Special Finesses

The Ambiguous Finesse Pass-Back#

  • When an Ambiguous Finesse occurs, the first player will not play into the Finesse, and do something unrelated. At that point, it is usually clear that another player on the team also has the connecting card. Normally, that other player should then immediately blind-play, resolving the Ambiguous Finesse as fast as possible.
  • However, in some specific situations, the second person cannot blind-play the card, or else a misplay would occur. In these situations, the second person has to also not play into the Finesse. This "passes" the blind-play back to the first person again.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • Blue 1 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues blue to Donald, touching a blue 4 as a Play Clue.
    • Bob sees that Cathy has the blue 2 on her Finesse Position. From his position, this must be a Double Finesse, with Cathy blind-playing the blue 2, and Bob blind-playing the blue 3 from his own Finesse Position. Bob discards.
    • Cathy sees that Bob has the blue 2 on his Finesse Position and the blue 3 on his Second Finesse Position.
    • Cathy also knows that the only reason that Bob would discard is if Cathy also had the blue 2 on her Finesse Position. Thus, Bob expects her to blind-play on this turn, and this is an Ambiguous Finesse.
    • Normally, Cathy would blind-play the blue 2 herself. However, in this situation, if she blind-plays the blue 2, then Bob would go on to misplay the other blue 2, thinking that it is blue 3.
    • Thus, Cathy must pretend like the Finesse is not on her after all, and force Bob to be the one to blind-play first. Cathy discards her chop card, passing the Finesse back to Bob.
    • Donald and Alice discard.
    • Bob knows that Cathy was supposed to blind-play the blue 2, but she didn't. He must also have the blue 2. Furthermore, he must also have the blue 3, as that would be an excellent reason for Cathy to pass the Finesse back to him. Bob will now blind-play blue 2 and blue 3.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobBlue 2Blue 3Bob discardsCathyBlue 2Cathy discardsDonald4Blue 4
  • As a side note, you may be wondering why, in the above example, Cathy does not blind-discard her blue 2 from her Finesse Position instead of discarding her chop. This is because it is possible that Cathy does not have the blue 2 on her Finesse Position and instead has some other unrelated playable card as a Layered Finesse. Thus, Cathy must play it safe and discard her chop.

The Bad Touch Layered Finesse that Causes a Blind-Play of a Known Dupe (Dupe Bluffs / Bluff Dupes)#

  • If a player performs a Bluff that causes a blind-play of a globally-known duplicated card, that is quite strange. Doing this is not very good, as it violates Good Touch Principle and does not accomplish very much in general.
  • Players agree that this is not a Bluff at all, but instead a Layered Finesse. The player who blind-played the card should continue to blind-play cards until they find the promised card.
  • This section also applies to Priority Bluffs that cause the blind-play of a duplicated card.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All of the 2's are played on the stacks.
    • Alice has a globally-known red 3 in her hand. (It is "filled in" with both a red clue and a number 3 clue.)
    • Alice clues blue to Cathy, touching a blue 4 as a Play Clue.
    • Bob knows that this must be a Finesse, so he attempts to blind-play a blue 3 from his Finesse Position. Instead, he blind-plays a red 3.
    • Cathy discards her chop.
    • Alice discards her known red 3 (since it is already played and is now trash).
    • Bob knows that Bluffs that duplicate a card like this are supposed to be treated as Layered Finesses. Bob blind-plays his Second Finesse Position as blue 3 and it successfully plays.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 3Blue 3CathyBlue 4

Potential Priority Duplication & The Certain Priority Finesse (or Priority Certain Finesse)#

  • Normally, players can perform any particular type of Finesse either by giving a clue or by playing a card without Priority. For example, it is possible to both do a Layered Finesse (by giving a clue) and a Layered Priority Finesse (by playing a card).
  • One exception to this rule is the Certain Finesse. When a player perform a Certain Finesse, it calls for a Certain Discard. However, when a player uses Priority to promise a card that could potentially be in their own hand, this should not induce a Certain Discard. The other players in this situation should just ignore the Priority and instead discard their chop card. (Doing it this way is much safer because it allow potential Layered Finesses as well as some slack for mistakes.)

