The Skatordnung

(International Laws of Skat)

Skat Tournament Rules (Skatwettspielordnung)

other pages
Title page
Tournament rules
References and Contacts
this page
1 General
2 Rights and responsibilities
3 The organiser(s)
4 Players
5 Weighting of scores
6 Tournament conditions
7 Conduct of the tournament
7-1 Seating
7-2 Scorekeeping
7-3 Progress of the tournament
7-4 End of the tournament
8 Skatordnung (extracts)
9 Conditions of play




Skat Tournaments organised by associations, clubs or individuals enable players to compete against one another in friendly conditions.


They also serve to protect Skat from the development of idiosyncratic variations and to promote a communal understanding of the game.


Differences in age and occupation become irrelevant at the Skat table. Playing individual games under tournament conditions has the beneficial effect of uniting constantly-changing teams and players. The pleasure of pulling off difficult feats of play will inevitably be accompanied by the less pleasurable recognition of faults committed by oneself as well as by others, but the way in which such feelings are expressed must always be governed by tact and the social niceties. Thus Skat tournaments help foster and strengthen the finer aspects of character and behaviour, and turn the establishment of a communal understanding of the game into a reality.


Skat tournaments may be open to the general Skat-playing public or specifically arranged for a restricted circle of players such as clubs and associations.


The organiser will advertise whether play is to be conducted for prestige, cash prizes, trophies or merchandise, and whether it is designed for individual or team participation.

Rights and responsibilities



Skat tournaments should be conducted in accordance with all appropriate legal and civic ordinances.


Participants' rights and responsibilities are governed by tournament Rules, which should be regarded as contractually binding upon organisers and participants alike.


The conduct of tournament matches is governed by the organiser and through his referees.


Skat tournaments are conducted in accordance with any applicable trading Rules.

The organiser(s)



The person or body responsible for organising a Skat tournament must be identified by name in all advertisements for it and in the tournament Rules, and is obliged to notify the event to any appropriate local authority department.


The organiser may delegate the practicalities of running a tournament to an organising committee. Referees may be appointed for the settlement of disputes. For this purpose it is desirable to appoint individuals well acquainted with the rules of the game and having a satisfactory knowledge of the Skatordnung in particular. They should be able to make speedy but accurate decisions, and be in all respects patently responsible and trustworthy.


The organiser and his delegates are responsible for ensuring conformity to the Skatordnung. They are also responsible for setting the tournament conditions and schedule of awards and for running the event, and are obliged to make a proper accounting of it when it is over. The organiser alone is responsible for the awarding of prizes.


In the event that a Skat tournament has to be cancelled in advance, or is found to be impossible to run or complete when the time comes (whether because there are not enough entrants or for any other reason), the organiser and his delegates remain responsible for properly concluding it – that is, they must either refund the entry fee or divide the prizes equally among the entrants.




The right to participate is conferred by acquiring a non-transferrable start-card or by being included in a list of appointed participants. No obligation as between participant and organiser becomes effective until the entry fee has been paid.


Every participant is obliged to adhere strictly to the Skatordnung and to the Tournament Rules. He must familiarise himself with the tournament Rules and conduct himself in such a way as not to create problems or difficulties.


The organiser and his referees have the right to immediately exclude from the tournament any participant whose behaviour demonstrably creates a disturbance. In case of exclusion the entrance fee is not refundable and that player may be denied entry to future events. The organiser is also entitled to bar a player from entry to a tournament without explanation.


The participants are obliged to play every match through to the end. They may not be replaced by substitutes. If a participant causes a problem by deliberately withdrawing from play, the organising committee may themselves appoint a substitute to play in his own right and on his own account.


Organisers and members of an organising committee may themselves play as contestants in the tournament, and are then subject to the same rights and responsibilities as the other participants. Steps must be taken, however, to ensure that the tournament still runs smoothly and is properly managed.




