This game can be played by 4 or 6 people. with 6 people you take out all 2. 10 points are associated with each of the face cards(A,K,Q,J and 10) , and 3 of Spades has 30 points associated with it making it a trump card. And 5 has 5 points. Everything else has no value.

Players wage their scores depending on how good their cards are (maximum is 250), and player with the highest wager ask for a partner with a specific card and creates trump suit(pick a color of cards which has higher value to take hands). Partner then assists the player reach the target points, either openly or secretly.

I want to know the official name of this game. Is there any game named 'Three of Spades'?

  • I do not know this game but the following may help in your search. From your description it sounds as if this is a full-deck four-player point-trick game in which the highest bidder chooses the trump suit and selects a partner. The 3 of spades is the highest trump regardless of trump suit. This is most likely a derivative of a continental European game, adapted to the full deck and with simplified scoring. It is structurally similar to German Doppelkopf. But if the special role of the 3 is of European origin, then this would point to a connection to primarily Italian/Spanish games.
    – user8124
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 13:30
  • @HansAdler Yes. You are absolutely correct. The 3 of spades is the highest trump regardless of trump suit. This game is widely played in India. We played it last night but none of us knew what is it's exact name in English. Few of my friends suggested that it may be called Three of Spades (Just a straight English translation). But I am damn sure it must have been originated from England as they ruled us for nearly 200 years. I still want to know what's it traditionally called. Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 17:21
  • I think some popular Indian card games such as 28 were derived from Dutch rather than English games, and optionally at some point adapted from the typical continental European 32-card deck (which lacks ranks 2 to 6) to the full 52-card deck. I don't know if raising a 3 in this way makes sense in the Indian cultural context; in a southern European context it happened because 3 can be seen to represent the Trinity, an important Christian concept.
    – user8124
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


Regarding the game rules and origin: It appears that this game is not widely know in English on the Internet. However, I found two families of card games played in other parts of Asia that appear to be related.

Regarding the name: "Kaali Teeri" or in English "Three of Spades" is of course a perfectly normal and logical name for a game of this nature. Based on how card game names typically evolve, it may have been coined when the 3 of spades first received its special role - or later in a cultural environment where this is an unusual feature. Some other features of the game may have changed since then, without causing changes to the name. It is quite possible that the game's Hindi name is just a translation from another language. In the same way, it's perfectly sensible and logical to call this game "Three of Spades" in English. Alternatively, one could call it "Kaali Teeri" in English.

The following are all the possible relatives that I could find. Let's start with the Rook family:

Rook is an American card game with special cards, invented in an American Christian community that disapproved of standard playing cards because of their association with gambling. The deck consists of 4 suits with 14 cards each (numbered 1 to 14) plus a joker-like extra card representing a rook bird. The game has many variants, some of which make it more similar to Kaali Teeri. For example, there are variants in which the player can call a partner instead of playing in fixed partnerships. Remaining major differences:

  • The game is only played with ranks 5 to 14, corresponding to the ranks 5 to King and Ace (high) when playing with ordinary cards, plus the Rook, corresponding to a Joker or perhaps the 3 of Spades.
  • Card values are 5: 5, 10: 10, Jack/Queen/King: 0 (not 10), Ace: 10, Rook: 20 (not 30).
  • Every player gets only 9 of the 41 cards. The remaining 5 cards form a 'nest', from which the highest bidder may improve his hand.

Shelem or Rok is an Iranian game that is obviously connected to Rook. Major differences to Kaali Teeri:

  • There is no equivalent to the Rook, Joker or 3 of Spades.
  • Card values are 5: 5, 10: 10, Jack/Queen/King: 0 (not 10), Ace: 10.
  • Every player gets only 12 of the 52 cards. The remaining 4 cards form what is normally called a widow in English, from which the highest bidder may improve his hand.

Another apparent Rook variant is Oochlee, played by the Christian minority in Syria.

Now we come to the picture-taking family:

Etori is an almost extinct Japanese game. A modern variant that is still played is called Kakeya Toranpu. Major differences to Kaali Teeri:

  • The partnerships are fixed.
  • The trump suit is not determined by bidding but in one of several much less interesting ways.
  • Regardless of trump suit, the highest card is always the Ace of Spades (not the 3 of Spades). Optionally a Joker may be added which is then the highest card. (It is not reported what other card if any is removed in this case.)
  • The object is for a partnership to win more than 8 of the 16 scoring 'picture cards' Ace, King, Queen, Jack of all four suits. (This is equivalent to making Ace, King, Queen, Jack score 10 and everything else 0.) For this reason, this kind of game is called a picture-taking game.

Japanese Napoleon has a lot of differences to Kaali Teeri, but it is obviously related to Etori and has some features that are actually closer to Kaali Teeri than Etori is:

  • 10 is also a counting card, making the scoring system even more similar to Kaali Teeri.
  • Players bid for the game. The winner calls for a partner by calling for a card.
  • There is a variant in which a Joker is added as a 'trump hunter' and the 3 of Spades(!) has the role of a 'Joker hunter'.

The Korean game Mighty is very similar to the Japanese games described before.

Overall, I would bet that Kaali Teeri connects the American game Rook and its close relative in Iran with the Japanese picture-taking games. This even fits the geographic situation very well.

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