Forty-five (card game)

From Academic Kids

Forty-five (45) is a trick-taking game that is played in Ireland and some parts of Massachusetts where it is known as forty-fives. It is closely related to the game One-hundred and ten (110) also described below.



It is played with a regular 52 card deck. Five cards are dealt in turn to each person playing. After the dealing, the top card of the deck is turned face up. The card that is shown determines the trump suit and that card is left on top of the deck. If an Ace is turned up, that is the trump suit but the dealer must claim the Ace then discard his weakest dealt card. If any of the players is dealt the Ace of the trump suit, then he may claim the card that was turned up by the dealer and discard his weakest card, before he plays a card,. One card is played by each player, in turn, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The winner of this round, the trick, is determined by who played the highest card. The winner gets five points (on his way to forty-five), a bonus trick is awarded for the best card played during the round (the trick earns ten point rather than five, this is determined at the end of the round). The next dealer deals the cards as before and so on, until someone has won forty-five points. Players must always follow the suit of the person who played before them, if possible, unless they play a trump. The leading card can only be bettered with a better card in the same suit or with a trump. Any trump suit card beats every non-trump suit card (except of course the Ace of Hearts, which will be explained below). The only time in which a player may choose not to follow suit is when he has the 5 of the trump suit, he may keep this. A player might wish to save the most powerful card (the 5) if he believes that another player is saving another strong card, or until he believes the other trump cards have been exhausted so that he can have the advantage of "leading" the remaining tricks. Other variations allow the jack of trumps and the ace of trumps to be similarly withheld (reneged) unless a better card has been lead (i.e. a superior card was the first card played in the trick.) Points are carried from round to round until a player or team reaches forty-five and wins.


The rank of the cards depends on whether or not that particular suit was turned up last by the dealer after the dealing to the players. For the trump suit the ranking is as follows for red cards (hearts and diamonds): 5, J, A of Hearts, (A of trump suit if different,) K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2. For the black cards (spades and clubs): 5, J, A of Hearts, A of trump suit, K, Q, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. For the non-trump suits, the ranking moves the 5 and J to their proper places, i.e. red card ranking: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Black card ranking: A, K, Q, J, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. N.B. A 2 in the black cards is always better than a 10. For the red cards the 10 is always better than the 2. Also, the Joker is always the third best card. The Ace of Hearts is always the 4th best card. Any player with the ace of trumps is entitled to discard a card in favour of the trump card showing, but this must be done before the player plays any of his own cards or the opportunity is waived.

Notes: This game can be played with two or more teams of two people, who combine their scores to reach the target score. It can also be played as "twenty five" which is played to a final score of 25 (surprise!) and in which no bonus trick is awarded.

One-hundred and ten

In one hundred ten an extra hand is dealt, face down, by the dealer into the centre of the table. No trump card is turned. Once all hands have been dealt the "bidding" begins with the player to the dealer's left, and proceeds in turn around the table. Each player must bid a minimum of fifteen points and five more points than the previous highest bidder, or pass. An exception to this rule is the dealer, who can appropriate (match) the highest bid and force the other players to either raise his bid or pass. Bidding continues to circulate around the table until all players have "passed" (i.e. the same player can bid, be raised, and raise again in turn.)

When bidding has concluded the highest bidder declares which suit will be trumps. He then takes the hand dealt face down in the centre of the table and chooses his best five cards from the combination of the two hands. Meanwhile the remaining players are entitled to draw up to three cards from the deck, first discarding from their own hand. When all players have obtained their hand the winning bidder has the option of playing first or requiring the player to his left to play first. If a player has the ace of trumps the player may turn over the cards remaining in the deck stub, one at a time, until a trump card is turned, then he may discard his weakest card in favour of the trump card, or choose not to.

A bonus of five points (bonus trick) is awarded to the player who plays the highest card during the course of the round, thus the maximum amount that can be bid or obtained in 30. If the bidder obtains or exceeds his bid his score increases by that amount, if he fails to reach his bid his score is reduced by the amount of the bid. All other players often co-operate (without collusion) to prevent the bidder from reaching his bid, though selfish interests can supersede this.

A player cannot progress beyond 105 unless he is the bidder. If a player wins tricks during another players bid, which would otherwise increase his score beyond 105, those scores do not count, nor are they assigned to any of the other players. This encourages the remaining players to bid against a player who is approaching one hundred and ten, so that he will rarely be able to win the bid cheaply. Scores can reduce below zero, it is common to set a cut off point (often minus 80) at which a player is removed from the game.

The first player to reach 110 wins the game.

See also


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