Black Jack Rules

I thought I would document the rules of Black Jack the card game. I’m not speaking of the popular casino card game of Blackjack.

Black Jack is a card game that I have only ever known Londoners to play, so for all non-Londoners here are the rules.

Objective: The objective of the game is to simply get rid of all your cards

Players: Black Jack can be played by any number of players, a rule of thumb is no more than 4-5 player per pack of cards

The Set Up: Each player is dealt 7 cards (5 if have more than 4 players per deck), the remaining cards are put in the middle (face down) and the top card is turned over

To Start: The starting player is always the person left of the dealer. The card that was turned over in the set up is what the player must play to.

Runs: Cards are put down in runs of A♦, 2♦, 3♦, 4♦, 5♦, 6♦, 7♦, 8♦, 9♦, 10♦, J♦, Q♦, K♦. Runs of this type must have the same suite
Runs can be place in reverse order: eight, seven, six, five….
More runs: if you possess cards of the same type then that is also a valid run. 4♥, 4♣, 4♠… etc
Switching runs: You can switch between the types of runs, in between runs. E.g. A♠, 2♠, 3♠, 3♥ 3♦, 4♦

Players place their cards on top of each other facing upwards on the up-facing card in the set up. After the payers run the last card they place becomes the new up-facing card

If no play is possible, i.e. the player has no card of the same value or suite as the up-facing card then the player has to pick up one card from the cards left in the deck

The Rules:
The following cards have additional properties apart from used in runs

Ace: An ace changes that suite. e.g. player places an ace of any suite and states the suite which he/she wishes the new suite in play to be. An ace can be placed on a card of any suite.
There are some variations to this rule
1) If the ace is the first card in a run then it may not be placed on an up-facing card of a different suite or is not an ace
2) If the ace is the last card in a run it may not be used to change the suite
These are deviation from the general rule and should be stated during the game

Two: If a 2 is placed as the last up-facing card then the next player must pick up two. The only way that a player can avoid picking up two is if he/she places a 2 which will make the next player pick up four.
Two’s can be used as part of a run and only the up-facing 2s will make the next person pick up
In addition 2s are cumulative, two 2s in a row as the last up-facing cards will require the next player to pick up four (unless they can evade with their own 2) and so on…

Eight: An 8 makes the next player skip a turn. Two 8s make the next two players skip a turn. Same run rules apply where an 8 should be placed on a card of the same suite or another 8

Back Jack: A Back Jack makes the next player pick up five cards. It works in a similar way to the 2s

Red Jack: A Red Jack can be placed on a Black Jack to neutralise it

Queen: Anything can be placed on a Queen, although a queen must be placed on a card of the same suite or as part of a run e.g. 10♠, J♠, Q♠

King: a king reverses direction of play, two kings make it your turn again, unless there are only two players left where placing one king makes it your turn again

Penalties:
There is really one penalty for making a mistake and that is you have to pick up two cards from the deck

Last cards:
If you are in a position where there is a possibility that you can place down all your cards on your next turn then you must shout “cards”, “last cards” or “last card”. Finishing without stating that you are about to at the end of your last turn will result in picking two for mistake
remember there are some situations where you can’t finish, for example if you are laying down cards that make it your turn again when you have no cards will mean you have to pick a card up from the deck. An example of this is placing a queen as your last card (remember a queen has to be covered) or more commonly finishing on a king or an eight when you are one of two players left in the game.

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