Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A man's idea in a game of cards is war, cruel, devastating, and pitiless. A lady's idea of it is a combination of larceny, embezzlement and burglary

The card game in my family (as in not only my immediate family, but all them peoples that be related to me), or at least on my father's side of the family, is Philadelphia. It's kind of sort of a version of Gin Rummy and is named Philadelphia because my aunt learned it in, you guessed it, Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is played with two decks of cards and four Jokers. The object of the game is to get sets or runs of cards, where a set is three or more of the same rank and a run is four or more in sequence of the same suit. You start with six cards each, where the goal is to have two sets, and then work your way up to sixteen, where the goal is four runs.

After the cards have been dealt, an additional card is turned face up on the table, and the rest of the deck is split in two piles, placed at right angles next to each other. The person to the left of the dealer begins, by either picking up the open, face up card, or the top card from the first pile. He must then put down one of his cards, either the one he picked up or another one, on top of the card laying face up. The next person repeats the same, and so on.

Anyone can pick up the card laying face up, unless it's been covered by another card at some point, but if it's not your turn you have to pick up a penalty card from the second pile of cards as well.

Once you have the required cards (two sets for six cards, a set and a run for seven, two runs for eight, etc) you can put them down on the table, but only in your own turn and only after picking up your required card.

There are other rules to the game as well:
- The Joker, or Viblom, can be used as any card in either a run or a set (why is it called Viblom? Because the Joker card in my grandfather's original deck of cards kind of looked like Olof Palme, and my grandfather's neighbor Viblom also kind of looked like Olof Palme. That's the kind of joke I like).
- If you have a Viblom down on the table, anyone else can buy it by replacing it with the card you've replaced with the Viblom. For example, in a set of eights you have two eights and a Viblom, that Viblom can be bought for an eight. Or in a run of four, five, six of hearts and then a Viblom, that Viblom can be bought for the seven of hearts. However, they can only buy it in their own turn and only if they put their cards down on the table that same turn.
- An ace can be used as both a 1 and 13.
- In the eleventh round of the game, when sixteen cards are dealt to each player, you can only put yoour cards down on the table if you can get rid of all your cards at once.
- After someone gets rid of all their cards, the others tally up their cards and a score is kept. Two through seven are each worth five points, eight through king are worth ten, an ace is 25 and a Joker is 50. The winner is the player with the fewest points after all eleven rounds have been played.

Easy peasy, right? Now go play.

And every family has a card game. What's yours?

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