Magyar változat

Magyar változat


Lóránt Kégl's tarokk page

for advanced players

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   This site is for people who are seriously interested in the game of (Hungarian) tarokk. The reputation of this game is unfortunately not as high as it should be considering its difficulty, philosophy, history and cultural influence. This game can be compared to bridge from many points of view, such as difficulty, history, etc, but bridge – being promoted mostly by English and American players – is known all over the world. It is popular, it has huge literature, it has many clubs, courses and competitions. Meanwhile tarokk is an intellectual game played by a minority in Hungary. This site aims to change this situation a little. In the Internet there are also only a few descriptions, though at the bottom of this page there are some useful links. For advanced players there is no other description in the Internet. So anybody who is interested in the world of skíz, pagát, tulétroá, XXI catch, might be interested to read those links (though most of them include quite a lot of errors and bad habits). And if he is not a beginner and wants to have deeper knowledge of the game, this page could be useful for him. Unfortunately this site is at present unique in the world (even in the Hungarian language) in explaining how to play tarokk at an advanced level. This lack of easily available information might be one of the reasons why the game does not yet have the high reputation it deserves.




The translation is ongoing. It will be

published soon.





Hungarian XX-calling Paskievics Tarokk (with 6 Bonuses)

for Advanced Players





January 2004


Bűvész   Matt   Világ




Bidding, invitation
Playing Strategies (discarding, playing)
Néhány kétes szabály tisztázása (parti eldobása, rossz szokások, tévhitek, renonsz)
A tarokk player's proper behaviour
Related links

Attempt for Standardization of the Rules of Paskievics Tarokk

Guest book






   The first tarot game was born in the 15th century in Italy. It went through a long evolution during its history, and different kinds of tarot are played in many parts of Europe. The Paskievics version of Hungarian tarokk was developed in the mid 19th century and got its name from the Russian general Paskievics who helped the Austrian Habsburg empire to defeat the Hungarian revolution in 1848-49. Some say there is a connection between this year and the game that can be won with 48 points.

   In the 20th century some new and apparently more complicated versions by players who considered that Paskievics Tarokk was not interesting enough. There is a version called “színes” [colored] or “illusztrált” [illustrated] or “Palatinusz” [palantine] tarokk, where the 6 original bonuses (tulétroá [2 units (announced)], 4 kings [2 units], double game [4 times the price of the game], volát [6 times the price of the game], pagát ultimó [10 units], XXI catch [42 units]) are complemented with 6 new ones (centrum, kismadár, nagymadár, pagát uhu, king ultimó, king uhu). There are Paskievics clubs, where some of the new bonuses are played (king ultimó, pagát uhu, centrum). Although this extended game may seem more interesting, it is chaotic rather than difficult. Nevertheless, many players consider illustrated tarokk to be an advanced version of Paskievics. Most of the descriptions say directly or at least they imply that a player should learn Paskievics first and then he can move on to the “real” game [meaning illustrated]. This is a fundamentally misguided approach. My conviction (and experience) is that most illustrated tarokk players do not know the sophisticated playing strategies explained below and they do not follow conventions that are precise and logical enough. (Even the printed descriptions include grave illogicalities and tactical mistakes in playing.) I consider it a sad phenomenon that tarokk is played by only a few people and the original, serious version is played by even fewer. The other extended version called “magas” [high] tarokk has even more bonuses (for example pagát fácán [pheasant]: the pagát wins the first trick => 50 units, or 3 kings (also called king family): the last 3 tricks are won by 3 different kings => 100 units, Sas [eagle] uhu: the eagle (II. tarokk) wins the 8th trick => 20 units), and these additions drive the game towards gambling or – with strong hand – profiteering. Another version should be mentioned. This is called – I think a little pretentiously – “magyar” [Hungarian] tarokk. This is actually the illustrated version with a few new bonuses. In contrast with the other extended versions its inventors at least try to support their developments with arguments, which is at any rate respectable, though their arguments are mostly vulnerable and sometimes obviously wrong. The problem is – just as in most descriptions of the illustrated version as well – that there are lots of tactical and strategic mistakes, and wrong approaches to the statistical probabilities.

   So I am quite convinced that the illustrated version does not really improve the game and does not make it more difficult or interesting. The “high” and the “Hungarian” versions are even worse, they make the originally serious game more like a gambling game. So they damage the reputation of the word “tarokk”, making it seem a less serious game, an undesirable phenomenon in my opinion.

   Tarokk players are entitled to be proud of keeping a fine tradition alive. Moreover the game has strong connection to Hungarian culture and history. But this pride must be the main reason for a strange phenomena that many players – significantly more than in other difficult games – play with wrong strategy, and maintain worthless habits for decades without changing or logically reconsidering them even with external help.

   This description – especially the chapters on playing strategies – is therefore for players who play the Paskievics version with 6 bonuses, and who are not beginners. The strategies described are optimized for the profit. Having played for several decades with wise and experienced partners I can promise that a player who follows these principles will win the most in long term. The main philosophy is that if we focus on profit, an interesting game will automatically result. I hope this study is also a small step in the nearly 600 years old evolution of tarokk.




Bidding, Invitation


Yielded game

   A:3, B:2, A: pass; A yielded the game with the XX. A usually has a large honour and at least 5 tarokks. If he has less than 5 tarokks he does not bid 3 initially (but says “pass”), because he will be called by the declarer anyway in most cases. Though with 4 tarokks including the skíz after 2 passes (in the 3rd place) bidding must be considered. For inviting or yielding with [only] the pagát see later.



   To make an invitation we need strong hand, but accepting an invitation is allowed with any hand. “Escaping” invitations are not played in our school. This means that even a player with weak hand including the XXI should not invite to avoid a XXI catch because he will lose his credibility and nobody will accept his invitations any more. The “escaping” invitation derogates its value because the one who wants to accept it can not distinguish between the “real” and the “escaping” invitations. This is not good for anybody in long term.

   A general convention is that the one who accepts an invitation should endeavour to let his partner draw 2 cards from the talon. Therefore if he sits to the right to the inviter he should accept it by bidding “szóló” even if he could have said “tartom” in response to the inviter’s “1”. The only exception is when the one who is accepting has also a strong (and long) hand of tarokks, especially if he has the pagát, too. To make a cue bid one needs the XIX or the XVIII. With XIX we have two ways:

  ♣ A:2, B:1 (or szóló), A:pass; A makes an invitation, B accepts it. If B sits to the right of A, he accepts it with “szóló” to give A 2 cards from the talon. In other cases it is enough to say “1”. In this case a 3rd player can say “szóló”, but if B says “tartom” to it, the invitation is accepted anyway. (If B does not say “tartom” the 3rd bidder can accept the invitation but this would be a mistake by B in any case);

  ♣ A:3, B:1, A:”tartom” (or szóló); B makes an invitation, A accepts it. He accepts it with szóló when he sits to the right of B (it means A leads to the first trick), to give B 2 cards.

