Sergeant Major is a trick taking game that is very popular in Canada and often referred to as 9-5-2. The casino game’s official name comes from its widespread popularity among the British Royal Air Force after which it reached Canada too. Canadian Sergent Major goes by 9-5-2 rules and requires some extra explanation to those that are not familiar with the game or want to know more about the rules.
Canadian Sergeant Major in short
Sergeant Major is a trick-catching card game for 3 players that is played clockwise, using a normal 52 card pack. At first, an initial dealer is randomly chosen. This player will need to shuffle the deck. The goal of mastering the 9-5 card game rules is to win as many tricks as possible and the game ends if a player manages to win at least 12 tricks, although other total scores can be agreed on before the first round starts.
Deal and Card Exchange (first hand)
After the first dealer is chosen, the cards are shuffled, cut and dealt singly, giving a number of 16 cards to each player. The last 4 undealt cards are then placed face down on the table in the shape of a kitty. The dealer names a suit as trumps, discards any 4 cards face down, and subsequently takes the undealt cards from the kitty in their place.
9-5 card game rules
As the name of this card game suggests, 9^5/2 rules require players to catch at least 9 tricks, 5 tricks and 2 tricks, giving us the following scenarios:
- The dealer will need to catch 9 or more tricks.
- The player Left of the dealer will need to catch 5 or more tricks.
- The player right of the dealer will need to catch 2 or more tricks.
If a player fails to meet the target score, he or she will be Down by the number of missed tricks. A player who manages to catch more than the target is Up by the amount of extra tricks.
Deal and Exchange (second hand and onwards)
As the 9 5 card game is played clockwise, the new dealer is the player who led to the previous hand. The pack is shuffled and cut. Next, 16 cards each are once again dealt singly. Each player who was up on the previous hand is now able to give away one unwanted card per overtrick to a player who was down. That player will need to return the highest card(s) of the same suit(s). This is how it works:
- One player up: if only one player in the game is up, that player gives each of the other players as many unwanted cards face down as they had undertricks. These players then add the newly received cards to their hands, and for each card, they give back face down their highest card of that suit. Players who haven’t got any other cards of the suit received will need to give back the exact same card.
- Two players up: if 2 players are up in the game, the player with the higher target for the hand must trade first. He or she gives (face down) as many cards as overtricks to the player who was down, and that player returns face down the highest cards held in the same suit. The player who was up gives a card per overtrick to the player who was down, and gets that player’s highest cards in the same suit in return.
After everyone’s done exchanging cards, the dealer names trumps, discards 4 cards and takes the 4 undealt cards. If the dealer was down and had to give away the highest card of a suit, but then picks up one or more higher cards of that same suit from the undealt cards, these high cards will need to be shown privately to the players who traded cards in that suit. The 9 5 card game comes to an end when a player wins 12 or more tricks in one hand or the total score agreed upon before the game was started.
How to Win 9-5-2
By Canadian Sergeant Major rules the total score counts to be kept by each user. The target score leading to a final win is agreed upon before commencing the game and is typically set at either 10 or 20. The score is determined by calculating the Up and Down numbers after each hand, giving + and – scores. If a dealer catches 10 tricks, his or her score would be +1. If a dealer catches only 6 tricks, his or her score would be -3.
Other specialty games
A lot of players will agree with us that 9-5-2 in Canada is a whole lot of fun, but there’s more when it comes to other games of chance that are popular in Canada, but don’t easily fit into other categories such as slots or live dealer games. Our lobby of other games make sure typically Canadian games like Canadian Doubles Cribbage and Canadian Euchre get all the attention they deserve. Make sure to check out their game reviews as well.