Tarock is a four player card game with partners that change.  Partners is determined by the person leading that home, typically the Povinost.  Play consists of taking books based on card rankings and trumps.  Scoring is handled via a system of declarations, bids, and counting of cards taken via books.


Four players is standard.  If more than four players, a player will change out after they have been povinost two times.



Each player begins with 100 points in chips.  A player may borrow chips from the bank if their chip count during play drops below 100.  Chips will have to be paid back.

Each player begins with the following chips:

  • Blue (10 points): 6 chips
  • Red (5 points): 6 chips
  • White (1 point): 10 chips

The Deck

A 54 card Tarock deck with four suits of 8 cards and 22 trump cards should be used.  The four suits are all of equal value and do not trump each other.


There are four suits of cards, consisting of eight cards per suit, for a total of 32 suited cards.  All suits have the same ranking, for example, a heart does not beat a diamond. Cards within the suits are ranked above each other.  Rankings below are from high to low.

  • Hearts: King, Queen, Rider, Walker, 4, 3, 2, 1 (Ace)
  • Spades: King, Queen, Rider, Walker, 10, 9, 8, 7
  • Diamonds: King, Queen, Rider, Walker, 4, 3, 2, 1 (Ace)
  • Clubs: King, Queen, Rider, Walker, 10, 9, 8, 7


There are 22 trump cards, which beat all suited cards.

  • Roman numerals I – XXI
    The I is the lowest trump in the game.  The XXI is the second highest trump in the game.
  • The Skys (Skeetch), which appears as a jester.  The Skys is the highest trump and therefore the highest card in the game, beating even the XXI.

Card Values

Each card has a value, ranging from 1 point to 5 points.  Point values do not indicate if a card beats another during play, and is only used for scoring.

5 Points:

  • Kings
  • Pagat (I)
  • Mond (XXI)
  • Skys

4 Points:

  • Queens

3 Points:

  • Rider

2 Points:

  • Walker

1 Point

  • All trump cards except the I, XXI, and Skys.
  • All suited non-face cards, including Aces


Direction of Play

Tarock is played counter-clockwise, and all actions occur in a counter-clockwise direction.

Shuffling the Deck

The shuffle should be at least three times to ensure that cards from previous games are not dealt in order.  Players than are unable to fan shuffle should shuffle at least seven times.

Cutting the Cards

The player to the left of the shuffler may either cut or knock on the deck.  Cuts should not include more than two splits of the deck.  Cuts must be at least six cards deep.

If the cutter knocks on the deck, they may declare how many cards at once will be passed out. The cutter may also declare “choice”.  See Dealing the Cards for more details on choice.

Dealing the Cards

The dealer begins the deal by removing the top six cards of the deck, in the order that they were in on the deck, and placed in the middle of the table.  This is called the Talon.

If the cutter cut the deck, cards are dealt counter-clockwise, six cards at a time.

If the cutter knocked on the deck, the cutter declared a number and may have called “choice”.  The dealer will deal the cards by the number declared by the cutter.  For example, a call of “3” would result in the dealer passing out three cards at a time.

If the cutter declared choice, the dealer deals the cards into four stacks in front of them.  The players, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, then each choose a stack for play.


Initial Bid

The very first time a game is started, the player holding the II is the bidder (referred to as the Povinost).  If the II is not in a player’s hand, then III, then the IV, etc.

Povinost (Four Times)

Bidding “Povinost” or “Four Times” declares that the bidder will be asking for a partner.  Each player then confirms that they are okay with Povinost, or can declare they wish to Prever.  If a player declares Prever, the player retains Povinost title, but does not draw four cards or declare a partner.  See Prever below for further instructions.

If Povinost is okay with all the players, the Povinost takes the top four cards from the Talon.  The remaining two cards are passed in order to the players to the Povinost’s right.  The players may accept the card or “pass”, which gives the card to the dealer.  If the dealer declares “pass” to a card, the card is returned to the player who originally passed.  Povinost cannot be passed.

The Povinost’s partner is determined by the card the Povinost calls.  Povinost will call the highest trump card they missing between XIX and XV.  For example, if the Povinost does not have the XIX, they will call for XIX.  If the Povinost has the XIX, they will call for XVIII, or if they also have the XVIII, the XVII, and so on.

If the Povinost fails to call a trump, the XIX is assumed to be their partner.

If the Povinost has all trumps XV through XIX, they play alone without a partner and call the XIX.  Similarly, Povinost can also call a trump card they hold and play alone, deceiving the rest of the table into believing they have a partner.  Scoring will be handled as if they called Prever (Three Times).

Prever (Three Times)

Bidding Prever means the player is going alone against the other three players, who are now partners against the Prever.

