How to Play Russian Bank

By Contributor

Russian Bank, also known as Crapette, Stop or Touch, involves two decks of cards and two players. The goal is to end the game without any cards left. It helps to use two different packs of playing cards, which makes dividing them up easier after the game. Points are awarded after each round, and the player who reaches 300 points first is the overall winner of the match.

Shuffle your opponent's cards and then swap. Create a pile of 12 cards laying face down, and put the 13th card on top face up. Place this pile to your right. This stack is called the reserve. Now set four cards face up; start far away with the first, moving closer as you go until your cards are lined up with your reserve stack. These are your house cards. Your opponent does the same. These eight cards become your tableau. In the middle of your tableau should be enough room for two cards to sit side-by-side between your house cards. The cards that will be placed here during play are called the foundation piles.

Put your remaining cards face down off to your left, flanking your opponent's house card column. This stack is your hand. Between your hand and your reserve, you'll create a waste pile as you play. All cards in the tableau, waste pile and reserve are open to all players. Players must always play off of the tableau first before playing on a waste pile or reserve. Otherwise, the opponent can say "Stop" and force you to undo your move, thus ending your turn.

Determine who goes first by seeing who has the lowest card on the reserve pile. In this game, King is the highest and Aces are lowest. If these cards are the same, start comparing house cards. Players take turns and may make as many moves as possible during their turn. Play the top card in your reserve pile, always making sure to have one face-up on top of the pile. Then play off your hand. If you can't play the card you drew from your hand, it goes in your waste pile and your turn is over.

Play off the houses. Build houses by playing them in descending order in alternating colors. You can build the foundations by using an Ace, but foundations are only built by cards of the same suit. On an opponent's reserve or waste pile, play cards of the same suit in that are one up or one down from the playable card. You can fill any empty house space with any card. You must fill an empty house space before making any other plays.

Give yourself 30 points if you win a round--that is, if you have no cards left. You also get one point for each card your opponent still has in his hand pile and waste pile. Plus, you get two points for each card left in the reserve pile.

Count points for a stalemate as you do in the case of a winner, only this time, the player with the fewest points scores whatever the difference is between the two card totals, and no one gets the 30-point bonus. Whoever reaches 300 points first wins the game of Russian Bank.

Warning

If your move was illegal and your opponent catches it, you take back your cards and end your turn. If you didn't see a compulsory move (that's a move that needs to happen first--e.g., a play on the tableau) and missed it, your opponent can make you take back what you played, have you play the compulsory move and end your turn.