HOW TO PLAY


Introduction

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This game, which is very popular in India and Pakistan, has several names. The name Court Piece is sometimes written as Coat Piece or Coat Pees, Pees being a Hindi word meaning to deal. In Pakistan this game is often known as Rang, which means trump. In some places, for example in Goa, it is called Seven Hands: in India the English word "hand" is sometimes used to mean a trick - i.e. a set of cards, one played by each player in turn.

The word Court, Coat, Kot or Kout occurs in many South Asian games and is also found as far away as Somalia and Malaysia. It usually means something like a slam - a situation in which one team wins all the tricks or at least a succession of tricks while the other team wins none. The origin of the word Kot is unclear, but Thierry Depaulis suggests that it may perhaps come from Tamil or some other Dravidian language.This game, which is very popular in India and Pakistan, has several names. The name Court Piece is sometimes written as Coat Piece or Coat Pees, Pees being a Hindi word meaning to deal. In Pakistan this game is often known as Rang, which means trump. In some places, for example in Goa, it is called Seven Hands: in India the English word "hand" is sometimes used to mean a trick - i.e. a set of cards, one played by each player in turn.

The word Court, Coat, Kot or Kout occurs in many South Asian games and is also found as far away as Somalia and Malaysia. It usually means something like a slam - a situation in which one team wins all the tricks or at least a succession of tricks while the other team wins none. The origin of the word Kot is unclear, but Thierry Depaulis suggests that it may perhaps come from Tamil or some other Dravidian language.


Players And Cards

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There are four players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite. Deal and play are anticlockwise. A standard international pack is used, the cards in each suit ranking from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2.


Deal and Making Trumps

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The first dealer is chosen at random. Subsequently the dealer is always a member of the team that lost the previous deal - see winning for details.

The dealer shuffles and the player to dealer's right, known as the "trump-caller", cuts. The dealer deals a batch of five cards to each player. The trump-caller player looks at his or her five cards and (without communication with any other player) chooses and announces the trump suit. Then the dealer deals out all the remaining cards in batches of four, so that everyone has 13 cards.


Play

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The player to dealer's right leads any card to the first trick. Players must follow suit if possible: if unable they may play any card. When all four players have contributed a card the player of the highest card of the suit that was led wins the trick unless one or more cards of the trump suit were played, in which case the highest trump wins. The player who won the trick leads any card to the next trick.

Completed tricks (which are confusingly sometimes known in India as "hands") are stacked neatly face down in front of one of the players of the team who won them, so that everyone can see how many tricks each team has won.


Winning

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The object of the game is to score courts (coats, kots) by winning the majority of the tricks (hands).

The team that wins at least seven of the thirteen tricks (hands) wins the deal, and a team that wins seven deals in succession scores a court.It is also possible to score a court in a single deal by winning the first seven tricks, while the opposing team scores none.

If a player revokes (fails to follow suit when able to) and the revoke is not corrected before the next trick, the opponents score a court.

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Whenever a court is scored, the number of consecutive deals won is reset to zero.

The dealer is always a player from the team that lost the previous deal, so that the winners of the previous deal call trumps. The next dealer is determined as follows:

If the dealer's team wins the deal, the player to the dealer's right deals next. If the trump-caller's team wins the deal, but does not score a court, the same dealer deals again. If the trump-caller's team scores a court, the deal passes to the partner of the previous dealer.

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If the dealer's team wins the first seven tricks, this is sometimes known as a goon court. This is a humiliating loss for the trump-caller's team. "Goon", with a silent n, means horse manure.

A team that scores a court by winning the first seven tricks can carry on and try to win all 13 tricks. This extremely rare achievement is known as a 52-court or a bavney. There is no penalty for carrying on after seven tricks and failing to win all thirteen, but to save time, normally the play is ended when one team has won seven tricks.

The overall winners of the session are the team that has scored most courts after an agreed length of time. If both teams have scored equally many courts (or no courts at all were scored) there is no winner. Winning a 52-court or bavney counts as 52 courts.


Double Sir

Double Sir or Double Sar is a variant of Court Piece: the word sir (sar) means trick (hand).

The deal, choice of trumps and rules of play are the same as in Court Piece, but in this variant, a player who wins a trick does not gather in the cards, but turns the cards of the trick face down in the centre of the table. Cards are only gathered in when the same player wins two consecutive tricks. Until then the tricks pile up in centre.

When a player does win two consecutive tricks, that player takes all the cards from the centre (the trick just won and the pile of previous tricks), adds them to his team's face down trick pile, and leads to the next trick.