(In Forty Five, the Ace of Hearts is the third highest trump card for Spades, Clubs, and Diamonds)
Card Game Rules
Forty-Five is a card game for 2 to 5 people, played with a standard 52 playing card deck. Other than a more complicated system for establishing trump and ranking cards, Forty-Five is a traditional trick taking game where the objective is to win the most tricks.
For more trick taking games, check out our guides for Spades and Hearts.
If you are looking for cards to play Forty-Five with, check out a standard deck here or one of our more recent arrivals here.
Before gameplay can begin, a dealer must be selected. To do so, players must choose a random card from a shuffled deck. The player with the lowest card becomes the dealer. Ties are broken with repeated drawings. The dealer shuffles the deck and then passes out, face down, one set of three cards and then one set of two cards to every player. Afterwards, the next card from the deck is flipped over to establish the trump suit for the game.
If a player has the Ace of the trump suit, they may trade in any of their cards for the card that established trump. If the flipped over card is an Ace, then the dealer may trade in any of their cards for that card.
Ranking of Cards
The following are the rankings of trump suits from highest to lowest:
For Spades and Clubs, the rankings are 5, Jack, Ace of Hearts, Ace, King, Queen, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
For Hearts, the ranking is 5, Jack, Ace, King, Queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 2.
For Diamonds, the ranking is 5, Jack, Ace of Hearts, Ace, King, Queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 2.
The following are the rankings of non-trump suits from highest to lowest:
For Spades and Clubs, the rankings are King, Queen, Jack, Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
For Diamonds, the ranking is King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and A.
For Hearts the ranking is King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.
How to Play
The player to the left of the dealer begins by placing a lead card in the middle of the gameplay area. Going clockwise, players must follow suit if they can and try to out rank all other cards. The player with the highest card takes the trick and places the next lead. If no trump cards are played, the lead suit is highest.
Players receive 5 points for taking 3 or 4 tricks and 10 points for taking all 5 tricks. The first player to 45 points wins the game.
For more information about Forty-Five, check out Wikipedia's article here or Jerry Dow's article here.
Looking for more card games to play? Check out this article:
40+ Great Card Games For All Occasions
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about card games here and his LinkedIn profile here.
What cards can you ask for to find partner in 5 handed 45s.? Do they have to be one below your highest trump card.?
4 way cut throat….Can you put the kitty down after you’ve dealt all players their first three cards then you’ve dealt the next two players two cards, then the kitty then the last two players their final two cards??
Absolutely, you can play a diamond and you would want to in many cases when trying to “set” the bidder/opponent. The exception to this is when all of the trump is played out if someone leads a spade, everyone else should play a speed. In those instances it’s almost like the card that’s played is the trump for that round (again, once the trump cards have all been played).
In 45, when a player starts do you have to follow suit? Or can you play a trump card?
For example diamonds are trumps. I lead with Queen on hearts. The next player has a heart but decided to play a diamond instead. Is that aloud? Or do they have to follow suit if they have it?