There’s more than one way to play the popular Canadian card game of Hola. In fact, there are several commonly applied variations to the rules. You can switch up everything from the number of players, to the amount of wild cards, to the way points are scored and, in some cases, taken away.
Common Hola Rule Variations
The following is a list of variable rule changes known to be applied by some Canadian players. Each alteration tends to make the game a bit more challenging!
Note that this article assumes you already know the Standard Rules of Hola.
Don’t Get Burned!
Some people play Hola with a “burn” rule. A player or team can get burned in one of two ways, depending on the rules employed. Either way, you do not want to get burned. When this occurs, the burned player/team loses all of the points they’ve scored up to that point. Ouch!
The most common use of the burn rule is applied when a player/team manages to pull off an Hola, or capture all points in a single hand. When this occurs, the opposing team is said to be “burned” (aka “brushed off”), and their score for the entire game thus far is reset to zero.
When this rule is invoked, the team who earned the Hola does not score double points (170), instead only receiving 90.
Another way to play Hola is to enforce a burn whenever a trick is captured by consecutively playing all 4 equal value cards. For example, if a Jack is led, and the next three players also play a Jack (wilds do not count for this), the team who wins this trick burns the other team. The opposing team instantly loses all accumulated score up to that point.
For obvious reasons, this rule can only be employed in 4-player partnership games.
Only 7s Wild
Want to make the game a bit harder? Try playing with only 7s wild. Some groups do not include 2s as wild cards. Instead, 2s are just as worthless as any other non-point card.
Three Player Hola
It is possible to play Hola with three players. Instead of using partners (as in 4 or 6 player versions), all three players compete against one another.
In order to produce a complementary deck for three players, one card will need to be removed. This brings the deck to 51 cards, so that there is never one left over.
It doesn’t really matter which card is removed from the deck, so long as it’s not a wild, an Ace, or a 10. Most groups will remove a 3 from the deck since this is the lowest number card (or a 2, if playing only 7s wild). But since ranks are irrelevant, any other card will do.
Six Player Hola
The 6-player version was briefly covered in our standard Hola rules page, but we’ll go over it again for convenience. To play with 6 players, you’ll need to use two standard 52-card decks (104 cards), and two teams of 3 players each. Seating alternates between team players.
In 6-player games, there are 160 points up for grabs per hand. As such, no extra points are awarded for capturing the last trick, and double points are not awarded for an Hola. The target score is 500 to win.
Want to learn more? Check out our additional pages on Hola Strategy and Hola History.
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