Ghârat Fishing Games

Ghârat Fishing Games



Ghârat is an Iranian single pile fishing game for two to four players. Its name means 'loot', and refers to the fact that cards can be captured either from the play pile or from an opponent's capture pile.

This page is based on information from Datis Khaje`ian.

Players and Cards

This game can be played by two, three or four players, playing as individuals. Sometimes four players play in partnerships, each player sitting opposite their partner.

A standard international 52-card pack without Jokers is used. In this game it is only the rank of the cards (A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2) that is important: suits are irrelevant.

Deal and play are anticlockwise.


The dealer shuffles the deck and places a stack of four cards face up in the centre with only the top card visible - the three cards buried under it remain unknown unless and until the top card is captured. This is the beginning of the play pile.

The dealer then deals four cards to each player and stores the remainder of the deck in a face down stack. The players look at their cards (but do not show them to the other players) and play them as described below.

During the game there will be a face up play pile in the middle and a face up capture pile in front of each player. The play pile begins with four cards and the capture piles begin empty.

When everyone has played their four cards, if there are cards remaining in the undealt stack the dealer deals a new hand of four cards to each player and play continues. So with four players there will be three deals of four cards each, with three players four deals and with two players six deals until the deck is exhausted.

When all the cards have been played and none remain to be dealt the players score for the cards they have captured and the turn to deal passes to the next player to the right.


The play begins with the player to dealer's right and continues anticlockwise until everyone has played their four cards.

At their turn a player plays any one of the cards in their hand.

Either way, the turn now passes to the next player: a player can only ever play one card from their hand in their turn.

'Stealing' cards from other players' capture piles by matching them is the 'looting' that gives the game its name.

It is also possible for a player to 'steal' cards from their own capture pile, but the cards do not move in this case, so if you play a card that matches the top card of your own capture pile you simply add it to the top of your own pile.

Note that all the piles must always be neatly stacked so that only the top card of each card is visible. It is illegal to look through any pile to see what is under the top card: the next card only becomes visible when the top card is captured.


When all the cards have been played, each player scores for the cards in their own capture pile as follows:

  • Number cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10): 5 points each.
  • Court cards (J, Q, K): 10 points each.
  • Aces: 20 points each.

Normally when the play ends there will be cards in the play pile that no one has captured. These cards are not counted and score for no one.

A cumulative score is kept for each player, starting from zero. A target score should be agreed before the game, usually 500 or 1000, and the first player whose score exceeds that amount wins the game. If two or more players reach or exceed the target the highest score wins. If two or more players tie for highest score at or aboive the target, play continues until the tie is broken.

In a partnership game, partners add their scores together and the first team to reach the target wins.


There is a version of Ghârat in which a player who holds a pair of equal cards can use their turn to add both cards together to their capture pile. Having used two cards in one turn, this player will have no card to play in the fourth turn of that deal, so at that point they simply miss that turn. (A player who had two pairs and used their first two turns to play them would then miss two turns while the othert players played their remaining cards.

This game is thought of as 'easier' than the normal game, because in the normal ('hard') game if you have a pair, you will normally have to play one card of your pair to the play pile, where it will usually be covered by a different card before you have a chance to capture it.

In the 'easy' game, players normally wait until their third turn to play their pair, to reduce the chance that the two cards will be stolen by another player before they can be covered.