Mus

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What game attracted enough players to set the world record for the largest card game tournament? If you think it was Gin rummy, Euchre, or even Texas hold ’em guess again. The game that had  1,164 pairs of players  competing in 2011 was Mus. This card game from Spain is kind of like  poker, but  is played with a partner. The teams bet on the strength of their hand in four different categories. After playing a few hands it is easy to discover what attraction is.

Players 

Equipment

A latin deck of cards. Or a regular deck with the 8 ,9,and 10 cards removed

Twenty chips for keeping score 


Cards are ranked King, Knight,Valet, 7-1

How to play

Players are trying to be the first team to win forty points. Twenty coins or poker chips are kept in the middle of the table. These coins are used keep score. As a team wins points they take a coin from middle of the table and put it  on their side. To reduce the number of coins needed one player’s pile of coins is valued at five points a coin and his or her team mate’s coins are valued at one point .

A player sits across from his  or her partner.

The dealer shuffles the cards and the player on the dealer’s left cuts the deck. The dealer gives each player four cards going counter clockwise.

 Players look at their cards and say if they want to have a discard phase.  Starting with the player on the dealer’s right and going in order around the table the players  say either “Mus” (wanting a  discard phase) or “No mus” ( starting the game). 

Only if all four players say Mus will there be  a discard phase . During the  discard phase, player may discard from 1-4 cards. The dealer gives the players replacement cards for the ones they discarded. Players again declare if they want another discard phase. During multiple discard phases, the discard pile can be reshuffled and dealt again if needed

When a player declares no mus play begins. There are multiple rounds of bidding after which the cards are revealed .

On the player’s turn he or she   has the option of bidding how many points that round will be played for or passing on the current round.  There are four rounds of bidding each done in turn. After the bidding rounds are complete the players show their cards and score any contested points.

If every player passes during a round of bidding, the players move to the next round of bidding and the points for that round will be awarded when the cards are shown.

The first bid must be at least 2. When a player bids, the opposing players in turn  may raise, fold, or call. 

 A raise may be an increase of any number of points the player choses. After a raise  the  players on the other team  raise may now raise, call, or fold.  Either partner may say what action the team will take. If they disagree the more aggressive action is taken.

After  a bid is called or if a team folds rather than accept the bid, the players move on to the next round of bidding. 

The points for a called bid are awarded to the winner of the round when the cards are shown.

 If after a raise the team folds, the other team scores the amount of points of the last accepted bid. If the first bid is not accepted, the bidder scores one point immediately 

There is also an  speacial bid called Hor Dago.  When a hor dago bid is accepted the winner of that round wins the game. The hor dago changes the scoring sequence. The round that the  Hor Dago bid was accepted for  is evaluated immediately and scoring of all other rounds is discarded.


Bidding Rounds

The first biding round is called Grande. This round is won by the hand with the highest ranked card.  If there is a tie  the hand with the higher ranked second card, or if these are equal as well, the higher ranked third card, or if the first three cards are tied the higher fourth card. If all four cards are equal the player whose turn occured earlier in that hand wins 

The second round is the Chica. This round is won by the hand with the lowest cards. The hand with the lowest ranked first card wins, or if these are equal the lower second card.  If the first and second cards  are equal the lower third card, or if the first three cards are tied the lower fourth card wins. If all four cards are equale the player whose turn occured earlier in that hand wins 

The third round is pares. Before bidding  players declare if  they have two or more cards of the same face value. The players announce in  turn  Pares si if they have matching cards, or Pares no if they don’t. 

 If neither  of the players in a team can play, this round is skipped and the other team will score the points won when the cards are shown.

If none of the four players has Pares, the whole round is skipped altogether. 

The lowest combination of matching cards for this round is a single pair ( called pares), followed by three-of-a-kind (called medias) and the highest Two-pair ( called duples).  In case of a tie the higher ranked cards in the tied combination wins. If both combinations are the same rank the play whose turn occured  first wins the tie.

The last round is juego. Players declare if they are able to play juego or not. Players announce by turns ‘Juego sí if he or she  can make a bid or  Juego no if  he or she canot. In order to be able to bid this round, players add up the value of their  cards . Number cards are worth their numerical value face cards are valued at ten. If the total is 31 or  more they may  declare juego si. The highest total card value for this round is 31, followed by 32, then 40, 37, 36, 35, 34 and the lowest is 33.

  If none of the players of a team can play, the round is finished and the other team will score the round in the scoring phase. If none of the four players can play the ‘Juego’ round, it will be replaced by ‘Punto’. The players compete for the highest total card value, being 30 the highest possible total. In case of a tie, the player whose turn occurs that hand first wins the tie.

In the scoring round the cards are shown and the winners of pending bids will receive the points.

If all the players pass  on a round, the team with the winning combination for the rounds will get one  point in the scoring phase. If any there was a bid that was called the team with the winning hand for that round scores the point of the called bid.

In addition to the points awarded, the winner of the Pares and Juego/Punto rounds win the bonus points described below.

 The winning team of the Pares  round scores:

 1 additional point for each single-pair the team has.

2 points for every three-of-a-kind the team has.

3 points for every Two-pair the team has.

The winning team of the Juego/Punto round scores :

2 additional points for each player of the team who could play the round 

 3 points  are won if that player had a total card value of exactly 31.

 If they played a ‘Puntua’ round instead, the winning team of the round scores 1 single additional point only. 

Scoring is done in sequence and stop as soon as a team reaches a winning score  of 40 points. The Hor Dago  bid changes the scoring sequence. The round that the  Hor Dago bid was accepted for  is evaluated immediately and scoring of all other rounds is discarded.

First team to win forty points wins the game. First team to win three games wins the match.

Unlike many team card games, team mates can signal the strength of the hands they are holding. Provided that they use the signals below and do not send false signals.

Two Kings: biting the centre of the bottom lip

Three Kings: biting one side of the bottom lip

Two Aces: poking out the tongue

Three Aces: poking out the tongue to one side

Single Pair  tilting the head to one side

Three-of-a-kind pursing lips to one side of the mouth

Two-pairs  raising  the eyebrows

31  winking

30  lifting both shoulders

29  lifting the right shoulder

28  lifting the left shoulder

I have nothing . This indicates a bad hand: closing the eye

Royal 31 touching the earlobe

Signals can vary from region to region. It is always good to clarify the signals in use when playing for the first time. 



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