Écarté: A Time-Honored French Trick-Taking Card Game


Écarté, pronounced “Eck-ar-tey,” is a classic French trick-taking card game designed for two players. Although originally a casino game, Écarté can also be enjoyed simply for bragging rights or as a fun pastime. Despite its waning popularity, it remains a cherished time-honored classic that transcends generations.


Écarté’s origins trace back to 19th-century France, where it gained prominence among the aristocracy. Its elegant gameplay and strategic depth made it a favorite in social circles. Over time, however, its popularity declined, yet enthusiasts continue to appreciate its unique charm.

Progress in Modern Times

In the digital age, Écarté has found a new audience through online platforms and mobile apps. Players worldwide engage in virtual matches, reliving the game’s rich history. The fusion of tradition and technology ensures Écarté’s legacy endures.

Rules and Gameplay

1. Modified Deck

Before playing Écarté, create a 32-card French Piquet deck by removing cards ranked Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10 through 2 from a standard Anglo-American or French-suited deck. No jokers allowed!

2. The Setup

  • Shuffle the Piquet deck.
  • Cut the deck and draw the top two cards to determine the dealer.
  • Each player receives five cards.
  • An additional card is drawn face-up to establish the Trump suit.

3. Proposals and Negotiation

Écarté isn’t just about tricks; it’s a game of negotiation and strategy:

  • The non-dealing player (the “elder hand”) proposes the number of cards they wish to discard (0-5).
  • The dealer accepts or rejects the proposal.
  • If accepted, the elder hand may request another proposal.
  • Proposals continue until rejected or satisfaction is reached.

4. Vulnerability

Similar to other trick-taking games, Écarté features vulnerability. Players must strategize to avoid exposing themselves to unnecessary risks.


Écarté, once a staple in French salons, lives on as a delightful blend of skill and psychology. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a curious novice, embrace this timeless card game and savor its intricate dance of wits.

Remember, in Écarté, victory lies not only in the tricks won but also in the art of negotiation and the thrill of outwitting your opponent.

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