56 International Game Rules
1. General 56 Game Rules and Objectives
1.1 The object of the game is to obtain a higher score of points than the opposing team at the end of a session or regulation play. Two partnerships of three players each are needed to play 56. A minimum bid of 28 in suits or no-trumps is mandatory for the lead player, seated to the immediate right of the dealer. This will be followed by bids by other players in turn in a counterclockwise direction up to a maximum bid of 56 in any of the four suits or no-trumps
1.2 The following point scoring system will be maintained for all individual deals, and points will be recorded in score sheets, Cumulative scores will be determined at the end of each session or regulation play.
Bid or Contract Points awarded to declaring Points awarded to opponents
Side when contract is made when contract is defeated
From 28 through 39 1 Point 2 Points
From 40 through 47 2 Points 3 Points
From 48 through 55 3 Points 4 Points
56 4 Points 5 Points
In the event of doubling, one additional point will be awarded. When redoubled,
two (2) additional points will be awarded.
2. Dealing of Cards
2.1 Cards are to be dealt first by the player determined by the draw. The next deal is to be performed by the player sitting immediately to the right of the dealer and so on. Cards will be dealt four at a time, face down in a counterclockwise direction in two (2) rounds.
2.2 The dealer will shuffle the cards thoroughly using both hands. Table flopping (as is done in the game of Rummy) is not permitted.
2.3 The cards are then offered to the player seated immediately to the left for “cutting”, an action of
re-stacking performed by one hand in a single motion. Multiple re-stacking is not allowed.
2.4 Re-Deal of Hands: The following infractions when occur will cause the hand to be re-dealt by the
same dealer who caused the constraints:
1. If any card is exposed during the process of the deal.
2. If any in-ordinate number of cards is dealt to any player (e.g. one player is dealt 9 cards
and another 7 etc.).
3. If a player is dealt all 8 cards in the same suit.
4. If a player is dealt all 8 Jacks.
5. If after the bid and during the play it is discovered that the defending team is collectively void
6. Out of turn shuffle will reshuffle if it is find out before the release of first card by the
3. The Bidding (Auction): All bidding shall be confined to the patterns approved by the framers
and shall uphold the spirit of gamesmanship. Indicative bidding, signals, body gestures,
diversionary non-bid-dialog/disturbance etc. are not permitted and will attract penalty points as
determined by appropriate authority. All arbitration should start at the deal table and a
consensus solution between the contesting teams is the best way to resolve any issues.
The Rules Committee shall invoke its authority only when requested by
one or both competing teams.
3.1 It is mandatory for the lead player to bid a minimum of 28 in any suit or no-trump. A ‘pass’
by him/her means the bid is ’28 no trumps’. The others can elect to ‘passes or ‘raise the bid’
at their ‘turn’. Bidding ‘turn’ occur in an anticlockwise direction beginning from the
lead player. Bid/No Bid is also mandatory for each player at each of his turn. Silence
or contemplation by a preceding player shall not be construed as a No-bid.
3.2 Bidding is permitted only at one’s turn. Out of turn ‘bidding’ or out of turn ‘discarding
card’ can result one time warning and after that in a penalty of one (1) point if objected to by
the opposing team, no other restrictions. A “Double” or “Re-double” bid out of turn will
result the same as above.
Double can change any time and Redouble cannot be changed.
3.3 The bidding ends when a player proposes the highest ranked contract. At this time, the
‘bidder’ is allowed a one-time ‘self-raise’ to a higher score ceiling of 40, 48 or 56 in the same
‘suit’. ‘Doubling’ and ‘Redoubling’ are allowed after the self-raise; but no other bidding
Rules of Bidding.
(1) Numbers: As in 28 through 56 used with suits and as in 1, 2 etc. used with plus
(2) Suits: Clubs ( ) Diamonds ( ¨ ) Spades ( ª ) Hearts ( © )
(3) Plus: Addition to previous bid. A plus 2 Diamond bid for e.g. after a 29 Spades bid will
establish the current bid as 31 Diamonds.
(4) No- trump: Denotes top ranked card of the lead suit wins trick; there is no ruffing.
(5) Noes: This is used to indicate void in the suit bid by the previous bidder; if this becomes
the contract, no-trump will be effective.
(6) Pass: Generally used to denote “No Bid”, and to pass the bid to next player. Also used in
a convention to denote low-key hand as in “28 Pass”, which when becomes a contract
will revert to 28 No-trumps”. It can be used only with Numbers in a bid (e.g. 28 Pass,
56 pass etc.) A higher bid of pass with number is permitted. (e.g. 37 pass after a previous bid of 36 spades. If
every one passes, it is played as 37 No-trump). Use “Pass” only with certain limitation,
please see examples of limitations.
A certain order of these terms used in bids is explained below. A maximum of three terms
in one bid are allowed, but not necessarily all the combinations. Given below are the bids
and its order of the terms that are allowed and will be known as "approved bids".
