Piquet is played with a 32 card deck. Start with a standard 52 card deck and remove all of the 2’s through the 6’s. This leaves all of the 7’s through the 10’s, the face cards, and the aces.
Each game consists of a partie of six deals (partie meaning part in French). The player scoring the most points wins (see the scoring section for further details).
The player who draws the highest card on the initial cut may choose to deal the first hand. The deal alternates for each hand in the partie. It is preferable to deal first so as not to deal the last hand. Dealing puts a player at a disadvantage.
Cards are dealt 12 to each player, with the remaining eight forming the talon, which is placed face-down between the players. The talon may be split by the dealer into two piles of five and three cards, respectively.
The dealer is referred to as the Younger hand and the non-dealer, the Elder hand.
After the deal, players sort their cards in their hands. If a player has no face cards in their hand, then they may declare Carte Blanche, which is worth 10 points. This done by quickly showing their hand to the opponent while saying “Carte Blanche”.
A hand of this type is fairly rare, and often scores poorly, so it is usually advantageous to declare it, despite the tactical disadvantage of giving information to the opponent.
Carte Blanche must be declared prior to exchanging cards. Only one player may declare Carte Blanche. The Elder hand exchanges their cards first, so they have the advantage here. The Younger hand must wait until the Elder exchanges their cards. If the Elder has not declared Carte Blanche, then the younger may.
The goal of exchanging cards is to improve your hand before the declaration and the play.
The Elder hand exchanges first. This is done by taking one to five cards from the hand and placing them face down. An equal number is then drawn from the talon. The player must state how many cards they intend to exchange if fewer than the maximum. If the Elder chooses to take fewer than the maximum, they may then look at the remainder if they like (which are the first ones that the Younger will take).
The Younger hand exchanges next. Again, at least one card must be exchanged. The younger may also exchange up to five cards, depending on how many the Elder exchanged. If the Elder exchanged all five, then obviously the Younger may only exchange up to three.