Piquet: Mastering the Classic Card Game Quickly


Piquet is a timeless, strategic card game that has enthralled players for centuries. Originating in France in the 16th century, it requires not only an understanding of its complex rules but also the employment of strategy and cunning. This guide aims to unravel the intricacies of Piquet, paving the way for beginners to master its classic rules and for seasoned players to refine their strategies.

The Basics of Piquet

Piquet is played with a 32-card deck, also known as a Piquet deck, which excludes cards numbered 2 to 6 from each suit. The game is intended for two players, each undertaking a journey of strategy, anticipation, and skill. Understanding the game’s structure is the first step towards mastering Piquet.

Card Values and Rankings

Card Value
Ace 11 points
10 10 points
King 4 points
Queen 3 points
Jack 2 points
7, 8, 9 No value

Game Objective

The aim of Piquet is to score more points than your opponent over the span of six deals, also known as ‘parties’. Points are awarded for various accomplishments, including holding certain card combinations, winning tricks, and declaring cards.

Setting Up the Game

  1. Remove all cards numbered 2 through 6 from the deck, leaving 32 cards.
  2. Decide who deals first through any form of lot; the position alternates every deal thereafter.
  3. Deal eight cards to each player in sets of two or three, as agreed upon by both players.
  4. The remaining cards form the talon (stock) for the exchange phase.

Phases of Play

Piquet consists of several phases: the deal, declaration, discarding (the ‘écarté’), the trick-playing phase, and scoring. Mastery over each segment is essential for overall success.


Declarations involve players announcing specific card combinations in their hands. The player with the highest combination in each category scores points. The categories are ‘Point’ (longest suit), ‘Sequences’ (runs), and ‘Sets’ (cards of the same rank).

The Exchange

Following declarations, players may exchange any number of cards (up to five) with the talon to improve their hand for the trick-taking part of the game.


In this phase, players alternately play cards, and the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. Special significance is given to leading with the Ace, as it is a strategic move that often leads to winning the trick.


Points are scored throughout the game for declarations, tricks, and cards captured during tricks. Keeping a meticulous score is paramount, as reaching the point threshold first can secure victory.

Strategies for Winning

  • Pay attention to your opponent’s declarations and discards to anticipate their moves.
  • Utilize the exchange wisely; it’s your primary tool for improving your hand.
  • Control the flow of the game by managing the trump cards and leading strategically.

Mastering Piquet is a rewarding challenge that combines luck, strategy, and psychological warfare. By understanding the rules and employing sharp tactics, you can enjoy this classic card game and perhaps even outmaneuver your opponent, securing your place as a skilled Piquet player.

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