1. Number followed by suit - e.g. 28 Clubs
2. Suit followed by number - e.g. Clubs 28 (generally known as reverse bid)
3. Number followed by 'No-trump' - e.g. 28 No-trump
4. Number followed by 'Noes’ - e.g. 28 Noes
5. Number followed by pass -- e.g. 28 Pass
6. Plus, followed by suite... e.g. Plus Diamonds
7. Suite followed by plus... --e.g. Diamond Plus (part of reverse bid)
8. Plus, number, followed by suit - e.g. Plus One/Two Diamonds,
9. Suite followed by plus, number - e.g. Diamond plus one/Two (part of reverse Bid)
10. Plus, number followed by 'Noes - e.g. Plus One No’s
Not approved bids
1. Terms like minus, more, Adhikam Onnu (+1)
2. Plus one Noes/plus No-trump without number at the start of the bidding (very first call)
3. Number, plus followed by Suit…e.g. One plus Diamonds, Two plus Diamonds or one plus Noes
4. Reverse bidding with pass e.g. Pass 28, pass 56 etc.
3.4 To bid in a suit, the bidder must hold at least one card in that suit. Any violation will
attract penalties equivalent to violation of Cardinal Rule (see article 3.9)
3.5 No review of bidding will be permitted, except in the case of an immediate bid too feeble to be
heard or in the case of a distraction caused by third parties or caused due to mitigating circumstances. In case of dispute,
judging committee will rule.
3.6 Pass bids are generally considered as “No Bid” with the exceptions listed above.
3.7 “Double” is considered as a bid. Double does not increase the numeric value of the bid. All
other 5 players have the option to overbid it or any of the 3 players whose team’s bid
has been doubled may redouble it at one’s turn. A re-double also signifies end of the
bidding for that particular deal.
3.8 If any player holding a constraining hand as described in article 2.4 fails to disclose this when
occurs, the team shall be penalized for violation of “cardinal Rule” as detailed in 3.9.
3.9. Cardinal Rule: Each player shall follow through with the same suit “in play”, if the player
holds at least one card in the same suit. Obligation discussed in 3.9 above is also added as
a part of the cardinal rule.
Review of eight tricks played in the game is allowed at the end of the game. Players must
play all eight cards on the table visible to all players and for violation will attract a penalty
of one point if objected to by the opposing team.
No external referee or umpire will be assigned for any match. The progress of the matches
is to be monitored and recorded by the players themselves. If any member is
caught violating the ‘cardinal rule’ (defined above), the team shall be penalized by
awarding the ‘deal’ and three additional points to the opposing team. ‘Awarding the
game’ means one of the following:
(i) If the declaring team has violated the rule, the contract shall be considered defeated
(ii) If the defending team has committed the infraction, the contract will be declared
4.0 Play of the Hand
4.1 After completion of the bidding by auction, a contract is recorded at the table. Play of the hand
will now commence.
4.2 Out of turn leading is not allowed. Any infraction in this regard whether intentional or not,
can result one time warning and after that in a penalty of one (1) point if objected to by
the opposing team, no other restrictions.
4.3 A card exposed and placed on table can not be retired and substituted with another card from the same suite unless
extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstance is the accidental slip from the hand before a play is commenced
or rather a new lead in play is commenced.
4.4 A deal shall not be abandoned once the play has commenced. If the deal sequence is
erred unintentionally, it has to be identified prior to the commencement of the play to effect
correction. However, the total number of deals in the session has to be maintained
for uniformity and game control. Review of closed tricks will not be permitted after a new lead
is in play on the table.
4.6 Players of a team can interchange or rotate their seats at anytime during the session,
provided that this is affected before the cards are dealt. Any team can opt to interchange
all 3 seats with the opposing team after half way stage of the session. This option will
be restricted to one occurrence during the entire session.
4.7 All players are obligated to identify and opt for reshuffle in the event he is dealt a
A constraining hand is non-playable and is characterized by (1) He is dealt all 8 Jacks
and (2) He is dealt 8 cards from the same suite. Failure to comply will attract a penalty
of 3 points besides points awarded for forfeiting the deal.
4.8 Control of the play is the responsibility of both competing teams. If dispute still persists,
Rules Committee will deliver ruling on the dispute. The decision of the Rules Committee
shall be final and binding.
4.9 If a player tables two or more cards end of the play, it is declaration of claim of all remaining tricks.
If the opposing team challenges this claim, they have an option to simulate the play and establish
any possibility of obtaining a single trick using any permutation or combination. If that
possibility is established, and then all remaining tricks will be claimed end-block by
the challenging team. This however does not affect the status of tricks already won prior to the challenge.
5.1 At the end of bidding, the designated scorer (usually one player of any team) shall enter
the value of the bidding (contract) into the score sheet. The play can commence only after
this task is completed.
5.2 At the end of play of each hand, points amassed by each team are counted and compared to the
contract. If the contract is made, the requisite number of points as enumerated in chart 1.3
is entered in favor of the declaring team. If the contract is found defeated, requisite
points (refer chart 1.3) are entered in favor of the defending team.
5.3 The score sheet shall be accessible to both teams for verification. Score keeper must
announce the game score after every six deals and also last six deals. At the end of the
session the cumulative points scored by each team are tabulated and verified.
5.4 The team scoring highest cumulative total points is declared the winner of the session and
will be awarded 3 match points in Preliminary round. A tie during regulation play (18 deals) will earn one (1) match point for
each team,the tie will be broken by playing one deal and winning team get one more point .
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