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Regular Shmear Rules

Deck
The standard 52 card deck is used.

Rankings
Standard ranking of A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

Object
Be the first to obtain 11 (red and white) chips while minimizing blue chips. (note: some games are played to 15 chips.)

Deal
The cards are dealt 3 at a time to each player until each player has 6 cards (see Kitty Variants for special deal rules). The deal rotates clockwise after each hand. (note: All rotations in Shmear are clockwise.)

Shmear Points
A maximum of 4 Shmear Points are available per hand:

  1. One Point for High for bringing home the highest trump
  2. One Point for Low to the player who plays lowest trump (not exactly the case in Pitch Variation)
  3. One Point for Jack to the player who brings home (a.k.a. 'captures') the jack of trump
  4. One Point for Game is calculated at the end of the hand. Each card has a value, and each player counts the total value of the cards they have taken. The player with the greatest total wins Game (not awarded in event of a tie). The card values are:
    • Each Ten 10 points
    • Each Ace 4 points
    • Each King 3 points
    • Each Queen 2 points
    • Each Jack 1 point
    • All other 0 points

(note: There are a total of 80 card points available.)

Even though it is possible to lose points in Shmear, a player’s Score can never be less than Zero chips.

Bidding
Each bid represents the number of Shmear Points that a player plans to win from the cards in their hand. The minimum bid is 2 and the highest bid is 4 (see Shooting the Moon). Bidding begins at dealer's left and goes around the table once. A bid must be greater than the highest previous bid or the player must pass. The player with the highest bid names the trump suit.

If all players pass, the dealer is given the choice of playing out the hand or forfeiting the deal. If the dealer plays out the hand they either bid 2 or Shoot the Moon (see below). If the dealer forfeits the deal then they lose 2 chips, gain 1 blue chip and the next player deals. It is wise to forfeit the deal if another player is close to winning the game

Playing
The winner of the bid leads a card (whose suit becomes the new trump suit). Each player (in-turn) must follow suit unless they have no trump cards. At the end of the trick, the player who played the highest ranked trump card (see Rankings) wins the opening trick and captures all of his/her opponent’s cards that were played in that round.

The winner begins the next round by playing one of their remaining cards. Each player (in-turn) must play a card of the same suit or play a trump. If a player does not have a lead-suit or trump card then they may play any of the remaining cards in their hand. At the end of the trick, the player who played the highest ranked card in the lead suit (see Rankings) wins the trick and captures his/her opponent’s cards. However, if a trump card is played then the player with the highest ranked trump card wins the trick. This process continues until all cards have been played all of their cards (6 tricks).

Scoring
After the hand is completed the high bidder adds up the number of Shmear Points they’ve won. If they’ve won at least as many Shmear Points as they bid, they earn a chip for each Shmear Point they’ve won (can be more than the bid). If they’ve won fewer Shmear Points than bid, they lose the number of Shmear Points bid and receive a blue chip (also called a “smuck”). Opponents always get a chip for each Shmear Point they have won.

The process of Bidding, Playing, and Scoring is continued until a player has enough chips to win the game (15 chips). The deal is passed clockwise.

Shooting the Moon!!!
On the very first hand of a game or anytime a player has at least one chip they may Shoot the Moon when bidding. Shooting the Moon is the highest bid. A player may shoot the moon even if another player bids 4 Shmear Points ahead of them.

If the Shooter wins all 4 Shmear Points they win the game. If the Shooter does not win all 4 Shmear Points, the Shooter loses all their red and white chips and earns 2 blue chips. If a player Shoots the Moon they must play their original 6 cards and may not swap, use the kitty or draw any cards. If a player Shoots the Moon in Crazy Shmear then the Regulator Shmear rules are in effect. The Shooter does not get a partner and every player may earn Shmear Points under the Regulator Shmear rules.

