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Jabberwocky (card game)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Skills requiredTactics, Communication
Age range10+
Card rank (highest first)A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Playing timeVarious
Random chancemedium
Related games
War Oh, Hell

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Jabberwocky is a card game of the trick-taking variety, played by 3 to 5 players with a standard deck of cards and pencil and paper for scoring.

Its object is to bet the number of tricks one is estimating to make and to fulfill this bet (which scores a point). The player who fulfills the most bets after 13 turns wins the game, and more than one player may tie it.

It may have originated on the Island of Hawaiʻi in the early 1980s. This game was also played in Austria at about the same time.[1]


At the start of the first round, the dealer gives three cards to each player. The number of cards increases by one each round until nine cards are dealt. After that, the number of cards dealt decreases by one each round. After the end of the 13th round, when three cards are dealt again, the game ends.

Once the cards have been dealt to the players, the dealer turns over the top card of the remainder of the deck. The suit of that card is the trump suit, and that card remains face-up during the round.

Deal passes to the left after each round!


Bidding proceeds to the left, and the player to the dealer's left bids first. A player may bid any number from 0 up to the total number of cards that were dealt to each player for that particular round. The dealer bids last, and may not bid a number that would make the total number of bids equal to the total number of tricks that may be taken during that round. (For example, if there are four players playing a round in which six cards have been dealt to each player, and Player No. 1 has bid 2, Player No. 2 has bid 0, and Player No. 3 has bid 3, then the final bid of the dealer may not be greater than 1.)


The player to the left of the dealer leads the first trick by playing any card. Play then commences to the left. Each player must follow suit (failing to do so deducts 3 points from the score as a penalty). If a player does not have any cards of the lead suit, any other suit may be played instead.

A trump card may not be played first in a trick unless the trump suit has already been played or the player has only trump cards available. (Trump is said to be "broken" the first time a trump card is played.)

The person who played the highest card in the suit that was led first wins that trick unless a trump card was played, in which case the person who played the highest trump card takes the trick. Cards within a suit are ranked from Ace (highest value) down to 2 (lowest value).

The winner of a trick leads the next trick.

The round ends when all available tricks have been taken.


Once a round has finished, players are given one point for acquiring the exact number of tricks that they bid (otherwise they get no point.)

The player(s) with the most points at the end of all 13 rounds wins. Tie wins are possible.


  1. Fraser, Kian J. (7 March 2015). Total Card Games! The Biggest and Best Collection of Solo & Group Card Games. p. 198. ISBN 978-1312972421. Search this book on

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