Belle, River and Thirty-one

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Belle, Fluss and Thirty-one , also known as the rule of three or French Belle, Flux et Trente-un or Les trois jeux is a historical card game of chance that was widespread in Germany and France in the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a relative of the Brag and the Poch from which the game of poker developed, it is of cultural and historical interest.

The rules

You play with a pack of 52-sheet French playing cards , and you also need three play money cups for the bets.

Before the start of a game, each player places an agreed stake in each of the three cups.

As with the Pochspiel, there are three tours , hence the names Dreisatz or Les trois jeux .


Once the bets have been placed, each player receives two cards face down and one face up. The player who has the highest open card, the so-called Belle , wins the first tour and receives the contents of the first cup.

The ranking of the cards is (see Écarté ):

King - Queen - Jack - Ace (!) - Ten - Nine - ... - Two

If there is no clear winner here, the forehand wins , i.e. H. the player closest to the dealer.


In the second tour, river (or Flux or Fluxus , cf. English Flush ), the player who can show the highest value river wins. A river is a hand of three cards of the same suit .

If no player is holding a river, the bets in this cup remain for the next game.

If two or more players hold a river, the numbers on the cards are summed up and the river with the highest value wins. Here the ace counts eleven eyes, the picture cards each ten eyes and the counting cards two to nine according to their printed value. If the number is tied, the same rule applies as in the case of Belle, i. H. it wins the forehand.

In contrast to the Pochspiel, there are still no bets on the highest combination, as is typical for later poker, in particular there is no possibility of bluffing .


In the third tour, each player tries to reach 31 eyes by buying additional cards, or to get as close as possible to 31 eyes (see Seventeen and Four , or the third tour at Brag ).

The player who comes closest to number 31 wins the contents of the third cup; if the number is equal, the forehand wins again.

From this type of game, the modern casino game Black Jack developed via Trente-un and Vingt-un .


The above rule is a reconstruction based on the following sources, which differ in details, as the game was of course played in different variations; the rule given here is therefore by no means binding in the same way as the rules of chess, for example .

  • Meyers Konversationslexikon from 1888
  • Brockhaus Konversationslexikon 1894/96
  • Friedrich Anton: Encyclopedia of Games , Leipzig 1889
  • Jacques Lacombe: Encyclopédie méthodiques. Dictionnaire des jeux , p. 7 Online , 1800
  • David Parlett : The Oxford Guide to Card Games , Oxford University Press Oxford New York 1990