German Whist

German Whist is a card game played by two persons, of which one is designated as an opponent. Since this card game is played by two persons the designation of Honeymoon Whist refers to the same card game. Below are the general instructions on how this card game is played and a few tactical hints.

An additional source for instructions as to how this card game is played is contained in the publication of Mr. Barry Rigal titled Card Games For Dummies, the Second Edition of which was published in October 2005 with a Foreword by Mr. Omar Sharif. We have included the pertinent excerpt in the following .pdf file for purposes of reference only.



German Whist is an adaptation of classic Whist for two players. The game is most likely of British origin.

Players and Cards

This is a game for two players only, using a standard pack of 52 cards ranked A(high) K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 (low) in each suit.


The players agree who should deal first, and the turn to deal alternates after each hand. The deal is 13 cards each, dealt one at a time. The stock of undealt cards is placed on the table, face-down except for the top card which is turned face-up and placed on top of the stock. The suit of this face-up card is the trump suit for the hand.


The play is in tricks and consists of two stages: in the first stage the players compete to win good cards from the stock to add to their hand; in the second stage, when the stock is empty, the object is to win the majority of the tricks. The non-dealer leads to the first trick.

A trick consists of one card played by each player. The person who plays first to a trick may play any card, and the other player must play a card of the same suit if possible. Having no cards of the suit led, the second player may play any card. If both cards are of the same suit, the higher card wins the trick. If they are of different suits the first player wins unless the second player played a trump, in which case the trump wins.

When the player wins a trick, the player must take the face-up card from the top of the stock and add it to his/her hand. The loser then takes the next card of the stock, which is face-down, without showing it to the winner, so that both players again have 13 cards in their hands. The two cards played to the trick are turned face down and set aside, the top card of the remaining stock is turned face-up and the winner of the trick just played leads a card to the next one.

Play continues in this manner until, after 13 tricks have been played, there are no cards left in the stock. The winner of the 13th trick leads, and the play continues without replenishment until after 13 more tricks both players run out of cards. In this second stage each player keeps the tricks they won in front of them, and whoever wins the majority of the 13 tricks of this second stage wins the hand.


It is important to remember that tricks won in the first stage do not count towards winning the game. The sole aim in the first stage is to collect cards that will enable you to win the majority of tricks in the second stage. Therefore the player only tries to win a trick if that player judges that the exposed card on top of the stock is likely to be better than the card underneath it. For example if Hearts are trumps and the exposed card is the 5 the player would definitely try to lose the trick, as the next card is likely to be better. Even if the exposed card is average, for example the Jack, the player would not use a high card to win it, as all this would achieve would be to replace a high card in the player's hand by an average one.



Claus and Raymond


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