How To Play Fight The Landlord Or Dou Dizhu
Tuesday, 27. April 2010

Fight The Landlord, also known as Dou Dizhu, is a game rumored to have its beginnings in the Hubei province of China but is now played all over China and is a fairly popular online game. Fight The Landlord is primarily played by three players; although, there is a four person version as well. In Fight The Landlord, one player in each hand bids to be the landlord. The landlord plays against the other players that essentially form a team. The aim of the landlord is to play out all of their cards in valid combinations before any one of the other players. The aim of the other players is to have one of their team play out all of their cards in valid combinations before the landlord.

Three Player Fight The Landlord
Three Player Fight The Landlord utilizes a full fifty four card deck, including both the red and black jokers. The card rankings are as follows, from high to low:

1. [Red Joker]
2. [Black Joker]
3. [2]
4. [A]
5. [K]
6. [Q]
7. [J]
8. [10]
9. [9]
10. [8]
11. [7]
12. [6]
13. [5]
14. [4]
15. [3]

Suits have no relevance in Fight The Landlord.

The game opens with one of the players shuffling the cards. The player to their left cuts the deck and stacks it. One card is taken at random from the deck and turned face up and stuck somewhere towards the middle of the deck. Whoever draws the face up card from the deck begins the auction. Once the face up card is inserted into the deck, players begin drawing cards. The dealer is the first to draw a card. Players continue to draw one card at a time in a counter-clockwise fashion until all of the players at the table are holding 17 cards. The remaining three cards are left on the table until after the auction.

The Auction
Once all of the players have drawn 17 cards face down from the deck, the action proceeds to the auction which determines which player will act as landlord. The possible auction bids are 1,2 and 3. The player that drew the face up card from the deck is the first player to bid. They may either pass or bid higher than the highest bid made thus far. If everyone passes than all of the hands are discarded and the deck is reshuffled. Bidding moves in a counter-clockwise fashion with players either passing or bidding higher until either two consecutive players pass or someone places a bid of 3. A bid of 3 ends the auction as it is the highest bid possible. The player bidding the highest and last is the landlord. The landlord takes the three cards remaining from the deck for a total of 20 cards.

The Action
The landlord opens the action and may play either a single card or any of the accepted combinations. The action continues in a counter-clockwise fashion with players either passing (not playing a card) or beating the previous play by playing a higher ranked combination using the same number of cards and combination type. There are only two exceptions to this rule; a Rocket can beat any combination type and a Bomb can beat any combination except a higher Bomb or a Rocket.

The action continues around the table until two players pass consecutively. The cards that were played are turned face down and the person that played the last cards begins the action again by playing any single card or any of the accepted combinations. It is important to note once a player passes and the action comes back around to them, they can make a play if they wish.

Fight The Landlord has thirteen possible types of combinations and they are as follows:

1. Single Card: One card. See the card rankings above.
2. Pair: A pair of cards. Ranked from [3] up to [2], see the card rankings above.
3. Triplet: Three cards with the same number. Ranked from triplets of [3] up to triplets of [2], see the card rankings above.
4. Triplet With An Attached Card: A triplet with a single attached card, i.e., [8♣][8♦][8♥][5♣]. Triplets With An Attached Card are ranked according to the triplet. Ranked from triplets of [3] up to triplets of [2], see the card rankings above.
5. Triplet With An Attached Pair: A triplet with an additional pair. As with the Triplet With An Attached Card, this combination is ranked according to the triplet. Ranked from triplets of [3] up to triplets of [2], see the card rankings above.
6. Sequence: Any five consecutive card sequence from [3] up to [A]. A Sequence can have neither twos nor jokers.
7. Sequence Of Pairs: Three sets of pairs that are consecutively attached from [3] up to [A], i.e. [4♣][4♠][5♥][5♣][6♠][6♦]. A Sequence Of Pairs can have neither twos nor jokers.
8. Sequence Of Triplets: Minimum of two triplets that are consecutively attached from [3] to [A], i.e., [4♣][4♦][4♥][5♥][5♣][5♠]. A Sequence Of Triplets can have neither twos nor jokers.
9. Sequence Of Triplets With An Attached Card: A Sequence Of Triplets with an extra card attached to each Triplet, i.e., [4♣][4♦][4♥][5♥][5♣][5♠][3♦][8♠]. In order for a combination to qualify as a Sequence Of Triplets With An Attached Card, the attached cards must not be the same as any of the triplets and they must not make a Pair. While Triplets of twos are not allowed, one of the twos and one of the jokers can be used.
10. Sequence of Triplets With Attached Pairs: A Sequence Of Triplets win a pair attached to each Triplet. In a Sequence of Triplets With Attached Pairs, only the Triplets are required to be in sequence, i.e., [4♣][4♦][4♥][5♥][5♣][5♠][7♥][ ♠7][9♥][9♦]. The attached Pairs must be different (can’t use a Bomb in place of two pairs). While Triplets of twos may not be included, a Pair of twos may act as one of the attached Pairs.
11. Quadplex Set: There are two kinds of Quadplex Sets, a Bomb with two attached cards (not a Pair), i.e., [4♣][4♦][4♥][4♠][3♦][7♥] and a Bomb with two attached Pairs (cannot be a Bomb), i.e., [3♣][3♦][3♥][3♠][5♦][5♥][9♦][9♣]. Twos may be used as an attached card and as an attached Pair. Jokers may only be used as an attached card. A Quadplex Set can only beat a lower Quadplex Set of the same type and cannot beat any of the other types of combinations. It is important to note that a Quadplex Set can be beaten by any Bomb.
12. Bomb: A Bomb is four of a kind. A Bomb trumps all combinations except for a Rocket. A higher Bomb will outrank a lower Bomb.
13. Rocket: The pair of jokers. A Rocket is the highest combination and beats everything else, including Bombs.

The Scoring
In the event the landlord is the first to run out of cards, each of the other players pays them the amount of the bid, unless of course a Bomb or Rocket was played. Should one of the other two players run out of cards before the landlord then the landlord loses they must pay each of the other two players the amount of the , unless of course a Bomb or Rocket was played. When any of the players plays a Bomb or Rocket the payment owed is doubled. For example, let us say that the landlord won the hand and a Rocket and two Bombs were played and the bid was 3. The two players will each have to pay the landlord 2x2x2x3 or 24.

As the two opponents of the landlord win and lose together, it is helpful to create a partnership of sorts. Should one player be lower on cards than the other, the other player should try and assist them to lose cards their remaining cards in order to win.

Four Player Fight The Landlord
The four player version of Fight The Landlord is primarily played in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces of China. Four player Fight The Landlord utilizes two decks instead of one, including the black and red jokers from both decks. Each player draws 25 cards with 8 cards left over for the landlord who plays against the other 3 players with a total of 33 cards.

The combinations available in four player Fight The Landlord differs from those of the three player version (shown above) as follows:

• Single attached cards are not allowed.
• Quadplex Sets are not accepted.
• A Bomb may consist of four or more of a kind. A Bomb of a greater number of cards beats a Bomb of a lesser number of cards.
• In order to make a Rocket, players must use all four jokers.
• In order to use two jokers as a pair, the jokers have to be of the same color.
• Players may use 3 jokers as a Triplet.

The payments are doubled for a Bomb of 6 or more cards and for a Rocket.

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