The Bad Touch Finesse (for 1's)#

  • In the Trash Finesse / Trash Bluff, it is possible to clue number 1 to a player in order to get someone to blind-play a card. After the blind-play, it is understood that all of the 1's are trash.
  • However, what if this is done on the first turn of the game, touching two 1's? If nothing is played on the stacks, then the 1 of every single suit is needed. In this situation, both of the 1's that are clued cannot be trash.
  • In this situation, the 1's clue only communicates that Good Touch Principle was violated and that both of the 1's are the same suit.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Cathy's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: green 4, red 1, red 1, red 5, green 5
    • Alice clues number 1 to Cathy, touching the two red 1's.
    • Bob sees that instead of violating Good Touch Principle, Alice could have instead simply performed a 5 Save to Cathy.
    • Bob knows that since we are not normally supposed to violate Good Touch Principle, Alice must be trying to communicate something extra. Therefore, this must be a Bad Touch Finesse. Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position card. It is a blue 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy knows that since this is the first turn of the game, both of her 1's cannot be trash. Similar to a Stale 1's Clue, Cathy skips over the older 1 and plays the newest 1. (She would normally play her 1's from right-to-left.) Cathy will then discard the other one later.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathy11ktCathy plays Slot 2first turn
  • If a Bad Touch Finesse is performed on three or more 1s, it only promises that the oldest one is trash / duplicated.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Cathy's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: green 1, red 1, red 1, red 5, green 5
    • Alice clues number 1 to Cathy, touching slot 1, slot 2, and slot 3.
    • Bob sees that instead of violating Good Touch Principle, Alice could have instead simply performed a 5 Save to Cathy.
    • Bob knows that since we are not normally supposed to violate Good Touch Principle, Alice must be trying to communicate something extra. Therefore, this must be a Bad Touch Finesse. Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position card. It is a blue 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy knows that since this is the first turn of the game, all of her 1's cannot be trash. Similar to a Stale 1's Clue, Cathy skips over the oldest 1 (on slot 3) and plays the middle 1 (on slot 2). (She would normally play her 1's from right-to-left.) On Cathy's next turn, she will play the left-most 1. On Cathy's next turn after that, she will discard the right-most 1 (the one that she originally skipped over).
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathy111ktCathy plays Slot 2, she will later play Slot 1first turn

The Bad Touch Finesse (for 2's)#

  • Normally, if number 2 is clued to a chop card, it is considered to be a Save Clue (as the 2 Save convention).
  • However, it is possible for players to transform this Save Clue interpretation into a Play Clue interpretation if they violate Good Touch Principle and intentionally duplicate another 2.
  • In this situation, the player who received the clue will know that the chop card connects.
    • If two 2's were clued, then the other 2 is obviously the exact same copy as the chop 2. In this situation, the left-most card can be played and the other card discarded as known trash.
    • If three or more 2's were clued, then any of the other cards could be the duplicated 2. In this situation, the chop card should be discarded and then Elimination Notes for that card written on the other 2's.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 2 to Cathy, touching a red 2 on slot 3 and a red 2 on slot 5 (her chop).
    • Bob knows that normally, this would be a 2 Save on the red 2. However, Alice is violating Good Touch Principle, so she must be trying to communicate something extra.
    • Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position card and it is red 1.
    • Cathy knows that since a clue that looks like a 2 Save got Bob to blind-play something, then both of the 2's must be red 2. Cathy plays the 2 on slot 3 and plans to discard the 2 on slot 5 on her next turn.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 1Cathy2Red 22Red 2ktCathy plays Slot 3first turn
  • The Bad Touch Finesse is contextual and does not always apply:
    • If the clue giver was an Occupied, then it is an Occupied Play Clue and the other 2's are not necessarily duplicated.
    • If the clue giver gave a 2 Save early and had other Play Clues to give instead, the clue could be so bad that it would trigger a Finesse and the other 2's are not necessarily duplicated.

The Bad Touch Bluff (for 2's)#

  • In the same way as the Bad Touch Finesse, it is also possible to Bad Touch Bluff in order to get unrelated cards played from Finesse Position.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • Blue 2 and green 2 are played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 2 to Cathy, touching a red 2 on slot 3 and a red 2 on slot 5 (her chop).
    • Bob knows that normally, this would be a 2 Save on the red 2. However, Alice is violating Good Touch Principle, so she must be trying to communicate something extra. Therefore, this must be a Bad Touch Finesse.
    • Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position card, trying to play the red 1. Instead, it is blue 3 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy knows that since a clue that looked like a 2 Save got Bob to blind-play something, then a duplication occurred and both of the 2's must be the same. Cathy discards the chop card and saves the other one for later.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobBlue 3Cathy2Red 22Red 2ktCathy discards Slot 5