The Prever takes the top three cards from the Talon, and if the Prever likes them, the remaining three Talon cards not exposed.  If the Prever does not like the top three cards, they must expose them to the remaining players and can pick up the remaining three cards from the Talon.  The Prever may then choose to keep these three cards, or go back to the original three.  If going back to the original three, the Prever must expose the three cards.

Whichever set of three cards that the Prever chooses not to keep is discarded to the opposing players.  The opposing players may not use these cards in their hand, or expose them if they were unexposed.

Note that there is a penalty for changing which set of three cards is kept (see Scoring).

The Povinost bidder will still lead the play.


Each player that drew cards from the Talon shall discard cards until they only have 12 cards in their hand.  Players may not discard Kings or cards worth 5 points under any circumstance.  Trumps may not be discarded unless there is no other option.  If discarding a trump card, the card must be discarded face up so the other players can see which card it is.


Before play begins, there are numerous declarations that players can make based on their cards, which earn them chips from all other players at the table.

Big Ones (Taroky)

  • 10 or more trumps
  • 4 chips

Little Ones (Tarocky)

  • 8 or 9 trumps
  • 2 chips


  • Skys, Pagat (I), and Mond (XXI)
  • 2 chips


  • Four of the five point cards
  • 2 chips

Trull Pane

  • Pane + a king
  • 4 chips

Kings (Krale)

  • Four kings
  • 4 chips

Rosanne Pane

  • Four kings and a five point trump
  • 6 chips


  • All seven five point cards (four kings, Skys, Pagat, and Mond)
  • 10 chips


  • One or two trumps
  • 2 chips

Uni (Nul, Uni Beeda, Bravi)

  • No trumps
  • 4 chips


Pagat and Valat, while counted for scoring, can also be declared ahead of time.  This doubles the normal value of Pagat and Valat upon scoring at the end of the hand, but also increases the penalty the same amount if the player betting is unsuccessful.


If a player holds the Pagat (I) and believes they can play the Pagat for the very last trick and win, they can bet Pagat.  A declared Pagat has a base value of four chips, instead of the usual two chips.


If a player believes they can take every trick, they can declare Valat.  A declared Valat has a base value of 40 chips, instead of the usual 20 chips.

Challenging a Bet

Challenges to Pagat and Valat bets  are Kontra, Re, Supra, and Mord.  A challenge doubles the point value of the bet for each challenge.  For example, a declared Pagat is worth four points.  Declaring a Kontra to a Pagat makes it worth eight points.  If the player who declared Pagat then declares Re, the Pagat is worth 16 points.


Leading the First Card

The Povinost must give the other players a change to make any declarations they have.  No declarations may be made after play begins.  The Povinost may begin play with any card they choose.

Trick Taking

The highest card played wins the trick.  Cards are determined by their rankings, with Kings being the highest card and the numbers the lowest.  Trump cards beat all suited cards, regardless of the suited card’s rank.

The player that won the trick adds it to their discard pile, and leads the next trick with any card of their choosing.  Play continues in this fashion until all cards have been played, for a total of 12 tricks per hand.

Following Suit

Players must follow suit to what was lead.  If a player is unable to follow suit, the player must play a trump.  If the player is unable to follow suit and does not have any trumps, the player may play any card of their choosing.

Calculating Payments


There are a total of 106 points in the game.  Partners add together their discard piles and tricks taken to determine their point totals.  Chips are then collected or paid out based on the number of points earned.  The partners that have more than 53 points collects the chips.


If there is a tie (each team has 53 points), the Povinost and their partner pays, unless a Prever was called, in which case Prever pays.


If no one went Prever, and a Valat was not accomplished, the following is used to calculate the low count’s base payment of chips:

  • (53 – low count point total)
  • Add 10
  • Multiply by 2
  • Round to the nearest 10 (a value of five rounds up)
  • Drop the last digit.  This is the number of chips owed.

For example, if the low count had 41 points:

  • 53 – 41 = 12
  • 12 + 10 = 22
  • 22 * 2 = 44
  • Rounded 44 = 40
  • Drop last digit = 4 chips owed

The following shows the point ranges and payments for the low count:

  • 51 – 53 = 2
  • 46 – 50 = 3
  • 41 – 45 = 4
  • 36 – 40 = 5
  • 31 – 35 = 6
  • 26 – 30 = 7
  • 21 – 25 = 8
  • 16 – 20 = 9
  • 11 – 15 = 10
  • 6 – 10 = 11
  • 1 – 5 = 12
  • Valat = 20


If a player went Prever, the multiplier for calculating payment is three instead of two.

