At last, here is the third version of Bel Atout, with the contract belote, a very interesting variation of Belote that many players wanted to play or discover. It took me one year to achieve this new version, and I would like to thank all those who encouraged me during this time, who shared with me their knowledge about the topic, and who finally made the first tests. Now, let us talk a little about this card game called Belote.
Actually, Belote is probably the French variation of a card game played all over the world, with different names. If you play cards, you will understand what it is all about just by reading the following main features. And you might recognize a card game played in your country.
- 4 players, 2 teams, partners facing each other
- a normal 32 card pack
- during the bidding, one suit is chosen as trumps
- card ranking in the trump suit is J 9 A 10 K Q 8 7
- card ranking in a non trump suit is A 10 K Q J 9 8 7
- cards are played by tricks, with ordinary rules
- the highest card of a trick wins
- always play a card of the suit led
- always trump if no card of the suit led
- always overtrump when possible
- always play higher in the trump suit
- and a few other things
- a point taking game
- cards have point values
- points are counted by team
- a team has to reach a total of points to make its contract
- teams have to reach a total of points to win the whole game
And that's all. You will discover the rest when playing. The help files will show you many examples about the rules, the melds, and the rudiments of strategy.
A game of strategy
For Belote is really a game of strategy. It is not as rich as Bridge, probably because there is no dummy (a player whose cards are exposed). Also, it is easier to learn since the bidding is not as complicated as in Bridge. But you'll find the same techniques and tactics that make these kinds of card games so popular :
If you play Belote with melds (combinations of cards that allow a team to score additional points), you might think that the luck element is too important. But at the same time it's great fun. Because sometimes, with a bad hand and a fine meld, you can get the opponents into trouble.
A good software for practice
- draw trumps
- establish tricks
- keep stoppers
- preserve entries
- make signals
- take finesses
- prepare squeezes
- reduce count
- unblock suit
- prepare end-play
- take the last trick (for 10 extra points)
- and many other things
Bel Atout is also a good software for practice. At the end of a deal, you can replay it in a very simple way. Not just see the tricks, but replay the whole deal upwards and downwards with the control of the four hands. You can try different lines of play. If you think that a player was wrong to play that card, make him play in the way you think it's right, and check that in the end he scores more points. That's the only way to understand the game and to improve yourself.
And if you find a mistake in the playing, or a choice that you don't really understand, save the deal to a file (you can save up to 999 deals in one file). And then, send it to me and let us talk about it. This will help me to improve the program, and in return I hope that the program will help you to become a good Belote player.