Pâsur - Iranian card game
Pâsur is a fishing card game in which the object is to be the first player/team to reach 62 points. It's one of the most popular card games in Iran. Other names for this card game are: Ch(ah)âr barg (four-cards), Haft khâj (seven-clubs) and Yâzdahtâyi (Eleveny).
Players and cards
A regular 52-card deck is used. Pâsur is typically a 2-player game but it can also be played with 3 or 4 players (or more using two packs of cards). Four players can play in partnership, with partners sitting opposite each other. Deal and play are anticlockwise.
Starting from the player to dealer's right, the dealer deals out four cards at a time to each player face down and four cards to table face up. If a J was on the table, the dealer buries this card in the undealt pack and replaces it with the upcard of the undealt pack. If two Js, three Qs or three Ks were on the table, the dealer must gather the cards, reshuffle and deal once again. The remainder of the deck is temporarily put aside. After everybody played his four cards, another hand of four cards is dealt to each player from the undealt pack, but no more cards are dealt to table after the first deal. When these cards have been played there is another deal, and this continues until all 52 cards have been dealt (this takes six deals for 2-player game and three deals for 4-player game).
Starting from the player to dealer's right, each player in turn must play a card to table face up. This play may result in some cards being captured from the table. In this case, the played card and the captured card(s) are taken and stacked face down in front of the player. If played card can't capture any table cards, then it remains on the table to be available for other players. When all the cards have been played in the final deal (i.e. the last hand of each round), the last player who made a capture wins all the remaining table cards.
Card capturing rules
- By Getting Paired – A K in your hand can match a K on the table and take it. The same applies for a Q.
- By Addition – You can take pip cards if their total value adds to 11. Each numeral card (A-10) has its pip value (that is, A = 1, 2 = 2, and so on). Let's say you play a 6. Here are some possible combinations you can build: 6-5, 6-2-3, 6-2-2-A, 6-4-A, 6-3-2, etc.
- By Playing a J – A J can capture all table cards excluding Ks and Qs, and including any available J's on the table. If you play a J when the table is empty or the table only includes Ks and/or Qs, it doesn't capture anything and just remains there.
NOTE There is no obligation to play a card that makes a capture just because you can. You can play any cards you wish to. However, if you played a card which does make a capture, you must do so.
If a player could take all table cards without playing a J, then he scores a Sur. Let's say there's only a Q on the table and it's your turn to play. If you have a Q in your hand then you can score a Sur. Another example: there's only a 2 and 3 on table while you have a 6 in your hand.
- There's no Sur in the last hand of each round.
- After having 50 or more points, a player / team can't score a Sur for the remainder of the game.
- After you scored a Sur, take a card from your captured pile and put it beside the pile to represent your Sur. Later, if your opponent or a player from the opposite team could score a Sur, this card returns to your captured pile (tit for tat) because you get point for every Sur you have scored more than your opposing player / team.
At the end of each round, it's time to count points:
- Each A is worth 1 point
- Each J is worth 1 point
- 2 of Clubs is worth 2 points
- 10 of Diamonds is worth 3 points
- Having 7 or more of Clubs (which is called Haft Khâj "seven-clubs") is worth 7 points
- Each Sur is worth 5 points
- The total points to be scored in each round are 20 plus 5 for each Sur.
- The first player / team to reach 62 points wins the game.
- In the middle of the round, if one of the players / teams could take enough points to meet (or exceed) 62 then it's declared by saying "per shodam" and the game is over.
In 3-player version, if two players have the same number of clubs, for example both having five clubs, then the other player is "haft khâj" and gets 7 points.
NOTE Please note that you get point for every Sur you have scored more than your opposing players. For example, if you scored a Sur and later another player scored a Sur, that Sur nulls yours and both of you have no Sur. So, at the end, only one of the players/teams can benefit from Sur points.
Tips and tricks
- Hold all captured cards. You are going to review them twice.
- For the first time just count Clubs. If you are "Haft Khâj" (having seven or more clubs), then declare it.
- Now, calculate your Sur points and add it to your points.
- For the second time, count your card points (A = 1, J = 1, 2C = 2, 10D= 3).
NOTE Count your points consecutively. That is, don't start from 0 for each step. Example: you had seven clubs so you get 7 points. You had two Surs then you have 7+10=17 scores so far. Now reviewing cards for the second time... you see an A, so your have now 17+1=18 points and so on.
- When it's your turn to play and you see that you can't capture any card then it'd be better to play a high card because it's less probable that your opponent can use it to make a combination. For example, a 10 can be only captured by an A whereas a low card such as 2 can be used in various combinations to make 11.
- Your focus should be on taking most of Clubs in order to become Haft Khâj because it is worth 7 points.
- As far as possible, don't play a club unless you are going to match it with table cards.
- When you match and capture face cards (i.e. Ks and Qs), it's a good idea to throw one of them onto your opponent's captured pile (notice not to throw a "club") to have a better shuffle for the next round.
- If you can make several combinations, always make the one bringing you (more) points. For example, you have 4H in your hand an there's a 7C and 7D on the table. Here, you must go for 7C because it's a "club" and can help you become Haft Khâj.
- Whenever possible and appropriate, clear the table with a J because your opponent's next play to the empty table is likely to give you a Sur.
- It's a good tactic to leave a minimal of 11 on the table in order to hinder your opponent from scoring a Sur. Accordingly, avoid capturing cards which would leave a total of 10 or less on the table.
- If the total on the table is already 10 or less and you can't benefit this situation the best play to hinder Sur, is a face card but if you can't, play any card raising the total on the table to 11 or more.
- The target score can change. It is common to raise the target score to 100.
- After having 50 or more points, a player / team can't score a Sur for the remainder of the game. Some players don't follow this rule.