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Tarot Games

The French tarot game, also known as the French tarot or jeu de Tarot, involves taking tricks. This game is next in popularity after the game of Belote in France. The tarot game playing style is also known as the”Tarot Nouvear” or “Bourgeois Tarot.”

It is played throughout France and in French speaking areas of Canada. So much so even the Montreal festival of tarot is known as International French Tarot Festival of Montreal.

The rules of the French tarot are published by the Fédération Française de Tarot. This is done to differentiate it from the American and English tarot games and also from cartomancy and divinatory uses of the tarot game.

The game uses the traditional 78-card tarot deck instead of the internationally used 52-card poker deck. The cards comprise a numbered series of 21 trump cards or atouts, one Fool or l'excus and 4 suits, spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs. The face cards are jack (Valet), knight (Chevalier), queen (Dame) and king (Roi).
When the tarot cards are used for divinatory purpose they are laid out in spread on the table. When the same cards are used for playing games, they are held in hands. Many tarot readers do not like the idea of using sacred divinatory cards for sinful purpose of playing games.

There are three cards also called oudlers which are of particular importance in the French tarot game. They are the Excuse (the Fool), the 1 of trumps (the Petit or little one), and the 21 of trumps (Le Monde).
Tarot card games are point-trick games, which implies that the cards have point values. The result is calculated on the basis of the total point value of the cards taken and not by the number of tricks taken.
“The ranking of the suit cards in both the red and black suits is from highest to lowest: king, queen, knight, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (Ace).” The cards are dealt by the person who has the smallest card. The player sitting at his left side cuts the deck. The dealer, thereafter, deals out the entire deck in anti-clockwise direction.

The game is usually played by four players because the four-player variant is considered the most challenging. It is also often played in competitions.

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