Kaiser is played by four people - two against two as partners sitting across from each other. The first team to get 52 points wins the game or -52 will loose the game.
This game is played with 32 cards - 7 through ace in each suit, but with the 7 of Spades replaced by the 3 of spades and the 7 of Hearts replaced by the 5 of Hearts
The cards in each suit rank from high to low: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 or 5 or 3.
Idea of the Game
This is a trick taking game, in which each trick is worth one point. In addition the 5 of Hearts is worth plus 5 points and the 3 of Spades is worth minus 3 pointsto the side which takes them in their tricks. The team which bids higher chooses the trump suit and tries to take at least as many points as they bid.
Deal and play are clockwise. The first dealer is chosen at random and after each hand the turn to deal passes to the left. The dealer deals out all the cards to the players, one at a time, so that everyone has eight.
Each player in turn, beginning with the player at the dealer's left has one opportunity to bid. He may pass or bid a number; the possible bids are from seven to twelve, either with a trump suit or in "no trumps". The trump suit is not specified in the bid, but a player who wants to play no trumps must say so in the bid - for example "eight no". A bid in no trumps outranks an equal bid in a suit, so the possible bids in ascending order are: 7, 7 no,8, 8 no, 9, 9 no, etc. The maximum possible bid is 12 no.
If a player bids, his bid must be higher that the previous bid, except that the dealer has the special privilege that he only needs to equal the previous bid in order to win the bidding.
Player A passes (isn't sure how many tricks he can make)
Player B bids 7 no (believes he can make 7 tricks without a trump)
Player C bids 8 (believes he can make 8 with a trump)
Player D bids 8 no (8 tricks without a trump)
Player D wins the bidding. Player D could also bid 8, equal to C's bid, and would then choose a trump suit.
If all four players pass, the dealer is forced to bid.
Play of the cards
The highest bidder names trumps (unless the bid was no trumps) and leads a card to the first trick. Play is clockwise. Each subsequent player must play a card of the same suit as the led card, if able to; if unable to, they may play any other card they wish. If any trumps are played, the player of the highest trump wins the trick; if no trumps are in the trick, it is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of the trick leads to the next trick. When all the cards have been played, the tricks are counted and scores written down.
The score is depends on the bid, the number of tricks taken, and who took the 5 of Hearts and the 3 of Spades in their tricks. The first team to reach a cumulative score of 52 or more points wins the game.
Each team counts how many points they have taken as follows:
one point for each trick won
plus five points for winning a trick containing the 5 of Hearts
minus three points for winning a trick containing the 3 of Spades
The bidding team's score
If the team which chose trumps took at least as many points as they bid, they add to their score the number of points they took. If they took fewer points than their bid they subtract their bid from their score.
If the team which won the bidding played with no trumps, and took at least as many points as they bid, the add double the number of points they took to their score. If they do not make their bid then they subtract double their bid from their score. At the end of the hand the bidding team will count points before the non bidding team.
The opponents' score
If the opponents of the team which won the bidding have a cumulative score of less than 47, they simply score the points they took, irrespective of whether the bid was won or lost. It is possible for this team to score less than zero (if they took the 3 of Spades with fewer than 3 tricks); in this case their cumulative score will go down.
If the opponents of the bidding team have a cumulative score of 47 or more, they cannot add any points taken to their score, but they still lose points if they took less than zero in tricks.
Some play that if you are dealt no aces, no picture cards and no 3 or 5, you can throw in the hand for a misdeal.
Some play with a minimum bid of five or six, rather than seven
(Cover 3) option
Some play that a team which takes the 3 of Spades require three tricks to erase the 3 point penalty. If the team with the 3 of Spadestake just one or two tricks, their score for the whole hand is minus 3 points. With three tricks their score would be zero, and additional tricks count one further point each as normal. The 5 of Heartscan also be counted for plus 5 points provided that the team has at least three tricks.
Some play with a bid of Kaiser 40, by which the bidder undertakes to win all eight tricks alone (partner does not take part in the play). This scores 40 points if successful and loses 40 otherwise.
If a team has a cumulative score of minus 52 or less, they lose the game and the other team wins. This helps prevent the opposing team from preventing the bidding team from bidding out.
Another version in which each player passes one card face down to partner before the bidding takes place. This variation adds to the game, in that a player can get rid of a lone card in a suit, such as a lone 5 of hearts etc.
An interesting variation played with an extra two cards (the missing sevens) in the deck, so that there are 34 cards. Eight cards are dealt to each player, plus a kitty of two cards face down. The winning bidder must pick up the kitty and discard any two cards except the 5 & 3.