The Rules of the Game: Figgie

Figgie uses a deck of 40 cards - two suits consisting of 10 cards each, one suit consisting of 8 cards, and one of 12. Which suit corresponds to which number is determined at random, and none of the players know the mapping. The suit of 12 cards is known as the common suit. The goal suit is the suit of the same color as the common suit (i.e. if there are 12 Hearts in the deck, the goal suit is Diamonds). As such, the goal suit can contain either 8 or 10 cards.

Each participant “buys in” to the hand, paying 50 chips into the pot. In return, they each receive 10 cards, a quarter of the deck.**

Once the players have been given a chance to examine their hands, the trading of cards begins. Trading lasts for 4 minutes.

Markets are quoted for individual suits. A trade clears all markets in all suits. All trades are for one card at a time (no package deals). When a transaction occurs, the buyer pays the seller the number of chips specified, and receives one card of the traded suit in return. The specified card delivered does not matter, so long as it is one of the correct suit.

Player 1: Hearts, I’m a 5 at 7.
Player 2: Take’em.

[Player 2 pays 7 chips to Player 1, and Player 1 delivers a heart to Player 2]

At the end of trading, all players reveal their hands. The cards of each suit are counted to determine the common and goal suits. Every card of the goal suit entitles its owner to 10 chips from the pot. The remainder of the pot (either 100 or 120 chips) goes to the player who owns the most cards of the goal suit (the rank of the card does not matter, 2’s and kings both count as one card). If multiple players are tied for the most goal cards, the remainder of the pot is split between those players.

The strategy in the game comes from the fact that the hand you are dealt gives you information about which suit is common (and therefore which suit is the goal). Also, everyone is extra incentivized to trade until they have 0 or 6 of each suit, since the person with the most of the goal suit wins the remainder of the pot.