How To Play Linger Longer

Linger Longer is a fun trick taking game in which each player strives to be the last still holding cards. Linger Longer is simple enough to provide a great introduction to other trick taking games, but also involves enough strategy to keep every hand exciting.

The game is designed to be played by 4 to 5 players using one standard 52 card deck. The ranking of the cards in this deck are as follows, from highest to lowest; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

Dealing a hand of Linger Longer Determination of the seating positions and the first dealer can be done using a number of methods, with drawing of cards a common method. All players draw a card from a shuffled, face down deck. The player drawing the highest card takes the first selection of seats, the player drawing the second highest selects the next seat and so on until all players are seated around the table. If two or more players draw cards of equal rank, these players would then each draw another card to determine the ranking amongst these players. The player drawing the highest card of all would become the first dealer. After each hand, the deal rotates in a clockwise rotation around the table. Once the first dealer and seating positions have been determined, the dealer shuffles the deck and offers it to the player at his right to cut. After the cut the dealer then begins dealing the cards face down and one by one, starting with the player to his left and continuing in a clockwise rotation. He continues dealing until each player has the same number of cards. The number of cards dealt to each player is the same as the number of active players in the game. Thus, with five players, each player would receive 5 cards. The dealers last card which he would normally receive into his hand is first dealt face up on the table such that all players can view it. The suit of this card sets the trump suit for the hand. After all players have clearly seen the card, the dealer places the card back into his own hand.

After the deal is complete, the dealer then places the remainder of the deck in a face down pile in the center of the table as the stock.

One trick in Linger Longer Play begins with the player at the dealer's immediate left. This player may select any card from his hand, playing it face-up to the table. Each other player, in a clockwise rotation then plays one card to the trick. Each subsequent player must play a card of the same suit as led to the trick if they have one. If he does not have in his hand a card of the suit led, he may play any card from his hand, including a card from the trump suit. The highest card of the trump suit played to the trick wins the trick. If no card of the trump suit was played, the highest card of the suit originally led to that trick wins it. The winner of the trick sets the cards from the trick aside, as they will no longer be used during the current hand. He then draws the top card from the stock adding it to his hand and leads any card from his hand to start the next trick.

If a player, on his turn plays his last card in his hand and does not win the current trick he must drop from the game. If he does win the trick, however, he would be entitled to draw the top card of the stock as normal, returning his hand to one card. He would then begin the next trick by playing this last card to start the next trick.

Play continues in this manner until just one player remains who is declared the winner of the game.

Variations and Optional Rules

Instant Out: Another optional rule that is sometimes used in this game is the Instant Out rule. In this version, immediately upon a player playing his last card he must drop from the game, regardless if he wins the last trick. The only exception to this rule is if, on the last trick of the hand, all participating players played the last card. In that case, the player who would have won that trick is declared the winner. In all other aspects this version is played the same as the standard version.

Lift Smoke: Lift Smoke is an alternate and older name for the game Linger Longer. In Lift Smoke, however, the method of determining the trump suit for the hand is sometimes altered. In this case, the dealer does not expose his last dealt card to determine trump. Instead, after each player has been dealt his full hand and the dealer has placed the stock face down in the center of the table he then exposes the top card of the stock. This card is set aside, but it's suit determines the trump suit for the hand.

Another difference between Lift Smoke and Linger Longer is in the determination of the first dealer. The usual method used in Lift Smoke is for all the players to take any seat at the table and for any player to begin dealing the cards in a clockwise direction around the table starting with the player to his immediate left. The first player to receive any Jack receives the deck, becoming the first dealer for the game.

In all other aspects this game is played identically to Linger Longer.

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