How to play toepen

Let us introduce you to toepen – our favorite Dutch drinking game.

Toepen is a popular trick-taking game for two to eight players. The best way to meet your new neighbors! Toepen is mostly played as a drinking game, but it can be a gambling game as well with the addition of money. The objective of the game is to win the last trick during each hand.

Before start

Toepen is played with a 32-card deck (7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A). The order of the cards is 10 (highest), 9, 8, 7, A, K, Q, J (lowest). One player is chosen as the dealer. The dealer deals out four cards, one at a time, to each player. The remainder of the pack is left face down in the middle of the table. Any player whose hand consists entirely of Aces, Kings, Queens, or Jacks may discard his hand face downward and deal himself four new cards. This swap may be challenged by another player by revealing it. If it turns out that the player making the exchange has a 10, 9, 8, or 7 card in his original hand, the discarder gets a penalty point (but keeps the new hand). If it was correct, the challenger gets a penalty point.

The score is maintained by peat (see below). A normal game goes to a score of 10 points.

Player 1: |||
Player 2: ||||| ||||
Player 3: ||||| ||
Player 4: |||||

The play

The cards are played one at a time face up in tricks. The first card played in a trick determines the suit for that trick. A player must follow suit to win. If a player is unable to play a card from the same suit led with, he may play any card in hand. The highest ranking card played from the suit led wins (or takes) the trick. The winner of a trick can start the next trick in the same round.

The goal is to win the last trick of a round. After the fourth and final trick, each player – except the winner of this final trick – receives a point. The winner of the round has to deal in the next round. The player on the left of the dealer can start the first trick of the next round.


During a round, a player can ‘toep’ at any time by knocking on the playing surface. This means that the number of points at stake during the round is increased. By electing a toep, the value of the hand is increased by 1 life. Once a player knocks, the other players may either fold and receive the previous point total or risk receiving the new increased total by remaining in the round. Players must wait for someone else to knock within the same hand before knocking again.

The end

When a player has nine points (Player 2 in the example above), this player is in pelt (poverty). In order to protect this player, the player on pelt can always start the round, independent of the dealer. All other players have to decide whether they want to play the round for 2 points or leave (before one card is played) for 1 point. A player who has already lost nine lives may not knock. Similarly, a player who has already lost eight lives may not make the second knock, one who has already lost seven lives may not make the third knock, and so on.

Once a player reaches ten points, he is eliminated and buys a round of drinks. The score is reset and a new game may begin.


written by Margot

I love daydreaming about faraway lands, creative interior styling and food. I am born and raised in the Eindhoven region and want to help you to feel at home in your new city.