Pluck is a three-person trick-based card game. It's different from most of these games in at least two ways: it's explicitly designed for three players, and there's no real score to keep. On a complexity level, it's probably a little less challenging than spades: the trump is declared by the dealer, but the number of tricks each player must take is fixed.

The Deck

It uses the standard 52-card (poker) deck, with some modifications: remove all twos ("deuces") except the two of clubs; add both of the jokers into the deck, and make sure that the two jokers have different faces. One of these will be the "big joker" and the other will be the "little joker"; these are the highest-ranked trump cards in any turn. This should leave you with a deck of 51 cards (52 - 3 deuces + 2 jokers). Since there are three cards played every trick, this gives us 17 tricks per hand. Aces are high.

The Goal

The point of each round is to win at least as many tricks as your position (relative to the dealer) dictates. Of the 17 total tricks per round, you need to take:

  • Dealer: 7 tricks
  • Left of dealer: 6 tricks (deals next round)
  • Right of dealer: 4 tricks (dealt last round)

Falling short of this goal in one round means you will get plucked at the beginning of the next round. If you fell short, someone else must have an excess -- and that person is the one who gets to pluck from you!

The Order of Play

  1. Shuffle and deal
  2. Pluck
  3. Dealer declares trump suit
  4. Play opens with Deuce of Clubs
  5. Play 17 tricks
  6. Count up tricks, determine plucks
  7. Deal passes to the left

Shuffle and Deal

Each round starts by having the dealer shuffle (optionally letting one of the other players cut), and dealing out all 51 cards.


There are no plucks in the first round.

The person who has the most plucks (that is, the player that went over their quota by the most tricks in the previous hand) goes first. If two players are entitled to the same number of plucks, start with the dealer and go left.

To pluck, the plucker passes a card face-down to the pluckee. After looking at this card, the pluckee must pass back the highest-ranked card in the same suit. The jokers are not in any suit, and are always valuable -- so, a plucker would not want to pass one, and a pluckee cannot be forced to give them up.

Dealer declares trump

After plucking (or getting plucked), the dealer has to declare trump. Since they have to take the most tricks, they get this serious advantage. They can pick any suit; as with any trick-based game, this is a tradeoff between quantity and quality. Finally, the dealer should remember that there are two jokers in the game, and they are higher than any card in the actual trump suit.

Play opens with the Deuce of Clubs

Whoever is holding the deuce (two) of clubs puts it down as the first lead card. This has two side effects: one, it's a guaranteed loss; and, if clubs were chosen to be trump, then trumps are open from the very start.

Play 17 tricks

This portion of the game should be very similar to any other trick game. Whoever took the last trick has to lead for the next trick. You have to play in suit if you can; if you have a void in that suit, you can either slough or trump. You can't lead trumps until they have been opened (but see the comment above regarding clubs as trumps.)

For the purposes of determining which cards are in what suit, the jokers are considered to be the same suit as trump.

A trick is taken by the highest-ranked lead-suit or trump card on the pile.

Determining Plucks

Players receive (or get taken from them) as many plucks as they won tricks over (or below) their targets.

Deal passes to the left

After a hand is scored, deal passes to the left of the current dealer.

Pluck (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Plucked (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Plucking.] [AS. pluccian; akin to LG. & D. plukken, G. pflucken, Icel. plokka, plukka, Dan. plukke, Sw. plocka. 27.]


To pull; to draw.

Its own nature . . . plucks on its own dissolution. Je. Taylor.


Especially, to pull with sudden force or effort, or to pull off or out from something, with a twitch; to twitch; also, to gather, to pick; as, to pluck feathers from a fowl; to pluck hair or wool from a skin; to pluck grapes.

I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude. Milton.

E'en children followed, with endearing wile, And plucked his gown to share the good man's smile. Goldsmith.


To strip of, or as of, feathers; as, to pluck a fowl.

They which pass by the way do pluck her. Ps. lxxx.2.

4. Eng. Universities

To reject at an examination for degrees.

C. Bront'e.

To pluck away, to pull away, or to separate by pulling; to tear away. -- To pluck down, to pull down; to demolish; to reduce to a lower state. -- to pluck off, to pull or tear off; as, to pluck off the skin. -- to pluck up. (a) To tear up by the roots or from the foundation; to eradicate; to exterminate; to destroy; as, to pluck up a plant; to pluck up a nation. Jer. xii. 17. (b) To gather up; to summon; as, to pluck up courage.


© Webster 1913.

Pluck, v. i.

To make a motion of pulling or twitching; -- usually with at; as, to pluck at one's gown.


© Webster 1913.

Pluck, n.


The act of plucking; a pull; a twitch.

2. [Prob. so called as being plucked out after the animal is killed; or cf. Gael. & Ir. pluc a lump, a knot, a bunch.]

The heart, liver, and lights of an animal.


Spirit; courage; indomitable resolution; fortitude.

Decay of English spirit, decay of manly pluck. Thackeray.


The act of plucking, or the state of being plucked, at college. See Pluck, v. t., 4.

5. Zool.

The lyrie.

[Prov. Eng.]


© Webster 1913.

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