Bezique is a 19th-century French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Meld (cards)
In card games, a meld is a set of matching cards, typically three or more, that earn a player points and/or allow him to deplete his hand. Melds typically come in sequences of ascending cards belonging to the same suit or groups of cards of identical rank .Melding is typical in games of the Rummy...

 and trick-taking card game
Card game
A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games...

 for two players derived from Marriage via Briscan by the addition of more scoring features, notably the peculiar liaison of Q and J, under the names Bésigue, Binokel, Pinochle, etc., according to the country.


Bezique was developed in France from the game Piquet
Piquet is an early 16th-century trick-taking card game for two players.- History :Piquet has long been regarded as one of the all-time great card games still being played. It was first mentioned on a written reference dating to 1535, in Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais...

, although the word Bezique, formerly Bésique, was known in France in the 17th century, coming probably from the Italian card game Bazzica.

The word bezique means "correspondence" or "association". Binocles also meant eyeglasses, and this pronunciation, along with minor rule variations, ultimately evolved into Pinochle. Two-handed Pinochle
Pinochle or Binocle is a trick-taking game typically for two to four players and played with a 48 card deck. Derived from the card game bezique, players score points by trick-taking and also by forming combinations of cards into melds. It is thus considered part of a "trick-and-meld" category...

 and two-handed Bezique are almost identical. The former, together with Six-Pack Bezique and Rubicon Bezique, is still played in the United States of America.

The game gained its greatest popularity in Paris by 1860 and in England a few years later. Perhaps the most famous proponent of the game was Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, an avid player and early expert of Six-Pack, or "Chinese" Bezique. But since the late nineteenth century the game has declined in popularity. There is some evidence that the English writers Wilkie Collins
Wilkie Collins
William Wilkie Collins was an English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. He was very popular during the Victorian era and wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and over 100 non-fiction pieces...

 and Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti
Christina Georgina Rossetti was an English poet who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems...

 were also enthusiasts.


A two-handed Bezique deck is a 64-card deck, consisting of Ace through 7 of each suit twice. The players cut for deal, with the higher card having preference. The rank of the cards in cutting, and in play, is A, 10, K, Q, J, 9, 8 and 7. Eight cards are dealt in batches of 3-2-3, to each player with the next card being placed face up between the two players to indicate the trump suit. The remaining cards, known as the "talon" or "stock", are placed face down beside it. Should the turn-up card be a 7 the dealer scores ten.

The non-dealer leads any card from hand and the dealer may then play any card. The normal requirement to follow suit if possible does not apply to Bezique. If second player chooses to play a higher card of the same suit
Suit (cards)
In playing cards, a suit is one of several categories into which the cards of a deck are divided. Most often, each card bears one of several symbols showing to which suit it belongs; the suit may alternatively or in addition be indicated by the color printed on the card...

 or any trump, that player wins the trick. If the two cards of the same rank are played, the trick belongs to the first player. Once played, tricks are placed face down by the player who wins each trick. The holder of the trump 7 is entitled to exchange it for the turn-up card at any time when on lead, scoring 10. The holder of the duplicate trump 7 also scores 10 when it is played.

The winner of each trick declares one meld face up on the table and scores points for it, takes a card from the top of the stock and then leads to the next trick. The other player draws the second card from the stock but may not declare a meld. The game proceeds until the stock is exhausted, at which point 8 more tricks are played to exhaust the players hands. Finally, brisques are scored. The game is usually played as first to 1000 points.

Points for melds and brisques

Seven of trumps turned up, played or declared 10
Winning last trick (before the final 8 tricks) 10
Common Marriage (king and queen of any plain suit) declared together 20
Royal Marriage
Royal Marriage
Royal Marriage is a Patience game using a deck of 52 playing cards.The game is so called because the player seems to remove anything that comes between the Queen and the King of the same suit for them to "marry." Although the King and the Queen may be of any suit, commonly it is the King and Queen...

 (king and queen of the trump suit) declared together
Bezique (Q and J) * 40
Double Bezique (both Q and both J) * 500
Four Jacks (in some variants must be one of each suit) 40
Four Queens (in some variants must be one of each suit) 60
Four Kings (in some variants must be one of each suit) 80
Four Aces (in some variants must be one of each suit) 100
Sequence of five best cards of the trump suit—ace, ten, king, queen, knave 250
Brisques—aces or tens in the tricks won by either player, each 10

or Q and J if either of the other two suits is trumps *

Further notes on scoring

In order to score for a meld, the cards comprising the given combination must all be in hand at the same time; thus cards played to previous tricks may not be included in melds. However, cards already declared may be used for other melds of a different type, for example four kings may be declared and a queen added later to provide a marriage for one of them.

A card played to a trick is no longer available for game play. It is taken by the winner of the trick and placed face down on a separate pile. At the game's conclusion, each player counts the number of brisques (aces and tens) they have won in tricks. Each is worth ten points.

A player can declare a meld only after winning a trick. The winner of each trick is entitled to score one meld, or several melds, depending on local rules, laying the cards forming it face upwards on the table. If the cards exposed show two combinations, both may be declared but only one may be scored until another trick is won. Thus, having K, Q and J, scores 40 for Bezique with more 20 to score after the next trick is won.

