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Poch, Pochen or Pochspiel (French: Poque) is a very old card game, which is recorded as early as 1441 in Strasbourg. Poch is considered one of the forerunners

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For other uses, see Poch (disambiguation). A modern Poch board Poch board (from a Nuremberg toy sample book of the 19th century) Poch board (ditto)

Poch, Pochen or Pochspiel (French: Poque) is a very old card game, which is recorded as early as 1441 in Strasbourg. Poch is considered one of the forerunners of poker, a game that developed in America in the 19th century. An etymological relationship between the game names is also assumed.[1] Games related to Poch are the French Glic and Nain Jaune and the English Pope Joan.[2] Other forerunners of poker and possible relatives of the game are the English game, Brag, from the 16th century and the French Brelan (later Bouillotte) and Belle, Flux et Trente-et-Un.[3]

Pochen is also another name for the card game Tippen.

  • 1 Rules
    • 1.1 General
    • 1.2 Stage One: Melden
    • 1.3 Stage Two: Pochen
    • 1.4 Stage Three: Ausspielen
    • 1.5 Additional rules
  • 2 Sources
  • 3 External links

The rules reproduced below are based on the description in Meyers Konversations-Lexikon of 1908; Poch was and is played in many variations with different details; the rules given here are not universal or binding like the rules of chess.


Poch is a game of chance for 3 to 6 people, played with a deck of 32 or 52 French playing cards or, sometimes, German cards. Also needed is a Pochbrett (Poch board) with 9 pots or 'pools' into which are placed stakes for the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Mariage, Sequence and Poch.

Before the start of the game, each player places a chip in each pool of the board. Then each player is dealt five cards and finally the top card of the talon is flipped to determine the trump suit (Atout).

Stage One: Melden

After the cards are dealt, the players move to the first stage of the game, called Melden or Ansagen, where they declare their 'figures' (Figuren). For example, if a player has the Ace of Trumps, he reveals it and collects the amount in the relevant pool of the board. Players with the King of Trumps, Queen of Trumps, Jack of Trumps, and Ten of Trumps do the same.

If a player holds the King of Trumps and Queen of Trumps, apart from the stakes on these two pools he also receives the stake for their 'marriage'.

The stake on the Sequence pool goes to the player who has the three cards: the Nine of Trumps, the Eight of Trumps and the Seven of Trumps.

If a pool is not cleared in the course of Melden, the stakes remain on the pool and are valid for the next stage. Before the next stage, however, new stakes are added.

Stage Two: Pochen

The next stage is Pochen which resembles a poker game with much simplified rules.

Whoever has a 'set' (Kunststück), i.e. two or more cards of the same rank, may say Ich poche! and place any number of chips in the middle of the board. Whoever thinks he can beat the 'Pocher' with a better set says Ich halte! ("I keep!") and places the same number of chips. Sets must be either four of a kind (Gevierte), three of a kind (Gedritte) or pairs (Paare). Alternatively the player may take over as the Pocher by raising the stake. However, if he holds a hand that seems to him to have little chance of winning, he will prefer to "pass" and drop out of this stage of the game. Then the other players take turns to do the same just like the betting rounds of poker.

Any set of four of a kind beats any set of three of a kind and any three of a kind beats a pair. If the sets are of the same type, the rank of the card decides; if two players have the same pair, the player who has the corresponding card in the trump suit wins.

If all but one player pass, he wins the contents of the 'Poch' pool and does not need to show his hand.

Stage Three: Ausspielen

The last stage of the game is the 'playing out' (Ausspielen): The winner of the Pochen stage begins by playing a card of his choice. The player with the next highest-ranking card in the same suit places it on the card played, etc. until the chain ends, because it is either completed with the Ace or can no longer be continued because the next card needed is in the talon. The player who played the last card may now start a new chain with any card from his hand. The game continues in this way until a player can discard his last card.

This player now receives as many chips from each player as they each have cards in their hand.

Additional rules

According to Meyer[4] no chips are deposited into the pool marked Poch in the middle at the beginning of the game. Sequence is generally defined as a sequence of at least three consecutive cards of a suit, e.g. ♥ J - ♥ 10 - ♥ 9. Sometimes it is also played in such a way that the player who has the highest ranking sequence (according to Meyer) may collect the stakes from the Sequence pool. Here, a longer sequence beats a shorter sequence, a higher sequence beats a lower sequence, if both sequences are of equal length and ran, Trumps beat the other suit; if that does not make a difference, then the player closer to the left of the dealer wins.

  1. ^ David Parlett: The Oxford Guide to Card Games. Oxford Univ. Pres 1990, p. 86.
  2. ^ Pope Joan, description of the game by David Parlett.
  3. ^ David Parlett: The Oxford Guide to Card Games. Oxford Univ. Pres 1990, pp. 88 and 95-98.
  4. ^ Meyers Konversationslexikon of 1908
  • David Parlett: The Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, Oxford University Press Oxford, New York 1992/96
  • David Parlett: The Oxford Guide to Card Games, Oxford University Press Oxford, New York 1990
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