All the invitations that can be accepted only with “szóló” (in other words, all the rest) are invitations of the XVIII.

These are:

  ♣ A:3, B:szóló, A:”tartom”; B makes an invitation, A accepts it;

  ♣ A:1, B:szóló, A:pass; A makes an invitation, B accepts it. A should bid this only with a very strong hand, otherwise he has the next possibility;

  ♣ A:3, B:2, A:1, B:szóló; A makes an invitation, B accepts it. It can be accepted only with szóló, with “tartom” it is not allowed. (Therefore it is an invitation of XVIII in our school. There are clubs where A’s bid of 1 is played as an invitation of the XIX [and it can be accepted with “tartom”, too]. This is not actually an error but neither is it recommended. The logic behind this principle is that with XIX it is easier to play anyway, so the invitations with XVIII should be made easier.) If B does not want to accept the invitation, he can say “pass”. This does not make too much sense in our school, because it is certain that A has not made an “escaping” invitation, so it is worth accepting it in any case. The only exception when B can reject it is when he has the XX but this is still not obvious because in this case A will get only 1 card. B can also refuse the invitation by saying “tartom” (if we don’t play it as XIX invitation), to compete with A (A can say szóló if he wants). It makes no sense to do this in our school, so B should say szóló in all cases except when he has the XX, but even in that case it can be worthwhile;

  ♣ A:3, B:2, A:szóló, B:tartom; A makes an invitation, B accepts it. It is almost the same as the previous case, but A informs his future partner (B), that he has a really good hand. In this case B with the XX can say “pass” easily. Also he can announce double game for example, because he knows that A has a very good hand. (If the previous bid is considered as XIX cue bid, then this is the only reverse XVIII invitation, so in this case these considerations are not valid);

  ♣ A:3, B:2, C:szóló, A:tartom; C makes an invitation, A accepts it. If A says “pass”, then B can accept it, but it is always worthwhile for A to accept it, so C can accept only if A makes a mistake. C should have always a high honour, so it is worthwhile for him to invite because his partner will have another high honour or his partner will have a strong hand with pagát. (If A has pagát he must be strong to have bid 3 in the first place.) In the second case if C has the skíz an announced XXI catch is possible sometimes. (This is also sometimes played as a XIX invitation but this is also not recommended because of the same logic as before.);

  ♣ A:3, B:2, C:1, A (or B):szóló; A (or B) makes an invitation, B (or C) accepts it (with “tartom”). There are clubs where it is not played as an invitation. That interpretation is also reasonable: we should agree which version to use before playing, though it is a very rare situation anyway.

   A player who invites or yields with only the pagát is obliged to announce the bonus pagát ultimó. Because of this, with the pagát one needs a hand with very strong (and long) tarokks. Also he should make an invitation or yield only to invite the player to his left to call him, so that he doesn’t risk helping an opponent to catch his partner’s XXI.
   This is a fundamental tactical consideration, but even so, our school has modified it. Inviting or yielding with only the pagát can lead to many interesting results (such as a XXI catch or an expensive double game or volát). On the other hand, the player who accepts the invitation can get into danger only when serveral unlucky circumstances are combined: he must have a weak hand with only the XXI, the player sitting to his right must have the skíz and a hand that is not too weak, and the other opponent must be strong enough to help with the XXI catch. So in some cases it is an acceptable risk to invite or yield to the player sitting opposite with only the pagát. This can be done when the player who to the right of the player who accepts the invitation has said “pass” before the invitation is made or the game is yielded. In this case the player with the pagát can be sure that he does not have the skíz. So after the accepted invitation or yielded game there can be a “problem” only if the player to the right of the accepting player draws the skíz from the talon, or if his reason for not bidding was that although he had the skíz he also had the XX and not more than 4 tarokks (and drawing 2 cards from the talon made strong enough to be able to catch the XXI). The conditions for inviting (or yielding to) the player opposite with the pagát only are satisfied in the following bidding sequences:
  #1 - A:pass, B (with pagát): [with XIX] 2 or [with XVIII*] 1, C:pass, D:1 or szóló, B:pass;
  #2 - A:pass, B (with pagát and XVIII** [and probably with XIX and/or XX]):3, C:pass, D:2, B:1, D:szóló;
  #3 - A:pass, B (with pagát and XX):3, C:pass, D:2, B:pass;
  #4 - A:3, B:pass, C (with pagát): [with XIX] 1 or [with XVIII*] szóló, D:pass, A:tartom (in case of XIX D can bid szóló, but A will say “tartom” after that anyway);
  The same situation shifted by one place::
  #5 - A:pass, B:3, C:pass, D (with pagát): [with XIX] 1 or [with XVIII*] szóló, B:tartom;

* Having only the XVIII (without the XIX or XX) it is hard to imagine a hand strong enough to invite or yield with only the pagát, so these sequences can hardly occur in reality. If the player has the XIX or XX as well as the XVIII there are better bidding solutions.
** If the reverse invitation is played only with the XVIII.

   Please note that apart from the case #4 it is always an opponent who leads to the first trick. Also they will probably win a trick with their high honour, so all the other big tarokks should be in the hand of the player who has the pagát. This means that the only purpose of inviting (rather than yielding) is to obtain 2 cards from the talon (and of course to make the game more expensive), because the player with the pagát should have the XX, the XIX and the XVIII as well. So with 9 tarokks it is better to yield (case #3), with 8 tarokks and one suit card (that is not a king) case #1 or #2 is the best, hoping that at least one of the 2 cards from the talon is a tarokk and none of them is a king. With the XVIII it is better to play case #2 instead of #1 because it is easier to withdraw the invitation if the player to the right bids. Case #5 is also hard to play without the XX, and with the XX it is easier to say “pass”, so it can practically never happen. In fact case #4 is the one that can occur fairly often, but still it can be declared that the player who has the pagát should also have at least 2 from the tarokks XVIII, XIX and XX and other middle size tarokks are also necessary. Though these conditions still apply in the normal case when a player with only the pagát invites the player to his left.


Other bidding cogitations

   If somebody does not want to get too many cards from the talon, he can start with “2” or “1” (or even szóló, excluding the others from bidding), but if somebody accepts the presumed invitation, the first player has to “take it back” by saying “tartom (but only once). On the other hand if somebody already said “3” and everybody else said “pass” he cannot choose to take fewer than 3 cards. This is against the philosophy of the game: we should not ease the situation of the player who has a good hand anyway. We can bid 2 or 1 without our bid being understood as a possible invitation if we are the last to bid after three passes, since no one could accept out invitation.

   If one has a high honour he always bids, unless he has fewer than 5 tarokks and also he has the XX. In this case he could not yield the game because he would misinform his partner, so he says “pass”. As he has the XX, he will be called by the declarer anyway in most cases. With the skíz one may also stay silent (“pass”) when there were 2 bids before him. Sometimes with these a XXI catch situation can be created, especially if he has the XX.






