New England Academy of 45s

The rules shown here are basic and are to help new players become familiar with the game and for players that haven't played in a while to refresh their memories. These rules should not be used to teach oneself how to play the game.

It is recommended that you contact the Academy for the official rules or contact an Academy member for guidance on how the game is played.

Rules and Regulations

Objective: Partnerships try to win tricks and prevent opponents from doing so.

Players: Four, in two partnerships with partners in alternating seats.

Cards: A regular deck of 52. The highest trump is the five; second is the jack; third is the ace of hearts, no matter what is trump. For black suits, the cards range from 2 to 10 rank, two being the higher. In red, it is the opposite, with the ten being higher. This has led to the saying, "Red high, black low."

The full rank of cards in trump suit is:
-Hearts: 5, J, A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8 ... 2
-Diamonds: 5, J, A(hearts), A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8 ... 2
-Spades: 5, J, A(hearts), A, K, Q, 2, 3, 4 ... 10
-Clubs: 5, J, A(hearts), A, K, Q, 2, 3, 4 ... 10

The full rank of cards in nontrump suit is:
-Hearts or Diamonds: K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A(diamonds)
-Spades or Clubs: K, Q, J, A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Deal: Each player is dealt three cards at a time. Then three cards are dealt to the middle. This batch is called the Kitty. Then each player is dealt two cards at a time. The Kitty will be utilized later on in the game.

Here is where the game begins. Each player looks at his/her cards and the bidding begins. Bidding will decide what trump suit is. Trump suit will be the preferred suit for this particular hand. Players decide how many points their respective team could win based on the cards in their hand (coupled with what may be in the Kitty and what may be in their partner's hand).
The bidding begins with the player to the left of the dealer and then continues clockwise. Each player may either bid or pass. Bids are made in multiples of five, with 15 being the minimum bid and 30 being the maximum and no suit being mentioned. Each bid must be higher than the preceding bid. Players may elect to outbid a previous bid or pass. Bidding ends once the dealer has either bid or passed. (*Note: if no bid has been called by the time it reaches the dealer, the dealer is forced to bid.)
The winning bidder may now call trump suit. The bidder retrieves the three cards in the Kitty and all four players then discard face down unwanted cards. However, each player must keep at least one card, even if it is nontrump. The dealer then restores each player's hand to five cards, starting with the player to his left. The game may now continue.

Now, the objective of 45s is fairly simple. If you took bid, your objective is to make bid. If your opponent took bid, your objective is to disallow him/her from making it.
The winning bidder makes the opening lead. He/she does not have to lead trump. (*Note: if he/she elects not to lead trump, he must call trump suit after leading.) The hand is then played out in tricks. Players discard face up until one trick (i.e. four cards) has been thrown. A trick is won either by the highest trump played on it or by the highest card of the nontrump suit led if no trump are present.
If unable to throw suit led, trump or not, any card may be played. A hand must follow suit to a lead in just about every case. If nontrump is led, a player may trump if he/she pleases. The other exception is the renege rule, which will be explained later on in the rules.
A hand is played out once five tricks have been played. Each trick counts five points and highest trump thrown counts five points - thirty points per hand. After the hand, each team counts what they have taken. If the bidder's side has taken at least the amount of the bid, they score all they have won. If not, the amount bid is deducted from their score. The other side in either scenario always scores what it has won in tricks. The first team to reach 120 wins the game. If both teams reach 120+ at the same time, the team to make bid on the last hand will win the game. Ready to play?

To see the people that live and breathe these rules (and
sometimes have them for breakfast) go to the Players page.