Thanks to Travis Hance
Tichu is a four-player card game played with a deck of fifty-six cards. An ordinary deck with four jokers will suffice. The rules are as follows:
- The order of the ranks, from low to high, shall be: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. Suits do not participate in ranking.
- The four additional cards shall be designed the dog, the mahjong, the phoenix, and the dragon. They do not belong to any suit. The mahjong has a rank of 1, that is, just below 2; the dog, phoenix, and dragon have no rank. The other fifty-two cards will be referred to as
- The four players shall form two teams of two players each. Players shall sit opposite their partners.
- Gameplay proceeds in a series of rounds. A game typically consists of several rounds. Each round shall be played according to an identical set of rules, to be given in the following paragraphs. Teams shall remain the same between rounds within the same game.
- A round begins with the distribution of eight cards to each player. Cards are dealt face-down from a shuffled deck. Each player, after examining the eight cards they received, may declare Grand Tichu. Grand Tichu may not be declared later in the round.
- After all players have had the opportunity to decide whether to declare Grand Tichu, six more cards are dealt to each player, to make a total of fourteen.
- After all cards have been dealt, each player shall select one card to give to each of the other three players. If a player chooses to give a card to another player, the former shall place the card face-down in front of the latter. After three cards have been placed face-down in front of each player, all players shall pick up all the cards given to them. There should now be fourteen cards in each player's hand.
- The round then proceeds in a series of tricks. The player who holds the mahjong shall lead the first trick.
- The leader of a trick may play any one play from the following list of valid plays:
- the dog, by itself
- a single card, other than the dog
- a pair (two cards of the same rank)
- a triple (three cards of the same rank)
- a straight (a set of cards of consecutive ranks) consisting of at least five cards
- a "tractor" (a set of pairs of consecutive ranks)
- a full house (the combination of a pair and a triple, of different ranks)
- a bomb. A bomb consists of either four cards of the same rank, or a straight flush of at least five cards.
- If the dog is played, the trick ends immediately and the leader's partner leads the next trick. (*Note:* That is, no further plays can occur in the trick, not even bombs.) If the leader's player has already gone out, play passes to their right.
- Otherwise, play proceeds clockwise, with each player in turn choosing to play or pass. A player who has passed before may later choose to play within the same trick. Each play other than the leading play must beat the previous play. A play other than the dog can be beaten by a higher play of the same category, or a bomb. (Note: Therefore, a dog can be played only as the leading play in a trick.) That is:
- A single beats any single of lower rank. The phoenix beats any other single except the dragon. The dragon beats any other single.
- A pair beats any pair of lower rank.
- A triple beats any triple of lower rank.
- A straight beats any straight where the former's high card is higher than the latter's high card and the two straights contain an equal number of cards.
- A tractor beats any tractor where the former's highest rank is higher than the latter's highest rank and the two tractors contain an equal number of pairs.
- A full house beats any full house with a lower-ranked triple.
- A bomb beats any non-bomb play. Four cards of a given rank beat four cards of any lower rank. A straight flush of at least five cards beats any four cards of the same rank. A straight flush of a given length beats any straight flush of the same number of cards if the former's highest card is of higher rank than the latter's. A straight flush beats any straight flush of shorter length.
- Bombs may be played out of turn. That is, a bomb may be played at any point during a trick as long as it is a valid play, even when it is another player's turn. (Note: This implies the following consequences.
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