The rules of Paskahousu

The official card game of s/y Venda. The rules used in this game originate from the 60’s when a group of students in Otaniemi perfected the rules of the original paskahousu (in a series of thousands of games) to produce an incredibly versatile card game. This game can be played with only 2 players, but also up to 8-10 players, more than that is theoretically possible, but not very feasible. The best amount of players is around 6. So here are the rules:

2 normal decks are used, shuffled together, with all of the jokers and bridge information cards (if there are any). Jokers and info cards are valued as 2’s, which is the best and highest card in this game.

Normal gameplay: (Colour (or suit) does not matter, only numbers (or ranks)).

1. You have to hit the same number or higher that is on the table.

2.  you can hit as many cards of the same number as you like, BUT above 7 (that is 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A and 2) you CANNOT hit two or three cards at a time, only one or four or more. 

3. when at least four cards of the same number are on the table, all of the hit cards are excluded from the game (the cards are turned) and the player who hit the “turning” card i.e. the fourth card, continues with a clean table. For example there are three 4’s on the table, if you hit two 4’s more, all of the cards turn, and you get to continue.  

4. Same kind of “turning” happens when a 10 is hit over a number 3 to 9, or an ace hit over a jack, queen or king. You CANNOT hit an ace over a 3-10. If a “killing card” that is 10 or an ace is hit on a clean table it doesn’t “turn” by itself, (unless there are four or more of them.). You can hit only a 2 over a 10 or an ace.

5. a 2 can be hit over anything and does not turn even if there are more than four on the table. This means, that all of the 2’s that are in the stack, stay in the game the whole time.

6. At any point you can pick up the cards on the table (the hit cards). By doing this you forfit your turn. You can do this even if you would have something in your hand, that you could play. Picking up the cards is an important part of the game, and usually the one aspect that separates novices from the more seasoned players.

7. Every time you hit a card, you pick one up from the stack: you have to have at least the number of cards that are dealt in your hand as long as there are cards on the stack (to be explained later).If you hit three cards, you pick up three cards. If you turn the cards with an “killing card” you pick one card, before continuing. If you pick up hit cards from the table you will probably end up with more cards in your hand that are dealt. Then you just don’t pick up any cards from the stack as long you have “surplus” of cards. If you have the dealt number of cards in your hand, you can also try a card straight from the stack, you just flip the top most blind card on the table. Of course if it is a card you cannot put there, you have to pick up all the hit cards.  

8. When the stack is depleted, players try to get rid of their cards. There are no winners, only a loser (i.e. the paskahousu), which is the last one to have cards. Which also means, that he or she has all of the 2’s that were in the stack. If the amount of cards in the hand is large, one good tactic is to collect many cards of the same number, for instance, if you have five 4’s and six 8’s, you can get rid of more than twelve cards in one turn: you hit the five 4’s, and they turn, then you hit the six 8’s and they turn, and then you still have a clean table to continue with.

9. This is where the game differs from any other. Dealing the hand: The reigning paskahousu deals the hand. The dealer decides how many cards there are in the hand and how much to put in the stack. There must be at least 7 cards in the game (only applicable when there are very few players). For instance the dealer deals 4 cards to every one and and cuts the deck so the stack holds about 30 cards. The cards that are not used, are put aside and not used until the next game. The stack is optional, the dealer does not have to put any cards in the stack. In this case the dealt hand is what you get (except if you pick hit crads from the table). Examples of extreme games are, when only one or two cards are dealt to the hand, or a large hand of 12 crads or more. The height of the stack pretty much also sets the duration of the game. Also if you have only few cards in the hand, the game can be longer (players are not able to “get to the stack” as often). The most usual games are played with hand of 5 to 7 cards and a stack of approximately 1 cm high. When dealing the cards, the dealer starts and finishes in him/herself, thus ending up with one more card than the others. The dealer starts the game and gets rid of the surplus card in the first round.

10. This is not a game of speed, if you hit a card it stays there, you cannot hit any cards after that on your turn (even if you pick the same card from the stack, or find a card in you hand that was hidden when you decided on your play). It is a good to have an idea of the cards the other players have, especially after the stack is depleted. Especially try to have some idea of the whereabouts of the 2′ in the game. It is quite usual to have the last two players fighting over the supremacy of the 2’s and it if you find yourself in such a situatin, you’ll thank yourself if you have some idea of the amount of 2’s the other player has. 

11. The players decide before the first hand, how many loses decides the whole game. The most used game is three loses. less than that and luck begins to affect a bit of too much. 

The rules: Jorma Rekola, Jyrki Juusela, et al


The leaderboard:

The Northern Paskis of Venda, not settled yet.

The Eastern Paskis of Venda, not settled yet.

The Western paskis of Venda: Martti Sivonen* (Ijmuiden, Holland, 4.56E)

The Southern paskis of Venda: Martti Sivonen* (Ijmuiden, Holland, 52.46S)


*decided with only two losses, so not very binding.

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