Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Ghoulie Rules, as requested

I am sure that Ghoulie is played with many different rules.  These are the ones that we use:


Cards are dealt and sorted into suits.  The hands are then piled on top of each other and cut and dealt in stacks: 5, 5 and 3.

Opening the Bidding

a) You must open if you have 13 high card points or more.  You may always bid notrump OR you can bid a suit if you have four or more.

b) If you open and you have less than 13 high card points you have psyched.  Or if you open a suit and have less than 4 you have psyched.

Bidding Directly After an Opener

After the bidding is opened the next hand is required to bid 4NT or higher.  There are no requirements for bidding a suit. Only the opener will ever be considered to have psyched.

Subsequent Bidding

Each player thereafter can make a higher bid or pass.  Bidding ends with three passes.  There are no doubles or redoubles during the auction.  Remember the game is cut-throat.  At this stage you do not have a partner.

Bidding Ends

When three players have passed the bidding ends.  The last person to have made a bid is now declarer – it doesn’t matter who denomination  declared.

Picking a Partner

At that point declarer may pick any of the other three players as partner.  Players change places as necessary to make the picked player dummy.

Opening Bidder Announcement

If the opening bidder is declarer he  must declare if he was psychic as follows:

I am psychic as to points (I had less than 13 high card points)

I am pyschic as to suit (I had less than 4 in a suit I opened)

Or if both:

I am psychic as to points and suit

The opening bidder will still play the hand but it provides needed information for the chosen dummy.

Accepting or Rejecting Declarer

Dummy now can accept declarer or reject declarer:

If he accepts then he will get the same score as declarer; if he rejects he will get no score regardless of the outcome of the hand.

Dummy must also announce if he psyched but only if he was the opening bidder as follows:

I accept you pyschic (as to points, suit or both)

I reject you pyschic (as to points, suit or both)

If dummy has pysched declarer has the option of throwing in the hand and there is no score on this deal.


At this point assuming the hand is to be played, the defender declarers left had the opportunity to double.  If they pass the other defender may double


If the contract is doubled declarer may redouble.  If dummy has accepted (and is therefore participating in the scoring) if declarer passes dummy may double.


Play is normal with the player on declarer’s left making the opening lead.

I would be pleases to hear comments from players who know different rules.

Ghoulie led to a favorite saying in our circle.  The first hand to bid would normally psyche if they had a very weak hand.  (This was considered proper strategy).  Therefore if the auction had started with a pass and you were later considering who to pick as partner you remembered – “Who can you trust if not the first passed hand?”  You expected player in the first seat to have some values.


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