A Curriculum of Vira

We often find when learning card games that they consist of what could be called first-order rules, which are the core rules of a game, or the ones that lend it its distinctive flavor, a second-order ones, which probably arose as correctives or adjustments to styles of play under the first order[1]. This sort of thing is particularly. difficult for those of us who learn our card games out of books; whereas, in a traditional folk setting, a new player would presumably start out at a simplified level and additional dimensions would be introduced as they got a handle on the rules, we get the whole thing dumped on us at once. Reading an entire section like ‘bidding’ or ‘bonuses’, the bits that make up the point of the game and the correctives and elaborations that have been layered upon them are freely intermingled. For very few games—Bridge is an exception that comes to mind—has there been documented a treatment of the game for learners that increases gradually in complexity.

The distinction between first- and second-order rules, and the usefulness in being able to differentiate, seems particularly strong in the Swedish plain-trick game Vira. Vira is famous (among certain types) for its complexity; I would argue it’s not nearly as complex as presented, but it’s also not an elegant game. It has lots of elaborations on elaborations, the sort of additional wrinkles that would only really make sense to an already-seasoned player. The point of Vira seems to be to take a standard three-person whist game and absolutely maximize the number of biddable hands. In fact the actual card play is extremely simple and regular; all the effort and complexity, at least that which is not purely incidental (like what denominations of scoring chips you need and what shape they take), has gone into presenting a variety of ways to turn one’s hand into a contender to succeed at that play.

The effort manifests itself in the form of 40 different bids that players can make[2]. In addition, some of these bids have some odd one-off rules around them so that everything is kept competitive. Finally, each one can have a few different values based on how exactly the bid was made. But things like what levels you can bid at, and exactly how many chips you make or lose, are incidental. It would be useful to introduce the core concepts of the game, keeping a couple printed tables at hand. If we adopted an incremental strategy it might be quite simple to learn indeed.

This article consists of a series of versions of the game of Vira. The intention is for each version to be fully playable and coherent; at the same time, for each version to build logically upon the concepts in place in the previous one, in a way that demonstrably provides for a greater degree of variety and skill.

Basic Vira

The deal

Vira is played with a normal 52-card deck. 3 players a hand; four players can play, with the dealer sitting out each turn. Dealer rotates clockwise.

The dealer will deal 13 cards to each player, leaving a stock of 13 on the table. Then bidding begins to the dealer’s left.

Bidding

Players take turns bidding in order. Each player can either bid a higher bid than the current bid, or pass. Since earlier players always have precedence, an earlier player can “hold” a later player’s bid. When two players have passed, the current bid wins and that player becomes the declarer.

Play

Forehand always leads. Trick play is exactly like whist, plain-trick with a trump suit; players must follow suit if they can, and if not they can decide whether to trump or discard. The declarer plays against the other two, and tries to take a certain number of tricks with their choice of trump suit.

Bids

Many bids involve opponents exchanging cards with the stock. While the procedure for the declarer exchanging cards is different depending on the bid, the procedure for the opponents is always the same: the first opponent discards and draws between 0 and however remain after the declarer’s exchange, and then the last opponent can do the same with however many the first opponent left.

Game (6–9)

This is the most basic bid. Bid at levels 6 through 9, where each number is the number of tricks the declarer must make in order to make the bid. Aside from the number of tricks, the levels are identical:

  1. Declarer names their trump suit;
  2. Declarer discards any number of cards and draws the same number from the stock;
  3. Opponents exchange.

Turn-one (6–8)

This bid is just like a normal game, except instead of declaring trumps the declarer turns the top card of the stock, and that card’s suit becomes the trump suit. When the declarer exchanges, they must exchange at least 1 card, which will be the card they turned.

Turn-two (6–8)

Just like turn-one, except the declarer turns the top 2 cards and chooses among them for the trump suit. They must exchange at least two cards, starting with the two they turned up.

Turn-three (9)

Just like turn-two, but with 3.

