|Rank (high→low)||A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2|
|Playing time||30 min|
|Auction bridge, Contract bridge, Solo whist, Tarneeb, Spades|
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 strategic play. 
Whist is a descendant of the 16th-century game of trump or ruff. Whist replaced the popular variant of trump known as ruff and honours.   The game takes its name from the 17th-century whist (or wist) meaning quiet, silent, attentive, which is the root of the modern wistful. 
According to Daines Barrington, whist was first played on scientific principles by a party of gentlemen who frequented the Crown Coffee House in Bedford Row, London, around 1728.  Edmond Hoyle, suspected to be a member of this group, began to tutor wealthy young gentlemen in the game and published A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742. It became the standard text and rules for the game for the next hundred years.
In 1862, Henry Jones, writing under the pseudonym "Cavendish", published The Principles of Whist Stated and Explained, and Its Practice Illustrated on an Original System, by Means of Hands Played Completely Through, which became the standard text.  In his book, Jones outlined a comprehensive history of Whist, and suggested that its ancestors could include a game called Trionf, mentioned by a sixteenth century Italian poet named Berni, and a game called Trump (or Triumph), mentioned in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.  Many subsequent editions and enlargements of Jones's book were published using the simpler title Cavendish On Whist. By this time, whist was governed by elaborate and rigid rules covering the laws of the game, etiquette and play which took time to study and master.
In the 1890s, a variant known as bridge whist became popular which eventually evolved into contract bridge. The traditional game of whist survives at social events called whist drives.  There are many modern variants of whist played for fun.
A standard 52-card pack is used. The cards in each suit rank from highest to lowest: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. Whist is played by four players, who play in two partnerships with the partners sitting opposite each other. Players draw cards to determine dealer and partners, with the two highest playing against the lowest two, who have seating rights. To comment on the cards in any way is strictly against the rules. One may not comment upon the hand one was dealt nor about one's good fortune or bad fortune. One may not signal to one's partner.
The cards can be shuffled by any player, though usually the player to dealer's left. The dealer has the right to shuffle last if they wish. To speed up dealing, a second pack can be shuffled by the dealer's partner during the deal and then placed to the right ready for the next hand. The cards are cut by the player on dealer's right before dealing. The dealer deals out the cards, one at a time, face down, so that each player has thirteen cards. The final card, which belongs to the dealer, is turned face up to indicate which suit is trumps. The turned-up trump card remains face up on the table until it is the dealer's turn to play to the first trick, at which point the dealer may pick up the card and place it in his/her hand. The deal advances clockwise.
The player to the dealer's left leads to the first trick with any card in the hand. The other players, in clockwise order, each play a card to the trick and must follow suit by playing a card of the suit led if held. A player with no card of the suit led may play any card, either discarding or trumping. The trick is won by the highest card of the suit led, unless a trump is played, in which case the highest trump wins. The winner of the trick leads the next trick.
Play continues until all thirteen tricks are played, at which point the score is recorded. If no team has enough points to win the game, another hand is played.
Part of the skill involved in the game is one's ability to remember what cards have been played and reason out what cards remain. Therefore, once each trick is played, its cards are turned face down and kept in a stack of four near the player who won the trick. Before the next trick starts, a player may ask to review the cards from the last trick only. Once the lead card is played, however, no previously played cards can be reviewed by anyone.
After all tricks have been played, the side that won more tricks scores one point for each trick won in excess of six. When all four players are experienced, it is unusual for the score for a single hand to be higher than two. A game is over when one team reaches a score of five. There are so-called "Hotel Rules" variations in which the teams agree to play to a higher score, such as "American" and "Long" (seven and nine, respectively).
Longer variations of the game, in which the winning score is set higher than five, can be played with "honours" rules in effect. Honours have no effect on the play of a hand, but serve as bonus points that speed up the games as an element of luck. If the partners on a single team are dealt the top four cards (ace, king, queen, jack) in the trump suit, they collect four additional points at the end of the hand; if they are dealt three of these cards, they score two points. Tricks are scored before honours, and the latter cannot be used to score the winning point.
For example, a game is being played to nine points and the score is tied 6-6. A hand is played, and the winning team takes seven tricks and claims honours for three of the four highest trump cards. They score one point for their tricks, but only one point for their honours since the second point would take them up to nine and win the game. The score after the hand is thus 8-6.
Methods of keeping score include whist marker devices, or a set of four metal counters which can be arranged in different formations for the score values 1 through 9. 
The name "whist" has become attached to a wide variety of games, most based on Classic Whist. McLeod classifies Whist games into a number of sub-groups: the Auction Whist, Boston, Classic Whist and Exact Bidding groups, and games played by numbers of players other than four. The following is a selection within each sub-group.
A whist drive is a social event at which progressive games of whist are played across a number of tables which are numbered or ordered into a sequence.
In it, the winning (or sometimes losing, dependent on the local custom) pair of a hand "progress" around the room, i.e. one person moves up the table sequence and one person moves down. On arriving at the new table, the next hand is played.
By convention the pair who sits has shuffled and deals after the arriving pair has cut the pack.
A progressive whist drive is normally 24 hands, with each hand being a different trump. Trumps normally follow the sequence: hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades.
Sometimes a break for refreshments is taken after 12 hands. 
"[...] Whist has long been noted for its influence upon what is termed the calculating power; and men of the highest order of intellect have been known to take an apparently unaccountable delight in it, [...]"
"[...] His only pastime was reading the papers and playing whist. He frequently won at this quiet game, so very appropriate to his nature;[...]"
