In our first dissemination of this popular card game, we discussed the standard rules of King Pedro, as it’s most commonly played in Canada. We followed that up with Ukrainian-Canadian King Pedro rules, as members of those communities often play it with a varied dealing, points and scoring system. This time, we’ll be detailing other common variations of the game, most of which can be applied to both CA and UK-CA rules.
More Ways to Play King Pedro
There are many ways the rules can be altered to increase the luck-vs-skill factor, extend the length of a game, and heighten the overall entertainment experience. Some of the more common King Pedro rule variations are explained below.
Dealer Force Bidding
In some groups, the game is played with a minimum bid of 6, instead of 7. In this case, the dealer is usually forced to bid if all other players have passed on the opening round.
Normally, the dealer will be forced to take the bid for 6, but some players make it more challenging by increasing the dealer’s force-bid to 7 (even though the standard minimum bid is still 6).
Alternatively, the minimum bid may remain 7, while the dealer is allowed to take a force bid for only 6. This encourages others to bid, rather than letting it slide to the dealer for an easy pick-up.
Dealing, Discarding & Replenishing
By standard rules, the cards are dealt one at a time to each player. Some prefer to deal in batches of 3 cards at a time, per player. For the Ukrainian-Canadian version, which deals 9 to each player, then 4 more after bidding, batches can be dealt in 3s in the initial deal, and 2s post-auction.
When discarding, some require that all hands must be reduced to 6 cards. Thus the discarding of trumps is permitted. However, most groups who enforce this rule will also award any trump points discarded to the other team’s score, largely discouraging the discard of anything but the 2.
Leading and Following Suits
Some game rules force the opening trick to be led as a trump. Others allow the bid winner to lead any suit they desire.
A more extreme variant, which greatly increases the strategic factor in King Pedro, is to require any suit led to be followed. Normally, any non-trump led can be followed by any other card, and can only be caught by a trump (which anyone can play, anytime). Requiring players to follow non-trump suits changes significantly the dynamics of the game!
There are several alternative methods of scoring King Pedro. In all variations, however, a team can only win by reaching/exceeding the target score on a successful bid. A non-bidding team, or failed bid team, cannot win the game.
To avoid negative scoring, some play where a team who won the auction and succeeded in capturing the bid is only be awarded the difference between the points they captured, and the points the defending team captured. In this case, if a team bids 10 and wins 32 points, the defending team has captured 12 points. The bidding team would score 20 points (32 – 12 = 20).
By this scoring method, if the defending team sets the bidding team (prevents them from capturing the bid), the defending team will earn the amount of points they captured, plus the amount of the failed bid. So if a team bids 35, and the defending team captures 14, the bidding team is set. The defending team receives 49 points (35 + 14 = 49).
This scoring method can make the game quite a bit more challenging. By these rules, it’s more valuable to be a successful defending team, than a successful bidding team!
The standard target score for King Pedro is 200 points. Some groups will increase the target score to extend the duration of a game. In the Ukrainian-Canadian version, especially, where a single hand can award 62 points, a lot of groups will increase the target to anywhere from 250 – 300.
With so many more ways to play King Pedro, make sure to discuss the points and scoring system with other players before getting started to avoid any arguments down the road.
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