Game Rules


Huckley Buck, a game for three to seven players, has origins which are not entirely certain. Loosely based on Bourré, its earliest known history is rooted in the Midwestern United States around the early 1900s, not becoming internationally prominent until 1994 with the creation of the International Huckley Buck Association. It is fast becoming one of the world's most popular card playing games.

PLAYERS.  Three to seven players; best is four to six, each playing for himself.

CARDS.  A regular pack of 52. In each suit the cards rank: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

PRELIMINARIES.  At the start of a new session, a pack is spread face down on the table and each player draws a card, not one of the four at either end. The highest deals first. For a new game of an existing session, the winner of the last game deals first. Thereafter, the deal rotates from player to player to the left.

THE CUT.  The pack is shuffled by the dealer and must be offered to be cut by the player to the dealer's right. If the player is temporarily unavailable, the cut may be offered to any of the other opponents.

THE DEAL.  Cards are distributed one at a time to the left (clockwise), beginning with the opponent at the left of the dealer. Each player receives five cards.

THE TRUMP.  With the undealt remainder of the pack, the top card is turned face up and placed in front of the dealer. The suit of this upcard is the trump suit for the rest of the round. The undealt remainder of the pack is placed face down and set aside for later use. 

THE ANNOUNCEMENT.  For games with more than four players, some players may drop out of a round after the trump suit has been determined. For games with five players, only one may drop; for six players, two may drop; for seven players, three may drop. The dealer begins with the player to his left. Each player in turn must announce whether or not he is "in" or "out".

THE DRAW.  The draw begins when either the maximum number of players have dropped or the dealer has made his announcement. The dealer picks up the cards left over from the original deal. The first active player to his left may discard one or more cards, naming the number he discards, and the dealer gives him that number of cards from the top of the pack. If a player does not wish to discard and draw, he knocks on the table or otherwise signifies that he is "standing pat." When the first active player ot the dealer's left has exercised has right to draw, the next active player in turn to the left discards and draws, and so on until the dealer (or, if he has dropped, the active player nearest his right) has drawn. When the dealer draws, he has the option of keeping the top card that indicated the trump suit. If he elects this option on his draw, he must discard at least one card, and must draw one less than the number that he discards. Also, the dealer must so indicate to the table in a clear manner the number of cards that he is taking.

THE PLAY.  The object in play is to win tricks. Each trick consists of a card led by one player plus a card played by each other player in turn. The player at dealer's left makes the first or opening lead and thereafter the winner of each trick leads to the next. A player may lead any card. A player must follow suit to the card led if able. If unable to follow to a nontrump lead, he must trump, if able. As long as the suit is followed, or trump properly played if the suit cannot be followed, the player must kill the trick, if able. (He need not kill a nontrump lead with a card in the same nontrump suit if the trick has been trumped.) Tricks gathered by opponents are bunched and piled on but distinctly separated from tricks won by the same opponent. Play continues until all five rounds of tricks have been completed.

SCORING.  When all five tricks of a round have been played, the result is scored. Each player gets one point per trick taken for the round. If a player gets zero tricks in a round, he gets deducted three points from his total score, but his total score can never go below zero. Any zero trick hand, also known as a "hook", is noted on the score card with an asterisk. Whenever a player gets eleven or more points, he wins a game. In the case of two or more players getting eleven, the first player to reach eleven is the winner.

MISDEAL.  It is a misdeal if dealer exposes a card, deals a card off the table, gives any hand an incorrect number of cards before the draw, deals out a player, or otherwise departs from prescribed procedure. (If a player exposes a card or causes a card to fall off the table, this does not constitute a penalty.) A misdeal may be called at any time before the draw is completed, as long as the dealer is unable to correct his error; otherwise the deal stands as regular. On a proper call of misdeal, the dealer is scored a hook, and the cards are thrown in and redealt by the next dealer (the offender thus taking a hook and losing his turn to deal).

INCORRECT HAND.  If at any time during or after the draw any hand is found to have an incorrect number of cards, this hand must immediately be discarded. If the dealer gave himself an incorrect number of cards, play is retracted and replayed as best as possible without dealer's hand, otherwise the cards are thrown in and redealt by the next dealer. If the dealer is at fault, dealer is given a hook, otherwise if the player is at fault by stating an incorrect number of discards, player at fault is given a hook. If fault was not witnessed or cannot be assigned, both the dealer and the player are given each a hook.

INCORRECT NUMBER OF DISCARDS DEALT.  (asked for three, threw four is hook on drawee; asked for three, got four is hook on dealer - new deal occurs)

DEALER NOT ANNOUNCING NUMBER OF DISCARDS.  If dealer completes his draw and does not clearly state the number of discards he has taken, the dealer's hand is discarded, the dealer is given a hook, and play continues for the round.

PLAY OUT OF TURN.  There is no penalty for a lead or play out of turn, but the card must be retracted and left face up. Player must play card at the first opportunity it can legally be played.

RENEGE.  A player reneges if he fails, when able, to follow suit to a lead, play over on a trump lead, or trump a plain lead. The player may correct his error without penalty before the trick is turned down and quitted. If a renege is not corrected in time, and is discovered before the deal has been scored, the offender is charged with a hook. When the renege happens, previous play is retracted and replayed as best as possible without offender's hand in play.

PLAYER TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE.  A player is not penalized if he is temporarily unavailable to play his hand. If play is affected, any dropped players or spectators may play for the player until he is available. 

HUCKLEYBUCK TOURNAMENT FORMAT.  When a Huckley Buck tournament begins with more than seven players, multiple tables are required. Players are to randomly break up into groups of four, and any remaining players (one, two, or three) are to be added as evenly as possible to the existing groups. 
Before the games commence for a day's session, the tables should be ranked from one to the number of tables. When two or three games are completed, half of the table with the best overall scores for the play at the table should move up to the higher ranked table (if one exists), and the other half of the table with the worst scores should move to a lower ranked table (if one exists). If there are an odd number of players, the player in the middle of the scoring should stay at the existing table.

By default, last years winner of the Big Loser trophy (if applicable) must always start the beginning of a day's session at the table with the worst ranking.