At the sound of that name, falling unexpectedly into this annoying affair, the Assistant Commissioner dismissed brusquely the vague remembrance of his daily whist party at his club. It was the most comforting habit of his life, in a mainly successful display of his skill without the assistance of any subordinate. He entered his club to play from five to seven, before going home to dinner, forgetting for those two hours whatever was distasteful in his life, as though the game were a beneficent drug for allaying the pangs of moral discontent.
The rubber was conducted with all that gravity of deportment and sedateness of demeanour which befit the pursuit entitled “whist”—a solemn observance, to which, as it appears to us, the title of “game” has been very irreverently and ignominiously applied
Oh Hell or Contract Whist is a trick-taking card game of British origin 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 fail. It was first described by B. C. Westall around 1930 and originally called Oh! Well. It was said to have been introduced into America via the New York clubs in 1931. It has been described as "one of the best round games."
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 contract bridge, whist, and spades, or to the value of the cards contained in taken tricks, as in point-trick games such as pinochle, the tarot family, briscola, and most evasion games like hearts. 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 avoid taking some or all tricks.
All Fours is a traditional English card game, once popular in pubs and taverns as well as among the gentry, that flourished as a gambling game until the end of the 19th century. It is a trick-taking card game that was originally designed for two players, but developed variants for more players. According to Cotton, the game originated in Kent, but spread to the whole of England and eventually abroad. It is the eponymous and earliest recorded game of a family that flourished most in 19th century North America and whose progeny include Pitch, Pedro and Cinch, games that even competed with Poker and Euchre. Nowadays the original game is especially popular in Trinidad and Tobago, but regional variants have also survived in England. The game's "great mark of distinction" is that it gave the name 'Jack' to the card previously known as the Knave.
Euchre or eucre is a trick-taking card game commonly played in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and the Midwestern United States. It is played with a deck of 24, 28, or 32 standard playing cards. Normally there are four players, two on each team, although there are variations for two to nine players.
Ninety-nine is a card game for 2, 3, or 4 players. It is a trick-taking game that can use ordinary French-suited cards. Ninety-nine was created in 1967 by David Parlett; his goal was to have a good 3-player trick-taking game with simple rules yet great room for strategy.
Solo Whist, sometimes known as English Solo or simply Solo, is a trick-taking card game for four players. Despite the name it is not related to Whist, but derives from an early form of Boston played in the Low Countries, whose direct ancestor, in turn, was the 17th-century Spanish game of Ombre. 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 Houma, Louisiana, by Chris Levron and Brad Greco 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, Niobe NY, 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 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. Bid whist, along with spades, remains popular particularly in U.S. military culture and a tradition in African-American culture.
Preferans or Russian Preference is a 10-card plain-trick game with bidding, played by three or four players with a 32-card Piquet deck. It is a sophisticated variant of the Austrian game Préférence, which in turn descends from Spanish Ombre and French Boston. It is renowned in the card game world for its many complicated rules and insistence on strategical approaches.
Ruff and Honours, Ruffe and Trump or Slamm was an English trick-taking card game that was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries; it was superseded in the 18th century by Whist.
Sueca is a 4 player-partnership point trick-taking card game of the Ace-Ten family, and a popular variant of the Bisca card game. The game is played in Portugal, Brazil, Angola and other Portuguese communities. Its closest relative is the very similar German game Einwerfen.
Cinch, also known as Double Pedro or High Five, is an American trick-taking card game derived from Pitch via Pedro. Developed in Denver, Colorado in the 1880s, it was soon regarded as the most important member of the All Fours family but went out of fashion with the rise of Auction Bridge. The game is primarily played by 4 players in fixed partnerships, but can also be played by 2–6 individual players.
Catch the Ten, also called Scots Whist or Scotch Whist, is an 18th-century point-trick, Ace-Ten card game which is recorded as being played only in Scotland, although evidence suggests a possible German origin. Unlike standard Whist, it is played with a pack of only 36 cards, the 5s and below being omitted. In the trump suit, the Jack is the highest card. Despite its alternative name, it has nothing to do with standard Whist.
Klaverjas or Klaverjassen is the Dutch name for a four player trick-taking card game using the piquet deck of playing cards. It is closely related to the card game klaberjass, which is popular internationally and also known as Bela, and various other names. It is one of the most popular card games in the Netherlands, traditionally played in cafes and social clubs. The game offers a considerable level of complexity and depth. It has numerous variants, but universal fundamental rules exists.
Shelem, also called Rok or similar, is an Iranian trick-taking card game with four players in two partnerships, bidding and competing against each other. Bidding and trump are declared in every hand by the bidding winner. Both the name and the point structure of this game are similar to the American game Rook, there being a possible connection between the two games. Though it isn't clear from which game it is derived.
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 Michigan, Minnesota, Northern and Central Iowa, Wisconsin and also in Ontario, Canada.
The following is a glossary of terms used in card games. Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon slang terms. Terms in this glossary should not be game-specific, but apply to a wide range of card games. For glossaries that relate primarily to one game or family of similar games, see Game-specific glossaries.
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.
Call-ace Whist or Danish Whist is a card game for four players playing in variable partnerships. It is the most popular form of Whist in Denmark, where it is often just called "Whist". It has a well developed bidding system and has imported from the traditional Danish game of Skærvindsel the feature of determining the partnerships by 'calling an ace'. John McLeod records that there is also a version of Danish Whist in which there are fixed partnerships.
Sjavs is a Danish card game of the Schafkopf family that is played in two main variants. In Denmark, it is a 3-player game, played with a shortened pack of 20 cards; in the Faroe Islands, where it is very popular, it is a four-hand, partnership game using a standard Piquet pack of 32 cards.