The Rules of 120s
Objective: 120s is in general a 4 player game with two sets of partners. The goal of each team is to try to win tricks and prevent their opponents from doing so. Points are awarded for each trick and when one teams reaches 120 points the game is over.
Players: In general four players in two partnerships with partners in alternating positions around the table.
Cards: A regular deck of 52. The highest trump is the five; second is the jack, third is the A of Hearts no matter what suit is trump. For black suits, the cards from 2 to 10 rank in reverse of normal order, leading to the saying "highest in red; lowest in black."
Deal: Each player is dealt five cards in the standard left to right manner. The kitty of three cards can be dealt in during or after the initial deal.
Bidding: The bidding starts with the player to the dealer's left and continues clockwise. Each player in turn may either bid or pass. Bids can consist of 20, 25 or 30, with no suit being mentioned. To bid 25 or thirty the bidder must have a 5 card. Each bid must be higher than the preceding bid, except that the dealer in his turn can say "Mine" as his or her bid and the other played with the next highest bid has the opportunity to up his or her bet. The dealer always has the right to accept the higher bid or pass and let the other player play. The winning bidder then names the trump suit.
Drawing: Each player discards face down as many cards as he wishes from his hand. The dealer then restores the player's hands to five cards, starting with the player to his left.
Play: The player to the left of the winning bidder makes the opening lead. The hand is played out in tricks. A trick is won by the highest trump played on it, or the highest card of the suit led if no trump are present.
A hand must follow suit to a lead if that suit is the trump, with the following exceptions:
Even though able to follow to a non-trump lead, a player may trump if he pleases.
The three highest trumps (5, J, A of Hearts) have the privilege or reneging when a lower trump is led. For example, if the trump six is led, a player holding any of these three top trumps without lower trumps may discard instead of following suit (if he has lower trump also, he must play a trump). But there is no reneging against a higher trump. For example, if the trump jack is played, the holder of the five may renege but not the holder of the A.
Scoring: Each trick counts 5, and the highest trump in play counts 10. After the hand, each side counts what they have taken. If the bidder's side has taken at least the amount of the bid, they score all they have won. If this side fails, the amount of the bid is deducted from its score.
The other side in either case always scores what it has won in tricks. If a side bids 30 and makes 30 (all the points), they score 60 instead of 30.
Game: The team to first reach a total of 120 points wins the game..
Misdeal: There must be a new deal by the next dealer: (a) if he deals any hand a wrong number of cards and it is caught before there has been a bid; (b) if he fails to adhere to his chosen dealing plan; or (c) if a card is exposed during the deal.
Variants of the Game: There can be many different variations of the game of 120s. Some people play with 4 cards in the kitty with one card turned up. This is called the teaser. In our game we have decided to not let players bid 25 or 30 without the 5 in their possession. This eliminates players bidding high just to stop the other team from winning. This increases the speed of the game and eliminates unsportsmanlike play.