   In a contract of 3 with tulétroá announced, the partner’s announcement of four kings shows a hand which has no suit without the king, and with 6-7 tarokks including a big one. If he has suit(s) without the king it would be better to announce double game instead. In a higher level contract a double game announcement with this hand is unwise because it is expensive (though in a contract of 2 it is still easier than four kings in most cases).

   If only one player bid, when he announces tulétroá and 8-tarokks, his partner should encourage him if he has at least 5 tarokks (if the declarer announced 9-tarokks, even 4 tarokks is enough) by announcing a bonus following the principles of the previous paragraph. It is possible to encourage him even with fewer tarokks if the relative position at the table, the size of the tarokks and the lead to the first trick are favourable, for example if he can lead tarokks through the opponents twice, etc.

   If the declarer announces 8-9-tarokks (and he does not announce tulétroá), it is worth encouraging him (with four kings or double game) to announce pagát ultimó only if the bonus used as an encouragement can also be accomplished and/or there is possibility of a XXI catch, too. If a kontra of the encouraging bonus is almost certain, the encouragement does not have too much point because four kings with kontra costs 4 units and the announced pagátulitmó costs 10, so we’ll win 6, but only if the declarer has the pagát, the chance of which is about 50%. Moreover if the declarer makes a silent pagát ultimó, we’ll win 5 units anyway. Of course this should be reevaluated if there is a big amount in the “ultimo pot”.

   One should announce tulétroá with at least 5 tarokks, and if the holder of the pagát bid then with at least 6-7 tarokks. If the partner announces a bonus or 8-9-tarokks, then one can announce tulétroá in the 2nd round of announcements with just 3-4 tarokks. In a yielded or invitation game, when the partners are known, the declarer’s tulétroá shows at least 5 tarokks and – of course – a high honour. The same consideration holds for a XX that was called spontaneously. In this case if the holder of the XX cannot announce tulétroá because of the too few tarokks, he should make an effort to inform his partner about his partnership as soon as possible. So he should always play the honour first rather than the XX. For example, if he wins a trick with the honour and leads a tarokk, his partner will know he has the XX, too. On the other hand if he had won a trick with the XX and then led a tarokk, his partner could not know about his high honour. There is an exception of the convention of 5-tarokks and tulétroá, when the partner announced 8-9-tarokks. In this case the player can announce tulétroá with 4 or even 3 tarokks. Of course he has to consider the relative positions at the table, the size of the tarokks and the who has the lead to the first trick as well.

   An announced tulétroá by the declarer in the first round (with both high honours) guarantees a stronger hand (normally at least 6 tarokks), but if the holder of the pagát bid, it shows an even stronger hand. With a weak hand tulétroá should not be announced even if the declarer has all 3 honours. But if a strong partner has announced something the declarer can announce tulétroá in the 2nd round. In this case the relative positions at the table are extremely important. When the encouraging partner sits to the right to the declarer and he leads to the first trick, he cannot know if the announced tulétroá in the 2nd round means a weak hand with both high honours or a strong hand with only skíz. So in this case only the declarer can announce XXI catch – his partner can only inform him about his power. Of course if the declarer also announces pagát ultimó with the tulétroá, then the partner can also announce XXI catch because it is obvious that the declarer is long in tarokks and does not have the XXI. (If the declarer just forgot to announce tulétroá in the 1st round he should not announce it later because his partner may announce XXI catch. This has actually happened…)

   If the declarer who accepted a yielded game or invitation does not announce tulétroá, his partner can announce it only if he has 2 honours because otherwise he does not know if the declarer has the pagát only or he has a high honour but is too weak to announce tulétroá. So if the partner can announce 8-9-tarokks with tulétroá, the declarer can think about announcing his partner’s pagát ultimó. It can succeed if the declarer has 4 tarokks or even 3 and he leads to the first trick. But if the declarer still does not announce pagát ultimó in this case, the partner should abandon it and save the pagát early. Only with an extremely strong hand should the partner announce pagát ultimó without the declarer’s tulétroá.

   If the partner does not have 2 honours but can announce 8-9-tarokks, the declarer can announce tulétroá in the 2nd round with 3-4 tarokks (see above), to inform his partner about his high honour. If the declarer has only 2 tarokks or a singleton skíz, he should not announce anything but also he should show his high honour as soon as possible.

   As it has been mentioned before, to play a yielded game or invitation with only the pagát is possible only when the declarer is sitting to the left of the partner, to avoid the situation that after the expected pagát ultimó announcement, the partner will help the opponents to catch the declarer’s XXI. If the declarer has both high honours, he can inform his partner about it by announcing pagát ultimó, as he can be sure that his partner is expected to announce it anyway. If besides the honours he has at least 3 more tarokks (so at least 5 altogether) he should announce tulétroá, too. If he has fewer tarokks, he can announce it in the 2nd round anyway (after the partner’s almost certain 8-9-tarokks announcement).

   If the declarer has only the pagát and his partner announces tulétroá “bona fide”, he should lead to a big tarokk (which would not be logical if he had a high honour in most cases) to show that he has no high honour. With this lead, in lucky cases – the partner has skíz and the sitting positions are favourable – he is already chasing the opponents’ XXI. Therefore we can declare that if a player wants to bid with the pagát, he should have at least 1 big tarokk so that he will be able to play like this. Sometimes even in this case he can have trouble, for example when he has to win a trick with the big tarokk and he has no more big ones to lead. In this case he should warn his partner with an obviously “wrong” play, for example. putting the pagát in the opponents’ trick!

   When the declarer and his partner have announced volát, if one of the opponents guesses that his partner has a quite good (long) hand, he can announce kontra four kings with 1 or 2 tarokks including a big one. In this way he informs his partner about his big tarokk and his partner may be able to announce kontra volát. Of course it can happen that his partner does not have a good hand and the declarers will announce rekontra four kings. So to decide we have to judge the chances of our partner having a good hand.

   If the declarer and his partner have announced pagát ultimó, one of the opponents can announce kontra tulétroá with long (7 or 6) tarokks but a weak hand. Then his partner can announce kontra pagát ultimó if he has at least 1 big tarokk to help. So this is different from the previous cases because now the longer opponent announces a kontra first. Of course in this case it is also possible that the partner does not have a hand that can help and the declarers will announce rekontra tulétroá, so this too must be played with circumspection.

   A declarer with XXI who had been pushed into a high contract while bidding (if he still has quite long tarokks) can ask his partner to lead tarokks even after the holder of the skíz has said kontra to the game by announcing four kings. He cannot rekontra the game because after the skíz’s szubkontra it will be very expensive. So with four kings he can inform his partner for only 4 units (because the skíz will kontra the four kings for sure). This is worthwhile only when the declarer with XXI cannot inform his partner in any other (cheaper) way (for example by leading a tarokk). The player with the XX (just like the skíz’s partner) always has to consider whether he can best help his partner by leading a tarokk or a suit. It is not obviously true that the skíz wants tarokks, the XXI wants suits!

