Calling ‘Low Ball’ In the Bidding Phase of Rook

Calling ‘Low Ball’ In the Bidding Phase of Rook

Low Ball in Rook Bidding Phase
I was recently introduced to another fantastic adjustment to the game of rook. The players in this group referred to the variation as “Low Ball”. This variation allows a player to bid during the bidding phase but announce that they would like to completely flip the order of which the cards are valued. Meaning all the low numbers (2s, 3s, 4s, etc) become the highest numbers and the highest number (1s, 14s, 13s, etc) become the lowest numbers.

In essence, it allows a player that is dealt a mediocre starting hand in traditional bidding to all of a sudden have a potentially powerful hand. This could mean that a traditional powerhouse hand could be bidding high against a powerhouse “low ball” hand.

So if you don’t see a lot of high cards in your hand, you don’t have to become an innocent bystander in the bidding phase. Hands can be viewed from two completely different perspectives, but equally good.
Some notes about this Low Ball variation:

The player that is bidding low ball must announce that it is a low ball bid during the bidding phase. It is not a secret to the other players.
The rook is still played as low (different households may play with rook as high in low ball, it is up to the household to decide).
Point values of the cards remain the same. i.e. 1s are still worth 15 points. 10s are still worth 10 points. 5s are still worth 5 points and so on.

We’d love to get some feedback on this variation. How many rook enthusiasts are participating or have participated with “low ball” bidding? If not, does it sound like something your family might be interested in incorporating?

Comments (4)

  • merosenlund Reply

    Our family plays this variation, but the bidder does not have to declare low ball during the bidding phase. When the bid winner declares trump they also declare “high” or “low”. Ones are always the best and the bird is always the worst trump. Then depending on whether high or low is called either the two or the fourteen would be next. I admittedly have not tried all that many of the different rook variations mainly because my family and friends tend to like things to stay the same, but I like playing this way because it does seem to make it a lot more likely that you will have a winning hand.

    February 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm
    • admin Reply

      Certainly makes things different when it comes to bidding. Makes sense that you keep 1s as the best no matter what. That seems to keep low ball from being as crazy in my opinion.

      February 12, 2016 at 6:41 pm
  • Gary blackstone Reply

    We have been playing With this option in our family for years. We Had the idea one late evening after many hands. Apparently there are a lot of great rook minds that think a like. It adds an extra level of excitement to our play and has become a family favorite. The only downside is picking up a lot of points in the kitty him come back to bite you. Rook on

    September 16, 2018 at 12:02 am
    • Gary Blackstone Reply

      1’s stay high in our version as it make’s it more challenging in the discard. We only allowed 15 or less points in the kitty discard. So the kitty can make or break a little bit we announce it in the billing process and the bidder can swing back at any time in the bid process. Keeps the others Guessing

      September 16, 2018 at 12:08 am


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