Project Proposal: 

For my semester project, I will be building the card game called Old Hell with computer players. Gameplay and rules of the game are as follows:

Game Play:

The game is played with 1 deck of cards including jokers. Plays will be dealt a number of cards based on the round. This game will play 7-7, meaning round 1 each player will receive 7 cards, round 2 players will receive 6 cards, round 3 players will receive 5 cards, etc. When the round 6 and 7 are played, players will receive 2 cards each round. Rounds 8 -12 count back up with the number of cards dealt (3 cards – 7 cards).

After all the players have been dealt their cards, the dealer will flip the top card on the remaining deck. The suit of the card that is flipped is trump for that round.

Next, players take turns bidding how many tricks they think they can take that round. The player left of the dealer begins the bidding process. Bidding is based on the cards in the player’s hand, in consideration with what other players might have, and what cards might still be in the deck of remaining cards. Players can bid 0 if they think they will take no tricks. The bid of all the players added together cannot equal the exact number of cards in an individual players hand (One player has to go set each round).

When gameplay actually begins, the player left of the dealer plays first. All players after the leading player must follow suit. If all players follow suit, the highest card of the leading suit takes that trick. If players cannot follow suit, they can sluff an off suit, or they can trump that trick. The highest played trump will take that trick. The winner of each trick begins the next trick. Tricks are played until all players have played all their cards. Players cannot skip any tricks.

Once all tricks have been played, players count the number of tricks they took that round. If the player made their bid, they get (11 x the number tricks the player made that round). For example, if I bid 3 tricks, and I take 3 tricks that round, I get a score of 33 for that round. If a player makes their bid of 0, they get 10 points for that round. Sometimes more than one player makes their bid each round. All round scores are added up to determine the winner of the game.


Players 2 – 4

The order of cards (Highest to lowest):

Trump: Joker, Joker, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Off Suits: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Ex. If the trump suit is Clubs, then Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds are the off suits.

Jokers are always trump. If two jokers are played in the same trick, the second joker played takes the trick. If you have a joker bid 1 for sure. If you have both jokers,

I would like to create this game in 2 phases. Phase 1, which is for my semester project, get the computer bidding based on cards in hand, total cards dealt, and bids made. I want the bids to be accurate. For instance, most players wouldn’t’ bid on a 2 of the trump suit because it is the smallest of the trump and could easily be taken, but when the round of 2 cards is played, I personally would bid on it almost every time. I bid on that low trump card because the likely hood of someone else having a trump card in that round is minimal. The only time you know when someone else has a trump card during the 2 card rounds is if they bid anything more than 0. There are a lot of factors that are incorporated in making the computers bid.

Phase 2 is the actual gameplay. If I can start on, or finish phase 2 of the project, that would be great! The actual gameplay uses strategy. Some players will play all the high cards they based their bid on, while others will lead with a trump card to weed out some of the low trump. Usually, the player who leads a trump has a lot of trump. There are other strategies that will be implemented into the computer player of Old Hell.

If you need more clarification on the rules and gameplay, I’m more than happy to come and meet with you, bring a deck of cards, and walk you through the game.


My progress so far is slow, but beneficial. I have been brainstorming how I will build the dealing of cards, bidding your hand, and much more. The card dealer shouldn’t be too tough to build as I’m sure many people have done it. I did visit with someone who knows the game better than I do. They informed me that there are bidding ratios that come into play when bidding your hand each round. I googled around to see if I could find the bidding ratios, but I have not found them. I will definitely have to sit down with my friend who knows the game well to learn more about those ratios to use in my program.


My plan is to get the hands dealt for each round correctly by the end of this week.