How to play the card game 500

500 or Five Hundred is a trick-taking game with some ideas from Bridge. The game described here is for four players. The game is played over a series of hands. You win the game by earning 500 points or forcing your opponents to reach -500 points.

You can purchase the 500 Rules companion app to help you keep score.

Available on the app store

The game can be broken into four stages:

Available on the app store

The Set Up

This stage is about sorting out teams, the cards and dealing your first hand.

  1. Find three other people to play with you.

    Choose two teams of two. Sit opposite your partner.

  2. Sort out the cards

    Remove 3 2 in the red suits and 4 3 2 1 in the black suits. You must have one joker.

  3. Deal the cards

    Deal three cards to each player starting on your left. Put one card in the middle of the table. Then deal four cards to each player. Place one card in the middle. Then deal three cards to each player. Put the final card in the middle.

The Bid

This is where each player says how many rounds or tricks they think they can win. You decide your bid on the hand you have and what other people are bidding. The team who wins the bid is the team that wins or loses points at the end of the hand.

  1. Decide on a trump suit

    This will usually be the suit you have the most and highest cards in. You can also bid No Trumps, Mesire (You will lose all tricks & your partner sits out.) and Open Mesire (You will lose all tricks with an open hand & your partner sits out).

  2. Decided on how many tricks could you win

    The minimum is 6, the maximum is 10. Each bid has a score value based on the suit and the number of tricks bid. Each bid must be higher than the last bid. See the Score Card for the value of bids.

  3. Make your bid

    An example of a bid is “7 Spades” or “7 Diamonds”. You can also pass if you don’t feel like you have a strong enough hand. Once you pass, you can no longer bid.

  4. The bid winner takes the pot (or kitty)

    The person with the highest bid takes the pot (the four cards in the middle). They add the pot to their hand and discard the four least useful cards back to the table face down.

The Play

Working together with your partner, you try to either win the number of tricks you bid, or stop the other team winning.

  1. Opening the first round

    The player who wins the pot plays first. Any card may be led.

  2. The other player must follow suit, playing around clockwise

    If you have cards in your hand that are the same suit as the leading card, you must play those first - then you can play cards of your choice. The Joker defaults to the trump suit set in the bidding round and should be treated as the same suit. The Jack of the same colour as the trump suit (red or black) is know as the Left Bower. It is also considered the same suit as the trump suit. (e.g. If hearts are trump the Jack of diamonds is also considered a heart)

  3. Deciding the winner of a trick

    Once everyone has placed one card down, the winner of the trick needs to be determined. The Joker is the highest trump. The second-highest card is the Jack of trumps (Right Bower), and the third-highest is the Jack of the other suit of the same colour as the trump (Left Bower). The ranks continue from Ace (High) to 4 (Or 5 if the Trump is red). The highest card in the suit wins the trick unless a trump suit is played. If more than one trump is played, the highest trump wins. If no trumps are played, the highest card of the lead suit wins the trick.

  4. Continue to play the remainder of your hands

    The winner of the tricks takes that cards and places them in independent piles face down in front of them. This allows everyone to keep track of how many tricks they have won by each team. The winner of a trick leads to the next trick. Continue playing your cards until either the team who won the bid has won the number of tricks they bid, or it no longer possible for them to reach their bid.

The Score

The goal of the game is to keep playing hands until one team wins by reaches 500 or loses by reach -500.

  1. Adding or subtracting points

    If you win the bid and win the number of tricks you bid, you receive the number of points designated on the Score Card. If you win more tricks than the bid, you receive no additional points. For example, if you bid 8 diamonds and win 9 tricks, you still score 280 points, not 380 points.

    If your team fails to make the bid, you must deduct that number of points from your teams running score. It is possible to be in the negative.

  2. Winning the game

    Rotate the dealer to the left and continue dealing, bidding and playing hands until either one team has 500 points or more or negative 500 points or less.