:"This article is about a French card game Belote. for Saudi Arabian game see Baloot".Belote is a 32-card trick-taking game played in France, and is currently the most popular card game in that country. It was invented around 1920, probably from Klaverjassen, a game played since at least the 1600s in the Netherlands. [Coulon, Jean-Pierre, 2005, [ Belote] ] Closely related games are played throughout the world. In Bulgarian the official name is Bridge-Belote ( _bg. Бридж-белот), in Greece it is called Vida ( _el. Βίδα), in Cyprus it is called Pilotta ( _el. Πιλόττα), in Québec the word was shortened to the first syllable and spelled bœuf, and in Croatian Bela is used as a synonym. In Saudi Arabia it is Baloot. In the Republic of Macedonia it is ( _mk. Бељот). Belot in Armenia, more commonly known as Bazaar Belote, is also a very popular game, and it is played in a slightly different way. It is also the number one card game in Saudi Arabia; although, the rules in the Saudi version are very different from the rules generally played by in Europe.

Within the game's terminology, "belote" is used to designate a pair of a King and a Queen of a trump suit, possibly yielding the game's name itself.


The game is played differently in different locations, but most versions share a considerable set of common rules.

A typical 32-card piquet deck is used, 4 suits with 8 ranks, or {♠ ♥ ♦ ♣} × {A K Q J 10 9 8 7}, and is not shuffled between games. The game is played by four people, [Versions exist for three and two players, including a non-trivial two-player "open cards" version, but four is considered to be the standard.] forming two teams: North-South and East-West, and playing in turn in counter-clockwise direction.


The deck is never shuffled, but rather cut by the player who precedes the dealer, except for the first dealing in a game when the dealer's partner does that. The first dealing in a game is done by the winners from the previous game. At least three cards must be cut.

The cards are dealt counter-clockwise starting from the dealer's successor (to his/her right), each player receives a packet of three cards, then another set of two. The rest of the cards remain temporarily face-down.

If a contract is agreed upon, the remaining cards are dealt after the bidding — a group of three for each player.


The possible contracts are (from lowest to highest):
* Clubs ♣
* Diamonds ♦
* Hearts ♥
* Spades ♠
* "No trumps"
* "All trumps"

Every player must either suggest a higher contract, or bid:
* Pass
* Double ("Coinchée", or "Contra"), if the current highest contract was not bid by the partner
* Re-double ("Re-contra"), if the other team have doubled bidder's or bidder partner's contract.Usually two levels of doubling are allowed. In some areas of Bulgaria a third level is also used. It is called "чаршаф-контра" (bed sheet-double) or "излез-контра" (go out-double) and the aim is to with the match in a game (26 MP x 8, see section Scoring below).

Two levels of doubling are allowed. The bidding phase is over when one of the following becomes true:
* Four passes were announced
* Three passes were announced after a contract was suggested
* An "all trumps" contract is re-doubled


The play consists of eight tricks, the first one being started by the dealer's successor.The first player in a round can play any card, but subsequent players must obey the following rules (the first one which applies is binding):
# The dominant suit [A "dominant suit" is the suit of the first card in a trick.] must be followed.
# If the dominant suit is a trump suit, a higher-ranking card must be played.
# If following is impossible, then a trump must be played. Overtrumping is obligatory, except when the current trick winner is the partner.

The winner of a trick starts the next trick. The last trick is a bit more significant, as its winner is awarded some points.

In Bulgarian bridge-belote the rank of the cards is different for trump and non-trump suits. The order is (from highest to lowest rank):
* a trump suit: "J 9 A 10 K Q 8 7"
* a non-trump suit: "A 10 K Q J 9 8 7"


Declarations must be announced during the first trick:
* A "tierce" — a sequence of three (sequences are in the "A K Q J 10 9 8 7" order of the same suit) — is worth 20 points
* A "quarte" — a sequence of four — is worth 50 points.
* A "quint" — a sequence of five - is worth 100 points (longer sequences are not awarded, a sequence of eight is counted as a quint plus a tierce)
* A "carré" of Jacks is worth 200 points.
* A "carré" of Nines is worth 150 points.
* A "carré" of Aces, Kings, Queens, or Tens is worth 100 points. (Sevens and Eights are not awarded.)

It is sufficient to specify the type of a declaration (one of the above), whereas the exact suit or ranks are not required. A card can participate in at most one declaration.

A "belote" is a "royal" pair of a King and a Queen of a trump suit. A belote is worth 20 points, and must be declared when the first of them is played (not necessarily during the first round).

In a "no trumps" contract declarations do not apply (four Aces may be considered as a "carré" of Jacks and worth 200 points, but no other bonuses are applied.)


Cards are counted depending on their trump status: Rank: J 9 A 10 K Q 8 7 Points (trump): 20 14 11 10 4 3 0 0 Points (not a trump): 2 0 11 10 4 3 0 0

The winner of the last trick gets 10 points. Declarations, including belotes, are added to the score.

If the contract was "no trumps", the result is multiplied by two. So is done for every "double" bid.

If a team is "committed" to a contract and has less points, all points go to the enemy, and the losing team in Bulgarian Belote are said to be "вътре" (inside). In a doubled contract, both teams are considered committed.

The result is divided by ten, rounded, and added up to the global score. The rounding is somewhat complicated as the sum of points is a multiple of ten only for a "No trumps" contract. It is 258 for "All trumps" and 162 for a suit contract. Therefore the rounding limit is 5 in a "No trumps" contract, 4 in an "All trumps", and 6 in a suit contract.
* a score below the limit is rounded down. Example: 35 points in a suit contract yields 3 match points;
* a score above the limit is rounded up. Example: 125 points in an "All trumps" contract yields 13 MPs;
* when both teams have scores at the rounding limit, the lower score is rounded up and the higher score is rounded down. Example: if in an "All trumps" contract with two tierces the declarer have got 154 points and the defenders have got 144 points, both teams will get 15 MPs and it would be a narrow escape.
* when both teams have equal scores at the end of the round, the points are "hanging". What happens in this case is the following: the committed team doesn't add those points to their score, while the other team do. The remaining points (those that were not added by the committed team) "hang" over to the next round and they are given to the team that wins.

A special "valat" (or "capot") premium of 9 match points exists for not leaving a single trick for the enemy. Note, that this does not lift off the enemy's points from declaration. Valats are doubled at "no trumps".

In some parts of Bulgaria, the rules of the game include a "kirtik" — a special -10 match points penalty for not winning when committed or for being "valat".

The first team to reach 151 in the global score is the winner, but the game cannot end while a "valat" takes place.


ee also

* Klaverjas
* Jass
* Clobyosh a.k.a Bela
* Belot, describing the Croatian "Bela"
* Pilotta, a Cypriot variation
* Clabber
* Twenty-eight
* Tarabish
* Baloot
* Manille

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