Bid precedence

bid
Game 6
Turn-one 6
Game 7
Turn-two 6
Turn-one 7
Game 8
Turn-two 7
Turn-one 8
Turn-two 8
Game 9
Turn-three 9

Vira with preference

We can increase the number of possible bids by naming a single suit as the suit of preference. It doesn’t matter which one; it can be determined before every hand, or named once for the whole game. For these instructions we’ll assume that ♥ is always preference, in analogy to other games with the same feature, such as Russian Preferans.

Every bid can now be outbid either by bidding a higher contract—for instance, outbidding Game 6 with Game 7—or by bidding a higher suit in the same contract.

There are three suits: plain, in color, and in preference. Each one determines what suits the bidder can name as trumps if that bid succeeds.

Plain

If the bid succeeds, the declarer can name any suit as trumps; ♠, ♣, ♦, ♥.

In color

If the bid succeeds the declarer can only name the suit of preference or the suit of the same color as trumps; in our example, ♦ or ♥.

In preference

If the bid succeeds the declarer can only name the suit of preference as trumps.

Vira with payments

We’ll keep score by adding a payment system for successful and unsuccessful bids. We’ll use points as our unit of currency; this is best represented by chips or tokens that can be passed between players and put into the pot. As all payments into the central pool are in multiples of 8, it’s useful to have a denomination of chip that stands for 8 points.

Pool payments

There’s a central pool that all players pay into and draw from. Each bid has a certain value in points that players win if they make a bid, and a certain value they have to pay into the pool if they lose.

bid win loss
Game 6 8 8
Turn-one 6 8 8
Game 7 8 8
Turn-two 6 8 16
Turn-one 7 8 8
Game 8 8 8
Turn-two 7 8 16
Turn-one 8 16 8
Turn-two 8 16 16
Game 9 8 8
Turn-three 9 24 24

We can see that the payments are generally the same. The turn- bids are known as “gambling” bids because they have higher stakes.

Player payments

In addition to paying out to the pool, bids can also have a value associated with them that are paid directly by each opponent to the declarer in the case of a win, or by the declarer to each opponent in the case of a loss.

The amount paid here is determined by the suit level of the bid: there are amounts for a plain bid, a bid in color, and a bid in preference. It’s the same for a win or a loss.

bid plain in color in preference
Game 6 0 0 1
Turn-one 6 0 0 1
Game 7 0 0 1
Turn-two 6 0 1 1
Turn-one 7 0 1 1
Game 8 0 1 1
Turn-two 7 1 1 3
Turn-one 8 1 1 3
Turn-two 8 1 3 5
Game 9 1 1 3
Turn-three 9 3 5 11

Vira with codille

We can increase the stakes and skill level by penalizing players who badly fail to make their bids. Any time the declarer fails to make their bid by 1 trick, we’ll call it a simple loss. If they fail by 2 or more tricks, they’ve lost by codille.

If a player loses by codille, they have to pay a greater amount to the pool.

bid win loss codille
Game 6 8 8 16
Turn-one 6 8 8 16
Game 7 8 8 16
Turn-two 6 8 16 32
Turn-one 7 8 8 16
Game 8 8 8 16
Turn-two 7 8 16 32
Turn-one 8 16 8 16
Turn-two 8 16 16 32
Game 9 8 8 16
Turn-three 9 24 24 48

Vira with folding

Now that it’s particularly costly to lose badly, players might want to fold rather than play if it means they can pay for a simple loss, rather than a codille. In any bid, after the declarer exchanges, they can choose to fold rather than keep playing. The process is now:

  1. Declarer names their trump suit;
  2. Declarer discards any number of cards and draws the same number from the stock;
  3. Declarer decides to fold or continue;
  4. (if declarer continues) Opponents exchange.

Vira with a second exchange

We can provide a second way for a declarer to cut their losses if, after their exchange, they think that they won’t be able to make their bid. After their exchange, if they haven’t used up the whole stock, they can actually exchange a second time. This obviously provides a much better shot at making a bid, and therefore will actually, usually, amount to a net loss. However, the overall loss when winning on the second exchange will be less than losing by codille on the first.

