamond to allow their partner to hand them the game if they are stuck.

If a player is the one who picked diamonds, it's preferable for them to wait for their partner to lead with diamonds, because usually that means that the player is the one with low rank diamonds.

If allowed, it is preferable to open with a diamond card if the player has only one or two mid-rank diamonds.


Slaps are picked if a player has generally low cards, and preferably a suit with one or two cards, so they can run out and get rid of their high rank cards.

If playing partners, a player should not pick slaps if they only have low ranks as their partner's hand may also have a low value, and keeping a high card will allow them to give hand the game to the player.


When an early game trick has low or medium ranks, the player can leave it. This is preferable, unless their partner is the one collecting it.

In late game, if a player has counted the cards correctly, they can take a trick with a high card and play a low card after, giving it back to an opponent, usually resulting in tafreesh.

Sometimes it's better for a player to lead with high cards so they will not collect tricks in the late game, as above.

One player might play a suit that their partner ran out of in order to let them get rid of their high ranks. Here, the first player may have to play tlata'shawy. This is a risky strategy, but can help when the player want to help their partner avoid tafreesh.


Trex is usually the most important and decisive contract (especially in partners), and it's the only positive score game (outside of doubling). Trex favors higher value hands, especially queens through aces. Also having mid rank cards of the same suit in order (e.g. 4, 5, 6 of hearts) is very helpful. Having 2's is detrimental, especially in partners where a player has to reveal them. Furthermore, having no cards of a suit, or having only a queen or higher of a suit will make the game significantly harder, as the player cannot control the game and will have to play cards for their opponents. Having a lonely jack, and no other jacks, is also detrimental because the player will have to play it immediately. On the other hand, having 10, J, Q of a suit gives the player the best start, because the player will not affect the game, forcing other players to play the jacks that the player needs.


Generally, the player should play the cards they need (based on their 2s and their partner's), followed by non-risk cards (aces, 2s, and cards that where the player has the successor), then low risk cards (queens, kings, 3s, and cards where a successor with one card separation), then other cards.

When the player forced to play cards for their opponent, they should try to focus on only one suit, preferably the one they have the most of.

Sometimes, the player might have to keep a card that they or their partner need in their hand, to force a player to play another card that they also need.

If someone is passing, and a player has to play a card for an opponent (especially a 3), they should try to play cards for the one passing. That way, they make sure that the others will be forced to play cards which benefit the player.

It is helpful to see how many cards each player has before playing a card in the late game.

In partners, 2nd and 3rd are the same as 1st and 4th, so players do not need to risk the game if they not sure that their partner will be first.


The following are some common Trex variations:

See also

Related Research Articles

Contract bridge Card game

Contract bridge, or simply bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. In its basic format, it is played by four players in two competing partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. Millions of people play bridge worldwide in clubs, tournaments, online and with friends at home, making it one of the world's most popular card games, particularly among seniors. The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is the governing body for international competitive bridge, with numerous other bodies governing bridge at the regional level.

Pinochle card game

Pinochle, also called pinocle or penuchle, is a trick-taking, Ace-Ten card game typically for two to four players and played with a 48-card deck. It is derived from the card game bezique; players score points by trick-taking and also by forming combinations of cards into melds. It is thus considered part of a "trick-and-meld" category which also includes the game belote. Each hand is played in three phases: bidding, melds, and tricks. The standard game today is called "partnership auction pinochle."

Sheepshead (card game) card game

Sheepshead or Sheephead is an American trick-taking card game derived from Bavaria's national card game, Schafkopf. Sheepshead is most commonly played by five players, but variants exist to allow for two to eight players. There are also many other variants to the game rules, and many slang terms used with the game.

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.

500 (card game) card game

500 or five hundred, also called bid Euchre is a trick-taking game that is an extension of euchre with some ideas from bridge. For two to six players, it is most commonly played by four players in partnerships, but is sometimes recommended as a good three-player game. It arose in America before 1900 and was promoted by the United States Playing Card Company, which copyrighted and marketed the rules in 1904. 500 is a social card game and was highly popular in the United States until around 1920 when first auction bridge and then contract bridge drove it from favour. 500 continues to enjoy popularity in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where it has been taught through six generations community-wide, and in other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada (Quebec) and Shetland. The originator of Five Hundred, US Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, now has headquarters across the Ohio River in Erlanger, Kentucky, west of Covington, KY. Five hundred is promoted by some as the national card game of Australia.