   There is a rule that prohibits announcing double game and volát at the same time. However there are versions of this rule. The first allows the same player to announce them but in different rounds, while the second does not allow them both to be announced by the same player at all. We should agree about this before starting playing. I recommend the first version.




Playing Strategies


   This is the most important part of the game. It is very important to count the tarokks while playing, especially in XXI catch or pagát ultimó cases. Most of the times the size of the tarokks is very important too. Nobody should be in doubt about things like “has the XVI been played already?”, everybody should think about the suits that already have been seen, sometimes it is important to know who played which card of a suit, etc. So in practice we can say a really good player is able to replay the whole game at any moment. Of course with a little practice the relevant information can be selected but as one learns more and more about he comes to realise that actually there is not too much irrelevant information…

   Players must always take into account who leads to the first trick and also the relative position at the table. The instinct always to discard so as to keep as few different suits as possible has to be resisted, because even the opponents (of the declarer) can have a better strategy sometimes.

   It is a general principle to let the stronger partner determine the course of the game. Many players do not pay full attention when they have bad hand because they think they cannot really affect the game. This is a grave mistake! Everybody should play well even with bad hand! Many times the only task is to put a king into the right trick but an error may cost a lot.


Talon, discarding

  ♣ Generally the most important decision is how many different suits to keep, whether to create voids or to keep cards in several suits. In most cases it is better to have as few different suits as possible, but see the exceptions later;

  ♣ Players who discard to themselves (the declarer and those who are sure they will be opponents) should discard higher value suit cards (queen, knight), while the player who discards to his opponent (the declarer’s partner if he knows who he is) should discard suit cards with smaller value. Nevertheless, this consideration is only the second most important contrary to instinct;

  ♣ After considering the previous 2 points, other things being equal the player should conform to traditions and proverbs like “Partner kárót nem tart, ha tart, kettőt tart” (“The declarer’s partner does not keep diamonds, but if he does, he keeps 2 of them”), “Pikken csúszik a pagát” (“The pagát escapes on spades”), “Pikket ha baj van” (“Lead spades if you are in trouble”), “Ulti ellen feketét” (“Lead a black suit against an ulti”), “Pikken vész el minden” (“Spades will ruin everything”). So for example if a player has the lead to the first trick and expects to be playing against a pagát ultimó, he should keep a black suit card because his partner will do the same.

   The player who leads to the first trick should think about what he will lead before discarding. For example if he is an opponent and has 3 kings he should often keep a card of the fourth suit because it may be very important to be able to lead from a kingless suit.

   Against a pagát ultimó usually it is effective to have several different suits, but this depends on the relative position and strength of the players, the number of tarokks held, etc.

   When an opponent is very weak and especially if he is short in tarokks, if the declarer (or his partner) leads to the first trick, he should prefer the second tactic (discarding high value cards) to the first (creating a void) because he won’t be able to affect the game with his tarokks anyway. (This is not valid if his partner (the other opponent) leads to the first trick.)

   A player with tarokks that are short (1-3) but strong (e.g.. single XX or doubleton XX, XIV) should keep as many different suits as possible the avoid to be forced to overtrump his own partner.

   The help to a player whose XXI is in danger of being caught is actually an “art”. In this case if the trouble can be anticipated during the bidding, the partner of the holder of the XXI should keep as many suits as possible to be able to lead them to his partner, even if he has to discard tarokks into the talon. Generally we can say he should keep 3 suits if it is possible. To keep all 4 suits is worthwhile only if it does not cost too much, so if a player has 6 tarokks he should not discard a tarokk in order to keep the fourth suit. Of course if he has 3 kings this must be reevaluated…

   The player with the skíz who wants to catch the XXI should keep 2 or 3 different suits. Of course this depends on the strength of each player. If he has a strong partner it is enough to have fewer suits. The partner of the holder of the skíz should have as few suits as possible unless the bidding shows that with the holder of the skíz is weak and will need suits to be led.

   A declarer with 8 tarokks but without a king should keep a queen, even if he is tempted to discard it because of its value. The logic behind this that there is a possibility that an opponent may save the king of the same suit by throwing it on one of his partner’s tricks, and then the queen can win the last trick. Also because the declarer’s partner discards low value suit cards, there is a good chance that declarer’s partner may be able to trump the queen if the suit is led.



What should be led to the first trick:

   It is profitable in most cases to hinder the play of strong declarers by leading from a kingless suit. (That’s why it was written above that it is worth keeping the fourth suit if one has 3 kings.) However if the partner of the opponent who has the lead is playing last to the first trick, in some cases it can profitable to lead away from king of a long suit (usually a queen) because the declarers will not usually put a big tarokk in, so the partner may win the trick in last position.

   If a pagát ultimó has been announced without 8-9-tarokks, an opponent who is long in tarokks but weak (without a chance to lead twice in the game), having 6 tarokks with 2 suits should lead his singleton, because his only chance is that he has the same doubleton suit that the player of pagát ultimó has..

   The declarer (or his partner) should lead a small tarokk when leading up to his partner (to his left) because the opponent who is shorter in tarokks will usually put in a big tarokk anyway, so he can promote his bigger tarokks. When all the high tarokks whose positions are known have been played, the player should lead his biggest tarokk to inform his partner. See the exceptions later.

   If one sits as an opponent to the left of a bidder whose partner is not known, one should consider leading a tarokk to bring home his partner’s XXI, if his partner sits to his left (opposite the declarer). If the leader has a high tarokk that is enough to win a trick soon, it is necessary to lead a tarokk only if his partner is probably very weak (short in tarokks). If the player opposite the declarer bid but did not go to a higher bid (“1”) it is also unnecessary to send him home soon because he should have insisted on being the declarer (by saying “1”) if he had had a bad hand.

   If a pagát ultimó has been announced, the short opponent should lead a short black suit conforming to the tradition “Lead a black suit against an ulti” because his partner (with hopefully 6-7 tarokks) will play in accordance with the same tradition and keep black suits.

   If the game has been kontra’d and the partner of the player who said kontra has the lead to the first trick, his play depends on the relative position of the players. Let’s say he has 3 tarokks including a high one. If he sits to the left of or opposite his partner he should lead a high tarokk. But if he sits to the right he should lead a small one, so that in the next trick he will be able to use the high tarokk to force the declarer’s team to play a high tarokk, too.

   If the player who has been called by the declarer leads to the first trick, when there is XXI catch possibility (for example the declarer bid alone and did not announce tulétroá), he should lead his highest tarokk (usually the XX, or if he has some tarokks in sequence with the XX, the smallest one of them) if he sits opposite or to the right of the declarer. If he sits to the declarer’s left it does not make sense, so he should lead a small tarokk. (If possible he should not lead the smallest one, because the smallest tarokk can help a lot if one sits to the left of his partner, and in pagát ultimó and XXI catch situations.)

