Smear Card Game Overview

Smear Card Game – History and How to Play

The smear card game is similar to a Setback or Pitch and belongs to the ‘All Four Groups.’ It is also given the name as Schmier, which is closely linked to “schmieren” (a German word), a high value discarding technique in point-trick games.

Each region normally has its house rules. The article describes the following versions of the smear game.


This is St Paul, Minnesota Version of the game. The deck used consists of 52 standard cards plus one joker. 6 people normally alternately sit in two teams consisting of three players. Each of the players is usually issued 6 cards, after which 17 cards remain for the second deal.


The Trump suit usually entails: the right Bower cards A, K, Q, J of Trump, left Bower which is card J of the same color, and 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Joker.

The non-trump (of) suit is simple as it contains: A, K, Q, (J), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

An auction pitch is used in the calculation of scores where cards are brought home. Each hand entails a total of 6 points.

  • Highest trump – awarded for bringing the ace of trumps home
  • Lowest trump- given to a player who plays two of trumps (even if it isn’t really the lowest trump)
  • Right Bower – awarded when you win a trick that contains the jack of trump suit.
  • Left Bower – awarded when you win a trick that contains the other jack of the same color as the trump suit
  • Joker – given if you win a trick that contains the joker
  • Game – calculations usually occur in the form of an auction pitch. In this case, every card has an assigned value and a team will gain the total cards’ value made in a trick. The winner of the game point is the side with the greater total (and no points for a tie). The total card points a team can gain is 81.

The following are the card values:

An Ace – 4 points A Jack – 1 point
A King – 3 points A Ten card – 10 points (crucial when it comes to a game)
A Queen – 2 points A Joker – 1 point


A bid represents the number of points that a particular team can probably take. In this specific scenario, the highest bid one can make is 6 while the lowest is 3. A player is allowed to either bid a higher number than the previous bid or passes the chance. The person sitting on the left side of the dealer starts the bidding which later goes round for a single time. Thereafter, the individual who wins the bid will determine the trump suit. And, in case no one bids, the same dealer will have to re-deal the cards again.

Second Deal

At the point a trump suit is determined, every individual apart from the dealer can choose to discard up to 3 cards other than the trump cards.

Each player will then be given cards by the dealer to bring the total at hand to 6. The dealer will go ahead and take the remaining cards, then, discard the same number of cards. Although it is not allowed to discard the trump, the dealer can do so when they exceed 6 trumps—but not discard the trump two, the trump ace, joker, left bower or right bower.


The bid winner will commence the suit and a player with no suit card can play any.

The object of the play is to acquire game points from the tens & face cards, bring home the two Bauers and the Joker and also win tricks.


The bidding side will receive all points if they take more points from the bid. Likewise, they will lose the bid amount if the team takes fewer points than bided. However, the opponents will score the bided points in any case.

The team that attains 21 or more points first wins. If both surpass 21, the team with more points wins. If both sides equal scores, the bidding team wins.

Scattered Cards

Ten Point Smear

It is the best Smear variant that resembles the ten point pitch. Usually, 4 or 6 individuals sit crosswise and play in fixed partnerships using a pack of 54 cards.

Apart from the points gathered from the High, Low, Jack and Game, there are also team points from the:

  • Jick – 1 point
  • Two jokers – 1 point each
  • 3 of trumps – worth 3 points

The jick (jack of the same color) normally ranks below the trump jack; and, the joker between the jick and ten.

The bidding process is similar to the one described above except that the minimum bid is 4 and the maximum 10.

Four player game

Each player is dealt 10 cards, a trump is named, and the highest bidder picks and adds the other 14 undealt cards to the hand. Because, each player needs to play with 6 cards on the hand; therefore, the other players discard 4 cards while the bidder discards 18 cards. Trump rules are adhered by like explained above.

Six player game

Each player is dealt 8 cards, a trump is named, and the highest bidder picks and adds the other 6 undealt cards to the hand. Since each player needs to play with 6 cards on the hand; therefore, the other players discard 2 cards while the bidder discards 8 cards. It is only where the trumps exceed 6 that a player can discard one of them.

The target score for both player games is 52 points, but the scoring system is similar to the schmie card that I described at the start of this article.