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Forty-five (card game)

Forty-five (45) is a trick-taking game that is played in Ireland.


It is played with a regular 52 card deck, plus one joker. Five cards are delt in turn to each person playing. After the dealing, the top card of the deck is turned face up. The card that is shown determines the trump suit and that card is left on top of the deck.1 In the event that the joker is turned face up, the dealer claims the joker, and then turns up the following card which determines the trump suit. The dealer then selects the weakest of his originally delt five cards and discards it, so he then again has only five cards. If an Ace is turned up, that is the trump suit but the dealer must claim the Ace then discard his weakest delt card. Before play, if any of the players is delt the Ace of the trump suit, then he must claim the card that was turned up by the dealer, he then discards his weakest card. One card is played by each player, in turn, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The winner of this round, the trick, is determined by who played the highest card. The winner gets five points (on his way to forty-five), ten points are earned if one of the top four cards are played, see below for the ranking. The next dealer deals the cards as before and so on, until someone has won forty-five points. If a player wins all five tricks in one hand, he automatically gets forty-five and wins that hand, a new game is then started. If a player previously had points (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, or 40) from a hand and then wins all five tricks in a new hand, not only does he win that hand but he then starts the next one with those points already earned. Players must always follow the suit of the person who played before them unless the following player wishes to play a trump suit card to beat any of the other suits. Any trump suit card is better than every non-trump suit card (except of course the Ace of Hearts, which will be explained below). The only time in which a player may choose not to follow suit is when he has the 5 of the trump suit, he may keep this. A player might wish to save the most powerful card (the 5) if he believes that another player is saving another strong card.


The rank of the cards depends on whether or not that particular suit was turned up last by the dealer after the dealing to the players. For the trump suit the ranking is as follows for red cards (
hearts and diamonds): 5, J, Joker, A of Hearts, (A of trump suit if different,) K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2. For the black cards (spades and clubs): 5, J, Joker, A of Hearts, A of trump suit, K, Q, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. For the non-trump suits, the ranking moves the 5 and J to their proper places, i.e. red card ranking: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Black card ranking: A, K, Q, J, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. N.B. A 2 in the black cards is always better than a 10. For the red cards the 10 is always better than the 2. Also, the Joker is always the third best card. The Ace of Hearts is always the 4th best card.

Notes: This game can be played in a foursome with two teams of two people. There is a related game which is called one hundred ten (110), it lasts much longer and is better suited for larger groups of players. It is played with the same basic rules, but there are differences.

See also