You will find Estimation mostly being played in Middle-Eastern countries. It is a four-player card game where players compete individually over eighteen rounds.
To play, you will need a standard deck of 52 cards, which, if you don’t already have in your games cupboard, you can pick up for a relatively low price from most stores or on sites such as Amazon. I love this Bicycle tragic Royalty playing card pack. Personally, it adds a great quirk to your game and stands out from the regular packs all your friends probably have.
However, presuming you’ve already got your deck, the card ranking is the usual, with Ace being the high card and the two being the lowest.
Starting The Estimation Card Game
First, ensure that everyone is seated how they will be for the game, and pick one person from the group to be the allocated dealer. You can do this however you like. My family and I always want to choose the person with the next upcoming birthday. This person then takes their seat at the table, next birthday, next seat, and so on.
Once all players are seated and you have your dealer, you’re ready to play. The dealer doesn’t have to be the same person each time. For the rest of the rounds, you can move around the table so that everyone gets a shot at being the dealer.
Now it’s time for the dealer to shuffle the deck of cards before handing them out clockwise, one at a time to each player. This is done until the entire deck has been used up, meaning each player should have thirteen cards in front of them, face down.
If your hand is missing any of the four suits, you must announce this to the rest of the players before you start playing. If this is the case, you can also request to have the cards re-shuffled and dealt with again. This will not count as one of the eighteen rounds.
Gameplay and Bids
Now everyone has their hands. It’s time to get bidding. The player sitting to the dealer’s right takes the first go, and each player after that must make their bids accordingly, one at a time.
Your bid is your Estimation of how many tricks you think you can win in that round. The bid can be no less than four unless you intend not to win a trick, this is called a dash call, but I will go into more detail about that shortly.
When you place your bid, you must also declare a trump suit or state “No Trump” if you do not intend to use a trump. For example, if you decided to bid for a dash call, you’re indicating you plan to win zero tricks during a round with no trump. However, this can not be called by more than two players in one round.
Once everyone has made their bid, someone has named the declarer. This is whoever places the highest bid, the bid that is now considered the Estimation for the hand.
If there are more than two high bids, the suit that matches the trump is classed as the highest.
Now that the highest bidder and trump suit has been declared, the remaining three players must announce their estimates, which is the number of tricks they believe they will win in hand. The main focus here is to get as close to your estimate as possible.
It’s worth mentioning, at this point, that if you made a dash called in the starting round, you could not make any bids for the secondhand.
Throughout the first thirteen rounds, the game continues this way. In the final five rounds, the speed rounds and bidding stops, and everyone must only estimate how many tricks they think they’ll win.
A Double Risk
A double risk is when a player bids four or more tricks that make the final Estimation more or less than thirteen. Therefore, no player should make a bid higher than the highest bid from the declarer. However, you can bid an amount equal to the bid.
As I mentioned earlier, the first thirteen rounds are standard gameplay, and the last five are called speed rounds when the bidding stops. Players go straight to the estimation part of the hand. The trump suit is determined as per the following:
- Round Fourteen: No Trump
- Round Fifteen: Spades
- Round Sixteen: Hearts
- Round Seventeen: Diamonds
- Round Eighteen: Clubs
After the bidding and estimations are complete, it’s time for the play of hands, in which the highest bidder plays the first trick. Everyone else then follows, playing one card per trick. You must play if you have a card of the same suit at this point. However, if you don’t, you can play any card from your hand. If nobody has managed to match the trump suit, the person with the highest bid wins.
Once all 18 rounds have taken place, it’s time to score.
Scoring on Estimation Card Game
You can only score points during a hand if you match the win with the exact amount of tricks you estimated, and if you’ve succeeded in this, the amount is added to your score.
If, on the other hand, you have won more or less than you bid, this amount is deducted from your points. You will win the difference between the number of tricks you won and your bid.
If nobody wins the exact amount, there is no scoring for this hand.
There are also bonus points.
Bonus Points Guide
|Rule||Points Won||Points Lost|
|Winning a bidding round||20 points||10 points|
|Regular player||10 points||Zero|
|With||20 points||10 points|
|With risk||30 points||20 points|
|With double risk||40 points||30 points|
|Risk||20 points||10 points|
|Double risk||30 points||20 points|
|Dash Call||33 points||23 points|
There are a few other ways players can win bonus points, too, such as:
- If the number of estimates is less than thirteen, but the player estimated zero, they get an extra ten points should they win the hand. However, if they lose, ten points are deducted.
- You will have ten points added to your score if you are the sole winner of the round; on the contrary, ten points are taken away if you’re the sole loser.
- If three out of four players correctly estimated their tricks, the fourth player will have ten points knocked off their total score.
- If anyone estimates eight or more, all penalty points and bonuses are multiplied by two.
Of course, the game’s winner after all the rounds have finished is the person with the highest total points.
Let’s Wind Down
It might seem like estimation card games are rather complex, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, once you get your head around the rules, it’s an enjoyable and entertaining game. Before you start, familiarize yourself with the rules and get comfortable with the stages of gameplay.
During first learning how to play the game, you might find it easier to play the first few rounds without including the bonus and minus points. This might help keep things a little more straightforward while everyone is learning the ropes.
The short and simple way to describe this game aims to estimate the number of tricks you think you can take during each hand.
So, now you’ve learned all about card game estimation, why don’t you take a look at some of our other handy game guides, such as How to Play Continental Card Game and one of my personal favorites, Irish Poker?