official rules - minnesota whist
Learn how to play minnesota whist.
There are four players in two fixed partnerships. Partners sit facing each other. The game is played clockwise.
A standard 52 card pack is used. The cards in each suit rank from highest to lowest: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. There are no trumps.
The computer deals out all the cards one at a time so that each player has 13.
High / Low Bids
Each hand is played either "high" or "low". If it is played "high", the partnership that takes at least 7 of the 13 tricks scores points. If it is played "low", a partnership must take 6 or fewer tricks to avoid losing points.
All four players indicate whether they wish to play the hand as "high" or "low" by simultaneously placing a card face down in front of them. A black card indicates that they wish to play "high"; a red card indicates that they wish to play "low". Usually players pick their lowest red or black card to represent their bid.
Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each person turns over their bidding card in turn. If the card is red, the next player to the left turns over their card. If any card is black, all revealing of bid cards stops and the hand is played "high". Only if all four bidding cards are red is the hand played "low".
The partnership containing the person who chose the "high" option first is said to have "granded".
Play and Scoring with High Bid
The player to the right of the person who granded leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit. The player of the highest card in the suit led wins the trick and leads to the next. When all 13 tricks have been played, the side which won more tricks scores 1 point for each trick they won in excess of 6. If the side that did not grand takes more than 6 tricks, they receive 2 points for each trick they won in excess of 6. This type of scoring reflects the idea that granding is like undertaking a contract, and the penalty for failing should be greater than the reward for succeeding.
Play and Scoring with Low Bid
The player to the left of the dealer leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit. The player of the highest card in the suit led wins the trick and leads to the next. When all 13 tricks have been played, the side which won more tricks loses 1 point for each trick they have in excess of 6.
End of the Game
The partnership which first reaches 13 points wins the game. This takes several deals.
Tactics: The Invite
When a person leads for the first time, it is called an "invite". (Thus there are usually four invites during a game.)
Tactics for the high bid
When playing high, the invite should be the lowest card of the player's best suit. This gives their partner a hint as to what to lead later on if their own hand is weak, yet doesn't give away the true strength of inviter's hand. The inviter's partner should respond by playing their highest card in this suit. This gives the inviter a sense of what the partner has to offer during the hand.
Sometimes when it comes to the partner's turn to invite (after having won a trick), they will choose instead of leading their own suit to lead back their partner's suit. To do this indicates to one's partner that one has a very weak hand.
The most important invite is the first lead by the person who "granded" earlier - this indicates to everyone the strongest suit of a person who considered themselves to have a strong hand.
Tactics for the low bid
Playing low is generally considered more difficult than playing high. The invite during a low game should be the highest card of a player's weakest suit. This gives their partner a hint as to what to lead later on. The response of this person's partner is to play their highest card in this suit as well.
Thank you John McLeod for providing these game rules:
View them here: http://www.pagat.com/whist/minwhist.html