The Bad Touch Double Finesse (for 3's)#

  • Normally, a 3 Bluff takes priority over a Double Finesse. This means that if someone clues a blue 3 using the number 3, and then a blue 1 blind-plays on the very next turn, no-one is promised the blue 2.
  • However, if both blue 3's were touched with the number 3 clue, then that would violate Good Touch Principle, and this would be considered a "bad touch".
  • If someone is violating Good Touch Principle, they must have a very good reason, so the clue must be a Double Finesse instead of a 3 Bluff. In the above example, the next player should blind-play the blue 2 from their Finesse Position.
  • After that, the player who received the clue can safely discard the focused 3.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 3 to Donald, touching two red 3's.
    • Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position and it is red 1.
    • Cathy knows that normally, this would be a 3 Bluff. However, since the red 3's are duplicated, this must be a Bad Touch Double Finesse, so Cathy blind-plays her Finesse Position and it is the red 2.
    • Donald knows that the other 3 in his hand must be the other copy of red 3, or else Cathy would not have blind-played anything, so Donald plays the non-focused red 3. The next time that Donald discards, he will discard the known trash red 3.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 1CathyRed 2Donald3Red 3kt3Red 3Donald plays Slot 3first turn

The Bad Touch Layered Finesse That Dupes a Clued Card (Illegal)#

  • First, see the section on the Bad Touch Double Finesse (for 3's).
  • Similar to a Bad Touch Double Finesse (for 3's), it is also possible to try a Bad Touch Layered Finesse on the next player.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • No cards are played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues both copies of red 3 in Cathy's hand.
    • Bob blind-plays a blue 1.
    • Bob knows that if only one red 3 was touched, this would just be a normal 3 Bluff. However, since there was a bad touch, he knows that he must continue to blind-play cards until he finds the red 1 and the red 2.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobBlue 1Cathy3Red 33Red 3Illegal!
  • Bad Touch Layered Finesses are explicitly illegal because they violate Lie Principle - Bob cannot demonstrate that it is a bad touch until after Cathy has already taken a turn.

The Bad Touch Triple Finesse (for 4's)#

  • In the same way that it is possible to perform a Bad Touch Double Finesse to "get around" a 3 Bluff interpretation, it is also possible to perform a Bad Touch Triple Finesse to "get around" a 4 Double Bluff interpretation.
  • For example, in a 5-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 4 to Emily, touching two red 4's.
    • Bob blind-plays red 1.
    • Cathy blind-plays red 2.
    • Donald knows that normally, this would be a 4 Double Bluff and that no-one should play any more cards. However, since the red 4 was duplicated, this must be a Bad Touch Triple Finesse, so Cathy blind-plays her Finesse Position and it is the red 3.
    • Emily knows that this cannot be a 4 Double Bluff, or else Donald would not have blind-played anything. Thus, this must be a Bad Touch Triple Finesse, so Emily plays her left-most red 4. The next time that Emily discards, she will discard the known trash red 4.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 1CathyRed 2DonaldRed 3EmilyRed 4Red 4ktEmily plays Slot 2 as Red 4first turn

The Certain Finesse Clandestine Exception#

  • First, see the section on the Certain Finesse.
  • This section outlines a specific and rare edge-case for Certain Finesses.
  • We agree that Bluffs take precedence over Certain Finesses. This means that a Certain Finesse cannot normally be performed from Bluff Seat.
  • Certain Finesses can be performed from Bluff Seat if it is strictly impossible to be a Bluff. In other words, this means that it is illegal for a player to perform a Clandestine Finesse on the very next player that targets a potentially duplicated card and the other player can rule out the possibility of a Bluff.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • All of the 2's & blue 3 is played on the stacks. Green 3 is in the discard pile.
    • Alice has an unknown 3 in her hand that happens to be the red 3.
    • Alice clues number 4 to Cathy, touching a red 4 as a Play Clue.
    • Bob knows that Alice could be trying to perform a Finesse on a red 3. Normally, he would blind-discard his Finesse Position card as a Certain Discard in order to pass this card back to Alice.
    • However, Bob also knows that this might be a Bluff. But wait - his Finesse Position card has negative blue on it. So anything that he blind-plays here would have to be a 3. Thus, this cannot be a Bluff, since a 3 would connect to 4 and look like a Finesse.
    • The only other possibility that Bob has to worry about is a Clandestine Finesse. For example, he could be blind-playing a green 3 and then a red 3 after that. If he blind-discarded, that could "kill" the green stack, since the other copy of green 3 is already discarded.
    • However, Bob also knows that you are not allowed to perform a Clandestine Finesse from Bluff Seat that could duplicate a card in your hand. Thus, he can discount both the possibility of a Bluff and the possibility of a Clandestine Finesse.
    • Bob performs a Certain Discard on his Finesse Position card and it is the red 3, successfully passing it back to Alice.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverRed 3BobBob performs a Certain Discard of Slot 1, it is Red 3Cathy4Red 4
  • If someone performs a Certain Discard and you have two or more clued cards that could be the target, then you are not promised the order, only that you have the card clued somewhere in your hand. (This part works in the exact same way as a more-ordinary Sarcastic Discard.)

