Mille is an immensely popular card game in Canada, and one that’s most often played for stakes. That means the game is a serious one, where forgetting the rules can get you into a lot of trouble. Knowing the standard rules of Mille by heart is a critical component to maintaining a friendly game. It’s also a good idea to work on your Mille strategy, should you have high hopes of winning some cash.
In some areas, and among some groups of avid players, the rules may be a bit different. Mille is always restricted to just two players, utilizing two decks of standard playing cards. But there are several elements that can be altered, if both players so choose.
Rule Variations for Mill Card Game
There are three basic ways in which the rules may vary for a game of Mille. One relates to the requirements for winning. Another alters the score (and winner’s payout) for special achievements throughout the game. The simplest of all is a variable target score, so we’ll start there.
Customizing the Target Score
By standard rules, the target score in Mille is 1200. It’s a pretty easy score to reach, often done within a few hands of play at best. Thus it is not recommended to lower the target score. However, increasing the target score is perfectly acceptable, if not quite common.
A lot of players prefer to set the target score at 2,000. This makes for a slightly longer game, and helps to avoid one lucky player winning the entire game on a single hand. And you can go higher if you like.
Note that the requisites for a ‘Skunk‘ will change along with the target score. A skunk should only occur if the losing player scores less than half of the target (-600 in a 1,200-point game, -1,000 in a 2,000 point game, etc.)
Natural Required to Win
It’s much easier to play out your hand, and run out of cards, with the use of wild 2s. Melding a ‘Natural‘—any complete set of 8 cards with no wilds (including a Natural of all 2s)—isn’t so easy. For this reason, a lot of players enforce a Natural requirement rule in order to win the game.
Essentially, a player cannot win if they have not melded at least 1 Natural set throughout the entire game. Even if this player’s score soars up to, or well beyond 2,000, they could still lose to an opponent who reaches 1,200, so long as that player has melded a Natural.
Progressive Montreal Mille
This version, popular in (you guessed it) Montreal, presents a progressive scoring system for special occurrences; both positive and negative. The more Naturals and Chapeaus a players has, the higher the points and penalties become for them.
The scoring system goes by a basic multiplier. The second Natural earns 2x points, third Natural 3x points, and so on. The same goes for Chapeaus, generating 2x penalty points for the second, 3x for the third, etc.
This is particularly important when playing Mille for money, as it can significantly alter the payout. In a $1-$3 game where the winner has 3 Naturals and the loser 2 Chapeaus, the payout would increase by $12; up from $18 to $30; and that’s before calculating the difference in score. Think carefully before invoking this rule!
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