Archive for June 21st, 2007

Rules of Sabacc

June 21st, 2007 | Category: Gaming News,Gaming Tips,Star Wars

Sabacc is a card game played with a deck of 76 cards in the Star Wars Universe. The odds are that if you talked about playing it in your posts, you probably don’t know how to play it. If you did, think of how your posts might be able to be expanded into much higher quality and detail!

Basically, there are four suits: Staves, Flasks, Coins and Sabres.

Each suit has 15 numbered cards. These are:

  • 1-11
  • Commander (12)
  • Mistress (13)
  • Master (14)
  • Ace (15)

As well as these, there are 16 ‘face cards’, 2 of each. They are:

  • Idiot (0)
  • Queen of air and darkness (-2)
  • Endurance (-8)
  • Balance (-11)
  • Demise (-13)
  • Moderation (-14)
  • The Evil one (-15)
  • The Star (-17)

The object of Sabacc is to get the highest total equal to or below 23, or above negative 23 (-23) Getting a hand above 23 or below negative 23 or 0 is called a bomb-out and requires the player to pay a penalty to the Sabacc Pot. He must equal what is currently in the hand pot and put it in the sabacc pot.

There are two pots in the game of Sabacc: the hand pot and the Sabacc pot. The hand pot is won whenever a player wins the round. The Sabacc pot is only won when a player’s hand is a ‘pure Sabacc’ (which is a hand totaling 23 or -23 exactly) Note: In case of a tie, 23 beats -23) Another Sabacc pot winner is an Idiots array or Literal Sabacc which is the Idiot card and a two of any suit and a three of any suit, (ie 0-2-3). By having one of these hands or any other special hand due to certain rules, the player wins both pots.

At the beginning of each round, The dealer deals out two cards to each player, who then must ante by placing a credit into both the hand and the Sabacc pot. (Only to the sabacc pot if it is empty ie someone won it last hand.) The person to the left of the dealer starts first and he goes through all phases of his turn before it is anyone else’s turn. After each hand, dealership moves to the left.


  • BETTING HAND: The player whose turn it is has the choice to bet. If he doesn’t the game moves to the next phase. If he does bet, then all other players must meet the bet or drop out in which they must pay the Sabacc pot two credits to do so
  • CARD PHASE: The dealer then asks each player if they would like an extra card (Just like Black Jack) The players can refuse, but if they except, they cannot trade it or throw it back – they must keep it. If they bomb out then they out of the game and have to the pay the bomb out penalty.
  • POKER PHASE: (note this only happens once) The next player has his/her turn for the two phases and so on until all players have done the two. Once the last player has finished the card phase, the dealer then asks all the players if they would like to trade any cards. The players may trade any cards but cannot simply give some back. Once this phase is complete, it never happens again in the hand.
  • CALLING PHASE: After the poker phase, they player whose turn it is, asks if any player would like to call the hand. When the hand is called, everyone has to place their cards right side up on the table and declare what they have. A player can only call during the calling phase of another player, not their own. If the person who called the hand does not win the hand, he must pay a penalty of two credits to the Sabacc Pot. If no one calls the hand, then the game returns to the betting phase and the game continues (excluding the poker phase)
  • WINNING A HAND: When a hand is called, the person with the highest card value wins the game. The player can also win if all other players fold In which the player only gets the hand pot. If two or more players are tied, they must compete in a sudden demise in which the dealer hands each another card. Which ever hand is the closest to 23 (or -23) without bombing out wins. If they have the same after a sudden demise, then they split the pot.
  • WINNING THE SABACC POT: To win the Sabacc pot, a player must have pure Sabacc or an idiots array. An Idiots array beats a pure sabacc, but if two or more players have the same special hand, then a sudden demise commences like above. (note: that a special hand, like any other, can only be declared when a hand is called.


Besides the standard rules, there are different versions which alter small parts of the game. You don’t have to play them, but if you do, you must obey the instructions given. These rules are also used for Random Sabacc. (note for all the special hands, your hand can only have the number of cards involved in the special ie you cannot hold four cards if you want to win the force array (three cards), it is not allowed) All special hands must be below 23 or above -23.

  • Rebel Alliance Rules: -During the poker phase, you can trade no more than two cards. -During the card phase, you can only take two cards. -The special hand is called the Force Array and consists of A master of any suit and any two cards of the sabre suit. (must be below 23) Queen of air and Darkness = 5 Endurance = 10 Balance = – 3 Demise = – 7 Moderation = -15 The Evil one = -12 The Star = -8
  • Imperial Rules: -During the poker phase you can trade three cards only, no more, no less. -During the card phase, you can take only one card unless you have the evil one, then you can take two. (you must prove to all players that you have the evil one) -The special hand is called the Death array and must have the evil one, demise and any 12 – 15 card. The Queen of air and darkness = – 11 Endurance = -8 Balance = -5 Demise = -18 Moderation = -2 The Evil one = -14 The Star = 5
  • Corellian Rules: -During the poker phase you can trade any number of cards you wish. -During the card phase you can take one or three cards -The Special hand is called the Profit Array and consists of Endurance and any two cards of the coin suit The Queen of air and darkness = -8 Endurance = -5 Balance = -7 Demise = -2 Moderation = -5 The Evil one = -11 The Star = -2
  • New Republic Rules: -The Poker phase and card phase are the same as normal – The special hand is called the Justice Array and involves Balance, a sabre and a commander The Queen of air and darkness = -9 Endurance = 8 Balance = 5 Demise = -11 Moderation = -14 The Evil one = -2 The Star = -13
  • Corporate Sector Rules: -During the Poker phase, only one card can be traded -During the card phase, you can take one or two only -The Special hand is called the Monarchy Array and consists of the Queen of air and darkness, The Star and any coin card. The Queen of air and darkness = -4 Endurance = 7 Balance = -9 Demise = -10 Moderation = -13 The Evil one = -14 The Star = 5

Random Sabacc is the same as Sabacc except that at random time intervals, the rules change, from what they were to something else i.e. standard to Corellian. It is a game of chance because A winning hand one moment will become a bomb-out the next. If the rules change while the hand is being called, all hands must change to the new rules.

If you are playing Sabacc in your next story, be sure to draw the ‘Idiot’s Array’ and win a nice starship, or maybe a planet. Best of luck, and may the cards be with you.

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