The Prophetic Finesse (for 1's)#

  • In most games, players will avoid giving a number 1 clue to a single playable 1 that is not on Finesse Position if a different player has the same 1 on Finesse Position. This is because it is usually better to Finesse it or to let someone else Finesse it.
  • If a player does this anyway, and doing so was clearly bad, they must be communicating something extra.
  • In this situation, the next player should treat the clue as if were a Trash Finesse.
  • This is different from a Trash Finesse because a second blind-play is needed to prove that the card is not actually trash. The in-between player is promised to have the matching 1 on Finesse Position. The in-between blind-play is called a Prophetic Blind-Play to distinguish it from a normal blind-play.
  • Furthermore, once the Prophetic Finesse has resolved, the clued player should always treat this as an unnecessary move (e.g. as an Unnecessary Trash Chop Move or an Unnecessary Trash Push).
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • Red 1 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 1 to Donald, touching a single blue 1 on slot 3.
    • Bob sees that Cathy has a blue 1 on her Finesse Position. Thus, Alice's clue is strange - she should have probably clued Cathy's blue 1, or allowed someone to Finesse Cathy's blue 1.
    • Bob knows that Alice must be intending for a Prophetic Finesse. Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position. It is a green 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy sees that from Donald's perspective, a Trash Finesse has just occurred. Donald will mark the blue 1 (playable) as a red 1 (trash), and will discard it. This is bad, so Cathy knows that something else is expected of her.
    • Cathy knows that this a Prophetic Finesse and that she is promised to have a blue 1 on her Finesse Position. Cathy blind-plays her Finesse Position (as a Prophetic Blind-Play). It is a blue 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Donald knows that since a number 1 clue touched a single 1 and caused two blind-plays, this must be a Prophetic Finesse. Donald marks his touched 1 as trash. He also Chop Moves his slot 4 card because of the unnecessary part of the move.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobGreen 1Bob blind plays Slot 1CathyBlue 1Cathy blind plays Slot 1Donald1Blue 1ktcm
  • Prophetic Finesses can only be triggered by touching exactly one 1.
  • Prophetic Finesses can only be triggered by using a number 1 clue. (Color clues cause a Prophetic Discharge.)
  • Prophetic Finesses can not be given in reverse.
  • Prophetic Finesses can be Layered. In other words, in the previous example, if Cathy plays her Finesse Position and it is yellow 1, she will be surprised. However, Cathy will know that she is promised to have the blue 1, so she will go on to play the blue 1 from her Second Finesse Position on the next turn.
  • Prophetic Finesses can also be given in situations that cannot be mistaken for Trash Finesses.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 1 to Donald, touching a single blue 1 on slot 3.
    • Just like in the previous example, Bob sees that this is a Prophetic Finesse (because Cathy has a blue 1 on her Finesse Position). Bob blind-plays his Finesse Position. It is a green 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy sees that from Donald's perspective:
      • It will not look like a Trash Finesse, because no 1's were played at the time of the clue.
      • It will not look like a Bad Touch Finesse (for 1's), since only a single 1 was clued.
    • Therefore, as soon Bob blind-plays, both Cathy and Donald can understand that it is a Prophetic Finesse.
    • Just like in the previous example, Cathy blind-plays the blue 1, and Donald marks his 1 as trash and Chop Moves his slot 4 card.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobGreen 1Bob blind plays Slot 1CathyBlue 1Cathy blind plays Slot 1Donald1Blue 1ktcmfirst turn

The Patch Finesse#

  • Sometimes, a player will initiate a Layered Finesse on a card that is behind a one-away-from-playable card. Normally, this would be quite bad, as the player would blind-play the one-away-from-playable card, and it would misplay.
  • However, since the Finesse target is considered unplayable from the rest of the team, they can be tricked into blind-playing the exact card that makes the one-away card actually playable. This "patches" the Layered Finesse problem, and now the layer can be fully unwrapped without issues.
  • For example, in a 5-player game:
    • All of the 1's are played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues red to Emily, which is a Play Clue on a red 4.
    • Donald has a blue 3 on his Finesse Position, followed by a red 2 and a red 3.
    • Bob discards. (We will return to Bob at the end.)
    • Cathy sees that she must have the red 2 and red 3 on her Finesse Position, because even though Donald has the red 2 and the red 3, they are behind an unplayable card (blue 3).
    • Cathy tries to blind-play red 2 and it is instead a blue 2.
    • Donald knew that Alice's clue was Finessing him, since no-one else on the team has any red cards. So, he gasps in surprise when Cathy blind-plays for seemingly no reason.
    • However, Donald knows that he should trust Alice and he should trust Cathy, so he continues to assume that he has the red 2.
    • Donald tries to blind-play red 2 and it is instead the blue 3. Donald now knows that this is a Patch Finesse.
    • Emily sees the playable red 2 and red 3 in Donald's hand, so she also knows that this was a Patch Finesse. The red card in her hand is either red 3 or red 4.
    • We skipped over Bob - why did he discard? Normally, Bob should think the same thing as Cathy - that he has both the red 2 and the red 3. However, Bob can look ahead and see that a Patch Finesse could occur, so since everything will work perfectly if he does nothing, then he should do nothing. It is also possible that Bob happens to have the red 2 and the red 3, so he should try to blind-play those on the next round if no-one else attempts to blind-play anything.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathyBlue 2DonaldBlue 3Red 2Red 3EmilyRed 4