The order for the declarer now looks like this:

  1. Declarer names their trump suit;
  2. Declarer discards any number of cards and draws the same number from the stock;
  3. Declarer decides to fold, exchange again, or continue;
  4. (if declarer continues) Opponents exchange.

If the declarer decides to exchange again they must pay their opponents as though they’ve lost. They don’t have to pay the pool.

In addition to the payment to their opponents, the win/lose/codille values are different for a declarer who’s exchanged twice:

bid w l c 2nd exch. w l c
Game 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-one 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 6 8 16 32 0 48 80
Turn-one 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 8 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 7 8 16 32 0 48 80
Turn-one 8 16 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 8 16 16 32 0 48 80
Game 9 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-three 9 24 24 48 8 72 120

Vira with misère

All of the features of the game are now in place. What remains is introduce the rest of the bids.

The main point as we develop the game is to increase the number of biddable hands. That is, to introduce different types of bids that favor other hands so that any player might have a chance at making a bid if they’re lucky.

The basic bids obviously favor strong hands; the declarer makes their bid by making a certain number of tricks, and the bids are ordered by the number of tricks, so the bidder with the strongest hand will win their bid. We can introduce misère bids, where the aim is to lose all the tricks, in order to give players with very weak hands an equal opportunity to bid.

Rules for play at misère are identical to normal play: players must follow suit and the high card takes the trick. The one difference is that all misère games are played at no trump: the declarer doesn’t declare a trump suit, and no card can take a trick if it isn’t of the the suit that was led. If the declarer takes a single trick, they lose the bid; if they take 2 or more tricks, they lose by codille.

Bids

Gök

The simplest and easiest misère bid is gök. It proceeds as follows:

  1. Declarer takes the whole stock;
  2. Declarer discards 13 cards;
  3. Declarer decides to fold or continue;
  4. Declarer turns their hand face-up.

As usual, forehand leads and the declarer then attempts to lose all 13 tricks.

Misère (1–6)

There are standard misère bids played at levels 1–6. The aim is always to lose all the tricks; in this case, the levels determine how many cards are exchanged. The procedure is:

  1. Declarer discards the number of cards equal to their bid;
  2. Declarer draws the same number from the stock;
  3. Declarer decides to fold, exchange again, or continue;
  4. (if declarer continues) Opponents exchange.

Before playing, declarer also discards some additional cards.

  • (level 1): declarer discards 2 cards.
  • (level 2–6): declarer discards 1 card.

The declarer will therefore have fewer cards than the opponents. When they’ve played all their cards, the hand is over. Unlike at Gök, the declarer plays closed.

Pool payments

Since Gök involves taking the whole stock, no second exchange is possible.

bid w l c 2nd exch. w l c
Game 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-one 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 6 8 16 32 0 48 80
Gök 8 16 32 - - -
Turn-one 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 1 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 8 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 7 8 16 32 0 48 80
Turn-one 8 16 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 2 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 8 16 16 32 0 48 80
Misère 3 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 9 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 4 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-three 9 24 24 48 8 72 120
Misère 5 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 6 8 8 16 0 24 40

Player payments

Since all misère bids are at no-trumps, “in color” and “in preference” don’t apply.

bid * c p
Game 6 0 0 1
Turn-one 6 0 0 1
Game 7 0 0 1
Turn-two 6 0 1 1
Gök 0 - -
Turn-one 7 0 1 1
Misère 1 0 - -
Game 8 0 1 1
Turn-two 7 1 1 3
Turn-one 8 1 1 3
Misère 2 0 - -
Turn-two 8 1 3 5
Misère 3 0 - -
Game 9 1 1 3
Misère 4 1 - -
Turn-three 9 3 5 11
Misère 5 1 - -
Misère 6 1 - -

Vira with choice bids

The final type of “low” bid is gask, which allows the declarer to choose after the exchange whether they want to play a trumps game or at misère.