   It is always a problem what to lead first if one is trying to help his partner to escape with the XXI. Though it is quite obvious in many situations (for example they bid up to ”szóló”, the player and with the skíz said kontra to the game, the partner of the player with the XXI should lead a suit), there are many cases when it is not so easy. This time the player should consider how high the bidding ended, whether the player with the skíz said kontra, whether the player’s partner said kontra, whether anybody announced 8 or 9 tarokks, and of course last but not least his own hand. If there is a chance that the partner (with the XXI) wants tarokks led, it can be worthwhile leading the XX (or if he has some tarokks in sequence with the XX, the smallest of them) and the partner (and also the opponent with the skíz) will play a tarokk smaller than the X if he wants suits or the X or higher tarokk if he wants tarokks to be led. Of course it can happen that he is not able to do that (for example he does not have a tarokk smaller than the X), so the following tricks are also important. Players need to take note whether the players play their tarokks in descending or ascending order. In the first case the player wants suits led, in the second he needs tarokks to be led. It is also a problem what to lead if the partner (with the XXI) does not know yet who his partner is. In this case it can happen that the player with the XXI does not dare to play the XXI on the led suit because he is afraid that an ”evil” opponent has led away from the king. But by leading the XX to inform his partner, the player gives up a trick (so he will have one chance fewer to help by leading a suit) and he may be squeezing his partner unnecessarily. So in this case one should consider whether it is likely that his partner (with the XXI) needs him to lead a tarokk. If he is sure that his partner needs suits he had better not lead his ”best” suit immediately (maybe the partner will not dare to play the XXI and so will waste the best chance to escape), but he should lead a king or a longer suit instead. If the partner with the XXI is in a big trouble, he will play the XXI anyway. If the player with the XXI is able to win a trick, he can make the situation obvious by leading a tarokk, but if he leads a suit it is still not obvious that he needs his partner to lead suits as well. In this case his partner should consider whether the player with the XXI led a short or a long suit (of course it is not always obvious). If the player with the XXI can win a trick and lead twice, and he leads the same suit for the second time, he must need his partner to lead tarokks because a weak player with the XXI would lead different suits to hinder the strategy of the opponent.


Other conventions and advice:

   When all the high tarokks whose position is known have been played, a player should lead the highest tarokk he has. But if he has the second biggest of the ones that are still in the game he should lead a small tarokk to inform his partner about this. So if one has the XVIII but could not show it to his partner by playing it (because the opponent has the XIX) he can inform his partner about it. For example if one has beaten the XIX with the XX then he could lead the XVIII but sometimes it is very important to be able to win a trick later and chase the opponent one more time. So he leads a very small tarokk (which is obviously not his highest) and then his partner will know he has the XVIII.

   In a contract of 3 if the declarer announces tulétroá and nobody announces anything else the game will not be played and each opponent will pay the 3 units. So in this case an opponent with the pagát and 7 tarokks may announce kontra tulétroá. To kontra the game is worthwhile only if the tulétroá can also be beaten, otherwise it has very little chance. It is also worthwhile for the opponents to announce 8 or 9 tarokks because in this case the game has to be played. If the declarer has not got a good hand, for example he has 6 tarokks and bad suits but he has the XX, he can call himself to make all the others pay him. Some consider this unfair but it is not so. First of all the game is uninteresting from the point of view of either profit or enjoyment, and also the declarer risks somebody announcing something (for example 8 tarokks or kontra tulétroá) and then he has to play the game alone. (If the tulétroá is announced by the declarer’s partner, the game has to be played.)

   Apart from some cases in which the declarer leads suits, his partner should lead tarokks, especially if tulétroá was announced in the first round.

   To manage tulétroá easily it is not a good play for the player sitting fourth to put his pagát under a small tarokk played by his partner sitting in the third place (after one opponent led a suit and his partner followed suit). He should win the trick and lead the pagát instead, so as to force an opponent to play a high tarokk.

   If the partners are sitting opposite is better to take a finesse through the longer and stronger player because if it fails he will sit in the last place when the opponent leads (a suit) to the next trick. Sometimes when a high tarokk is led with the aim of finessing, it is worth the second player playing the pagát to force the third player to overake his partner’s high tarokk with a top tarokk to be sure of winning the trick. It is worthwhile if the player who has the pagát also has a high tarokk and so he can promote it. For example if the declarer or his partner leads the XVII and his right hand opponent has the XVIII he can put the pagát in, so the leader’s partner has to win the trick and is not able to finesse the XVII.

   If a declarer has both the XIX and the XVIII he should play the XIX first because otherwise his partner will think he is finessing against the XIX (with the XVIII) and he will lead a high tarokk (for example the XVII) unnecessarily. If he is short the best is to lead the XVIII immediately after playing the XIX.

   If the opponent playing second is short but strong (for example he has 4 tarokks with the XVIII and XIX) he may play a high tarokk even when sitting opposite his partner to stop the declarers taking a finesse towards his partner.

   If one has to help the partner with the XXI to escape he should not play a high tarokk after the opponent led a middle high one if he thinks there is a chance that his partner can also beat it. For example if the opponent is chasing the XXI by leading to the XVI, he should not beat the XVI with the XX because his partner with the XXI might be able to win with the XVII, XVIII or XIX. If the one with the XX also has the XVII, he can play it because the partner with the XXI (and hopefully with the XVIII or XIX) can still decide either to cover it or to let his partner lead.

   A declarer can inform his partner about his pagát with a very fine play. If he announced the tulétroá with the XXI and the XX and he plays the XXI first, he can show he is not afraid that his partner bid with only pagát so his partner can see he has the pagát. If he plays the XX first his partner will know he has not got the pagát. It can be a convention (even though the logic no longer applies) that we play the same way with the skíz and the XX.

   If it happens that the unknown partner (with the XX) has to play a high tarokk before his partner (because he is short but strong) he should play the XX otherwise his partner will beat him unnecessarily (believing that he is an opponent).

   If the opponent leads a suit, the second player should play a high tarokk only if he has a lot of them so he can afford to “waste” one. (Of course if the suit is led for the second time this is no longer valid.)

