In our December poll, we asked what you wanted to do at a holiday party, and 50% of you said you would play card games. I was one of those 50% and during the December I spent some time learning the basics of playing Whist. It's a pretty simple game, but scoring can be a bit confusing (at least for me) to figure out at first.
This game is played with four people split into two teams. The members of the teams sit across the table from each other. All 52 cards of a standard deck are dealt out to the players, with the suit of the last card determining what the trump of that round will be (this card is added to the dealer's hand after the first round of play).
In each round, a player plays a card trying to win that trick. Each player must play the same suit as the one played by the first player if they have a card in their hand of a matching suit. So if the first player plays the 10 of Diamonds you either want to player a higher diamond if you have one or if no diamond a card that matches the trump suit. (Does that make sense?)
Scoring is based on how many tricks a team as won and you count points for ever trick over 6. So if your team scores 7 trumps and the other team scores 6, your team is awarded 1 point. Game play continues until one team scores 5 points.
I've seen a few different versions of just the basic game listed online (Wikipedia, Bicycle Cards).
I found a free online version that I've been playing.
There is also the chapters on Whist in HOYLE'S GAMES MODERNIZED which can be found over at Project Gutenberg. There's a chapter on Solo Whist, and on regular Whist.
Enjoy your game play and stay safe and warm this weekend!