Gask (0–5)

Gask is also bid at different levels. Here each level corresponds directly to the number of cards the player keeps when exchanging. If they decide to play a positive game, the level will also determine how many tricks they need to take.

The procedure to play a gask contract is as follows:

  1. Declarer discards (13 - the level of their bid) cards;
  2. Declarer takes the entire stock;
  3. Declarer discards a number of cards equal to the level of their bid (back down to 13);
  4. Declarer decides to fold or continue;
  5. (if declarer continues) depending on the level of the bid:
    • level 0: the declarer may:
      1. name a trump suit; play to win 7 tricks;
      2. discard an additional 2 cards; play misère.
    • level 1: the declarer may:
      1. name a trump suit; play to win 8 tricks;
      2. discard an additional card; play misère.
    • level 2: the declarer may:
      1. name a trump suit; play to win 9 tricks;
      2. discard 0 cards; play misère.
    • level 3: the declarer may:
      1. name a trump suit; play to win 10 tricks;
      2. discard an additional card; turn hand face-up; play misère.
    • level 4: the declarer may:
      1. name a trump suit; play to win 11 tricks;
      2. discard no cards; turn hand face-up; play misère.
    • level 5, level 6: declarer names a trump suit; plays to win 12 tricks.

Gask may be bid in color and in preference; however, such a bid forces the declarer to play a positive game.

Pool payments

Since Gask involves taking the entire stock, there is no possibility for a second exchange. Gask 5 is ranked higher than Gask 6.

bid w l c 2nd exch. w l c
Game 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-one 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 6 8 16 32 0 48 80
Gask 0 8 8 16 - - -
Gök 8 16 32 - - -
Turn-one 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 1 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 1 8 8 16 - - -
Game 8 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 7 8 16 32 0 48 80
Turn-one 8 16 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 2 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 2 8 8 16 - - -
Turn-two 8 16 16 32 0 48 80
Misère 3 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 3 8 8 16 - - -
Game 9 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 4 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 4 8 8 16 - - -
Turn-three 9 24 24 48 8 72 120
Misère 5 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 6 8 8 16 - - -
Misère 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 5 8 8 16 - - -

Player payments

bid * c p
Game 6 0 0 1
Turn-one 6 0 0 1
Game 7 0 0 1
Turn-two 6 0 1 1
Gask 0 0 0 1
Gök 0 - -
Turn-one 7 0 1 1
Misère 1 0 - -
Gask 1 0 0 1
Game 8 0 1 1
Turn-two 7 1 1 3
Turn-one 8 1 1 3
Misère 2 0 - -
Gask 2 0 1 1
Turn-two 8 1 3 5
Misère 3 0 - -
Gask 3 0 1 2
Game 9 1 1 3
Misère 4 1 - -
Gask 4 1 1 3
Turn-three 9 3 5 11
Misère 5 1 - -
Gask 6 1 2 4
Misère 6 1 - -
Gask 5 1 3 5

Vira with gök conventions

Gök is an odd-man-out contract and has some unique characteristics. Chief among them is that gök is the only bid which has an established rule around passing: if a player bids gök, their opponents may not pass unless they hold certain cards.

In particular, the opponent after the declarer must hold at least 2 low guards. If they pass, then the third opponent must have at least 1 low guard in order to pass.

If a player passes on this bid without the required cards and the declarer ends up making their bid, that player must pay an additional penalty of 8 points into the pool.

Low guards

A low guard is the low equivalent of a “stop”; that is, a combination of cards that guarantee the holder will lose at least one trick. They are, within any single suit, any of the following:

  • any 2
  • 4–3
  • 6–5–4
  • 6–5–3
  • 8–7–6–5
  • 8–7–6–4
  • 8–7–6–3
  • 8–7–5–4
  • 8–7–5–3

Vira with advanced bids

We can introduce some varsity-level bids now to reward highly-skilled players, or at least stacked hands. We can add to the table a series of more challenging bids, where the declarer lacks the advantage of the draw, or has to take many more tricks, or both.

