Skat (card game)

Typical Skat trick from a French-suited pack
Skills requiredHand evaluation, counting, cooperation
DeckFrench, German or Tournament-suited "Skat" deck
Card rank (highest first)(J) A 10 K Q 9 8 7
A K Q J 10 9 8 7 (only for Null-Games)
Playing time3-5 minutes per hand played
Random chanceLow
Related games
Doppelkopf, Schafkopf, Sheepshead

Skat (German pronunciation: [ˈskaːt]) is a 3-player trick-taking card game of the Ace-Ten family, devised around 1810 in Altenburg in the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. It is the national game of Germany[1] and, along with Doppelkopf, it is the most popular card game in Germany and Silesia. It is considered one of the best and most interesting card games for 3 players[1][2] and has been described as "the king of German card games."[3]


Skat players in an Erfurt park in 1967.

Skat was developed by the members of the Brommesche Tarok-Gesellschaft[4] between 1810 and 1817 in Altenburg, in what is now the State of Thuringia, Germany, based on the three-player game of Tarock, also known as Tarot, and the four-player game of Schafkopf (equivalent to the American game Sheepshead).[5] It has become the most loved and widely played German card game, especially in German-speaking regions.[6] In the earliest known form of the game, the player in the first seat was dealt twelve cards and the other two players ten each. He then made two discards, constituting the Skat, and announced a contract.[7] But the main innovation of this new game was that of the bidding process.[8]

The first book on the rules of Skat was published in 1848 by a secondary school teacher J. F. L. Hempel.[9] Nevertheless, the rules continued to differ from one region to another until the first attempt to set them in order was made by a congress of Skat players on 7 August 1886 in Altenburg. These were the first official rules finally published in a book form in 1888 by Theodor Thomas of Leipzig.[9] The current rules, followed by both the ISPA and the German Skat Federation, date from Jan. 1, 1999.[10]

The word Skat is a Tarok term[11] derived from the Latin word scarto, scartare, which means to discard or reject, and its derivative scatola, a box or a place for safe-keeping.[12] The word scarto is still used in some other Italian card games to this day, and is not to be confused with the American game called scat[13]

Other Languages
български: Скат (игра)
Deutsch: Skat
español: Skat (juego)
Esperanto: Skato
français: Skat
Ido: Skato
עברית: סקאט
Latina: Skat
Nederlands: Skaat
norsk: Skat
Plattdüütsch: Skat
polski: Skat
português: Skat
русский: Скат (игра)
slovenčina: Skat (hra)
ślůnski: Szkat
suomi: Skat
svenska: Skat
中文: 斯卡特