Pasur is a Fishing-type card game in the Matching genre, related to games like Scopa and Cassino. The aim of Pasur is to match cards in the hand with cards that are in a central play area. Players are attempting to gain control of specific cards, which confer point bonuses towards a Player’s total score.
Iran, then called Persia, was introduced to modern playing cards by the Russian Empire during the 19th century. However, there is a rich playing card tradition in Persia that dates back at least 200 years prior, with the Persian game As-Nas.
How to Play Pasur?
Pasur can be played using any Standard 52-card deck pattern, such as the Anglo-American or French decks. 2-4 Players can participate in a game of Pasur. Once a Dealer is chosen randomly, that Dealer will then deal four cards out to each Player, face-down.
Once each Player has their cards, the Dealer will then deal four face-up cards into the center of the play area. These four cards are known as the “pool”, and are community cards that Players will attempt to pick up according to specified rules.
If there are any Jacks in the Pool, they will be exchanged for new cards from the deck, after which the deck will be reshuffled.
Start of Play
Once the cards have been dealt, and Players have looked at their hands, gameplay begins with the Eldest Hand, the Player to the immediate left of the Dealer, or the oldest Player at the table, whichever is preferable. Afterwards, play will continue in a regular clockwise rotation.
The aim of the game is to pick up the pool cards, using the cards from your hand in order to do so. Different cards must have different conditions fulfilled in order to be picked up.
Picking up Cards
When a card is picked up, it is not brought into the hand. Instead, it is placed in a “pick-up” pile of cards, face-down, off to the side.
Numbered cards are picked up by combining a card from the hand with cards from the pool in order to equal a total of 11.
Players can use multiple cards from the pool, but only one card from their hand. Aces are numbered cards in Pasur, rather than de facto face cards. Aces are worth “1” for the purposes of calculating 11.
Kings and Queens
Kings may be picked up using a King, and Queens may be used to pick up Queens. Only one corresponding card can be picked up from the pool. One King may pick up one King from the pool, for example.
Jacks are powerful cards that can pick up all Jacks that are in the pool, as well as all numbered cards currently in the pool. Kings and Queens are unaffected.
Cards that are picked up in the course of a game of Pasur are used to keep a score tally. Points are awarded to Players for achieving special conditions by picking up certain cards. These conditions will be explained below in the “Scoring” section.
If a Player is unable to pick up any cards, or if a Player does not wish to pick up any cards, they can discard a card by adding it to the Pool.
However, cards that are discarded into the pool cannot have the ability to pick up cards. If they can, another card must be selected to be discarded, or the Player must use that card to pick up the appropriate cards.
When a Player’s hand is completely emptied of cards, they will be dealt 4 more cards from the deck. Cards are never dealt from the deck to the pool. If there are no cards in the pool, Players will be forced to discard into the pool, as they will have no cards within the pool to pick up.
Gameplay continues, with each Player taking turns, until the deck is completely exhausted. When the deck becomes exhausted, the first Player to match the last card in their hand, leaving them with an empty hand, will be permitted to pick up all of the cards remaining in the pool, and end the game.
Although it will be explained in detail later, remember that this final match in a game of Pasur is not considered a Sur.
Players will look through all of the cards they picked up in the course of the game, and assign themselves the necessary points.
Afterwards, the Dealing position moves clockwise to the next Player, who shuffles the deck and deals out for another game.
You can find a summary of the Pasur rules below:
- Multiple cards from the pool may be combined to form a sum of 11, but only one card from the hand may be used. Players may only play one card per turn from the hand.
- Aces in Pasur are only worth one.
- When a Player empties their hand, they are dealt four more cards from the deck. If the deck is empty, they are dealt no more cards.
- Players may only discard into the pool if that card cannot pick up any of the cards in the pool. Players are also forced to discard if the pool is empty on their turn.
Scoring in Pasur
Pasur is scored based on the cards picked up by a Player during the course of a game. If the cards picked up meet certain conditions, then they will award a specific number of points to a Player.
The following is a list of conditions, and explanations, which award points in Pasur.
|10 of Diamonds||3|
|2 of Clubs||2|
|Ace of any suit||1|
|Jack of any suit||1|
|Any other Club||1|
The Player to take the most Clubs cards during the course of a game is awarded one point per club picked up. So, for example:
- Player 1 picked up 2 clubs, and Player 3 picked up 3 clubs.
- No other Players picked up clubs.
- This means Player 1 gets no points, as they did not pick up the most clubs.
- Player 3 is awarded 3 points, one for each club they picked up.
The Player who picked up the 10 of Diamonds is awarded an automatic 3 points.
The Player who picked up the 2 of Clubs is awarded an automatic 2 points.
Every Ace and Jack picked up by a Player award a single point for each copy. So, if a Player picked up three Aces and two Jacks, that Player would be awarded a total of 5 points.
Finally, there are the Surs. A Sur is awarded to a Player whenever they are able to completely clear the pool. When a Player clears the pool using a Jack, meaning there are no Queens or Kings in the pool when the Jack was played, this does not count as a Sur.
Further, as explained above, when a Player makes the final match in a game and takes all the cards from the pool as their reward, this is also not counted as a Sur.
A Sur is only a true Sur when the pool is emptied without the use of Jacks or the final hand of the game. When a Player achieves a Sur, they turn over one card from their pick-up pile face-up, using this face-up card as a Sur tally.
If a Player achieves two Sur in a single game, then they will turn up two face-ups, and so on. Each Sur is worth 5 points.
Players add up their scores, and if no Player has yet reached 62 points, the game will continue. Once a Player does reach that 62-point threshold, they are the winner. If there is a tie, play will continue until the tie is broken, with one Player achieving more points in a round than the other.
Imagine the following is a hand and pool in a game of Pasur:
- Hand: Q♣J♦6♥K♠
- Pool: A♥ 7♠ 4♦2♥6♦8♣
The above hand may not seem particularly strong, as the 6, Q, and K are all unable to be used to pick up cards.
- Kings only pick up Kings, and Queens only Queens, neither of which are in the pool.
- The 6 also cannot be used to pick up number cards, as 6 does not add up with any card, or any combination of cards, in the pool to equal 11.
However, the Jack makes all the difference. By playing the Jack here, the Player is giving themselves several advantages.
Firstly, they are automatically awarding themselves 2 points. One point from the Ace, and one point from the Jack.
Furthermore, the Player is setting themselves up to win the Most Clubs award. Assuming the Player will be able to pick up with their Queen at some point, that gives this Player 2 out of 13 possible clubs very early in the game.
Finally, playing the Jack here will clear the pool and end your turn. This means the other Players at the table will more likely than not be forced to discard into the pool, as they will find it more difficult to pick up after the pool has been cleared.
By the time the rotation returns to you, there will be more cards in the pool giving you the chance to pick up again after denying that opportunity to your opponents.
Strategy & Tips
- Try to save your Jacks for situations where there are no Queens and Kings in the pool. As explained above, by Playing a Jack when it will completely clear the pool, you are guaranteed to rob the next Player a chance to pick up and you are increasing the odds of robbing subsequent players of that chance as well. The more cards you pick up, and the less your opponents pick up, the higher chance you have of winning more points.
- Kings and Queens are useful, but do not award points by themselves. As such, if you have to choose between discarding something like an Ace or a King/Queen, discard the King/Queen. Your ace is more useful if it can be picked up, so is point can be awarded to yourself. The only exception is if it is the King or Queen of Clubs, as they contribute to the Most Clubs award.