Bid Wiz, also known as Bid Whist, is a card game similar to Spades. The game is played with a full deck of cards, including two jokers. There are four players forming two teams. The teams work together to win "books" to score points. The team that either reaches seven points or forces the opposing team to reach a score of negative seven will win the game.
When the game starts, players choose the first dealer by shuffling the cards and dealing them face up, one by one, to each player. The first player to get a diamond is the game's first dealer. After each round, the person to the left of the previous dealer will deal the cards for that round.
The dealer must shuffle the cards and deal each player 12 cards. The six remaining cards are placed face down in the center of the table to form the "kitty," or the reserve stack of cards. The dealer will deal the cards one at a time going clockwise around the table. The six cards in the "kitty" can be dealt at any time, with only one exception. The first four cards of the deal and the last four cards of the deal cannot be placed in the reserve stack.
The bidding process starts with the player to the left of the dealer. Each bid will consist of both a number and a suffix. The players will use the numbers 3 through 7 to bid. The number indicates the amount of books above six that the bidder's team thinks they can win. For example, someone who guarantees one "book" will be promising to obtain seven total "books" or rounds of cards. There are also three suffixes used when bidding: Uptown indicates that the player bidding intends to name a card suit that will be the trump cards and that high cards will beat the lower cards; downtown indicates that the player bidding will name a trump suit and the low card will beat the high cards; no trump indicates that the player bidding will indicate whether high or low cards will win the "books" if they are to win the bid and there will be no trump cards.
Each player will take a turn bidding going around the table clockwise. Each player must either pass his turn to bid or bid a higher amount than the previous player. To make a higher bid, the player will either raise the number on the bid or indicate a bid of "no trump." A bid with a higher number will outrank a bid with a lower number and a bid with a "no trump" will outrank a bid where the player will select the trump suit. Since a "downtown" and "uptown" bid with the same number are considered equal, neither can be placed to out bid the other. If the first three players decline to bid, then the dealer is forced to place a bid. Normally, if the dealer is forced to bid, he will place a bid of either 3 uptown, 3 downtown or 3 no trump because there is no benefit to placing a higher bid. When players place bids indicating they will choose a trump suit, they should not reveal which suit they would choose until they have won the bid.
The highest bidder will begin the game play by naming a trump suit. Or if the bid was considered "no trump," the player chooses between "uptown" and "downtown." Once the play is established, the high bidder will pick up the "kitty" and then discard six cards. The player can choose to keep the cards in the "kitty" and discard six of her own cards, discard the entire "kitty" or keep some of the "kitty" and discard the rest.
The high bidder will then start the play by laying down the first card. This card can be any card, and other players must follow suit. The player who throws the highest ranking card will win the "book." If a player does not have a card that follows suit, they can opt to lay a "trump card" or they can lay a card of a different suit. A trump card will always beat a non-trump card during the game play. If more than one "trump card" is played, the person who laid down the highest ranking trump card will win that "book." Since the high ranking cards are determined by the bid at the beginning of the game, there are various possibilities of play during the game. In a winning bid of "uptown" with a trump suit, the cards will rank from highest to lowest starting with the "big joker," "little joker," ace, king and down. An "uptown" bid with no trump suit will start with ace, king and count down from there. A "downtown" bid with a trump suit will begin with "big joker," "little joker," ace, two and up, and a "downtown" bid with no trump suit will start with ace, two and up. When playing a hand with "no trump," the jokers have no value. However, these cards will stay in play and can be laid when the player holding them cannot follow suit. In the off-chance a "no trump" round is led with a joker, the next person can play any card, and the first card laid that is not a joker will indicate what suit to follow.
If a player has a card in his hand that follows the suit being played, he must use this card. If he fails to follow suit, it's called a renege. When a renege occurs, three books that have been won by the reneging team will be awarded to the opposing team. If the reneging team has yet to win three books, the hand is immediately scored with all 13 books awarded to the non-reneging team.
Each team playing will begin with a score of zero. At the end of each round, the bidding team will either win or lose points. Once the round is over, the books are counted. There are 13 possible books, one for each of the 12 cards dealt to each player and the kitty, which will represent a book for the team that won the original bid. In order to score points, the bidding team must have won at least the amount of books they bid. For each book above six that the bidding team won, one point is counted. If the team failed to generate enough books to match its bid, the points that they placed as a bid are subtracted from their score. In a hand that is won with a "no trump," the score is doubled. The first team to reach a score of seven or force the opposing team to reach a score of negative seven will win the game.
Emily Retherford has been a full-time writer since 2009. She specializes in travel, parenting, fashion and beauty with work appearing on various online publications.