Tienlen is the most popular Vietnamese card games. It is similar to Big2, belonging to the climbing family of card games. The objective in playing Tienlen is to get rid of all the cards before your opponents do. While the game rule is simple, there are many twists and turns that make Tienlen a unique and challenging game.
When you first enter a tienlen game room, you are an observer. To reserve your sit, you can click on one of the empty seats (denoted by [None]) or click on button "Sit". If there is no seat available, consider open a new table, or wait for someone to leave, or go to a different table. Double click on a table will let you to go there.
Once you have a sit, you can play the next time the cards are dealt. If there is no game in progress, you can click on "Deal" to ask the server to deal cards. There must be at least 2 people to play.
At the beginning of a new Tienlen game, each player is given 13 cards. The winner of the previous game (or a random player chosen by the server) starts a round with any valid Tienlen card set (to be described shortly). All players then take turn to play a higher card set or "Pass" to skip the turn. Once a player Pass, he/she is forced to pass at subsequent turns in general. The round ends when 3 of the 4 players pass. The last player of the round then starts a new round with any valid card set. The game ends when one of the player runs out of cards.
A tienlen card set can be either of the following. Some card sets are considered special.
- Single: one card
- Pair: 2 cards of the same rank
- Triple: 3 cards of the same rank
- Quadruple: 4 cards of the same rank. Quadruple is a special card set.
- Series: 3 or more cards forming a consecutive sequence
- Double Series: 6 or more cards forming a consecutive sequence of pairs. Double Series is a special card set.
The ranks of the cards in increasing value are 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A 2. A card of higher rank is better than a card of lower rank. Among cards of the same rank, a card of higher suit is better. The suits of the cards in increasing value are Heart, Diamond, Club, Spade. Deuce (2) is not allowed in any series.
Card sets of the same type are compared using the highest cards in the sets. Only sets of the same type can be used to cut each others, with exception for special card sets.
The deuce (also called Pig) is a highest ranking card in the game. When playing single or double, certain special card sets can be used to beat the deuce set. Here are the list of all special cutting rules:
- Double series of 6 cards (3 consecutive pairs) can cut a single deuce.
- Quadruple can cut double series of 6 cards or single deuce.
- Double series of 8 cards can cut quadruple, double series of 6 cards, single deuce, or pair of deuces.
A further exception is that, a player who has already passed in a round can still uses double series of 8 to cut a pair of deuces. This is the only time when the passing rule is ignored.
Before the cards are dealt, the player in sit #1 can change the betting per card by selecting a new betting from the box at the bottom left corner. There is a limit on how much you can bet. This limit depends on the amount of money you have.
When the game start, each player contributes the betting amount for the current game prize. When the game ends, the winner of the game takes all the money.
If in a round when deuce(s) are played and special sets are also played, money are also transfered. The money is always transfered from the owner of the previous set to the owner of the current special set. The money transfered is the sum of the penalty values of all the deuces in the round times the round factor. The penalty value for a black deuce is one bet value, and for a red deuce, 2 bet value. The round factor is 1 for the first special cutting, and is doubled for each subsequent special cutting.
When a game end, players who still have deuces or special card sets in their hands are penalized. The penalty for a black deuce is one half bet, the penalty for a red deuce, quadruple, or 3 consectutive pairs is one bet, and the penalty 4 consecutive pairs is two bets. The winner collects all the penalties.
Certain hands are recognized as "auto win" hands. Games with these hands are not played. The owner of the special hand wins the game. The winning amount is 2, 3, or 4 times more than normal, depending on the type of the hand. Following are the special hands:
- Hand containing 6 pairs. Win double.
- Hand containing 5 consecutive pairs. Win double.
- Hand containing 4 deuces. Win triple.
- Dragon series, hand containing a series of 13 cards (series of 12 and a deuce). Win quadruple.
- Partial dragon series, hand containing a series of 12 cards. Win double.
- 13 black (or red) cards. Win quadruple.
- 12 black (or red) cards. Win double.
There are so many different variances of the game, all of them are different in the handling of the special card sets and with starting game and ending game. For people who are already familiar with Tienlen, here are a few specific rules that may be different from what you may be used to:
- 3 consecutive pairs can beat a single deuce. It cannot be used to go first.
- 4 consecutive pairs can beat a single deuce, not just pair of deuces.
- A new round starts when 3 out of 4 players pass. There is no unlimitted forwarding.
- When 4 consecutive pairs are used to cut a pair of deuce, the player does not have to be in the round (i.e. he/she may previously passed in the current round).
- Playing order is reversed after each game. If A plays before B in one game, B will play before A the next game.