   If a XXI is in danger but its owner has a suspicion that the player who wants to catch him has not got the skíz (he bid with only pagát or he did not bid at all), but he is just pretending, the player with the XXI should play the XXI at the latest when he still has one other tarokk. If the skíz is really in the hand of the player sitting after him it is no shame to be caught (even with a slightly wrong play) but if somebody is caught by his left hand opponent it will provide material for anecdotes for years…


How to handle a sequence of tarokks:

   If one has a sequence of tarokks (for example XV, XVI, XVII) he should try first of all to utilize all of them and also to inform the partner about them. A general piece of advice is that when leading to the trick one should lead the top card of the sequence and when beating another player’s tarokk he should play the lowest card of bthe sequence but there are a lot of exceptions. If one leads to a trick but the lead has a “chasing” function he should lead from the bottom of the sequence. A typical example is that when chasing the XXI should lead to the XVII from the XVII-XVIII-XIX. If the opponents sit next to each other and the first one should play a higher tarokk (because he is the shorter) he should consider not playing the smallest card from his sequence because if it is too small his partner may play a high tarokk unnecessarily. If the partners are sitting opposite and they took a finesse, the opponent playing last may decide not to win the trick with the smallest card of a sequence, to make it more difficult for the other team calculate the position of the cards. For example if he has the XVII, XVIII and the XIX and the declarer finessed the XVI, sometimes it is better to win with the XIX (or even the XVIII!) first. A player who made an invitation in the bidding he should play the other equivalent tarokks before the one that he has shown. (For example if he has the XX but he invited his partner with the XIX, he should play the XX first).


Afterword on Playing Strategies

   It is quite obvious that it is a difficult game. The players need to know a lot of things and also the conventions and strategies explained above include expressions like “in most cases” or “generally”. So at any point in the game a lot of possibilities have to be considered, and it is therefore impossible to sepcify general tactics that always work. So as has been mentioned above it is very important to follow the game perfectly.

   Also it is obvious that one has not got all the necessary information for a sure decision in many cases. Then the players should try to find a tactic that works for most cases and also they have to think about the odds and the possible profit or loss and they have to create, and later refine and modify their strategies accordingly.




Néhány kétes szabály tisztázása


A parti eldobása és az „ultikassza”

   A partit bizonyos esetekben nem játsszuk le, hanem eldobjuk. Ilyenkor ún. „ultikasszát” képezünk, minden játékos (tehát 5 játékos esetén az osztó is) betesz 2-2 egységet a kasszába. Ezt bemondott ultimóval lehet kinyerni, fejenként a felét. Elbukott (bemondott) ultimó esetén az ultisoknak viszont meg kell a bent lévő összeget duplázni. A kassza tehát nagyon megnövekedhet sok eldobás és bukott ultimó esetén. A mi filozófiánk szerint, ha 48 (ill. 5 játékos esetén 50) egység fölé megy, csak 24-24 (25-25) egységet lehet egyszerre kinyerni belőle (vagy megduplázni), mert a nagyobb nyeremény már kezelhetetlen aránytalanságokhoz vezetne. Tehát nagyobb kassza esetén át kell értékelni az ultimóra való biztatást, nagyobb kockázat mellett is érdemes lehet 4-királyt vagy duplát mondani, amennyiben a partnernél sejtjük a pagátot (ld. a Bemondások fejezetben).
   Sokan félnek, hogy az ultikassza „horribilis” méreteket ölthet, mindazonáltal a legritkább esetben nő 16 (5 játékos esetén 20) egység fölé. Ezzel együtt kétségtelen, hogy „átrendezi” egy kicsit a viszonyokat, ezért érthető, hogy szigorú körökben nem használják, eldobott parti után egyszerűen újat osztanak és továbbmennek. Az azonban tévedés, hogy nagy kassza esetén mindenki folyton értelmetlenül ultimót akarna csinálni vagy buktatni (és ezért pl. másképp talonol), hiszen többet nyerhetünk, de többet is bukhatunk vele. Az egyetlen módosítás stratégiánkban, amely kifizetődő lehet, hogy az ultimóra való – és könnyen bukó – biztató figurákat gyakrabban vállaljuk, hogy az esetleges csöndes ultimót bemondottá „konvertáljuk”.
   Minden kör eldöntheti tehát, hogy milyen szokás szerint játszik, használ-e (mindenképpen limitált) ultikasszát, vagy a dobott parti – az új osztáson kívül – semmilyen következménnyel nem jár. A dobás utáni duplán fizető kör (4 parti) szokása viszont komolytalan és értelmetlen, és mint ilyen, semmiképpen nem javasolt.

   A parti a licit és a talon felvétele után dobható el, ha:

  ♣ Egy játékosnak 4 királya van (persze ha már osztásra ennyi van, már akkor is eldobhatja, de várhat is. Általában nem érdemes, 4 királlyal nemigen lehet nyerni);

  ♣ Egy játékosnak egyáltalán nincs tarokkja (ezt sem kötelező dobni, de nincs értelme megtartani);

  ♣ Egy játékosnak csak egy tarokkja van, és az a XXI-es (ha első licitáló, [szólóval indítva] mindjárt dobhat, ha nem, föl kell vennie a talont, és csak utána);

   3 passz esetén az utolsó licitáló megfontolhatja, hogy eldobja vagy fölveszi. Ha a talon felvétele után sincs honőrje, nem játszhat, ebben az egy esetben viszont neki egyedül kell befizetni annyiszor 2 egységet, ahány játékos van. Emögött az a filozófia húzódik meg, hogy aki ilyet kockáztat, nyilván jó lappal rendelkezik, tehát ha kapna honőrt, nagyot nyerhetne.

   1-tarokkos pagátra, 2-tarokkos pagát & XXI-esre nem dobunk, ezt semmilyen filozófia nem támasztja alá. A magas tarokkban az első körben ütő vagy leütött pagát, Sas (II-es) is fizet (fácán figura), minden bizonnyal ezért alakult ki az a szokás, hogy az I-es, II-es és XXI-es tetszőleges kombinációjával dobható a parti, Paskievics féle partinál azonban ennek semmi értelme nincs. (Egy pagát 8 színnel jobb lap, mint pl. egy V-ös ugyancsak 8 színnel, legalábbis az ellenfél nem csinál ultimót… Miért nem dobhatjuk el az utóbbi esetben is?) Ezek a szokások csökkentik az érdekes partik számát.

   Az „egy kézből” mondott és le nem játszott 3-as tulétroá nem minősül eldobásnak, hiszen a parti itt megvalósult.


Rossz szokások, közkeletű tévhitek

   XX-ast fektetni nem szabad. Ha megengednénk, a leszorított XXI-est mindig cserben lehetne hagyni, ami nem fér össze a tarokkjáték eszméivel. Nagyon ritkán, de előfordulhat ugyanakkor, hogy a XXI-est fogó nagyon erős (legalább XVII, XVIII-asos) skízes lefekteti a XIX-est, amit a XXI-es meghív, miután a talonból behúzta a XX-ast. Ekkor a skízesnek kötelezően „hivatalból kontrá”-t kell mondania, amivel ezt jelzi. Ekkor a XXI-es egyedül marad, sorsa valószínűleg megpecsételődött, bár a XX-assal ütve tud hívni egy zavaró színt. Szerencsére ez már csak azért is ritka, mert ilyen erős skízes jobban jár, ha invitál. Legfeljebb akkor történhet ilyesmi, ha a skízes a nagy lapokat szintén a talonból kapja.

