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We've been playing Blackout in our family for generations.
Some of my favorite childhood memories involved sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table, cards in hand, trying to beat my Papa while he bid zero on every hand.

Here are the rules and scoring the way we played it.
Make it your own and HAVE FUN!!
Also, we would love to see pics of you playing Blackout with your friends and family, so make sure you tag us!!

(Video Coming Soon!!)


OBJECTIVE OF BLACKOUT: Successfully bid the number of tricks they think they can take from each hand by taking that exact amount of tricks- no more and no less.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-7 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking



Blackout is a trick-taking game, in which the goal is the bid for the exact number of tricks one believes they will make. Taking more or fewer tricks is a loss.


The game can be played with 3 or more players but, 4 to 6 is optimal.

Blackout is played with a series of hands. The amount of cards played with in the first hand depends on the number of players:

  • 3-5 Players, 10 cards each

  • 6 Players, 8 cards each

  • 7 Players, 7 cards each

Each hand is played with one less card than the previous one until there is a one card hand. You can stop there or add cards one at a time until the card amount of the initial hand is met.

For example, in a hand of 8 cards, the series is as follows: 8 cards, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. This gives a total of 15 hands per game.



To determine the initial dealer have each player draw a card from the deck, the player with the highest ranking card deals first. The deal passes clockwise.

After, the cards are shuffled, and dealt to each player one at a time until each has the appropriate amount according to the number of players.

The following card is flipped face-up, the suit of that card is the trump suit for that hand. This suit will beat all others. The remaining cards are left in a stack with the trump card on top.


Bidding occurs before the tricks begin.

Each hands bidding starts with the player to the left of the dealer and moves clockwise back to the dealer, who bids last. Each player bids a number which indicates the number of tricks they predicate they will take with that hand. All players must bid, however, players may bid zero. If a player bids zero the plan to take zero tricks.

Players may change their bid if the opponent to their left has not yet bid. The dealer is not allowed to bid the number that would cause the total amount of tricks bid to be equal to the number of total tricks available. A hand shall always be and over or under bid. The dealer can change their bid until the first card is played.

On the 5 card deal, we like to liven it up with a blind bid. Players look at their cards and then all announce their bids using a Rock/Paper/Scissors style where the "shoot" is the number of fingers they wish their bid to be. Bids cannot be adjusted no matter how far over/under you go.



The game begins with the player directly to the dealer’s left, this player leads the initial suit. This can be any suit, including the trump suit (though my mama will yell at you if you lead with trump!). Play passes clockwise.

Each player must play a card. If they can, they must follow the suit, if they cannot, they can play any card including trump. If there is no trump card played, the highest value card of the leading suit wins the trick.

The winner of a trick leads the next one. This continues until all tricks have been played, then the next hand is dealt until all hands have been dealt and all tricks won.


A player or a third party is designated as scorekeeper prior to the start of the deal. If the scorekeeper is a player they have an advantage and must be monitored so that they do not error or cheat.

The simplest method of scoring states that a player who wins the exact number of tricks that they bid gets a score of 5 + # of tricks bid. So if they won and bid 5, their score would total 10 for that hand. Those who do not reach their bid or go over are subtracted the number they bid. If they bid zero, they are subtracted the number of tricks they caught.

Good luck and have fun!!!


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