Come Play Sheepshead



Play Sheepshead

Ever wanted to play this crazy card game, but you didn’t know how?

Learn how to play Sheepshead!
Classes will be taught by Tim Wachter:
Friday 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm
Saturday 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm

Sheepshead, or Schafkopf in German, is an old game that originated in Middle Europe in the mid to late 1700’s. The game is believed to be derived Tarok and Kalabrias. The game was developed by peasants who were fed up with their government and expressed their discontent by giving the King Card a lower rank. To this day, Sheepshead has a very strange order ranking of cards.

The literal English translation of Schafkopf is ‘sheephead’ although the original word has nothing to do with sheep, since it’s “scha*ff*kopf”, not “scha*f*kopf”. The name is believed to originate from the location where it was played: On the lids (heads) of wooden barrels or kegs (Schaffen).

Join us for only $3 a round or $5 for 2 rounds – located in the Culture Pavilion.

Signup will start when the gates open, prepay and reserve your spot for any hour of play.  Each round consists of 15 hands, and each round will begin at the half hour.

Round start times:

Friday        3:30 – 9:30 pm
Saturday    12:30 – 9:30 pm
Sunday      12:30 – 5:30 pm

Registration is SAME DAY. When filling in tickets, please be consistent, and we recommend that you bring stickers with your name, phone number and e-mail with to use to fill in your tickets.  EACH TICKET WILL REQUIRE THIS INFORMATION.

Rules for 5 Hand Sheepshead Tournament

2023 Rules

Tables Stakes, Side Bets, or Any Form of Gambling is Strictly Prohibited

As you know, gambling is illegal in Wisconsin. Therefore, we’re sure you understand why we must prohibit any form of gambling or betting in the hall. If our officials observe any such activity taking place at your table, we will have to ask you to leave. We are here to have fun.

Thank you for your cooperation.


  1. Have Fun!
  2. A copy of these house rules will be kept at each table. The rules are written with the assumption that each participant is a Sheepshead player with some experience. The rules govern those points that may need to be established for tournament play and do not reflect the “only way” to play Sheepshead. What is considered legal here may not be in another game.
  3. Tables will be assigned by draw of names by committee (five players per table). In the event of unfilled tables the committee reserves the right to seat people as necessary.
  4. Fifteen hands will be played and must be completed in 45 minutes. Judges will rule on the incomplete play.
  5. Dealer will shuffle the deck a minimum of three times and call for a mandatory cut from the player to his/her right.
  6. Dealer deals one round of three cards to each player, then two to the blind, and a second round of three cards to each player. The deal is clockwise.
  7. Pickers may not look at buried cards after play is started.
  8. Last trick cannot be seen after next trick is started.
  9. Any player can request a ruling by an official judge on items not governed by the House Rules.
  10. As we all know, there are variations of rules in Sheepshead. The interpretations of the official judges shall prevail and be final.

MISDEALS:  If dealer accidentally turns over card, it is a misdeal.  If player touches a card and it turns over, it is not a misdeal. There is no penalty for a misdeal; just do it again until the dealer gets it right.

BOARD –IS– BOARD:  Once the card has been placed on the table in play the card may not be removed form the table unless the player needs to play another card to prevent an illegal play.  Misplays, if a misplay is discovered and can not be corrected, see scoring:  misplay.


SCORE:  Doublers will not be played.  Each player needs to sign or initial the score sheet at the end of 15 hands.

LEASTERS:  Leasters will be played. Leaster consists of taking a trick, with the last trick taking the two card blind. In case of a tie for low hand, the first person to take a trick is the winner.

CALLING AN ACE:  Picker chooses partner by calling an Ace. The picker must keep a fail in the called suit and the partner must keep the called Ace until the suit is played. Picker can play alone but must state “I play alone”.

ACE UNKNOWN:  Should the picker hold Aces for each fail suit held, the picker may place a card “in the hole” and call an Ace unknown. The Ace and Hole (or unknown) card must be held as above. Unknown card is turned over at the end of the trick. The buried cards shall be kept separate and shown at the end of the hand.

CALLING A TEN:  If the picker has all three Aces and does not go alone, picker must keep the called suit Ace in his hand and play it when the called suit is led, with the ten of the called suit taking the trick.

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