Friday, March 23, 2012


A friend of mine has been asking me about what kind of card game we usually play at MIL's place. It's called 500 because the goal is to reach at least 500 scores. Let me try to explain the game to you. It's a little bit complicated if you're not used to the rules yet, but it's really fun 'coz winning depends on your luck as well as your strategy. OK, here goes...

What you need: A deck of cards with 3 jokers. 
Number of players: 2-6 (best played when there are 4-5 people, though) 

For starters, all the small numbers (1-9) will each worth 5 points.
10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings each worth 10 points EXCEPT The Queen of Spades.
The Queen of Spades: if you're left with this card when someone else ends the game, then it's worth -200.
However, if you manage to get The Queen of Spades on your table, then it's worth 50
Aces each worth 25 points.
 Jokers can be anything and each of them is worth 15 points

The point of the game is to collect threes (or fours if you're lucky enough to get them), for example: 3 of Spades, 4 of Spades, 5 of Spades (same group of cards in numerical order)
3 of Spades, 3 of Hearts, 3 of Diamonds (the same number/picture card of different groups)
OR if you're lucky enough to get 2 Aces and 2 jokers in hand, you can turn them into
Four Aces ---> Now someone else who has the other aces can take your jokers in return (remember that a joker can be anything)
Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds (the same number/picture card of different groups)
9 of Hearts, 10 of Hearts, Jack of Hearts (same group of cards in numerical order)

Rules of the game:

1. First of all the card dealer shuffles the card, then let the other player on the right side cut the deck, then he/she deals the pack starting with the player on the left. Each is given 6 cards except the card dealer. The card dealer gets 7 cards.

2. The card dealer then has to throw away a card. The card dealer CANNOT put any threes on the table even if he/she has them already because it's forbidden for the first person to start the game to do any move except throw a card on the table. 

So there are two stacks of cards in the middle: the closed stack of cards and the open stack of cards thrown away by the players ---> nobody can peek at the open stack of cards 'coz they just have to memorize what they are. If one wishes to take the open stack of cards, one has to take every single card that's there.

3. Now that the card dealer has started the game, the other players can start building threes on the table. The person next to the card dealer can either choose to take one card from the closed deck or the card that the card dealer has thrown away next to the closed deck. HOWEVER, if one takes away the card(s) thrown away by other players, one MUST create a three. If one fails to do so, then one gets -50 as a penalty.
4. Once each player has a three on the table, then they can start continuing what the others have built. Let me break it down for you...Let's just say there are three players.

Player A has put 2 Aces and 1 joker on the table (the joker is to be another Ace).
Player B has put 7 Hearts, 9 Hearts, and 10 Hearts on the table.
Player C has put 3 Diamonds, 4 Diamonds, 5 Diamonds.

Player A takes a card from the deck and gets Jack of Hearts. He can put the card on the table because it means he's continuing Player B's set of three. Then he throws away a card.

Player B has one Ace, takes a card from the deck (another Ace), and he decides to switch one Ace with Player A's joker. With the joker, he builds a set of three like this: Ace of Hearts, 2 of Hearts, Joker (as 3 of Hearts). Then he throws away a card.

Player C takes a card (3 of Hearts) and he has in his hand 4 of Hearts, 2 of Diamonds, 6 of Diamonds, 7 of Diamonds, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts. Now this player can end the game already because he can continue other players' cards and he still has one card to throw away. ****

So if I were player C, I'd switch 3 of Hearts with Player B's joker (because a joker on my side of the table is worth 15 points), then put Queen of Hearts and King of Hearts as a continuation of what have been on other players' sides. Then I'd put 6 of Diamonds, 7 of Diamonds and the joker as 8 of Diamonds on the table and throw away 2 of Diamonds to end the game.

5. **** After a player has a set of three on the table, he can only take as many cards from the closed deck until the number of the cards on his hand is 6 cards max. However, if he wishes to take the cards from the open stack of cards (the cards that have been piling up from what the players have thrown away), then even if there are 20 cards there, it's fine. However, remember rule #3 about the penalty.

HOWEVER, if a player doesn't have any set of threes yet on the table, then the number of cards on his hand must be 7 cards ---> that is unless he wishes to take the cards from the stack next to the closed desk. 

6. An Ace can be built as such: Queen, King, Ace or Ace, 2, 3.

7. Once someone ends the game (remember he has to throw away the last card to close the game - that is why it's important to have only a max. of 6 cards on hand if one prefers to take the card from the closed stack to make it harder to do this), the points are calculated as such:

The number of points of cards on the table - the number of points of cards in hand = The number of points calculated.

8. At the end of the game when it becomes so hard to make a three or to do anything much (even to continue other people's sets), if you end up with 3 Jokers, you can just put them down on the table like that without having to determine what they are. 

Normally it takes several round of games before someone reaches 500 points. If there are more than 3 players, it takes more than 3-4 rounds before someone reaches 500 points (from experience, the most points one can get per round if one is very lucky is 270-290 pts, but it's very rare that it happens). If there are only two players, there's a better chance that the game winner can be found in just 2 rounds.

One time we were playing with MIL, BIL, and SIL and MIL got so unlucky that at the end of the game, she had gone down to MINUS 600. Yep...she kept on being stuck with the Queen of Spades in her hand when someone else ended the game. We call the Queen of Spades "paha akka" (or The Evil Queen) he he he...

I hope I'm not forgetting any rules here he he he he...feel free to ask me any questions if you want...I hope I'm not making anyone confused ha ha ha...


  1. I haven't played this game in years and years, but I remember that it was brilliant.

  2. @Katriina: You used to play it, too? COOL!!! :-D Yeah, it's a really exciting game, isn't it?