How to Play Sheepshead – Rules for Sheepshead Card Game

Sheepshead is a trick-taking type card game like Bridge and Euchre. Here is the guide on How to Play Sheepshead.

How to Play Sheepshead

Important Information about Sheepshead Card Game

The Requirements to Play Sheepshead

A 32 cards deck is required. The deck consists of Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), 10, 9, 8, and 7 of all suits. Also, five players are required to play this game.

The Trump Suit

The Diamond suit is the Trump suit for this game and all Queens (Q) and Jacks (J) are also the Trump cards. The other three suits are non-trump.

The Ranks of the Cards from Highest to Lowest in Sheepshead

  • Queen (Q) (Diamonds, Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • Jack (J) (Diamonds, Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • Ace (A) of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 10 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • King (K) of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 9 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 8 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • 7 of Trump (Diamonds)
  • Ace (A) (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 10 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • King (K) (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 9 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 8 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)
  • 7 (Clubs, Spades, Hearts)

What is the Object in Sheepshead

The main objective in Sheepshead is to be the first player to reach the decided score. For Example: 25, 30, or 35 points.

How to Determining Dealer and How to Deal The Cards

The dealer is determined randomly or any player may accept the dealership voluntarily. After determining, the dealer deals six cards to each player, face-down, and also deals two cards in the middle, face-down. Dealership transfers to the player on the left of the dealer after each round.

Drawing The Middle Cards

All the players have a chance to draw the cards dealt in the middle. The chance to draw the cards moves in a clockwise manner, starting from the player on the left of the dealer. If a player does not want to pick the middle cards, he can pass the chance to the player on his left.

The player who draws the middle cards is called “The Picker”. The picker takes the middle cards in his hands and buries(Discards) two unwanted cards from his hand.

Selecting the Partner in Sheepshead

The picker selects his partner by specifying a suit and the player having the Ace of that specified suit is the partner of the picker for the round. Remember, the picker can only specify a non-trump suit and he must have at least one card of that specified suit. Example: If the picker does not have a card of the club suit then he cannot specify the club suit.

After specifying a suit, only the partner of the picker knows that he is the picker’s partner and he cannot tell anybody that he is the picker’s partner. However, he can reveal that he is the picker’s partner by playing the Ace of that specified suit in a trick.

The other three players are on the opposing team. The card values of the picker and his partner are combined at the end of the round and similarly, the card values of the other three players are combined at the end of the round.

How to Play Sheepshead

The player on the left of the dealer leads the first trick by playing a card in the middle. Then every player plays a card in a clockwise manner. The players have to follow the suit led. However, if a player cannot follow the lead suit, he can play a card of another suit. A trick ends when the last remaining player plays a card.

After completing the trick, if Trump cards are played in the trick then the player who played the highest-ranking trump card wins the trick, and if the trump cards are not played in the trick then the player who played the highest-ranking card of the suit led wins the trick. Winner of a trick leads the next trick. A round comes to the end when all cards are played.

Scoring in Sheepshead

After completing the round, the card value of the picker and his partner are counted and totaled. The card values of the Two buried cards are also added to the picker and his partner’s total. The value that the picker and his partner get per card won is as follows:

CardValue
Ace (A)11
1010
King (K)4
Queen (Q)3
Jack (J)2
9, 8, 70

After totaling the card values of the picker and his partner and the two buried cards, all the players get some points based on that total. The number of points all the players score is shown below:

Total Card Value of Picker and His PartnerPickerPicker’s PartnerEach Player on The Opposing Team
120 (All Tricks Won)63-3
91-12042-2
61-9021-1
31-60-2-11
0-30-4-22
0 (No Tricks Won)-903

The first player to reach the decided score limit wins the game.

The guide on How to Play Sheepshead ends here. Play with your friends and family and enjoy.

Thank you.

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