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Trick-taking game

Trick-taking games are card games in which play is divided into multiple rounds called tricks, during which each player plays one card from his hand, and the rules of the game determine which player wins that trick based on the cards played. Play ends when all players have played their cards. The object of such games varies; it is often to win the most tricks, but it may instead be to avoid winning tricks, to win exactly a certain number of tricks, or to acquire (or not acquire) certain cards. One might also include in this category other games such as the Chinese Tien Gow, played with dominoes.

A common feature of trick-taking games is the concept of following suit, in which each player is constrained in which card he may play by the obligation to match the suit of the first card played in that trick, called the lead, if he can. Another feature common to many games is the concept of trump (from the French triomphe, although the idea probably originated in Italy), in which special cards (sometimes all the cards of a certain suit) are designated to outrank all other cards played. In general, the player who wins the trick is the player who played the highest trump, or, if no trump is played, the player who played the highest card in the suit that was led. In some games players are obligated to play a higher card (and/or trump the suit to win, if they do not have the suit led) if possible. In most games the player who won the previous trick has to lead on the next one.

Popular trick-taking games include Ambition, Whist, Bridge, Euchre, Pinochle, Skat, Tarocchi, Hearts, Spades, Pitch (card game), Napoleon, Sheepshead, 500, Ninety-nine, Tarocchini, and Forty-five.