The game of Piquet or Cent , the game's English name in period,
has been played since at least the end of the 15th century. It is
mentioned in literary and scholarly works as diverse as Rabelais's
Gargantua et Pantagruel (1534) and Girolamo Cardano's Liber
de Ludo Aleae (Book on Games of Chance, 1564), a treatise on
probability theory. One of the earliest instruction manuals for a card
game was Le Royal Ieu du Piquet Plaisant et recreatif, The
Royal and Delightfull Game of Piquet.
To Play Piquet
Piquet is a game for two players, using 36 cards (sixes through Aces).
The dealer is called the younger ; the other player is called
the elder. Each hand of piquet is divided into five parts:
The parts are played in that order. Scores are counted in each part
of the hand; the first player to score 100 points is the winner. This
may take several hands. I recommend using either a score sheet or a
cribbage board to keep score.
- Blanks and discards,
- sets, and
The players cut for the deal of each hand, and the holder of the low
card is the dealer. Each player is dealt 12 cards in increments of 2
to 4 cards. The remaining stock of 12 cards is placed between the
Playing the five parts of Piquet
- Blanks and discards:
- Each player may discard up to 8 cards, and draw as many
from the stock. The elder discards and draws first, followed by the younger.
Both players must discard and draw at least one card.
A hand with no face cards is called a blank. If the elder has
a blank, she may declare the blank and the number of cards she is
going to discard. After declaring, she shows her hand to the other
player. The younger discards and draws her new cards if she does not
have a blank. Then the elder discards, draws and receives 10 points.
However, if the younger also has a blank, she declares and shows it.
No points are awarded, and play continues as though neither had a
blank. The younger may not declare a blank independently.
- A ruff is the total number of points in a suit. Aces count 11
points, face cards count 10 points, and number cards count their
number. The elder declares the number of points in her largest ruff.
If the younger has an equal or higher ruff, she declares her points,
too. If the ruffs are equal, then neither player scores. If not, the
high ruff receives points for all cards in the hand. 1 point is
scored for each 10 points in the hand. 1 to 4 points are rounded
down, and 5 to 9 points are rounded up. The loser may ask to see the
- A sequence is a group of three or more consecutive cards in a
suit. The elder declares the number of cards in her longest sequence.
If the younger has an equal or higher sequence, she declares it. If
the sequence sizes are equal, both declare the largest card in the
sequence. If both sequences are of equal length with the same high
card, then neither player scores. Otherwise, either the longest
sequence, or the sequence containing the largest card receives points
for all sequences in the hand. Sets of three and four score 3 and 4
points, respectively. Sets of five and up score 10 points plus the
number of cards in the sequence. The loser may ask to see the winning
- A set is three or more tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces. The
elder declares the number of cards in her largest set. If the younger
has an equal or higher set, she declares it. If the set sizes are
equal, the set card is declared. The largest set, or, if both have
sets of equal size, the set with the highest card receives points for
all sets in the hand. Sets of three score 13 points, and sets of four
score 14 points. The loser may ask to see the winning set.
- Tricks are played like no-trump tricks in bridge. For the first
trick, the elder leads a card, and the younger tries to play another,
higher card in the same trick. The highest card in the "lead" suit
wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads for the next trick, and
so on until all cards are played. Tricks are scored both during and
after play. Players receive 1 point for leading a ten or larger, 1
point for winning a trick, 2 points for winning the last trick with a
ten or higher, or 1 point for winning the last trick with a nine or
lower. After all tricks are played, each player counts the number of
tricks they have won. A player with seven through eleven tricks
receives 10 points; a player with all twelve tricks (known as a capet)
receives 60 points.
Repique and Pique
Players may also score points for preventing the other player from
scoring during a hand. A player gets a pique if she reaches 30 points
during the tricks, and the other player has no points. A pique is
worth 30 points.
A player gets a repique if she reaches 30 points during the first four
parts of the hand, and the other player has no points. A repique is
worth 60 points. Players must declare that they have a pique or
repique, or else they do not receive any points for them.
Gretchen Miller (Margaret MacDuibhshithe)/ email@example.com
Parlett, David; The Oxford Guide to Card Games Oxford University Press,
1990. ISBN 0-19-214165-1
Games and Gamesters of the Restoration, Editor: J. Issacs. Mayflower Press, 1930.
The Compleat Gamester, by Charles Cotton, 1674