Klaverjas, or Klaverjassen, is the Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 name for a four player trick-taking card game using the piquet deck of playing cards. It is closely related to the Hungarian/Romanian card game klaberjass, also known as Kalabriasz, Klobiash, Clobiosh, and other similar spellings. It is one of the most popular card games in the Netherlands, traditionally played in cafes and social clubs.
The game is easy to learn and very addictive, but offers a considerable level of complexity and depth. The game has numerous variants, but the core rules are basically the same.


The name dates to 1890–95 from the Dutch word klaverjas, combining klaver (the suit of clubs, literally "clover") plus jas, the original name for the highest trump card. According to Scarne, its origin has been variously claimed by the Dutch, Swiss, French, and Hungarians.


The game is played clockwise by four players in two teams, partners sitting opposite as in 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...

. It uses a piquet deck, i.e. a set of 32 cards in the four French suits: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 7–10.
All cards are dealt to the players, in batches of 3–2–3 or 4–4.


Starting with the elder hand, the first player prepared to do so chooses a trump suit and thereby becomes obliged to win the deal. Various versions handle the special case when all players pass differently.


As in most trick-taking games, players must follow suit if they can, and the highest trump in the trick, or in the absence of trumps the highest card in the suit of the first card, takes the trick. But there are additional restrictions on the cards that may be played. There are two variants; both agree that following a trump lead all players must head the trick if they can.

Rotterdam rules: A player who cannot follow suit must trump if possible. A player who plays a trump must head the trick if possible, even if the player's partner currently heads the trick.

Amsterdam rules: Undertrumping is only allowed when it cannot be avoided. A player who cannot follow suit and whose partner is not heading the trick must head the trick if possible.

Aces and tens are high, i.e. cards in ordinary suits rank Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, 7. The Jack ("Jas") and nine ("Nel") in the trump suit, however, are the highest trumps. Thus trumps rank Jack, 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8, 7.


Card values
Plain suit rank A 10 K Q J 9 8 7
Value 20 14 11 10 4 3 2 0 0 0
Trump suit rank J 9 A 10 K Q 8 7

The point values of cards are as in Jass
Jass is a trick taking card game and a distinctive branch of the Marriage family, popularly supposed to be the progenitor of the American game of Pinochle...

 and Belote
Belote is a 32-card trick-taking game played in France, and is currently one of the most popular card games in that country. It was invented around 1920, probably from Klaverjas, Klaverjassen, a game played since at least the 17th century in the Netherlands...

. In addition, the last trick ("Slag") scores 10 points.

Additional points are scored by players who have certain combinations in a single trick:
Four cards of the same rank (very rare) – 100, 3 or 4 consecutive cards in the same suit – 20/50, King and Queen of trumps ("Stuk") – 20. These additional points combinations are called "Roem", and must be declared explicitly, otherwise they don't count.
There is a reward of 100 points if the other team doesn't get any tricks. This is called a march ("mars").


There are a wide number of variants of the game, with different names and spellings. Some of the versions include Klaberjass, Kolobiosh, Kabababrious, Kalabriasz, Clobnberyash, Kob, Klan, Club, Clabber, Clobber, Indiana Clobber, Clubby, Clobyosh, Bela, or Bella. The South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n version of the game is known as Klawerjas.

Popular culture

It is the famous two hand game played by the Broadway characters in Damon Runyon
Damon Runyon
Alfred Damon Runyon was an American newspaperman and writer.He was best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the...

’s stories.

External links

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