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Zole is the most popular card game in Latvia, usually played by 3 people. The Zole playing deck consists of all the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, Tens and Nines plus the 8 of diamonds and 7 of diamonds. This gives a total of 26 cards. The Queens, Jacks and all Diamonds are permanent trumps giving a total of 14 trumps. The Queen of Clubs is the strongest card in the deck followed in order of strength by the Queen of Spades, Hearts and Diamonds and then the Jack of Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds and then the Ace, Ten, King, 9, 8, 7 of diamonds . The remaining 12 cards are suits of Clubs, Spades and Hearts comprising in order of strength the Ace, Ten, King and 9. All suits are of equal strength.

The dealer shuffles the deck and gives it to the player on his right to cut. Traditionally the player cutting the pack places the cut portion closer to himself as if inviting luck to come to him. After this, he deals cards in packets of four cards to each participant two times, starting with the player on his left, thus each player has 8 cards in total and 2 cards are left on the table.

With all cards on the hands, the player must select, either to play against two other participants, or to play in pair with one of the players. If s(he) chooses the first variant, s(he) is called Big, if second s(he) will become one of the two Small, playing against Big. Big is selected by each player clockwise from the dealer being given the opportunity to pick up the two cards on the table, leave them for the next player to pick up or elect to play Zole/solo without the centre cards and gifting their value (unseen by any one until the end of the game) to the Small. The player who picks up the cards or chooses to play without them is called Big. Big selects the best 8 cards from the ten he now has with the vale of his discarded two cards adding to his final score but only if he wins at least one trick.

The target of the game is for Big to collect the majority of points available, i.e. 61 out of 120, which is the maximum quantity of points in the game. If both sides get 60 then the Small win. The value of the cards is as follows: Ace – 11 points, Ten – 10, King – 4, Queen – 3, Jack - 2, all other cards have zero value. It’s worth to note that 10 is stronger and of higher value than the King, in some computer variant of the game Tens are marked as Ø.

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