On this page you will find the rules of barbu king - or simply king - as they are used on Whisthub. A popular variant of king is double king. You can play both variants on Whisthub, but playing double king requires a premium subscription.
King is a four player game where each player plays for themselves. It is played with 52 cards with the ace being the highest card and 2 the lowest. As with most card games, one must always play a card of the suit that has been led, unless one has run out of cards in that suit.
The game consists of seven different game types: in six of these games - also called the negative games - you have to try to lose certain tricks. This may be because a trick contains penalty points, or because winning the trick itself incurs penalty points. In the seventh game - also called trumps - the aim is to get as many tricks as possible with a pre-selected suit being the trump suit. There is no trump suit in the negative games.
On Whisthub, the cards are dealt by the computer. The deck is not shuffled between games, but only cut. After this, the cards are dealt according to the pattern 4-4-5.
Although dealing is done by the computer, each player in turn takes on the role of dealer, with the first dealer always chosen randomly by the computer. This is important because in double king, the dealer gets to choose which game to play. It is also the dealer who chooses which suit is the trump suit when trumps is played. In any game, it is the player to the left of the dealer that leads to the first trick. Therefore, during each game, the dealer is indicated by the icon .
In simple king, the seven games are played in a fixed order. First the six negative games are played, after which each player chooses trumps once. In simple king, therefore, a total of 10 deals are played. The order of the games on Whisthub is:
- No tricks In this game, each trick the player gets is worth 1 penalty point. The aim in this game is to get as few tricks as possible. Sometimes, however, it can be tactical to deliberately take a few tricks to reduce the chance of getting more tricks later in the game.
- No hearts Each heart in this game is worth 1 penalty point. The idea is hence to try and lose tricks with many hearts. No hearts may be led as long as the player has other suits and if they cannot follow suit, it is mandatory to discard a heart if possible.
- No kings and jacks Each king and each jack in this game is worth 1 penalty point, making a total of 8 penalty points. If one cannot follow suit, it is mandatory to throw a king or a jack, if possible. It is also mandatory to throw a king or a jack when one doesn't take the trick. This is a rule that is not used by everyone, but it is the case on Whisthub.
- No queens Each queen in this game incurs 2 penalty points, again for a total of 8 penalty points. As with no kings and jacks, it is mandatory to play a queen if one cannot follow suit, or if it loses the trick. This is also a rule that is not used by everyone.
- No king of hearts In this game, the king of hearts ♥K is worth 5 penalty points. One may not lead hearts, unless one only has hearts left. When it is possible to play ♥K on another suit or below ♥A , one is obliged to do so. This immediately ends the game.
- No 7 and 13 In this game the aim is to lose the seventh and the last trick. The seventh trick gives 2 penalty points, the last trick 3.
- Trumps When trumps is played, it is up to the dealer to designate a particular suit as the trump suit. Each trick won is then worth 1 point. When one can no longer follow suit, it is mandatory to trump the trick if possible. If the trick has already been trumped, it is mandatory to overtrump if possible. If this is not possible, one must play a card of a different suit.
In the case of double king, a total of 20 deals are played. It is always the dealer who chooses which game to play. Each player chooses a total of 3 negative games and 2 trumps games, taking into account that each negative game may only be chosen twice. The first dealer therefore has an advantage over the other players because he will have more choice in the negative games for longer.
To make it easier to keep track of which games have already been chosen, a special notation is often used for double king: . The triangles here represent how many times a negative game has already been chosen by the player, the circles represent how many times a trumps game has already been chosen. On Whisthub, tables where double king is played are also identified by this icon.
To determine the winner, the sum is made of all penalty points - each penalty point counts as a negative point - and all points obtained in trumps. The player with the most points is the winner. Note that for both simple and double king, the sum of all points at the end of the game is always 0.
To clarify the specific rules per game, some examples have been added below. Note that on Whisthub it is always clearly indicated which cards can be played and which cannot.
If you have ♠Q , then you are required to play it because the trick is already won by ♠A . If you cannot follow, but have a queen of a different suit - for example ♦Q then you are obliged to play it. If you don't have any queens and you can't follow suit anymore, you can play any card.
In this example, clubs ♣ is the trump suit, so the trick is currently won by ♣5 . If you still have hearts ♥ , it is of course mandatory to follow suit. If you no longer have any hearts ♥ , but you still have, for example, ♣10 , then you must overtrump with ♣10 . If you only have lower clubs, for example maximum ♣3 , you are not allowed to throw ♣ clubs and you must play a card of a different suit, unless you have no other choice.
As with many card games, there are often minor variations of the rules in circulation. However, the best way to learn the game is to play!