It is probably the oldest of the card games.
The game is played with six decks of cards (sixain) that are unwrapped and laid on the table, deck by deck, by the dealer (tailleur), face side up so they can be checked. Once the cards have been shuffled, they are cut by one of the customers (“Messieurs, la coupe”).
The cut cards are then placed in an automatic shuffler and the first 5 cards dealt are discarded (burnt) face down in the basket.
Betting begins when the steward calls “Messieurs, faites vos jeux” and the stakes are laid on the table in the four areas of the grid corresponding to the four combinations.
The game is played between two sets of two opposing combinations (totalling four):
red (rouge) / black (noir), colour (couleur) / inverse (inverse).
Payment is 1 to 1.
The steward lays the cards out one at a time in two rows. The first row represents the noir combination, the second the rouge combination.
The ace is worth 1 point, the picture cards 10 points, and the other cards are worth their own number. Each row has to reach a score between 30 and 40. The winner of the two rows is the one with the lowest score, I.E. The one nearest 30.
The other two combinations (couleur or inverse) is decided by the colour of the first card in the top row:
– if the colour of the first card is the same as that of the winning row, couleur wins
– if it isn’t inverse wins.
If the two rows score the same the hand is declared null and void. In the event of both rows reaching a score of 31 the stakes are imprisoned and the same rules apply as when the ball lands on zero in roulette.
If the stakes are withdrawn they lose half their value, but if they are left imprisoned the player can ask the steward to move them to another combination.
Players can insure stakes against a “31 après” by paying the bank 1% on a minimum of 500 chf (and multiples of) per combination.
From the moment the first card is turned over, players cannot withdraw, shift or place any more bets.