Bids

Solo (6–13)

Solo is directly comparable to a standard game bid, with the difference that the declarer does not exchange. It has the same level dynamic, where the level indicates the number of tricks to be taken.

  1. Declarer names their trump suit;
  2. Declarer decides to fold or continue;
  3. (if declarer continues) Opponents exchange.

Vira

On the other hand, the eponymous vira is a positive analog to gök. Instead of playing misère ouverte, the declarer plays closed and attempts to take all 13 tricks.

  1. Declarer takes the whole stock;
  2. Declarer discards 13 cards;
  3. Declarer decides to fold or continue;
  4. Declarer names their trump suit.

Pool payments

In solo the declarer doesn’t exchange, and in vira the declarer exchanges the entire talon, so neither one can perform a second exchange.

bid w l c 2nd exch. w l c
Game 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-one 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 6 8 16 32 0 48 80
Gask 0 8 8 16 - - -
Gök 8 16 32 - - -
Turn-one 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 1 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 1 8 8 16 - - -
Game 8 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 7 8 16 32 0 48 80
Turn-one 8 16 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 2 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 2 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 6 8 8 16 - - -
Turn-two 8 16 16 32 0 48 80
Misère 3 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 3 8 8 16 - - -
Game 9 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 4 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 4 8 8 16 - - -
Turn-three 9 24 24 48 8 72 120
Misère 5 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 6 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 7 8 8 16 - - -
Misère 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 5 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 8 8 8 16 - - -
Vira 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 9 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 10 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 11 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 12 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 13 8 8 16 - - -

Player payments

bid * c p
Game 6 0 0 1
Turn-one 6 0 0 1
Game 7 0 0 1
Turn-two 6 0 1 1
Gask 0 0 0 1
Gök 0 - -
Turn-one 7 0 1 1
Misère 1 0 - -
Gask 1 0 0 1
Game 8 0 1 1
Turn-two 7 1 1 3
Turn-one 8 1 1 3
Misère 2 0 - -
Gask 2 0 1 1
Solo 6 0 1 1
Turn-two 8 1 3 5
Misère 3 0 - -
Gask 3 0 1 2
Game 9 1 1 3
Misère 4 1 - -
Gask 4 1 1 3
Turn-three 9 3 5 11
Misère 5 1 - -
Gask 6 1 2 4
Solo 7 0 1 2
Misère 6 1 - -
Gask 5 1 3 5
Solo 8 1 2 4
Vira 2 4 8
Solo 9 2 4 8
Solo 10 4 8 16
Solo 11 8 16 32
Solo 12 16 32 64
Solo 13 32 64 128

Vira with exceptional bids

The final elaboration we can add, completing our bidding table, is a set of negative contracts roughly equal to solo/vira in terms of rarity.

There are six solo misère bids, which are played misère without exchange. As with all negative bids, the aim is to lose all tricks. Instead of levels, then, their distinguishing features are: open/closed, with/without a single discard, and turn up before/after opponent exchange.

Bids

Each of the following bids has the same basic structure: declarer does not exchange, and attempts to lose all tricks. Following are the structural differences in each contract:

Solo petite misère

  1. Declarer discards 1 card;
  2. Opponents exchange.

Solo grande misère

  1. Opponents exchange.

Solo petite misère ouverte

  1. Declarer discards 1 card;
  2. Opponents exchange;
  3. Declarer turns hand face-up.

Solo grande misère ouverte

  1. Opponents exchange;
  2. Declarer turns hand face-up.

Solo petite misère ouverte royale

  1. Declarer discards 1 card;
  2. Declarer turns hand face-up;
  3. Opponents exchange.

Solo grande misère ouverte royale

  1. Declarer turns hand face-up.
  2. Opponents exchange.

In this contract (and only this contract), the opponents can also show each other their cards and discuss their exchange.

