Misere or misère (French for "destitution"; equivalent terms in other languages include bettel, contrabola, devole, null, pobre) is a bid in various card games, and the player who bids misere undertakes to win no tricks or as few as possible, usually at no trump, in the round to be played. This does not allow sufficient variety to constitute a game in its own right, but it is the basis of such trick-avoidance games as Hearts, and provides an optional contract for most games involving an auction.[1]

A Misere bid usually indicates an extremely poor hand, hence the name. An Open or Lay Down Misere is a 500 bid where the player is so sure of losing every trick that they undertake to do so with their cards placed face-up on the table. Consequently, 'Lay Down Misere' is Australian gambling slang for a "dead cert"; a predicted easy victory.

The word is first recorded in this sense in the rules for the game "Boston" in the late 18th century.[2]


Misère game

A misère game is a game that is played according to its conventional rules, except that it is "played to lose"; that is, the winner is the one who loses according to the normal game rules. Such games generally have rulesets that normally encourage players to win; for example, most variations of draughts (known as "checkers" in the United States) require players to make a capture move if it is available; thus, in the misère variation, players can force their opponents to take a large number of checkers through intentionally "poor" play.

In combinatorial game theory, a misère game is one played according to the "misère play condition"; that is, a player unable to move wins.[3][4](This is opposed to the "normal play condition" in which a player unable to move loses.) For most games this is the same as the ordinary use of the word, but a very few games are actually misère games according to their standard rules, for example Sylver coinage.

Other uses

See also


  1. ^ Parlett, David (1996). Oxford Dictionary of card Games, Oxford University Press, pg. 162. ISBN 0-19-869173-4
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ Berlekamp, Elwyn R.; John H. Conway, Richard K. Guy (1982). Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-091101-9, ISBN 0-12-091102-7.  Revised and reprinted as: - (2001-2004). Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays (2nd ed.). A K Peters Ltd. ISBN 1-56881-130-6, ISBN 1-56881-142-X, ISBN 1-56881-143-8, ISBN 1-56881-144-6. 
  4. ^ Conway, John Horton (1976). On numbers and games. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-186350-6. 
    Revised and reprinted as: - (2000). On numbers and games. A K Peters Ltd. ISBN 1-56881-127-6. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • misère — [ mizɛr ] n. f. • miserie XIIe; lat. miseria, de miser « malheureux » 1 ♦ Vieilli ou littér. Sort digne de pitié; malheur extrême. ⇒ adversité, détresse, infortune, malheur. La misère des temps. Malade sur son lit de misère. Collier de misère.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • misere — MISERE. s. f. Estat malheureux, condition malheureuse. Grande misere. estrange misere. il est au comble de la misere. il est dans la derniere misere, dans une extreme misere. Il signifie aussi, Extreme indigence, manquement des choses necessaires …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Misere — Misère Pour les articles homonymes, voir misère (homonymie). Le terme misère a plusieurs significations qui se rejoignent pour traduire une situation de détresse : grand dénuement, malheur, souffrance, ennui, tristesse mais aussi petitesse… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • misere — Misere, Miseria. Toute misere, AErumna. La plus grande misere du monde, c est la fascherie de l esprit, Si quid est homini miseriarum, quo miserescat miser, ex animo est. C est grande misere et malheurté, Miserrima miseria. C est grande misere d… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Misere — Sf bedauernswerte Lage erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. misère, dieses aus l. miseria, einer Ableitung von l. miser elend, erbärmlich .    Ebenso nndl. misère, ne. misery, nfrz. misère, nschw. misär, nnorw.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Misère ! — ● Misère ! marque de désespoir : Misère de moi ! …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Misere — »traurige, unglückliche Lage, Trostlosigkeit«: Das Substantiv wurde im 18. Jh. aus gleichbed. frz. misère entlehnt, das auf lat. miseria »Elend, Not, Unglück« zurückgeht. Dies ist eine Bildung zu lat. miser »elend, kläglich, bejammernswert«. Vgl …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Misère — (spr. Misähr), der Name verschiedener Spiele im Boston, s.d …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Misère — (franz., spr. sǟr ), Jammer, Elend, Not; in manchen Kartenspielen ein Spiel, bei dem man stich frei bleiben will …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Misere — Misēre (frz.), Elend, Not; Jammer …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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