Being a French Canadian card game of little-known origins, it’s not surprising that there are so many variations in the way people play Mitaine (a.k.a. Mitts, or Mittens). You won’t find it in any stores, and very few informational texts are even available on the internet. That means that the rules of Mitaine are spread most often by the handing down through generations, and passing on by friends.
It’s not so egregious for games of this nature to be partially forgotten over the years. As such, the rules tend to become skewed from one group to the next. The following is a list of all known variations in use today.
Known Variations of Mitaine Card Game
Standard Card Ranks: The most common rule variation I’ve come across is one in which players enforce traditional card ranks of A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. In this version, the special scoring and capability of Jacks remain the same. However, a group (Mitten, Glove, Sock) of Aces, Kings or Queens ranks higher, and can therefore steal, an equal group of Jacks.
1000 to Win: A lot of players prefer to keep the game going up to 1000 points, especially in groups that know and utilize proper Mitaine strategy. A 500 point game can end pretty quick among experienced players.
Clearing for 10 with Jack: Another rule I’ve come across a few times now is the ability to ‘Clear for 10’ with a Jack, instead of the same card in the pile. By this rule, when only a single card exists in the discard pile, the next player may discard a Jack and score 10 points, the same as if they were ‘Clearing for 10’ with a single-card Mitten. The single card acquired is placed faced up, and the Jack discarded to the waste pile, to signify the scoring of 10 points.
Score Keeping: In some circles, no attention is paid to the actual cards that are being placed face up and face down to designate score. Any card can be snagged from the pile and placed face up to designate 10 points (a standard Mitten). Likewise, any card played face down would represent 50 points (a 10♦, Glove, or Mitten in Jacks). Thus a standard sock would be 2 face down, a Glove of Jacks 3 face down, and a Sock of Jacks 6 face down.
Alternatively, some players will avoid all this up/down cardistry by simply keeping score with pen and paper. After recording a score, all discards are thrown into the waste pile.
Alternative Score Method: The following is an alternative scoring method used in some less formal playing circles.
2 of same rank cards (not Jack)
3 of same rank cards (not Jack)
4 of same rank cards (not Jack)
10 of Diamonds
54-Card Mitaine w/ Jokers: Another variation I’ve heard about, though I’ve never known anyone to play, is a 54-card variation of Mitaine in which the jokers are used. In this version, the discard pile starts with 6 cards instead of 4 to account for the extra cards.
Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.