Each player's performance is to be assessed on the basis of a weighted score calculated as follows:
First, note the total of points he has scored over the number of games played as recorded on the scoresheet.
   Next, add 50 points for each game won and deduct 50 points for each game lost in his capacity as soloist.
   Finally, add either 30 points (at a table of four) or 40 points (at a table of three) for each game lost by each other player at the same table.
   The final total is the individual's weighted score. If two or more players finish with the same weighted score, ranking preference is accorded to whoever won the greatest number of games as soloist, or, if still equal, whoever lost the fewest. If this still yields a tie, it is to be broken by lot.
Example. At a table of four, player A scored 937 points, having won 18 and lost 3 games. Players B, C and D lost 14 games between them. Player A's weighted score is reckoned as shwon in the accompanying table.
Tournament weighting of scores
Points scored =937
+50 per game won (x 18 =)900
-50 per game lost (x 3 =)-150
+30 per opponent's lost game (x 14 =)420
Weighted score (total above)2107


Weighted scoring is superior to that in which a player's performance is assessed solely by the number of game-points he has scored. It reduces the influence of a few spectacular scores in favour of all those won for a larger number of lesser-valued games which might be of equal significance in the assessment of his play. It rewards the skill of the player in his capacity as an opponent as well as in that of the soloist, and compensates him for games he might have won had he not been prevented from playing them by overbidding on the part of his opponents.

Tournament conditions



The statement of tournament conditions should be short but complete. It must accord with the Skatordnung and be clear, unambiguous, and free from contradictions.


The following information must be included:
  1. General
    1. The organiser
    2. Entrance fees
    3. Number of matches
    4. Number of players at a table
    5. Distribution of prize money
    6. Rights of disqualification
    7. The arbitration committee
    8. Signature(s)
  2. Playing conditions
    1. Priority of the Skat Laws and Tournament Rules over ad-hoc decisions
    2. Supervision
    3. Penalties
    4. Score-keeping (on official score-sheets)
    5. Monetary stake (per game point)
    6. Playing-cards (must be new and supplied by the organiser).


A copy of the Tournament Rules must be prominently displayed throughout the tournament and made readily available to any contestant at any time.

Conduct of the tournament



7.1.1 There should be as many four-player tables as possible and as few three-player tables as necessary (not more than three). Seating may be predetermined by the organiser or established by a draw of place cards.
7.1.2 No one may change their allotted seat except by order of the organiser. Anyone who seeks to do so may be disqualified from participation.
7.1.3 An individual's assigned seat must be retained for the duration of the match.
7.1.4 A place card is valid only for the match for which it was specifically predetermined or drawn.
7.1.5 Only the players holding the relevant place cards may sit at any given table. Kibitzers are barred from its immediate vicinity.


7.2.1 The specification and result of every game must be entered on the scoresheet. Entries must be correct, complete, and unambiguous.
7.2.2 The player occupying Seat 1 is normally expected to record the scores. In exceptional circumstances another player may do so, but only with the specific agreement of the organiser. All players at the table are, however, jointly responsible for the maintenance of the scoresheet, which must remain clearly visible throughout the match, and all should check each entry when it has been completed. The dealer has a particular responsibility to check that the previous entry was correct.
7.2.3 The scoresheet becomes an official record as soon as every player at the table has signed it.
7.2.4 The organiser is entitled to (a) examine any scoresheet at any time, and (b) declare any scoresheet invalid by reason of error, omission or irresolvable ambiguity.
7.2.5 Faulty entries may be corrected during the course of the match by the organiser, who in cases of ambiguity will record the lowest discernible score. If all players at a table are in agreement, a score may be recorded or corrected in retrospect. (See 5.5.3).

Progress of the tournament

7.3.1 The tournament will be conducted in accordance with the Skatordnung and Tournament Rules.
7.3.2 Disputes and disagreements will be settled by the organiser or his appointed referees in accordance with the Skatordnung.
7.3.3 Appeals against any such decision made by the organiser or his referees may be addressed in writing to the arbitration committee. The committee will arbitrate only on matters relating to technical rules and therefore without prejudice to the pursuit of any civic action. (See also Skatordnung 4.5.10 und Tournament Rule 7.3.2).