   Mivel tehát XX-ast nem fektetünk, annak a szabálynak sincs jelentősége és értelme, hogy tarokkfektetés esetén a felvevő bármilyen tarokkot segítségül hívhat a XX-as helyett.

   Azonos tagokkal fölálló parti esetén előfordul, hogy a játékosok mindig ugyanazon a (jól megszokott) helyen ülnek. Ez nem jó, csökken a parti változatossága. Ehelyett a parti elején a 4 (vagy 5) helyre tegyünk 1-1 különböző színt és 1 tarokkot, és ezek összekevert párjaiból a játékosok húzzanak a helyre. Mindenki oda ül, amilyen színt húzott, a tarokkot húzó fog az első partiban indulni, tehát az elé húzónak kell osztania. Ha valaki XXI-esét egy nap 2-szer is elfogják, kérhet átülést, ekkor az előbb leírt eljárást kell újra alkalmazni.

   5 játékos esetén az osztónak (az osztáson kívül) semmi szerepe nincs. Nem kap pénzt a talonból fölvett honőrökért, nem ő mondja meg, hogy fekszik-e tarokk, hanem továbbra is az, aki fektette. Az ilyen szabályok a kocsmába valók, nem a tarokkasztalra.

   Kontra esetén a 47 pontos szabály nem fordul meg, továbbra is a játékosoknak kell több pontot elérniük. 47-47 pontos eloszlás esetén nincs duplán fizetés. Ez szintén kocsmába való szabály.

   Nem képezünk eleve „ultikasszát”. Ez indokolatlanul növelné az ultimó értékét, ami nem véletlenül 10 egység.

   Csendes 4-király és csendes dupla játék esetén a 4-királyt nem fizetjük. Azok a játékosok, akik egyiket sem mondják be, nem érdemelnek többet.

   Sok helyen a dupla játékot egyáltalán nem játsszák. (Ennek történeti okai vannak, ezt a figurát később találták ki, és emelték be a játékba.) Ez nem helyes, így a 4-király maradna az egyetlen olyan jellegű bemondás, amellyel lapunk „extráit” jelezhetjük. Ez szegényesíti a játékot, és nagyobb teret enged a hazárdírozásnak.

   Egyesek más díjazással játsszák a bemondásokat. (Pl. a 4-király 4 egység, a XXI-fogás 60 egység.) Ennek nincs értelme, a hosszú fejlődési folyamat alatt kialakult a legarányosabb, a játékot legérdekesebbé tevő díjrendszer.

   „8-tarokk” vagy „9-tarokk” mondásnál nem kell feltétlenül egyéb bemondással (pl. kontra-parti vagy 4-király) jelezni a partnerviszonyt. Ez amúgy is legtöbbször egyértelmű, de ha nem, az sem baj. Az egyszerű „8-tarokk, passz”, „9-tarokk, passz” mondás szinte mindig ellenfelet (vagy nagyon-nagyon gyenge partnert, 9-tarokk esetén teljesen kizárt) jelent, ha a felvevő tulétroával indult. Ha viszont a felvevő egyszerű „XX, passz” mondással indul, akkor éppen ellenkezőleg, a tarokkszám bemondás szinte mindig partnert jelent (vagy nagyon gyenge ellenfelet). Ide tartozik az a tévhit is, hogy bár megengedjük pusztán a tarokkszám mondását („8-tarokk/9-tarokk, passz”), ám ez nem „tartja fenn” a licitet, vagyis (ha ezen kívül ketten passzolnak), arra már nem válaszolhatunk, úgy tekintjük, mint ha 3 „passz” hangzott volna el. Ez téves nézet, hiszen a játékosok lényeges információt kaptak, amely sok egyéb bemondást segíthet elő.

   Sok helyen tiltják a pagátos invitet és adást. Ez nem helyes, szegényesíti a játékot, mégpedig egy nagyon érdekes elemmel. A fent leírt feltételekkel mindenképpen érdemes játszani ezt. (Érdekes módon a „magyar” tarokkosok sem játsszák, pedig amúgy minden általuk „szűkítésnek” nevezett szabály – így pl. a XX-as fektetés tilalma – ellen tiltakoznak.)

   Van, ahol tiltják az invitlap nélküli ugró licitet, illetve a vélt invit „tartom”-mal való visszavételét, ugyanakkor ha valaki három passz mellett egyedül [3-at] licitált, a licit végén megválaszthatja, hogy hányat kér. Ezek a szabályok csökkentik az érdekes partik számát, szegényesítik a játékot (pl. a pagátos invitet sok esetben lehetetlenné teszik, hiszen azt még invitképes lap esetén is vissza kell vennünk, ha nem előttünk fogadják), jó lappal pedig tovább könnyítik a játékos helyzetét.

   Ha valaki 3 helyett 2-vel indul, majd miután mögötte 1-gyel fogadták (volna) az invitjét, azt „tartom”-mal visszaveszi, akkor ezzel már jelezte, hogy nem invitről van szó. Ha a másik licitáló ezek után szólót mond, azt már nem köteles invitlap [XIX] nélkül sem visszavenni, elpasszolhatja. Ilyenkor a másik játékos lesz a felvevő, és a XX-ast fogja hívni (ha nem nála van).

   Végül talán a legfontosabb, a kötelező tulétroá mondás esetei. Rögtön szögezzük le, semmilyen körülmények között nem kötelező a tulétroá mondás! Van, ahol az invitet fogadót kötelezik erre (vagy pagátosként az ultimó bemondására!), van, ahol a felvevő által meghívott partnert, amennyiben van nagyhonőrje (még akár [gyakran szubkontrázott] rekontra játék árán is), van, ahol a felvevőt 2 nagyhonőrrel. Ez mind nagyon rossz szokás! Szegényesítik a játékot, rengeteg szép stratégiát ölnek ki belőle, és az így játszók nagyon sok érdekes esettől fosztják meg magukat.

A renonsz

   A legtöbb tarokkleírás meglepően sokat foglalkozik a renonsszal (tehát amikor az egyik játékos vét a szabályok ellen), annak ellenére, hogy mindenki feltételezi, a szabályszegés nem volt szándékos (aki ilyet tenne, többet nem ülnének le vele játszani), ráadásul nem is versenyről van szó. (Versenyen érthető az aprólékos leírás, hiszen ott mindenre gondolni kell.) Több helyen részletesen kitérnek arra, hogy mit kinek kell ellenőrizni, a játék mely fázisában milyen büntetéssel jár az adott szabálytalanság, stb. Valójában az alapszabály egyszerű, elvileg a bemondott figurákat kell 3 felé kifizetnie a vétkezőnek. Persze lehet renonszot elkövetni már akkor is, amikor nincsenek még bemondások, és így akár meg lehet úszni egy leendő XXI-fogást, pl. ha – a bajt látván – direkt szabálytalanul licitálunk… De – mint említettük – szándékosságot senkiről nem feltételezünk, magunkra nézve pedig ennek még a gyanúját is kerüljük!
   Amikor a renonsz korrigálható, tehát azonnal feltűnik, és visszacsinálható anélkül, hogy játék fölborulna (pl. fontos, addig nem ismert információ derül ki), akkor korrigáltassuk a vétkezővel, és egyéb következmények nélkül folytassuk a játékot. Egyéb esetekben mi a bemondások 3 felé fizetése helyett inkább az ultikasszába szoktunk a vétkezővel befizettetni „1 adagot” (annyiszor 2 egység, ahány játékos van [4 vagy 5]). Jóllehet néha tényleg bosszantó egy meghiúsult parti, mégis ez a legegyszerűbb megoldás. (Az ily módon elrontott partit újra kell osztani.)




