Schnapsen is played with a 20-card deck consisting of aces, kings, queens, jacks, and tens. Starting with the highest card, the card ranking is: A-T-K-Q-J. The cards have the following values: A – 11 card points, T – 10 card points, K – 4 card points, Q – 3 card points, J – 2 card points. Usually, either French style decks (suits: hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades) or German style decks (suits: hearts, bells, acorns, leaves) are used.

Before the Game Begins

To properly deal cards in the traditional way, a specific sequence of actions must be followed: First, the initial dealer shuffles the cards and puts them face-down on the table. Then, the other player cuts the deck. Next, the dealer picks up the deck and starts dealing the cards: 3 cards to the opposing player, 3 cards to himself, 1 card face-up in the middle of the table showing the trump suit, 2 cards to the opposing player, and 2 cards to himself. Finally, the remaining deck is placed face-down on top of the trump card leaving it still visible. The deal alternates between the two players.

Basic Rules

The player that has not been the dealer leads. Now, the dealer has two options: He can either take the trick by playing a higher card of the same suit or by playing a trump, or he can choose not to take the trick and play any card of his hand. The player that takes the trick scores the value of the two cards in the trick. Then, the winner takes the top card of the remaining deck, the opposing player takes the next. After that, the winner of the last trick leads.

Play resumes according to these rules until the stock is gone after the loser of the fifth trick has taken the last remaining trump card. Now the rules change in that players must follow suit. If they cannot follow suit, they have to trump. If they cannot trump either, they may discard any card of their hand.

Once a player believes to have reached at least 66 card points with all the tricks he has taken, he declares that he has enough points. To make sure that he does in fact have at least 66 points, his cards are counted. Now, the declaring player scores game points depending on how many card points his opponent has scored: one game point if his opponent has more than 32 card points; 2 game points if his opponent has less than 33 card points; 3 game points if his opponent has failed to take a single trick.

If the player has failed to reach 66 card points even though he said he had, his opponent scores 2 game points.

If no player manages to reach 66 card points before the last trick is played, the winner of the last trick gets one game point. In this case, it does not matter who has more card points.

Typically, the number of game points each player has scored is written down to avoid any confusion.

Three additional actions are available to players.

The Trump Jack

First, the holder of the trump jack can exchange it for the face-up trump card if he is to lead. However, the exchange may only occur right before or after a trick.


Second, a player who is to lead and who holds both the K and Q of one suit may marry the two by playing one of the two cards and showing the other, while saying the number of card points the marriage is worth. Marriages are worth 20 card points except for the trump marriage, which is worth 40 card points. However, as long as the player who has announced the marriage has not scored a trick, these points do not count.

Closing the Deck

Finally, a player who is to lead can close the deck by flipping over the turned-up trump card. From this moment on, play continues as if the stock was gone, meaning that no additional cards are taken from the deck and that suit must be followed. The player who chooses to close the deck must reach 66 points before his opponent does. He scores game points depending on the opponent's card points right before the deck was closed. If he fails to reach 66 card points, his opponent scores three points if he had not scored any points at the time the deck was closed, in any other case the opponent scores two game points.


The first person to score 7 game points is the winner of a so-called Bummerl. Typically, the game points are counted downwards, so at the start of a Bummerl the score is 7-7. The first player to 0 is the winner.

Additional Tournament Rules

A tournament match is usually played as either best-of-3 or best-of-5 Bummerls.

In most tournaments, some or all of the following additional rules are applied:

-) Tricks are taken by the winner, immediately turned face-down, and must not be looked at again.
-) The turned-up trump card cannot be exchanged for the trump jack right at the start of a game or if the stock is down to one card.
-) The deck cannot be closed if it is down to one card.
-) After announcing a marriage, the king has to be played.
-) Marriages may be announced only if a trick has already been taken. 
-) Marriages may not be announced after the stock is gone.

Players may agree on playing according to these tougher tournament rules in normal play as well.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixty-six_(card_game). Retrieved on 05 September 2010.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sechsundsechzig. Retrieved on 05 September 2010.
Waclena: http://www.pagat.com/marriage/schnaps.html. Retrieved on 05 September 2010.