Forty Fives

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This trick taking card game takes its origins from the Ireland game titled spoil five; it was and still is today vastly popular amongst the Irish population and in Canada.


The number of players who can play a game of forty fives is traditionally four individuals who divide into pairs but the number of players can range from two to seven.


Play is with a standard 52 pack of cards with an added Joker. The scoring of the cards is intricate and is as follows:

Trump Suits

Diamonds and hearts:5, J, Joker, Ace of hearts, K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Spades and clubs:5, J, Joker, Ace of Hearts, A of trump suit, K, Q, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Non-trump Suits

Diamonds and hearts:K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Spades and clubs: K, Q, J, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Game Play

  1. The cards are shuffled, and starting from the left, one by one five cards are dealt to each player

  2. Next the dealer places the remaining cards in the centre and turns the top card face up. This will be the trump suit, and will remain in the centre for the game play. Unless the card is either an Ace or a joker, if it is an ace, then it is the trump suit, but the dealer must choose one of his cards to discard to the deck while taking the ace into his hand. If it turned out to be a joker, then the dealer again keeps the joker, turns the next card in the centre deck to be the trump suit, and picks one of his dealt cards to discard.

  3. Starting from the left of the dealer, each player in turn plays a card. The card must either follow suit to the preceding player or to the trump suit. The winner of the round is the one with the highest ranking card, and they are gifted five points and a further ten points are rewarded if any of the four highest ranking cards are played.

  4. Once all the cards in the player’s hands have been played and no one has reached Forty five, the dealer deals out the cards as previously done until a player reaches the score of forty five essentially winning the game.


At the occasion when a player wins all five tricks in a round, then they automatically get forty five points and subsequently win the game.

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