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Chess | Draughts | Backgammon | Belot |

Bazar |

 
Belot / Bazar
  Belot (usually abbreviated to Bela, in Armenian to Blot) is a trick-taking card game very popular in Bulgaria, in some parts of Croatia (especially Zagreb and Slavonia) and Macedonia, and played worldwide by the Armenian Diaspora. The game is played by 2, 3 or 4 players. The 4-player version is considered to be the standard game, and other two are just crippled versions played only if there aren't enough players available.

The rules of Belot are very close to those of the French card game Belote, and Jewish card game Clobyosh, but with a few significant differences in each.

Each round of Belot (no matter how many players) consists of these steps: dealing, bidding, declaration, playing and scoring.

Dealing and bidding
The game is played with a 32-card (A K Q J 10 9 8 7) Central European suited deck which is first shuffled by dealer and pack is then offered for person sitting to the left of the dealer to cut (player offered to cut can cut or just tap on the top of the pack in which case no cutting is done). Cards are dealt counter-clockwise.
First 6 cards are picked up by players and bidding begins starting from the player who didn't deal. The player assesses his 6 cards and takes (chooses a trump suit of the card which was dealt face up) or passes (says "pass") in which case next player has a right to take or pass. If both players passed, player who didn't deal takes a trump suit other from the suit of the card which was dealt face up or passes. If that player passes for the second time, dealer must take a trump suit other from the suit of the card which was dealt face up.
When trump suit is chosen, players can lift remaining 4 cards, so every player has 10 cards in his hand.

3 Players
Every player receives 3 cards face down, then another 3 cards (making total of 6), then 4 cards, and 2 remaining cards are dealt to first player on dealer's right (he is first to play).
The first 6 cards are picked up by players and first player on dealer's right takes (chooses a trump suit). He must take.
When the trump suit is chosen, players can lift remaining cards (player who took lifts his 6 cards and the rest of the players lifts 4 cards they received). Then the player who took chooses 2 cards from his hand and puts them aside. Now every player has 10 cards in his hand.

4 Players
Every player receives 3 cards face down, then another 2 cards (making total of 5), and finally 3 cards.
First 5 cards are picked up by players and bidding begins starting from first player on dealers right (everything except cutting in Belot is done counter-clockwise). Player assesses his 5 cards and takes (chooses a trump suit) or passes (says "pass") in which case next player has a right to take or pass, and so on. If everybody before dealer passed, dealer must take (choose a trump suit), although this rule is not very firm. Some versions of Belot rules say dealer can cancel the round (and the next player starts as dealer) if he is to pass and he has 7 points or less in his hand, or even without the 7 point limit (if dealer passes, the round is cancelled).
When trump suit is chosen, players can lift remaining 3 cards, so every player has 8 cards in his hand.

Declaration
Declarations are particular sets of cards held in players' hands, which give players extra points. There are four sorts of declarations:

4 cards of the same rank, called "square"

4 jacks: 200 points 4 nines: 150 points 4 Aces, tens, Ks, Qs: 100 points 4 eights and 4 sevens are not counted. (In Croatia however it can be included.)

Sequences from 3 to 5 cards of the same suit. The cards are ranked as follows: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7

3 cards: 20 points 4 cards: 50 points 5 cards: 100 points Sequences of 6 or 7 cardsof the same suit are declared and counted as any of the 5-card sequences which they include.

Sequences of 8 cards of the same suit is called "belot" and a player that has a belot to declare wins entire match (as if he scored 501/701/1001 points, see winning).

Bela is set of trump King and Queen held together in one player's hand, and is counted 20 points.

Apart from Bela, only the team holding the highest declaration is entitled to count its declarations. The other team scores nothing even if it holds several inferior declarations giving a point total higher than the highest declaration.

A square is higher than a 5 card sequence. Between equally long sequences, the one containing the higher ranked cards wins. If there are two sequences of equal rank, the one held by the player who is earliest in rotation wins (playing counter-clockwise, the player to dealer's right is first in rotation and the dealer is last).

A particular card may not or may not be involved in two or more declarations. This rule is sometimes set and sometimes isn't, depending of local rules. Bela isn't included in this rule, cards making bela can always be included in another declaration.

A player declares when he is to play for the first time. If a player has nothing to declare he simply plays his first card. If player has something to declare, he declares it when it's his turn to play his first card. If a player declares and any player who hasn't yet played his first card has declaration which is beating his, the player on turn can't declare, but the player who has the winning declaration declares. (This rule is sometimes changed to: A player must declare prior to first player playing his first card, but this can be a little bit tricky as first player might just play his first card without asking whether anybody has anything to declare.)

A player who holds the king and queen of trumps declares "Bela" when playing the first of these card and "from the Bela" when playing the second.

4 players
If a player is allowed to declare, then his partner is also allowed to declare.

Playing
The player to dealer's right plays his card first. The subsequent players must follow suit if they can and also play a card (in that suit) that beats all previous cards if they can. If a player can't follow suit he must play trump card. If he can't play trump either, he plays any suit.

If the first card played is trump, subsequent players must follow suit and also play a trump card that beats all previous cards if they can. If non-trump was played first, and then trump, the player on turn is allowed to follow the suit of the first card played and doesn't have to play the card that beats the first one. The player who won the trick collects the cards played in this trick and plays first in next trick.

If any of the above rules is broken, opponent/opponents gets/get 162 points (which is sum of all card values) + all declarations declared in this round (no matter who declared) and current round ends.

Scoring
Every player counts the points he has from the tricks he won.

The winner of last trick adds 10 points.

The player(s) allowed to declare add points retrieved from declaration(s) (including Bela) only if they won at least one trick.

If a player (or a team) wins all tricks, they get additional 90 points.

If player/team that did take (see declaration phase) collects that way the number of points greater than the opponent's number of points player/team has passed. If the number is less or equal, the player/team that took has fallen. In case of 3 players, the player who took has to collect more points than the sum points of both players.

2 players
If player who took passed, all players score the number of points each of them collected through scoring.

If player who took fell, player who didn't take scores the number of points both players collected through scoring and player who did take scores 0 (which is marked by a dash (-), not by a number (0)).

3 players
If player who took passed, all players score the number of points each of them collected through scoring.

If player who took fell, players who didn't take scores the number of points each of them collected through scoring and player who did take scores 0 (which is marked by a dash (-), not by a number (0)).

4 players
If team who took passed, all teams score the number of points each of them collected through scoring.

If team who took fell, team who didn't take scores the number of points both teams collected through scoring and team who did take scores 0 (which is marked by a dash (-), not by a number (0)).


Card values
Trump suit Other suits
J 20 A 11
9 14 10 10
A 11 K 4
10 10 Q 3
K 4 J 2
Q 3 9 0
8 0 8 0
7 0 7 0


Winning
Above described rounds are played until a player or a team reach a certain limit (see below). When a player/team reaches a limit, he is said to be "out". There are two ways of ending a game once a player/team reaches a limit. In first type of ending (called "until enough") a player/team that is to reach a limit for winning calculates a number of points he has to collect to reach a limit and the round is played until the player/team reaches that limit (for example, if in a 2-player game a player has 496 points and plays a jack in a trump suite, he reached the limit, and the game ends). In second type of ending (called "until passed") a player/team that is to reach a limit still has to pass current round (the last round is by no means different from any other round).

2 players
Player who first reaches 501 points is a winner.

3 players
Player who first reaches 701 points is a winner.

4 players
Team which first reaches 1001 points is a winner.
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