Setup: The game is played with one distinct deck of cards per person or team. Four cards are turned face up in the personal area and a “Nertz” pile, consisting of 13 cards, 12 face down and one face up on top. The remaining cards become that players “flip hand.” When both players are ready, the game begins.
Game Play: The personal area, the area consisting of the four cards and the Nertz pile, allows play of cards in a descending order alternating red and black cards. Cards may be played on any of the four face up cards from the flip hand or from the Nertz pile so long as colors are alternated and the order (King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9…..) is maintained. In the event a “hole” opens up in the line of four cards a card from the Nertz pile is used to fill the hole and keep the number of piles at four.
In addition to the personal area, there is a common area between the players. Cards in the common area start with the ace and are played in an ascending order up to the King (Ace, 2, 3, 4, …..King). The cards in this area can be played on from any players flip hand or personal area so long as the order and suit (each pile contains only one suit) are maintained.
The flip hand is “flipped through” in the following manner. Three cards at a time in such a way that their order is reversed. Thus, the top card when the deck is face down becomes the top card when the three cards are flipped face up. (To accomplish this pull one card away from the deck and place it face down on the table, then pull a second and place it face down on top of the first card. Repeat this a third time and then flip the three cards over. This is the “action” that the cards need to display….without laying the cards on the table) Cards from the flip hand can then be played anywhere possible provided it is the top card on the flipped pile. In the event there are not three cards, the same procedure for flipping holds. When the end of the flip hand is reached, the deck is picked back up and the process is repeated.
In the event that ALL players are unable to play and the flip hands of ALL players have been flipped through a minimum of two times, the top card of the Nertz pile for every player is “burned.” This means that the top card is placed on the bottom of the Nertz pile and the next card is turned up.
Play continues until a player has played all cards from thier Nertz pile. When this happens, that player says “Nertz” and play stops.
When Nertz has been called, each player scores one point for each card from his deck played in the common area. The players who did NOT call Nertz then count the number of cards left in their Nertz pile and subtract two points from their score for each card left on thier pile. Play continues until a player reaches a predetermined score (usually 250 or 500). Thus, a negative score is possible.
Teams: Occasionally, Nertz is played with teams of two. One person flips the flip hand and the other plays the Nertz pile. Both players then watch for possibilities to play in both the common area and the personal area.