How to Play "La Dame Noire"

It's a innovative card game to blend with a story. It's a card game that resembles Big Two and Rummy, and it is played with four players.


  1. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 1
    Deal out the cards. The cards can be dealt in any way, but we usually deal them in 3-2-3-2-3. Deal counter-clockwise.
  2. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 2
    Arrange your cards. Although the potential combinations (see below) are very organic, since they can change at any minute, the fact that any combination is beat by a higher one, means that you can arrange them by combo power, weak to strong. I usually arrange them by face value, but it's entirely up to personal preference.
  3. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 3
    Bet your way out. After cards have been dealt and arranged, the player to the right of the dealer has the opportunity to bet that he is going to be the first to go out. This decision is taken based on combo power and the Singletons you have (see combinations below). A lot of Singletons means low chance of going out first, while an 11-card Libra (again, see combos below) means you just have 2 Singletons to throw away, so it's a sure bet. If the first player does not bet, everyone else in turn has the right to bet. If someone bets, the others have the right to take the bet on themselves, raising the stakes. Betting starts with 20 points and can only be raised by other players in 10s, eg. if Player A bets a 20, the next player can only bet a 30 or higher. The betting can't go over 100, which means the player who bet 100 keeps the bet on himself. Remember that the grand total of the points that can be amassed in a game of La Dame Noire is 37, so if you lose a 100-point bet, you are going to be set way back!
    • If no bet is placed, the cards have to be collected and re-dealt.
  4. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 4
    Start trading. You trade one face-down card to the player at your left, with one face-down card from the player at your right. The trading continues until someone calls "Stop". When "Stop" is called, everybody takes back any cards they had prepared to give out and the showdown starts.
  5. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 5
    Play your hands or pass. The player who has the bet starts the showdown using the following combinations. Each combination is beat by the next one and also by stronger cards of the same combination. If everybody passes, the player takes the trick and leads a new one. The combinations are as follows:
    • Singleton. The weakest of the combinations. It consists of a single card and is beat by any higher Singleton. 2 is low, Ace is high. A Singleton can only be beaten by a higher Singleton, not by a Singleton of the same value but different suit. There is only one exception to this. The Queen of Spades ("La Dame Noire") is the highest Singleton, and therefore beats even Aces.
    • Beggar. The second combination in power. It consists of a low card and its respective high card, the "brother". Valid "Beggars" are the following:
      • 2-A
      • 3-K
      • 4-Q
      • 5-J
      • 6-10
      • 7-9
      • 8-8
      • As you see, the high card is selected by calculating the same distance the "low" has from 8, but going upwards. Also, the "Beggar"'s power is calculated by the low card, so 8-8 is the highest "Beggar"
    • Straight. A 5-card only straight, consisting of cards of consecutive face values. Again, suit does not matter.
    • Quarto. A 4-card combo consisting of four-of-a-kind of any card.
    • Libra. The most powerful combo that beats any other. Also, is the only combo that can be extended. It consists of a minimum of 5 cards and can go up to 11 cards. The Libra is made as follows: a pair, followed by the next card in face value as a Singleton, then the next card in value as a pair. The Libra can be extended with the last pair's next card as a Singleton and again the next card in value as a pair. A Libra always starts and ends with a pair. An example of a Libra would be 22-3-44-5-66. Note that Libras with more cards beat Libras with less regardless of face value (eg. QQ-K-AA is beaten by 22-3-44-5-66).
      • There are no Pairs or Trios, so if you have Three of a kind, you either have to break it up to three Singletons, or combine it with other cards to make a better combination. Also, try to keep your high combinations in cases where there are a lot of points, not just for show! (see Scoring below)
  6. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 6
    Go out. Try to go out first playing your cards wisely. With skill and luck you can go out first.
  7. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 7
    Perform the coup de grace. The first player to go out, whether he is the player that kept the bet or not, has the right to perform a strategic move to try to take more points. Normally, the last hand he played and the cards below it (from the previous players) is collected immediately after he plays it, instead of leaving it on the table for showdown. However, if the trick contains points and he performs the coup, he can take the whole trick and give it as tricks to the player he thinks will go out last. See scoring to see how this affects the points.
  8. Image titled Play "La Dame Noire" Step 8
    Count your points. Each Spade counts as 1, each Queen counts as 5 but the Queen of Spades counts as 10. The Grand Total is normally 37, but there could be less points counted (see below). Also count the bet, if the better did go out first, he also takes the points he bet, else, he loses those points. Nobody else benefits from the bet.
    • After the normal points have been counted, the first player takes +20 points as a bonus. The second player takes +10 and the third takes +5.
    • The last player takes the most damage. His whole pile of tricks is trashed, which means he takes no points from tricks, no matter how many tricks he earned. If he does indeed have tricks, that means the Grand Total is reduced from 37, since the last player's points do not count. Also, the last player gets no bonus. This means the last player can only go negative, if he also lost a bet!
    • The coup de grace is a special type of bet. If the first player to go out did indeed perform it, then when the game finishes, if the player he gave out his last trick to did come last, then the first player takes all of his tricks and adds them to his pile. If not, then the first player just sacrificed his points at a wrong call.


  • try to combine your cards into the best combinations you can make. Best does not mean strongest. For example if you can make your cards in a Libra and then everything else stays as Singletons, maybe you can re-examine to make a lot of Beggars. Generally, avoid Singletons as much as possible.
  • Trade cards that are parts of a pair. Since the combination does not exist, and if you do not have a Libra in the making, a pair is just useless.
  • Keep your Trios while trading. While the Trio does not exist as a combination, maybe you can make a Quarto.
  • Avoid show-off. Do not waste your 7-card Libra on a lowly Singleton when you could amass more points just waiting for that Queen Quarto!
  • Play often with the rules besides you. It can be tricky to get at first, but it will soon turn out to be a lot of fun!


  • Keep in mind the order of things. It's dealing, betting, trading, playing, performing the coup and counting.

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Categories: Card Games