HOKM Card Game (Rules and Instructions)

Even if you think you know all the trick-taking games, there’s a good chance you’re yet to learn this one. My HOKM card game rules will guide you through the gameplay. 

HOKM is also known as Court Piece. It is a traditional Persian game known mainly in Asia. It is, however, considered quite popular in Western countries, too. 

Why should you try it? Since it’s intended for two teams of two players, I find it a perfect choice for a double date or a great game night idea for a small group of friends.

Not ready for a steep learning curve? Don’t worry. Despite its exotic name, HOKM is a classic trick-taking card game, not very different from Whist (see our Whist card game rules).

This HOKM card game rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is HOKM?
  • What you’ll need to play HOKM
  • HOKM card game rules
  • How to play the HOKM card game (video tutorial)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to HOKM (our guides)

Continue reading for complete turn-by-turn instructions on how to play the HOKM card game.

What is HOKM?

HOKM Card Game Info Image

HOKM lacks the complexity of some other similar games, which makes it perfectly suitable for younger players and beginners. 

It can be fast and short or long and slow, depending on your preference. Despite its simplicity, this game provides you with many opportunities to use your tactic skills and brain.

Number of Players: 4 players

Ages: 7+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 20 – 45 minutes

Category: Trick-taking card game

Similar to: Whist, Spades, Bridge

Main Objective: Help your team win as many tricks as possible – ideally, one after the other for at least seven tricks.

Why We Love It: HOKM is a simple but excitingly exotic variation of traditional trick-taking card games. Moreover, it’s an excellent team game for two pairs.

What You’ll Need to Play HOKM

If you want to play HOKM, you only need a standard 52-card deck.

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HOKM Card Game Rules and Gameplay

HOKM is a straightforward trick-taking card game involving trumps. In short, the players in this game collaborate with their teammates to capture as many tricks as possible.

The cards are ranked from Ace (highest) to Two (lowest). Obviously, like in other similar games, trumps beat any non-trump cards regardless of their ranks.

Starting the Game

This game is intended for four players who will form two teams. Teammates should sit opposite each other across the table. 

One of the players takes on the role of the dealer and first deals five cards to each player

In each round, the player sitting to the dealer’s right acts as Hakim (sometimes also spelled Hakem), which means “King” or “Ruler” in old Persian. 

Hakim takes their cards first, hiding them from their opponents, and decides on the trump for the following round. Note that he cannot communicate with his teammate about this.

Then all the players are allowed to check their cards, and the dealer deals out the rest of the cards evenly. 

How to Play HOKM

In HOKM, the gameplay continues counterclockwise, and each player plays a single card on their turn. This is how the game proceeds:

  • Hakim takes their turn first, leading with one of his cards. The card he chooses will determine the so-called ground suit for the trick.
  • Other players must now follow by playing the cards of the same suit. If they don’t have ground suit cards, they can play any other card – including the trump.
  • The non-ground suit and non-trump cards don’t have any value in the trick, meaning they will always lose. 
  • On the other hand, as I’ve already mentioned, trump overweights any non-trump cards (e.g., trump has Two wins over non-trump Ace).
  • If several trumps meet in one trick, the higher-ranking one wins.
  • The player with the most powerful card wins the trick for his team
  • The player who won the previous trick leads with the first card in the next trick.

When a team wins seven tricks, they officially win the round. Still, they have the option to continue playing if they wish to earn more points (see scoring below).

Here are three possible types of victory:

  • If the team wins seven tricks in one go, they achieve kot (also known as kap). At this point, however, they must stop the game at their discretion.
  • If the winning team decides to continue AND manages to win all the following tricks too (until everyone runs out of cards), they achieve a so-called baunie.

If Hakim’s team loses the round, the player sitting next to the current Hakim counterclockwise becomes Hakim in the next round. 

However, if Hakim’s team wins, they keep the role within their team (usually, the other team member now takes it on).

HOKM Scoring 

The round winner is always the team who won seven tricks. HOKM scoring is, however, also based on the type of victory achieved by the winning team:

  • Simple win (7 tricks non-consequently) = 2 points
  • Kap = 5 points (but only if the game was terminated at that point)
  • Baunie = 15 points (if a team attempts on baunie and loses, it’s only a simple win)

Agree on the score required for the team’s total victory in the game. In some versions of this game, it’s 30; in others, 50. 

How to Play HOKM Card Game – Video Tutorial 

This 2-part video tutorial will guide you through the entire HOKM gameplay.

HOKM Card Game Frequently Asked Questions

What does HOKM mean?

The name of the HOKM game refers to Hakim or Hakem, an old Persian for a king or ruler. In this game, Hakim is the player privileged to call trump for the next round.

Can teammates in HOKM decide on the trump suit together?

No. Hakim must decide on the trump suit on his own, based on his first five cards only, and without any communication with their teammate. 

If the players try to send each other some signs and their opponents catch them doing it, they will lose the Hakim privilege.

Is Rung the same game as HOKM?

Yes. HOKM is also known as Rung or Rang, which means “trump” in Urdu. This is how the game is commonly known in Pakistan and some parts of India. 

Other Similar Games to HOKM (Our Guides) 

f you like this game, check out our guides for the following HOKM alternatives, too:

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