Spades (card game) Card game

Spades is a trick-taking card game devised in the United States in the 1930s. It can be played as either a partnership or solo/"cutthroat" game. The object is to take the number of tricks that were bid before play of the hand began. Spades is a descendant of the Whist family of card games, which also includes Bridge, Hearts, and Oh Hell. Its major difference as compared to other Whist variants is that, instead of trump being decided by the highest bidder or at random, the Spade suit always trumps, hence the name.

In trick-taking games, to ruff means to play a trump card to a trick. According to the rules of most games, a player must have no cards left in the suit led in order to ruff. Since the other players are constrained to follow suit if they can, even a low trump can win a trick. In some games, like Pinochle and Preferans, the player who cannot follow suit is required to ruff. In others, like Bridge and Whist, he may instead discard. Normally, ruffing will win a trick. But it is also possible that a subsequent player will overruff. This is not always a bad thing—see uppercut below.

Marjapussi card game

Marjapussi is a traditional Finnish partnerships trick taking game. The speciality of Marjapussi is that the trump suit is determined in the middle of the play by declaring a marriage. To win a game, a partnership must get exactly twelve points. A very similar game evidently related to Sixty-six, but with a curious resonance of All Fours is played in Sweden under the name Bondtolva, Farmer's Dozen.

French Tarot trick-taking card game for four players using the traditional 78-card tarot deck

The game of French Tarot, also jeu de tarot, is a trick-taking strategy tarot card game played by three to five players using a traditional 78-card tarot deck. The game is the second most popular card game in France and is also known in French-speaking Canada.

Bonken is a Dutch trick-taking card game for 4 players that is played with a standard pack of cards. Everyone plays for themselves. It is a compendium game of 11 rounds, each of which has its own goal. The aim of the game is to score as few penalty points as possible. The player who scores the fewest points is declared the winner.

Belote is a 32-card, trick-taking, Ace-Ten game played primarily in France and certain European countries, namely Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, North Macedonia and also in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the most popular card games in those countries, and the national card game of France, both casually and in gambling. It was invented around 1920 in France, and is a close relative of both Klaberjass and Klaverjas. Closely related games are played throughout the world. Definitive rules of the game were first published in 1921.

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.


Krutzjass is a Swiss German trick-taking card game in some ways similar to Contract bridge. The name, literally translated into English, is Cross-Game, a name derived from the fact that it is played between two teams or partnerships of two, where team members sit opposite each other, with an opponent on either side. There are many variants of the game, however, this article deals primarily with the double-deck variant.

Doppelkopf card game

Doppelkopf, sometimes abbreviated to Doko, is a trick-taking card game for four players. The origins of this game are not well known; it is assumed that it originated from the game Schafkopf.

These terms are used in contract bridge, using duplicate or rubber scoring. Some of them are also used in whist, bid whist, the obsolete game auction bridge, and other trick-taking games. This glossary supplements the Glossary of card game terms.

Barbu (card game) board game

Barbu or Le Barbu, also known as Tafferan, is a trick-taking, compendium, card game similar to hearts where four players take turns leading seven different sub-games over the course of 28 deals. Barbu originated in France in the early 20th century where it was especially popular with university students, and became a prominent game among French Bridge-players in the 1960s. The French version of the game was originally played with a stripped deck of 32 cards ranked seven to ace in each suit. Modern forms are played with a full 52-card pack. Barbu may be descended from earlier compendium games popular with students and originating in the Austro-Hungarian Empire such as Lorum or Quodlibet.

Rentz is an American version of the Romanian card game Renț. Rentz is a compendium game mainly comprising trick-taking deals or 'mini-games'. The object of each deal is to either avoid taking "tricks" or score points. The game can be played by four players, each of which is dealt 13 cards from a standard playing card deck at the start of each hand.

Triomphe, once known as French Ruff, is a card game dating from the late 15th century. It most likely originated in France or Spain and later spread to the rest of Europe. When the game arrived in Italy, it shared a similar name with the pre-existing game and deck known as trionfi; probably resulting in the latter becoming renamed as Tarocchi (tarot). While trionfi has a fifth suit that acts as permanent trumps, triomphe randomly selects one of the existing four suits as trumps. Another common feature of this game is the robbing of the stock. Triomphe became so popular that during the 16th century the earlier game of trionfi was gradually renamed tarocchi, tarot, or tarock. This game is the origin of the English word "trump" and is the ancestor of many trick-taking games like Euchre and Whist.

Bauernschnapsen card game

The card game of Bauernschnapsen is an expanded form of the popular Austrian card game of Schnapsen, played by four players. This variant of Schnapsen is played throughout the whole of Austria.