A tarokk player's proper behaviour


   Tarokk - like other difficult card games - should be played seriously. Players should deal with other matters while playing. No one should keep other players waiting during a game by telling long stories. No one should be late for a session, or if it is inevitable he should inform the other players about it in good time. No one should forget there are 3 other players waiting for them.

  ♣ No one should give information about the quality of their hand by showing different facial expressions when they first pick up their cards

  ♣ No one should discard immediately the card that he drew from the talon, without first adding it to his hand. This gives away the fact that he got a suit card from the talon.

  ♣ One should be careful how one sorts the cards in one's hand. Sometimes other players can guess how many tarokks one has left by observing the position in his hand from which he takes a high (or small) tarokk. Very experienced players don't sort their cards at all, but middle level players are still recommended to sort their hands, because this makes it easier to follow the flow of the game.

  ♣ A player should never touch the card he intends to play before his turn comes, especially if it is a suit card, because then the player before him will know that he has that suit. Also it is not a good solution to touch a card before one's turn to play in every case, even if one does not know what he will play because an experienced player will usually know when it is a bluff or when it is true. It is easier not to show anything than to bluff. The laws of psychology apply to everybody.

  ♣ One should be prepared for surprises, too. For example no one should “forget” to catch a XXI that falls unexpectedly early. (It has happened.) It would be better to play (a little) more slowly than to make a blunder!

  ♣ During the bidding and the round of announcements, players should use extra words or different expressions, but should keep to the standard forms of words. Elaborations and emphasis can can give away a lot of information. For example “I call the XX to help me by making some announcements...”

  ♣ One should announce bonuses in a steady tempo. if he pauses between two bonuses it gives away a lot of information and it is reasonable for the opponents to object. Of course even announcing a series of bonuses after lengthy thought but without a pause between them can give away information, but this is sometimes inevitable.

  ♣ One should think in advance so as to be able to bid, announce and play in tempo because pauses can also give away information. In many cases it is very important to decide quickly, for example when the partners are sitting opposite and one stops to think about a kontra, the opponent will know where (not) to try a finesse. It may be important to play one of a doubleton suit quickly otherwise the opponent will know that one has another card of that suit. Nevertheless, sometimes one needs time to decide and it is better to decide well than fast!

  ♣ A player can look back at the tricks he has won and also at his partner's tricks (if the partnerships are known) but it is not “elegant” to count and calculate by looking back at previous tricks, so everyone should try to avoid this situation. But in any case, even if it is inelegant, it is better do this than to make a wrong decision.

   A player's personality is shown best by how he loses or wins;

  ♣ Don't complain about your cards. Not only is it useless, but your bad luck makes the other's win more…

  ♣ Don't boast even if you are winning. Your luck could run out at any time!

  ♣ At the end of a game it is important and valuable to talk about problems that occurred, but without fighting. Also a weak player should not be abused - this might just make him nervous and cause him to play even worse afterwards. And when somebody offends another player they should resolve their differences as soon as possible. Also after leaving the table everyone should forget any unintentional, unfortunate remarks that might have been made. In a card game - just as in other team games - people sometimes say things that even they themselves regret later. Handling these situations peacefully is a part of team games. It is pointless and stupid to bear a long term grudge because of a fight during a game.

  ♣ One should admit one's mistakes and examine how one could have avoid them.

  ♣ One should never leave the session before the agreed time because one has had bad luck. This spoils the other players' enjoyment.

   There are some widespread customs in the world of card games that emphasize formal procedures. A typical example is that a player should not take the cards from the table before the dealer has finished dealing. But a good card player is known from other qualities. He plays well and fast. The custom that has just been mentioned for example is definitely in contradiction with these features.




I would like to express my gratitude to those who have helped me to improve the manuscript by giving me valuable remarks, and to the card players who inspired me to write this essay:

♠ László Szenttamássy
♠ Tibor Kégl
♠ Dezső Eglesz
♠ György Horváth

Zsolt Farkas
Róbert Kovács
Gábor Udvary
♥ Detti Varga

Special thanks to Mr. John McLeod for his valuable assistance with the translation





Dr. Kovács Endre – Dr. Szigetvári Zoltán: Tarokk-őr                 Hornyánszky Viktor Rt. – 1941
Mérő László: Mindenki másképp egyforma                      Tericum Kiadó Kft. – 2000





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Related links
This is a not very detailed description about Hungarian tarokk.
This is a really good page, it provides a detailed description of rules and tactics for beginners. It is unique because this is the only useful description for beginners in English.
The Austrian-Hungarian Playing Card Society. This is actually the “local division” of the International Playing-Card Society.
A description of the versions of tarokk in the different countries in Europe. It is very good!
They seem a funny company with a different approach and with a lot of bad habbits, but they are very enthusiastic to play (magas) tarokk. There can be found a detailed description of the rules but if somebody starts learning tarokk here, he shoud be very careful… This page is in Hungarian language.
This seems one of the most serious companies in the Internet. (Unfortunately their server is often down.) There is no general description here but there can be found some deeper thoughts for advanced players (though still with quite many errors and only in Hungarian). Unfortunately they also deal with only the illustrated tarokk version.
There can be seen a quite detailed description (in Hungarian) here, unfortunately – like in most pages – with lots of bad habbits. Moreover it emphasizes the magas tarokk version, that excludes the really precise and serious dissections. There are many unimportant details and some really important principles are missing. But it is still worth to read (carefully).
It is a short summary (in Hungarian). Strohmandli is mentioned as well which is a card game with tarokk cards for 2 players.
Tarokk via Internet! Besides lots of other card games also tarokk can be played here. So it is possible to play even when we are in different parts of the world. If there are not enough players, the computer can replace them but it plays quite bad so it is good only to learn how to use the software.
Though the bridge has no direct connection to tarokk, a lot of similarities can be found. Playing elements like collaborating with the partner, showing one's hand by bidding or even finesse are very similar. That's why I felt like mentioning the most popular bridge school of Hungary here.
Homepage of the Hungarian periodical Kártyamagazin.




Attempt for Standardization of the Rules of Paskievics Tarokk




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