The Known Patch Finesse (Illegal)#

  • Legal Patch Finesses are always hidden, meaning that from the person who is blind-playing a card to "patch" will never know that it is a Patch Finesse until after they blind-play.
  • In other words, if Alice performs a legal Patch Finesse, then no-one else on the team has to even know that the Patch Finesse convention exists - everything will just work out properly because everyone will just blind-play cards like any other ordinary Layered Finesse.
    • The exception is when it comes time for the patched player to begin blind-playing. In this situation, the patched player might be "spooked" from the blind-play of the patcher, because they will not understand why the blind-play happened. In this situation, players need to have full trust and not be spooked when another person on the team successfully blind-plays a card in an unexpected way.

The Double Patch Finesse (Illegal)#

  • Building on the Patch Finesse, it is theoretically possible for a Patch Finesse to require two separate players to patch at the same time.
  • However, we expressly forbid this because it is too confusing. Players should never consider the possibility of a Patch Finesse with two Patch Components.

The Patch Gentleman's Discard (Illegal)#

  • Theoretically, it could be possible to perform a Gentleman's Discard that contains a Patch Component.
  • However, we explicitly disallow this. Gentleman's Discards must be for cards that are on slot 1. Otherwise, it would communicate a Blaze Discard.

The Pestilent Finesse#

  • First, see the section on the Pestilent Double Bluff.
  • In the Pestilent Double Bluff example, Cathy is supposed to immediately blind-play her Finesse Position card in order to "heal" the situation with Bob.
  • However, if Cathy sees that someone else on the team has the red 2 in their Finesse Position, then Cathy can see that it is a Pestilent Finesse instead of a Pestilent Bluff. Cathy can simply let the person with the actual red 2 blind-play and that will "heal" the problem in the exact same way.
  • A Pestilent Finesse cannot be in reverse. (In other words, the blind-play must happen before the clued player can misplay.)

The Diseased Clandestine Finesse#

  • First, see the section on the Pestilent Double Bluff.
  • In the Pestilent Double Bluff example, Cathy is supposed to immediately blind-play her Finesse Position card in order to "heal" the situation with Bob.
  • However, if Cathy sees a clue that she can give that will turn the move into a Clandestine Finesse on Bob, then she must always do that.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn of the game and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Bob's hand is as follows, from newest to oldest: red 1, blue 2, blue 1, blue 5
    • Donald hand has a red 2 in it.
    • Alice clues number 2 to Bob, touching a blue 2 on slot 2.
    • Bob blind-plays the red 1.
    • Cathy sees that this looks like a Pestilent Double Bluff situation. However, she also sees that if she gives a Play Clue to the red 2, Donald will play it, and then Bob will reinterpret Alice's clue as a Clandestine Finesse.
    • Cathy clues red to Donald, touching a red 2 as a Play Clue.
    • Donald plays the red 2.
    • Alice discards.
    • Originally, Bob thought that Alice had performed a Self-Finesse on him for the red 1 into the red 2. However, from Good Touch Principle, this cannot be the case anymore, because Cathy got Donald's red 2.
    • Thus, Bob's 2 must be some other 2. Bob knows that this would normally cause a Pestilent Double Bluff, but Cathy did not blind-play anything.
    • Thus, this must be a Disease Clandestine Finesse. In other words, Alice told him that his 2 was playable right now, and no-one else has blind-played any 1s, so Bob must continue to blind-play cards until his 2 is playable.
    • Bob blind-plays his slot 3 card and it successfully plays as the blue 1.
    • Bob knows that his 2 must be the blue 2 to connect to the blue 1.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 12Blue 2Blue 1Blue 5CathyDonaldRed 2first turn