Pool payments

bid w l c 2nd exch. w l c
Game 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-one 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Game 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 6 8 16 32 0 48 80
Gask 0 8 8 16 - - -
Gök 8 16 32 - - -
Turn-one 7 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 1 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 1 8 8 16 - - -
Game 8 8 8 16 0 24 40
Turn-two 7 8 16 32 0 48 80
Turn-one 8 16 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 2 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 2 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 6 8 8 16 - - -
Turn-two 8 16 16 32 0 48 80
Misère 3 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 3 8 8 16 - - -
Game 9 8 8 16 0 24 40
Misère 4 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 4 8 8 16 - - -
Turn-three 9 24 24 48 8 72 120
Misère 5 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 6 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 7 8 8 16 - - -
Misère 6 8 8 16 0 24 40
Gask 5 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 8 8 8 16 - - -
Vira 8 8 16 - - -
Solo Petite Misère 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 9 8 8 16 - - -
Solo Grande Misère 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 10 8 8 16 - - -
Solo Petite Misère Ouverte 8 8 16 - - -
Solo Petite Misère Ouverte Royale 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 11 8 8 16 - - -
Solo Grande Misère Ouverte 8 8 16 - - -
Solo Grande Misère Ouverte Royale 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 12 8 8 16 - - -
Solo 13 8 8 16 - - -

Player payments

bid * c p
Game 6 0 0 1
Turn-one 6 0 0 1
Game 7 0 0 1
Turn-two 6 0 1 1
Gask 0 0 0 1
Gök 0 - -
Turn-one 7 0 1 1
Misère 1 0 - -
Gask 1 0 0 1
Game 8 0 1 1
Turn-two 7 1 1 3
Turn-one 8 1 1 3
Misère 2 0 - -
Gask 2 0 1 1
Solo 6 0 1 1
Turn-two 8 1 3 5
Misère 3 0 - -
Gask 3 0 1 2
Game 9 1 1 3
Misère 4 1 - -
Gask 4 1 1 3
Turn-three 9 3 5 11
Misère 5 1 - -
Gask 6 1 2 4
Solo 7 0 1 2
Misère 6 1 - -
Gask 5 1 3 5
Solo 8 1 2 4
Vira 2 4 8
Solo Petite Misere 2 - -
Solo 9 2 4 8
Solo Grande Misere 4 - -
Solo 10 4 8 16
Solo Petite Misere Ouverte 8 - -
Solo Petite Misere Ouverte Royale 16 - -
Solo 11 8 16 32
Solo Grande Misere Ouverte 24 - -
Solo Grande Misere Ouverte Royale 32 - -
Solo 12 16 32 64
Solo 13 32 64 128

Vira strategy and background

We are at the final incarnation of our game. There are of course variations:

  • different historical versions, some of which are still played;
  • regional variations;
  • non-structural variations like how to determine preference and how to keep score.

There are also conventions and rules of thumb which some might argue are integral to the game itself.

For further research, there are two English-language documents that I’ve used as source material for this account:

If I have missed any necessary structural elements, please let me know!


  1. To give an elementary example: in many tarok versions you can announce or play pagat ultimo, whereby you score extra points by taking the last trick with the lowest trump. This feat requires being able to hold on to it until the last trick, of course, as well as ensuring that everyone else has played all of theirs before it. If you want to teach someone Slovenian Tarok, they need to know about pagat ultimo. On the other hand, it’s also true that if you announce pagat ultimo, you can’t play it before you’ve played all your other trumps. It’s fair to argue that this has nothing to do with the effect of pagat ultimo in the game. But rather, as players developed the game, they sometimes dumped the pagat early when they decided they couldn’t make the bid, and it was agreed that this somewhat ruined the effect that pagat ultimo had in the game. In other words it’s fair to imagine that a rule like “one cannot prematurely play pagat ultimo unless forced to” is a remedial one.  ↩

  2. That’s 40 in the same way that Eskimos have 100 words for snow. There’s really only a handful of core bids—let’s say 8—that can be made at different levels. But the levels are quite easy to differentiate among.  ↩

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