  • 52 – 53 = 3
  • 49 – 51 = 4
  • 45 – 48 = 4
  • 42 – 44 = 6
  • 39 – 41 = 7
  • 35 – 38 = 8
  • 32 – 34 = 9
  • 29 – 31 = 10
  • 25 – 28 = 11
  • 22 – 24 = 12
  • 19 – 21 = 13
  • 15 – 18 = 14
  • 12 – 14 = 15
  • 9 – 11 = 16
  • 5 – 8 = 17
  • 2 – 4 = 18
  • 1 = 19
  • Valat = 20

Prever Loss

If the Prever lost and stayed with the first set, the payment is as calculated above.  If the Prever took the second set, the payment owed is doubled.  If the Prever went back to the original three, the payment owed is tripled.

Additional Payments


Playing the Pagat (I) at the end of the game and winning the trick is a Pagat.  A successful Pagat adds two chips to the payment, unless it was declared before play began.  If declared, four chips are owed, unless challenged.  If challenged, follow the multiplicative rule for challenges.


A Valat is when the Provinost and their partner, or the Prever, take all the tricks.  The base value of a Valat is 20 chips.  If declared, 40 chips are owed, unless challenged.  If challenged, follow the multiplicative rule for challenges.

Payments for scoring below 53 are not calculated if a Valat is accomplished.

Ending the Game

In a tournament play continues at the table until the pre-determined time passes.

In a non-tournament setting, play continues until players decide they are finished and there are no longer four players available.

Errors and Penalties

Misdeal – Pre Play

If there is a misdeal before play, and the mistake cannot be corrected, the dealer pays two chips to each player.  The dealer then re-shuffles, the cards are re-cut, and the cards are re-dealt.

Misdeal – Post Play

If a mistake in dealing by the dealer is not discovered until after play begins, play continues until conclusion.  Excess cards go the opponents of the player(s) holding excess cards.  No penalty is paid.

Discarding Irregularity

  • The game is completed, and excess cards go to the opposing players.
  • The violator who discarded the wrong number of cards pays each player two chips.
  • Win: The violator collects no chips, and the losing partners do not pay a penalty.  Instead, the violator pays the losing penalty to their partner.
  • Loss: The violator pays both their penalty, and the penalty of their partner.

Discarding a King or Trump

The violator pays five chips to all players, unless the violator was forced to discard a trump and discarded it face up for all players to see.

Failure to Follow Suit (Re-Nig)

When detected, every effort to back up the cards played to rectify the error should be made.  If unable to rectify the misplay, or the misplay was intentional, penalties for the violator are the same as a Discarding Irregularity after the scores are calculated.  Play continues.

Illegal Declarations

Declaring and collecting chips for values you do not have results in a two chip penalty to each player, unless the error is announced before play begins.  Chips collected must be returned, and play continues.

Should an incorrect declaration result in a failed Valat bid, the Valat bid is voided.

Announcing the Wrong Trump

If the Povinost announces the wrong trump for a partner, the holder of the correct trump should call the error before play begins.  For example, if the Povinost calls for the XVIII, but a player holds the XIX, the playing holding the XIX should call the error, as the XIX should have been called before XVIII.  The hand is declared void, the Povinost loses their turn and pays a penalty of five chips to each player.  Chips collected for declarations are returned.

If the holder of the correct trump is also negligent and the error is discovered during play or at the end of the hand, the Povinost and holder of the trump each pay a five chip penalty. The hand is declared void, and the Povinost loses their turn.  Chips collected for declarations are returned.

If the Povinost announces the wrong trump and holds that trump and all trumps that should have been called, the Povinost is playing Prever.

Wrong Person Plays Povinost

When discovered during a game that the wrong person is playing Povinost, the hand is concluded.  The violator and player that should have been Povinost both pay a two chip penalty to the other two players.  The person that should have been Povinost now plays as Povinost for the next hand, and the violator’s turn as Povinost is skipped.

Partners Not Known

It is permissible to ask if the Povinost’s partner call has been played.  If at the end of a hand partners are not known and cards are accidentally combined with an opponent, the cards are counted and chips paid as if there was no mistake.

Incorrectly Calling Pagat

Only the player with the Pagat (I) can declare Pagat before play.  Should the caller not have the Pagat, the holder of the Pagat can Contra, doubling the number of chips if they accomplish a Pagat.  The declarer must also pay a two chip penalty to all players.

If a Pagat is involved in a discarding irregularity, the holder of the Pagat forfeits the Pagat and the cards for that trick to their opponent(s).  Penalties from Discarding Irregularities also apply.

Dealer Exposes a Card

The card that is exposed is placed back into the remaining undealt deck, shuffled, and dealing continues.  No penalty.

Player Exposes a Card

The card remains on the table exposed and must be played at the first opportunity.  No penalty.

Improper Cut

If a cut is not six cards deep, the cut shall be repeated.  No penalty.