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Title: Tapp-Tarock  
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Subject: Königrufen, Scarto, Nine of Swords, Tarot card games, Three of Swords
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A trick-taking game of the European Tarot card game family.
Austrian-style 54-card Tarock hand.
Origin Austria
Type Trick-taking
Players 3
Skills required Tactics, Strategy
Cards 54
Deck Industrie und Glück
Play Counter-clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) Trump suit: Sküs, 21-1
Black suits: K Q C J 10 9 8 7
Red suits: K Q C J 1 2 3 4 [1]
Playing time 20 min.
Random chance Moderate
Related games
Cego, Königrufen

Tapp-Tarock (Viennese Tappen) is a three-player tarot card game which uses the 54-card Industrie und Glück deck. This is an introductory game for more complex tarock games like Cego or Königrufen. During the interwar period, it was the preferred card game of Viennese coffee houses. Even today Tapp-Tarock is played sporadically. The exact date when it appeared is not possible to identify, but it is likely to have been developed in Austria in the early 19th century. [2] The oldest version was narrated in 1821.[3]

Tapp is a term for the undealt cards in the middle of the table called the talon in other tarock games or stock, widow, kitty, or skat in other card games. Tappu or Tappä is another name for the Swiss tarot game of Troggu and the Stubaital game of Brixentaler Bauerntarock.


  • History 1
  • Cards 2
  • Rules 3
    • Preliminary round 3.1
    • Dealing 3.2
    • Bidding 3.3
    • Contracts 3.4
    • Game Play 3.5
  • Variations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Tapp-Tarock is probably the oldest tarock variant in which four basic features of tarock are found together:

  • the shortening of the 78-card tarot deck to the current 54 cards
  • the conversion from Italian suits to French suits
  • the conversion of The Fool or Sküs (Excuse) to simply being the 22nd and highest trump
  • the introduction of the bonus of winning the final trick with trump 1 (Pagat Ultimo)

The conversion of the Sküs was completed, according to the tarot expert Michael Dummett, in Austria. [4] In Troggu, the older Swiss tarot game, the Fool can function as the highest trump or as the excuse. The introduction of the Pagat Ultimo, according to card game historian John McLeod, is believed to have come from Trappola, which was widely played in Austria.


The game is played with the 54-card French suited Industrie und Glück deck. It includes 22 trumps numbered in Roman numerals with the exception of the highest, the Sküs. The second highest trump, the XXI, is known as the Mond while the lowest trump, I, is called the Pagat. The Sküs, Mond, and Pagat are together known as the Trull and are worth 5 points each. Other trumps are worth only 1 point.

The 32 plain suit cards consist of four courts: king, queen, knight and jack, along with four pip cards. The cards rank as follows:

  • In black suits: king, queen, knight and jack 10, 9, 8 and 7
  • In red suits: king, queen, knight and jack, 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Kings are worth 5 points, queens 4, knights 3, jacks 2, and the pips 1. Like score counting in other tarot games, 2 points are subtracted from each trick taken. There are 70 card points in a round so to win at least 36 points are needed. Other than card points there are bonus points as described below.


Preliminary round

In the preliminary round, the seating arrangement is determined by lot. Similarly, the first dealer is determined by lot. It is then played in turn. The first player to the dealer's right starts the next round.


The dealer first sets out six cards face down on the table (the talon) and then assigns each player 16 cards (usually counterclockwise in sets of four cards).


The right of the dealer players now opens up the auction to play. Each player must beat the bid or pass, anyone that passes can't bid again. The player that bids "solo" ends the auction. The winner of the auction is the "declarer" and plays alone against the other two players (the "defenders"). The bidding increments are as follows:

  • Three cards: The declarer exposes the talon and takes either the first or last three cards from the talon. The declarer then discards three cards from her hand and places it onto her trick pile, these three count as her first trick. Kings or the Trull can't be discarded, other trumps can't be discarded unless there is no other option. All discarded cards must be shown to the defenders. The remaining cards from the talon are added to the defenders' trick pile. If the declarer wins the game (36 points or more), she will be awarded bonus three points from each defender, but if she loses, she will have to give each defender three points.
  • Bottom 3: Like above but the declarer only takes bottom three cards from the talon without exposing the rest. The bonus is worth four points.
  • Top 3: Identical to the above but with the top three cards. Statistically, the odds are the same as "Bottom 3". The bonus is worth five points.
  • Solo: The entire talon is awarded to the defenders' trick pile. The bonus is eight points.


The declarer can also announce a contract before play begins. Contracts pose greater risk because the defenders gain prior information but awards more bonus points if the declarer succeeds. Failure to fulfill a contract can be disastrous and can leave the declarer with negative points. The contracts that can be made:

  • Pagat Ultimo: Declarer wins the last trick with Trump I. 8 bonus points from each defender with a contract, only 4 points if it was unannounced. Failure to fulfill the contract means the declarer will pay each defender 8 points.
  • Valat: Like the "slam" in French tarot, the declarer wins all the tricks. With a contract, this multiplies the bid by eight times (e.g., the Solo bid's 8 points multiplied by 8 for 64 bonus points from each defender). However, failure to fulfill means the same number of points will be paid to each defender. An unannounced valat will only multiply the bid by four times.

Game Play

Play is counterclockwise starting with the declarer. Each player must follow suit. If void of that suit, a trump must be played. If void of that suit and trumps, any card can be played but won't win the trick.


There are many variations of Tapp-Tarock with the most common being Illustrated Tarock and Point-Tarock which add more complex rules in bidding and contracts.


  1. ^ Dummett, Michael (1980). The Game of tarot. Duckworths. p. 440r.  
  2. ^ Gerald K. Folkvord, Die große Humboldt-enzyklopädie der Kartenspiele, ISBN 3-899940-58-X, 2005
  3. ^ Wolfgang Mayr, Robert Sedlaczek: Das Große Tarockbuch, Zsolnay Verlag, Wien 2001, ISBN 3-85223-462-X, S. 105–110
  4. ^ Michael Dummett: The Game of Tarot, London 1980

External links

  • Tapp-tarock rules from Tarockania (archived)
  • Tapp-tarock rules at (archived)
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