End of tournament

7.4.1 At the end of the tournament all completed scoresheets and place cards must be returned to the organiser. Only then may claims to the advertised prizes be validated.
7.4.2 Players who have completed their matches are not permitted to kibitz those who are still playing.
7.4.3 When all the results have been computed the prizes will be awarded. Anyone wishing to receive their prize by post must bear the cost of postage and packing.
7.4.4 The organiser will take charge of all scoresheets, place cards and other relevant documents and retain them for at least six months.

The Skatordnung (extracts)



The Skatordnung must be strictly adhered to.


Cards must be dealt 3-skat-4-3.


The cut is compulsory and there must be at least four cards in each packet.


The rules will be strictly applied. In particular, an incorrect lead or a revoke ends the game immediately in favour of the non-offending party – unless, of course, the offending side has already in fact won.


The dealer is forbidden to examine the skat and may not look at the hands of both his neighbours. He may look at one hand only, but not as a matter of right.


It is forbidden to examine previously played tricks and to mix them together. Each trick must be gathered up and stored face down.


Null counts 23, null hand 35, null ouvert 46, and null ouvert hand 59 points. Grand has a base value of 24 and so counts a minimum game value of 48 points. So does grand ouvert, which therefore, when played with all four Jacks, reaches the maximum possible game value of 264.


Either party is schneidered if it takes in 30 or fewer card-points.


In all ouvert bids the soloist must lay his hand of ten cards face up on the table. No trick is to be played from the hand concealed. To win, the soloist must win all ten tricks when playing grand or in suit, and lose all ten tricks when playing null.


In all games played with skat exchange there are only three valid multipliers in addition to those counted for top trumps, namely: game, schneider, and schwarz. Up to seven multipliers are possible in hand games: game, hand, schneider, schneider declared, schwarz, schwarz declared, and ouvert. All lost games are lost double.


Every game (other than one that was passed out) is to be recorded as a win or a loss for the soloist, the appropriate number of game-points being added to or subtracted from his current accumulated total. This facilitates a constant comparison of the participants' relative standing.


At the end of a match each player is to be credited with 50 points for each game he bid and won, debited 50 points for each game he bid and lost, and credited with 30 points (or, at a table of three, 40 points) for each game undertaken and lost by each of his three (or two) opponents. See Skatordnung, 5.4.1, for example.

Conditions of play



Each table must use the new pack of cards supplied.


If there is no agreement as to a monetary stake per game point, or for an overall win, then monetary stakes shall not be applied.


The player at Seat 1 should normally keep score, but another player may do so by provided that all at the table agree.


If no one will bid a game, the relevant record on the score-sheet must be marked 'P' for '(All) pass'. (Ramsch is not to be played.) The deal then passes to the next player in turn. The same player may never deal twice in succession. If anyone does so, all players at the table will be disqualified from the tournament.


Every game must be completed. It may not be conceded. (But see Skatordnung 4.3.1 to 4.3.6).


The current dealer is charged with checking the score-sheet, as all players at a table are jointly responsible for its accuracy.


In no circumstances may anyone take anyone else's allotted place at the table or substitute for them.


Organisers and referees are entitled to examine the scoresheet at any table at any time.


Kibitzing is strictly prohibited. The organisers will admit of no exception to this rule.


Disputes will be settled by the organiser or his referees. Appeals against their decision must be directed to the arbitration committee at the end of the match. The decision of this committee is final and binding. (See Skatordnung 4.5.10 and Tournament rules 7.3.2-3).


The scoresheet is to be signed by all players at a table at the end of a match. A scoresheet may be declared invalid if it is unclear, illegible or incomplete. 2.4 and 7.2.5).


At the end of a match the player who kept score may, in recognition of his services, keep the pack that was used in play. But there is nothing to stop the organiser from making some other rule about this.


At the end of the tournament the organiser is entitled to receive the place cards (whether for teams or for individuals) correctly filled in. Anyone whose place card is not handed in will not qualify for an award.