The Cursed Finesse#

  • Commonly, players use a Double Finesse or a Clandestine Finesse to "get" multiple cards from the next player. This works because the first blind-play "connects" to the clued card, forcing Bob to blind-play again in order to prevent Cathy from misplaying.
  • However, what if a player intentionally performs a Bluff where other players can see that it was actually possible to perform a Double Finesse or a Clandestine Finesse?
  • In this situation, if the cluer is not making a mistake, they are trying to send a deeper message - they want an extra person to blind-play.
  • This is called a Cursed Finesse because it requires the situation to be "cured". By performing a Cure Blind-Play, the move is transformed from a Bluff into a real Finesse.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Bob's hand is as follows, from left to right: red 1, blue 1, green 3, green 3
    • Donald's hand is as follows, from left to right: blue 2, green 4, green 4, yellow 4
    • Thus, Alice has a Free Choice between cluing blue to Donald and number 2 to Donald. If Alice chooses blue, then it will cause a Bluff (as a 2-for-1). If Alice chooses number 2, it will cause a Clandestine Finesse (as a 3-for-1).
    • Alice clues blue to Donald, touching a single blue 2.
    • Bob tries to blind-play the blue 1 from his Finesse Position. Instead, it is a red 1 and it successfully plays. Bob now knows that he was Bluffed.
    • Cathy sees that Alice could have done a Clandestine Finesse instead of a Bluff. Thus, Cathy knows that this must be a Cursed Finesse. Cathy blind-plays her Finesse Position (as a Cure Blind-Play). It is a red 2 and it successfully plays.
    • Bob and Donald both gasp in surprise when Cathy blind-plays:
      • From Bob's perspective, the focus of the clue is a one-away-from-playable card, so this cannot be a Double Bluff.
      • From Donald's perspective, this cannot be a normal Finesse or a Double Bluff, because Cathy would have done nothing, waiting for Bob to play the blue 1 (as a Finesse)
      • From both Bob and Donald's perspective, Bob's red 1 did not connect to Donald's blue card, so this cannot be a Pestilent Double Bluff.
    • Therefore, the team knows that this must have been a Cursed Finesse. Bob will now continue to blind-play until he finds his promised blue 1.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathyDonaldfirst turn
  • Cursed Finesses can only occur if there is a Free Choice during the initial clue.

The Surreptitious Finesse#

  • Clandestine Finesses are when a color or rank clue "connects" to the card from a blind-play, but the clue receiver must wait for additional connecting playable cards to blind-play. Another way of saying this is that Clandestine Finesses have a Misplay Component; if the blind-player does not continue to blind-play cards, then the clue receiver will go on to misplay the clued card.
  • A similar situation can also happen when a rank clue "connects" the card from a blind-play, but the clue receiver sees non-connecting rank cards in the blind-player's hand that are currently playable.
  • If the clue receiver waits for these non-connecting cards to blind-play, and they do blind-play, then it means that the original clue was on a different suit than it first appeared. This is called a Surreptitious Self-Finesse in order to disambiguate it from a more ordinary Clandestine Finesse.
  • Surreptitious Finesses have a Misplay Component in almost the exact same way that Clandestine Finesses do, but they just involve non-connecting rank cards.
  • Generally speaking, this means that when a rank clue initiates a Finesse, the clue receiver must always allow for the possibility that subsequent non-connecting rank cards in the blind-player's hand (that are of a lower rank than the clue) can possibly be caught up in the Finesse.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • Red 1 is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 3 to Cathy, which touches one 3.
    • Bob blind-plays red 2.
    • Cathy knows that red 2 "connects" to number 3, so she knows that she probably has red 3.
    • However, Cathy also sees that before Bob blind-played the red 2, he had a blue 1 in the slot right after it.
    • Thus, it is possible for Cathy's 3 to actually be blue 3. If it is, Bob will blind-play the blue 1 and Cathy will know that she has blue 2 on her Finesse Position.
    • So, Cathy discards (instead of potentially playing the red 3 on this turn) to allow for the possibility of a Surreptitious Finesse.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 2Blue 1Cathyb2?3r3/b3Cathy discards
  • Examples of a Surreptitious Finesse can be found here.

The Distribution Finesse#

  • On the final round of the game, it is possible to give a Play Clue to a player that would be useless - they will not get a chance to play the card before the game ends.
  • If a player does this anyway, then it must be communicating something extra. In this situation, it is to be interpreted as a Finesse instead of a Play Clue for the purposes of better satisfying Team Distribution Principle.
  • Examples:

Inverted Priority Finesse#

  • Priority Finesses are considered "free", since they do not cost a clue to perform. Thus, it is extremely rare that a player would decline to perform one if it was possible to do so.
  • If a player declines to perform a Priority Finesse, and there is nothing else special going on, then they must be trying to communicate something extra.
  • They are instead calling for a Priority Finesse on the card that had Priority. This is called an Inverted Priority Finesse because it gets a blind-play from playing a card with Priority (as opposed to getting a blind-play from playing a card without Priority).
  • After a Inverted Priority Finesse occurs, the presence of a normal Priority Finesse is now known to everyone on the team. Thus, the normal Priority Finesse is preserved and should be played into on the next go-around of the table.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • Alice has a choice between playing a red 1 and a blue 2. Both cards are fully known, and no-one else has any clued cards, so the red 1 has Priority.
    • Alice plays the red 1.
    • Bob sees that if Alice had played the blue 2, she could have performed a Priority Finesse on Cathy's slot 1 card, the blue 3.
    • Bob knows that there was no reason for Alice to decline the Priority Finesse, so this must be an Inverted Priority Finesse. Bob blind-plays his slot 1 card, and it is the red 2.
    • Cathy knows that the red 1 had Priority, so playing it should not have caused Bob to blind-play anything. Thus, Cathy knows that this must be an Inverted Priority Finesse, and she knows that she has a blue 3 on her slot 1. Cathy discards.
    • Alice plays blue 2.
    • Bob discards.
    • Cathy blind-plays blue 3.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverAlice plays Red 1BobRed 2CathyBlue 3b3
  • Note that Inverted Priority Finesse will only work if the players are in a certain order. Otherwise, the player holding the declined priority card can Play Clue the other card, which would destroy the information channel. This means that in most of cases, players should just go with the safer and less complicated option - the normal Priority Finesse.

The Shadow Finesse#

  • When playing with expert players, it is rare for them to "miss" the chance to Finesse a card.
  • If an expert player could cleanly Finesse a card but instead opts to clue it directly, there must be a good reason.
  • If the clue does not touch any other new cards, and it is not an emergency situation, and it is not a mistake, then the player must be trying to communicate something extra.
  • In this situation, the player giving the clue intends for the next player to blind-play from the Finesse Position that matches the true Finesse Position of the other card. This is called a Shadow Finesse because the positional blind-play is a "shadow" of the card that could have been used for the normal Finesse.
  • The first card to blind-play is called the shadow and the second card to blind-play is called the shadow target.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 1 to Cathy, touching a single red 1 on slot 1 as a Play Clue.
    • Bob sees that Alice's clue is very strange: Donald has a red 2 on his slot 4. Alice could have instead clued red to Donald to Finesse Cathy's red 1.
    • Bob sees no other explanation for this, so he knows that this must be a Shadow Finesse - Bob must hold the red 2's "shadow".
    • Since the red 2 is in Donald's Fourth Finesse Position (slot 4), Bob immediately plays his Fourth Finesse Position (slot 4). It is a blue 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Cathy can see all of the other hands and understands Alice's clue. Cathy plays the clued red 1.
    • Donald is very surprised to see Bob play his Fourth Finesse Position. The only thing that could cause this is a Shadow Finesse.
    • Donald blind-plays the red 2 (the shadow target) from his slot 4.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobBlue 1Cathy1Red 1DonaldRed 2first turn
  • The shadow in a Shadow Finesse must exist in the immediate next player's hand, similar to a Bluff. And the player holding the shadow must blind-play it immediately to resynchronize the team, similar to a Bluff.
  • Once a shadow has been blind-played, the team should consider the shadow target as being fully known and "touched". (In other words, it no longer occupies a Finesse Position.)
  • Remember that Shadow Finesses work with Finesse Positions, not with slot numbers.
  • Care should be taken to not give a Shadow Finesse that could be misinterpreted as some other kind of move. For example:
    • If the shadow is on the First Finesse Position, then the move might be misinterpreted as a Bluff or a Trash Finesse.
    • If the shadow is on the Second Finesse Position, then the move might be misinterpreted as a 5 Color Ejection
    • If the shadow is on the Third Finesse Position, then the move might be misinterpreted as an Unknown Trash Discharge.
  • The shadow must come before the shadow target. In other words, it is illegal for Bob to hold the shadow target, since he cannot see that a Shadow Finesse is occurring (and therefore might try to get the shadow).

The Reverse Shadow Finesse#

  • Shadow Finesses can also be performed in reverse.
  • Reverse Shadow Finesses are more complicated than normal Shadow Finesses, because the person with the clued card has to look ahead to determine whether or not they have the shadow, or if a future player has the shadow.
  • For an example, in a 4-player game:
    • It is the first turn and nothing is played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues red to Bob, touching a red card on slot 1 as a Play Clue.
    • Bob knows that his red card must be a red 1.
    • Bob sees that Alice's clue is very strange: Alice could have instead clued red to Donald, touching a red 2 as a Finesse.
    • Bob recognizes that Alice must be a Shadow Finesse. Bob now must determine where the shadow lies.
    • Bob sees that Donald's red 2 is on his Third Finesse Position.
    • Bob looks at Cathy's Third Finesse Position. If it is playable, then Cathy holds the shadow. If it is not playable, then Bob holds the shadow.
    • Cathy has a blue 1 in her Third Finesse Position, so Bob knows that Cathy holds the shadow.
    • Bob plays his clued red 1.
    • Similar to Bob, Cathy also knows that this is a Shadow Finesse. Cathy blind-plays her Third Finesse Position. It is blue 1 and it successfully plays.
    • Donald is very surprised to see Cathy blind-play her Third Finesse Position. The only thing that could cause this is a Shadow Finesse.
    • Donald blind-plays the shadow target from his Third Finesse Position.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobRed 1CathyBlue 1DonaldRed 2first turn