Winning
The winner is the first player to reach 11 or more (red and white) chips. If more than one player has at least 11 chips, the winner is the player who just bid (regardless of which player has more chips). In the rare case when two or more players have 11 or more chips and the bidder didn’t make his/her bid, the winner is the player with more chips. In this rare case, if the tying players have the same number of chips then the game is a draw.

Information on the Shmear variations we offer can be found here.

Shmear Variations

There are many variations of Shmear based on local customs and traditions.  Below you will find a list of Shmear variations presented in our game.

 

Partner Shmear Variant
Normal deal. Played to 15 points.

Players sitting across the table from each other are partners.

Partners combine their points when calculating the Shmear Game Point.

Both partners receive the number of chips they have won together at the end of the hand. (For example, if the high bid is 3 and one partner wins High and Jack, the other partner wins Low, and together they win Game; then the partners each get 4 chips.) If the partners can't combine their Shmear Points to make the bid then each partner loses the amount of chips that were bid and each partner earns a blue chip. (For example, if the high bid is 4 and one partner wins High and Jack and the other partner wins Low, but another player wins Game then each partner will lose 4 points and get a blue chip.)


Pitch Variant (also called "Setback")
Normal deal. Played to 11 Points.

The Shmear Point rule for Low states that the person who plays the lowest trump card gets the Low Shmear Point. However, in Pitch the person who "brings home" the trick with the lowest trump wins the Low Shmear Point.


Partner Pitch Variant (also called "Partner Setback")
Normal deal. Played to 15 Points.

Pitch and Partner Shmear rules are combined.


Jick Shmear Variant
Normal deal. Played to 11 points.

There is an extra Shmear point called the Jick. The Jick is the Jack of the same color but opposite suit as the jack of trump. The Jick ranks between the Jack and 10 of Trump.

In Jick Shmear, if you are the last bidder you must bid 2.  In all other games you can "pass" as the last bidder (forfeiting 2 points)


Partner Jick Shmear Variant
Normal deal. Played to 15 points.

Jick Shmear and Partner Shmear rules are combined.


Crazy Shmear Variant
Normal deal. Played to 15 points.

At the end of the 6 rounds, the player who has the High Shmear Point is a partner with the player who has the Low Shmear Point. If a player has both the High Shmear Point and the Low Shmear Point, that player is his/her own partner. Sometimes the high bidder is not one of the partners.

Partners combine their points when calculating the Game Shmear Point. The other players do not combine their points for Game.

Both partners receive the number of chips they have won together at the end of the hand. (For example, if the high bid is 3 and one partner wins High and Jack, the other partner wins Low, and together they win Game; then the partners each get 4 chips.) If the high bidder is a partner and the partners can't combine their Shmear Points to make the bid then each partner loses the amount of chips that were bid and each partner earns a blue chip. (For example, if the high bid is 4 and one partner wins High and Jack and the other partner wins Low, but another player wins Game then each partner will lose 4 points and get a blue chip.)

Shooting the moon is not allowed in Crazy Shmear.


Kitty Shmear Variant
After the deal, 3 cards ("the kitty") are dealt to the center of the table. Played to 15 points.

At the end of the bid, the high bidder adds the kitty to his/her hand. Before playing the first card, the high bidder must discard 3 cards so they begin the hand with just 6 cards.

Shmear Lingo

There are many words that a common in Shmear, here are a few:

  • "to bring home the trick" = to win the trick
  • "a dump" = (everyone has passed their bid and) the dealer is forced to bid 2 or forfeit 2 chips
  • "a trick" or "a round" = one turn around the table in which each player plays a card
  • "a hand" = all players being dealt their cards, bidding, playing out the round, and winning or losing chips
  • "getting set" = a bidder not winning at least as many chips as they bid
  • "a smuck" = a blue chip; a player earns a blue chip when they get set
  • "the sleepers" = the cards that are un-dealt during each round
  • "a fail" = any non-trump card
  • "going out" = winning the game

Shmear/Schmeer/Smier/Schmier/Shmear/Shmir (shmîr) n. Slang. A number of things that go together; an aggregate: bought the whole shmear.

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