The rules for Schmear

A four player game usually found in a tournament setting.

AKA Smear, Shmear, or Schmier

For: 4 people
Needs: One deck of cards with Jokers removed.


The object of this game is for you and your partner to have the highest score. There are different versions of this game. I will discuss some of these versions at the end of this page.

The game is played to a predetermined score. It is usually 15 or 21. Obviously, if you choose 21, it will be a longer game.

Each round has four possible points to be won. It's possible that not all four will be awarded. This will become more apparent as I explain more.

Choose a dealer however you see fit. The dealer deals six cards to every player. The remainder of the deck is set aside.

The player to the left of the dealer has first option to bid or pass. The player is bidding on the number of points they think they can win (with the help of their partner across the table, of course). No matter who calls it, the first bid must be at least two. The next player to the left can bid higher or pass. Everyone has only one chance to bid, and if everyone passes, the deal is passed to the left and the hand is redealt.

The highest bidder leads. The card that the winning bidder plays first becomes the trump suite. There are four points to be won in each round.

As I said before, the first card that is played by the winning bidder becomes trump suit. YOU MUST FOLLOW SUIT, EXCEPT ON ONE CONDITION. If someone throws a non-trump card, you are allowed, but not required, to throw a trump card even if you have the non-trump suit in your hand.

In a standard game, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Tens are important for the Game Point. The lowest trump card is a point, so if you have the two of the trump suit, you automatically have a point. However, if you have the three of trump suit, you possibly have the lowest trump point, since the two may not have been dealt. The same applies to the King of trump suit. It may be the highest trump since the Ace may not have been dealt.

When you score, add up your team points. The team that bid MUST get at least the number of points they bid. If they don't, they get their bid in negative points. For example if Player A on Team 1 bid two and then Player B on Team 2 bid three so they could set trump, and Team 2 failed to get three points, they earn negative three points for the hand. The non-bidding team always receives the points they earned in a round. So, in the same situation given above, if Team 1 received two of the points, they get two points for the hand.

Use this Scoresheet to help keep score.

The rules of this game are easier to explain than the strategy behind them. Once you've learned the rules, you can play for awhile and practice for mastery.

Options for Different Games

You can combine any or all of these options, but I suggest before you do that you learn the basic gist of Schmear. Once you get the idea, it will be easier to change the rules a bit.

Enjoy, and have tons of fun!

Send me back to Beer's eKeg: The Games, where he's got Two of a Kind and Working on a Full House.