Aus Der Hand

The picker can declare that he will play aus der Hand, or out of the hand only. The blind is not picked up, viewed, or used by the picker. The picker gets the points in the blind at the end. If the picker wins, the points are doubled.


The two cards left face-down the middle of the table that are not dealt to any players constitute the blind. These cards are taken by the picker and added to his hand. The picker must discard two cards before play begins.


Characterized by each player playing independently rather than having a permanent partner.


To distribute the cards to the players; or the set of all four hands that have been dealt.


The player who deals the cards.

Double on the Bump

More competitive players play with this rule whereby the picker and partner pays double when they lose.


When no player decides to pick, a doubler can be played instead of a leaster. In a doubler, the points for the hand are simply doubled. It should be decided before the game whether leasters or doublers will be used. Doublers are also sometimes used in the first game, the last game, or any game immediately following a misdeal.


An original holding of exactly two cards in a suit.


The 18 fail cards are 7, 8, 9, 10, Kings, and Aces of all suits except Diamonds. There is graphic of these on the rules page. Fail cards always lose to trump cards, but differ in point value. A common term is “fail off” which means use one of your fail cards instead of a trump.


To compel someone to play trump to gain the lead.

Grandma Hand

An extremely powerful hand containing all of the queens. (or three queens and a jack or two.)


When playing with more than five, each player must, in succession, sit out for a hand.  (Also know as 5 handed dealer sits) The sixth player is called the “habener”, from the German word “haben” (v. – to have), and is free to have a bathroom break or trip to the fridge for a snack or beverage during her/his break.


Watching (and not playing)


When no player decides to pick, a leaster is played. The object of a leaster is to get the fewest amount of points while still taking at least one trick. A doubler is sometimes played instead of a leaster.

Long Suit

The fail suit you have the most cards in.


A player who passes the opportunity to pick the blind despite having a powerful hand. The term “mauer”, used as a noun, is loosely translated as “coward”. In German “Mauer” is a stone wall – like a city wall; “der Mauerer” is the stone mason who builds such walls, and is used in card games to describe a very cautious player; the verb is “mauern.”


If a player decides he cannot win the game with his cards plus the unknown cards in the blind, he must decide to pass the option on to the next player. That player may pick up the blind, or pass again. If every player passes, a leaster or doubler is played.


In a five-player game, a player whose points taken during the play are added to the picker’s; to choose a partner, picker names an ace, and the holder of that ace becomes picker’s partner (partner’s identity is not revealed, even to the picker, until the ace is played) In five-player game (Jack of Diamonds) The person holding the Jack of Diamonds is the picker’s partner.


If a player decides he can win the game with the cards in his hand plus the unknown cards in the blind and the unknown cards his partner has, he may pick. The picker takes the two cards from the blind and adds them to his hand. He then must discard two cards and may choose a partner by calling an Ace before play can begin.


The player who chooses to take the blind, who must then discard an equal number of cards from his or her hand and is obligated to try to win at least 61 points


If the picking team wins and the opposition fails to get 30 points (has a total 29 points or less), the picking team schneiders the opposition and wins double what they would have. The opposition would then lose double as well.


When a partner plays a card with high point value (like an ace or ten), thinking/hoping their partner will be able to take the trick.


When the picking team does not get 31 points in a game (has a total of 30 or less), the opposition schneiders them, which is called schwartz, and each player on the opposing team gets 2 points using standard scoring methods. The picker would then lose 4 points and the partner would lose 2.

Short Suit

The fail suit you have the least amount of cards.


An original holding of exactly one card in a suit.


One round of discards, or one hand of Sheepshead, is called a trick. Each game of 5 handed Sheepshead is made up of six tricks.


The 14 trump cards are the four Queens, the four Jacks, and the rest of the Diamond suit: Ace, 10, K, 9, 8, and 7. There is a graphic of these cards on the rules page. Trump cards always beat fail cards in strength, but their point values differ. To “trump it” is to take a trick using one of your trump cards.

Send me any additions or suggestions.


Card game terminology can be really confusing to the beginner and Sheepshead is no exception to the rule. Similar to other well-known games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Texas Hold’em or Roulette, it is worth getting to grips with the need to know Sheepsheads terminology before you get into any seriously tournaments. Even if you are just playing for fun, it is worth knowing the need to know terms to prevent you from being left red-faced or falling foul to cheaters. The problem comes when we, the players, don’t know where to go to revise that all important terminology. Luckily a website exists that boasts thousands of definitions for key card game terminology and it is mobile responsive so you can do your revision while on the bus stuck in traffic on the highway. Whether you looking to brush up on your current knowledge or start from scratch it is worth paying a visit to make sure you can talk to talk when it comes to Sheepshead and other card games. It doesn’t need to take ages, just a quick look will do and it will make a big difference; I speak from considerable personal experience.