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A Weli from a double German sheet

The Weli is a playing card of the double German (seasons picture) and simple German (Salzburg picture) cards sheet. It replaces the clamps 6 and is used in many games as the Joker, which is why he also color characters heart and acorn bears.


The Weli, also known locally as Wöli or Wöüli , Belli or Belle , was created in the early 19th century. It was introduced in the mixed-language Bozener Unterland with the advent of the games Watten , Bieten and Perlaggen . There he has a special function. The predecessor of the Weli as Schellen 6 was the Belli as Schellen 7, which from the beginning had a special function in the beautiful cards (Belli) , later referred to as Critical . By adding the 6 bells as a special card, it was called the Big Welli and the 7 bells as the Small Welli . Some of these names are still in use today in Austria and South Tyrol.

The name Weli originated from a sound shift in the predominant southern Bavarian dialect (Belli to Welli). Something similar happened with Batten , from the Italian predecessor game battare (knock, hit) to Watten . Around 1840 the spelling was partially changed from Welli to Weli. The oldest known Weli card was produced in Innsbruck around 1830/35 . The first Weli cards were printed in Bavarian, Tyrolean and Linz images. The Weli also adorns the Salzburg picture by C. Titze & Schickay from Vienna (1866), which is still used in Vorarlberg and South Tyrol today, with a tomb, which is the picture drawing of the earlier Bells 6. Only in the Tyrolean picture was the full name with two Ls retained until the picture disappeared around 1910.

The oldest known Weli around 1830/35, Johann Fasser, Innsbruck Hötting
Weli in the Salzburger Blatt, C. Titze & Schickay, Vienna 1866

Special function

In addition to the playing value of 6 bells, it often has the function of a joker , which is illustrated by the representation of two other game colors (acorn and heart) and by the special designation (it is the only playing card with a label). In Watten, which is very popular today, he either has the smallest trump card or the 6 bells. When wading with 32 cards and without a Weli card, the clamp 7 is usually referred to as a Weli.

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