Sunday, August 19, 2007

Deal Me In: A Card Game for the Brave

Today's Manic Monday word is DEAL. Morgen wrote about card games at It's a Blog Eat Blog World and it got me thinking about all the card games that I have played over the years. Presently I am a Spades addict over at Pogo which is very similar to Whist which I have played for over 20 years. Both games require concentration and you have to pay attention to what is thrown in order to predict which of your cards are good to be able to win tricks.

About 15 years ago, our neighbors in Nova Scotia discovered a two deck card game which 3 - 5 people can play: Big Bertha. I will post the rules below, but let me just say that it is a rummy game with many variations of the rules and it can be a very frustrating game. Without mentioning names, members of my family won't play the game and we have had to take breaks from it. However, I do have fond memories of playing friends and family. Without further ado.....

Big Bertha
Combine two decks of cards (remove jokers).
Twos are wild!!!!!
Deal out 13 cards to each person playing, then turn over the top card. The person to the left of the dealer can either take the card turned over or one from the top of the deck. After taking a card, the player must then discard a card from their hand. Then the next player can either choose the discard of the previous player or take a card from the top of the deck.

The objective of the game is to make sets (groups of matching cards) or runs ( a run of the same suit) in your hand, you can not progress to the next hand until you have completed a hand. Once a player has the required sets/melds for that hand they can put them down when they have picked up a card or they can hold them and put everything down when they have the rest of their hand completed. At the time that someone has all of their 13 cards down on the table then everyone else has to count up the remaining points in their hand. If they have not put down the required cards for that hand, then on the next deal you have to try again.

On the first hand everyone has to make 2 sets of three, you can do it naturally or with using the wild cards (twos), then you have to make either sets or melds with the last seven cards in your hand . Here are the 10 hands in order of completion--Just keep in mind that everyone may end up on different hands, which can really screw up your chances of getting the suits or number of a card that you are looking for. The runs of seven, eight and nine are known in my family as the "God must hate me hands", this is where you want the twos!

  1. 2 sets of three
  2. 1 set of three, 1 run of 4
  3. A run of 7
  4. 2 sets of four
  5. 1 set of three, 1 run of five
  6. 1 set of four, 1 run of five
  7. 1 run of 8
  8. 1 set of 3 and 1 run of 6
  9. 1 set of five and 1 run of five
  10. A run of 9
Scoring: For cards left in your hand when the first person goes out:
Twos = 30 points
Aces = 25 points
Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings = 10
Rest of the Cards = 5
Variations of rules:
When playing with my mother, she won't let us go out on the first hand, we play cut throat without her and if you got em all, drop em!
A friend with family from Cape Breton has played it where you can't have twos next to each other in a run and if you have the card that another player has used a two for on the table, then you can take that two and replace it with a card from your hand to place your sets/melds on the table--> We don't play these variations either.

Next rainy family vacation or snowed in school day, you now have the rules to a game that takes at least two hours to play! Enjoy.


  1. wow, that sound like fun! I'm a solitaire person myself. My husband doesn't enjoy cards and my kids are too young but I do so much want to break out the UNO!! Great post!

  2. Whoopee! A new card game. Thank you. When you glance at my blog, you'll know why I'm so greatful.

  3. Oh wow! What fun. :)
    I'll have to bookmark this one.

  4. Sorry, I didn't read the rules because I don't like playing cards ! Mr. Gattino loves it more than enough, lol !

  5. Your Big Bertha sounds almost exactly like the game of "hand & foot" that I played this summer!
    I am NOT good at Spades on the computer (not at all) but I do love Pogo!
    Thanks for participating in Manic Mondays!
    ~ mo

  6. Never heard of this game, but it certainly sounds like lots of fun. Great MM. Have a great day. :)

  7. that would be a lot of fun! thanks for sharing

  8. This looks a lot like Phase 10, only Phase 10 is a particular deck of cards like Uno or something like that and you only get 10 cards, not 13.

  9. I LOVE this game. I learned it from my grandparents and used to play it all the time. They also introduced me to Flinch. Ahhh, thanks for the memories. :-)

  10. Thanks again for the award -- please visit my blog to see that I awarded it to you also and others. Please check out their blogs too.

    Pinochle is my cup of tea when it coems to cards.

  11. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Just got home from a weekend at my sister's in Cape Breton and we played Big Bertha allll weekend!! We love this game!

  12. Can you put down an extra set or run as well as with what is required for that hand. example: on first hand could you lay down an extra set?


Any thoughts or musings of your own to add?