Once a card has been melded it cannot be used again in the same combination, but it may be used for a different type of meld, i.e., the Q, once married, cannot be married to the other K, but it may be used as part of four queens and as part of a sequence if it is of the trump suit. Also a card which has been declared may not be declared again in a combination of an inferior order, i.e., if a king and queen have been declared as part of a sequence, they may not be used subsequently in a marriage, though the reverse is allowable.

The declared cards, left face upwards on the table, still form part of the hand, and are played to subsequent tricks at the discretion of the holder. When no more cards are left in the stock, the method of play alters. No further declarations may be made and the only additional score now possible is for brisques in the remaining tricks, scored by the winner of the trick.

The mode of play for these last eight tricks is according to normal Whist
Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was played widely in the 18th and 19th centuries. It derives from the 16th century game of Trump or Ruff, via Ruff and Honours...

 rules in that each player must now follow suit if possible, with the additional constraint that they must win the trick if possible, by playing a higher card or by ruffing.

Step-by-step guide to the game (two-player version)

Bezique is not generally perceived to be a difficult game, though remembering the possible meld combinations and scoring can be confusing for the complete novice. There are also a number of small rules, such as the high ranking of cards with a face value of ten, the ability to swap sevens with the trump card and so on, that beginners should keep in mind.

Once the general pattern of playing a trick, declaring a meld (if any) and then drawing a new card from the talon is established in the mind, the player should then focus on tactics.

Preparing to play

Required are two packs of cards and a sheet of paper and pen to collate scores. Special Bezique markers were made at the height of the game's popularity but mostly these are rare now.

Take the packs of cards and remove all cards with a value below seven, along with the jokers or wildcards. Remaining should be the cards with the numerical values of seven through to ten, the face cards and the aces.

Shuffle the two packs together.

A cut is made. The player with the highest valued card is given the privilege of dealing.

In both the cut and the game player, the value of the cards from highest to lowest is as follows:

Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7

The deal

The dealing sequence is as follows:

Deal three cards to the opponent, three cards to the self, two cards to the opponent, two cards to the self, three cards to the opponent once more and finally, three more cards to the self. (In other words, it is in a pattern of 3, 2, 3.)

The remaining cards are placed in a stack or talon in the middle of the table. One card from the talon is turned over and placed face up. This card designates what the trump suit will be. If the dealer turns over the seven as the trump card, he is awarded ten points.

In a variation of the game, if a player finds he has no face card in his hand (A, 10, K, Q or J), he or she can declare "carte blanche" and receive 50 points from the opponent. All cards must be shown to the opponent to claim these points. This is not a standard rule of two-player Bezique but is allowed in some regions.

The play (phase one)

The non-dealer may lead any card. This card is placed face upwards on the table The dealer must respond by playing a card. If it is a card of the same suit but has a higher value or any card of the trump suit and the leading card is not of the trump suit, it wins the trick. If it is a lower or equal card of the same suit or a card of any other suit bar the trump suit, it loses.

Whoever wins the trick takes the cards and places them in a separate pile. These cards play no further part in the round. They are only used for counting brisques at the very end of the round.

Note that there is no obligation to follow suit or to trump in this part of the game.

The only time a player would have a strong motivation to win the trick is when there are aces or tens being played or the player has a meld they wish to declare.

The winner of the trick has an opportunity to present a meld by declaring his combination and placing them face upwards on the table. They are still part of his hand but must remain on the table in view of the opponent until played in later tricks.

Only one meld can be declared per trick won. Scores for these are written immediately. The list of melds and their scores are listed in the table above.

Note that a card used in one meld cannot be played in the same meld later on. For example, a king of clubs married to a queen of clubs cannot later be married to the second queen of clubs. However, it can be used for a sequence of four kings as this is a different meld. Were both the other king and queen of clubs to be presented, the first king and queen could be part of the marriage.

A special meld declaration involves the seven of trumps. It is not placed on the table with the others. Instead, it can be swapped for the upturned trump card. The second seven of trumps can also be declared in this way.

The winner of the trick draws from the talon once they have declared their meld. The loser then also draws a card from the talon, thus maintaining eight cards in their hand at all times at this stage of the game. If no melds are can be declared by the winner of the trick, the cards are drawn immediately.

Whoever wins the trick then leads first in playing the next trick.

The play (phase two)

Once the talon is exhausted, the game play changes somewhat in nature.

The winner of the final trick draws the last card from the talon, whilst the loser takes the upturned trump card. The final eight tricks are played in this way:

a.) From now on, the player must follow suit and play a higher card then the leader if they can. If they cannot follow suit, they must trump to win the trick. If they cannot follow suit or trump, they can only then play any other card.

b.) Melds cannot be declared in this part of the game.

c.) The winner of the final trick is granted ten bonus points.

Counting the brisques

After the last trick is played, each player gather the cards they have won and counts the number of aces and tens. Each of these is worth ten points. This number is added to the total score already earned from the various melds the player has declared.

Traditionally, the first player to reach 1000 points wins, which normally involves an average of three to four rounds being played. However, a different target figure may be agreed upon before play begins, such as the first person to reach 2000 points.


A player holding more than eight cards awards 100 points to their opponent.

A player not drawing a card after a trick in phase one awards 10 points to their opponent.

A player not winning a trick or following suit where it was possible in phase two concedes all remaining brisques to their opponent.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.