The Unnecessary Forced Reverse Trash Finesse (A Gentleman's Discard That Looks Like an Unnecessary Reverse Trash Finesse)#

  • First, see the section on Unnecessary Moves with Known Trash, which defines what a Unnecessary Trash Finesse is. Basically, if a Trash Finesse is unnecessary, then it also causes a Chop Move.
  • This convention also applies to Reverse Trash Finesses. If they are unnecessary, then it causes a Chop Move in the same way.
  • If a line is chosen that forces a Gentleman's Discard to occur (because they have to entertain the possibility of a Reverse Trash Finesse), and the blind-playing card could have been clued in some other easier way, then it still Chop Moves in exactly the same way that an Unnecessary Reverse Trash Finesse would.
  • For example, in a 3-player game:
    • This is a slightly modified version of the example given for the Reverse Trash Finesse.
    • Red 1 is played on the stacks. All of the 2's are played on the other stacks.
    • Alice clues number 2 to Bob, touching his slot 1 card as a Play Clue.
    • From Bob's perspective, this is probably just a Play Clue on the red 2 (which happens to be the final 2 that needs to be played).
    • However, Bob sees that Cathy also has a red 2 on her Finesse Position. That means that this could be a Reverse Trash Finesse.
    • If it is a Reverse Trash Finesse, then his 2 is a trash 2 (e.g. green 2). By immediately discarding it, it will prove to Cathy that she has a red 2.
    • Alternatively, if Bob does indeed have the red 2, then he can discard it to perform a Gentleman's Discard on Cathy.
    • Either way, discarding will cover both cases. Bob discards the 2 and it is revealed to be a red 2.
    • Cathy blind-plays her Finesse Position card as red 2 and it successfully plays.
    • Alice discards.
    • Bob knows that even though Gentleman's Discards are never supposed to cause a Chop Move, Alice forced him to discard in exactly the same way as a Reverse Trash Finesse. Furthermore, it was possible to cleanly clue the red 2 in Cathy's hand to begin with, and doing so would have been much simpler. Thus, doing the pseudo-Reverse Trash Finesse was unnecessary.
    • Since it was unnecessary, Bob chop moves all the cards to the right of where the red 2 was (slot 2, slot 3, slot 4, and slot 5).
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBob2Red 2cmcmcmcmBob discards Slot 1CathyRed 2

The Trash Push Inverted Finesse#

  • First, see the section on Unnecessary Moves with Known Trash, which defines what a Unnecessary Trash Push is. Basically, if a Trash Push is unnecessary, then it also causes an extra blind-play.
  • Normally, the Unnecessary Trash Push calls for the very next player to blind-play an unrelated card, similar to a Bluff.
  • However, if the very next player can see that it could be a Finesse through the Trash Pushed card, then they should prefer that interpretation. This is similar to how Bob should always prefer a Finesse interpretation over a Bluff interpretation.
  • For example, in a 4-player game:
    • All of the 2's are played on the stacks.
    • Alice clues number 1 to Cathy, touching a single 1 on her chop. Since all of the 1's are already played, it is globally known that this must be some kind of Trash Push.
    • Bob sees that the pushed card is a red 3. Cathy has no other red cards in her hand, so Alice could have just clued red to Cathy instead of doing a complicated Trash Push.
    • Thus, Bob knows that this is an Unnecessary Trash Push. Normally, Bob would immediately blind-play his Finesse Position card. However, Bob also sees that Donald has a red 4 in his Finesse Position. Since Finesses take precedence over Bluffs, Bob knows that he should let Donald be the one to blind-play from the unnecessariness.
    • Bob discards.
    • Cathy knows that this must be a Trash Push. Cathy blind-plays her slot 3 card. It is red 3 instead and it successfully plays.
    • Similar to Bob, Donald also sees that the Trash Push was unnecessary. Since Bob did not blind-play anything, this must be a Trash Push Inverted Finesse. Donald blind-plays his Finesse Position as red 4 and it successfully plays.
AliceClue GiverClue GiverBobCathyRed 31DonaldRed 4