Hak Ga Pai

Hakka Luk Fu Playing Cards

Hak Ga Luk Fu Pai

Luk Fu ( Luk Fu ) means Six Tigers. In this unique deck there are four suits in the Hak Ga Playing card deck called SIP, GON, SOP, TEN, ( Sip, Gon, Sop, Ten ) in that order of decreasing rank. In each suit, there are 9 cards numbered 1 through to 9. There are also two other cards which are included in a brand new pack called Leeten ( leeten ) and Leefa ( leefa ). The Leefa card is often thrown away, whilst the Leeten card is retained for use. A new pack will always have 38 cards in all.

In appearance, the face of the cards are schematically shown below. On their reverse or back, the cards are always black. The dimensions of each card is eight tenths of an inch wide, and their length is two and nine tenths of an inch [ (W = 2.1 cm) x ( L = 7.4 cm) ] in the decks that I have.

The object of the game of Luk Fu is for the first player to down at least six winning cards out of a dealt hand of 12 cards.

Click here to find out how to play Hak Ga Luk Fu

In decreasing order of value the cards are:

The SIP suitThis is the highest ranking suit in the deck.
9 sip 8 sip 7 sip 6 sip 5 sip 4 sip 3 sip 2 sip 1 sip
9 sip 8 sip 7 sip 6 sip 5 sip 4 sip 3 sip 2 sip 1 sip
The GON suitThe next highest ranking suit in the deck.
9 gon 8 gon 7 gon 6 gon 5 gon 4 gon 3 gon 2 gon 1 gon
9 gon 8 gon 7 gon 6 gon 5 gon 4 gon 3 gon 2 gon 1 gon
The SOP suitThis is the third highest ranking suit in the deck.
9 sop 8 sop 7 sop 6 sop 5 sop 4 sop 3 sop 2 sop 1 sop
9 sop 8 sop 7 sop 6 sop 5 sop 4 sop 3 sop 2 sop 1 sop
The TEN suitThis is the lowest ranking suit in the deck.
9 ten 8 ten 7 ten 6 ten 5 ten 4 ten 3 ten 2 ten 1 ten
9 ten 8 ten 7 ten 6 ten 5 ten 4 ten 3 ten 2 ten 1 ten

LEETEN and LEEFA cards

The Leefa card is discarded from the deck during play.

The Leefa card is discarded from the deck during play
leeten leefa
Leeten Leefa

Some points about the cards

You will notice that eight of the cards have red imprints. These occur on the value 9 cards of each suit, the value 1 cards of the lowest and highest ranking suits, the 8 Sip card of the highest ranking suit, and the red Leeten card. These are termed High cards in this site, though in Hakga speech, they are called Lao Sui Pai ( Lao SuiPai ) meaning old aged cards. Generally these cannot be beaten. There are restrictions on when and in what manner they can be used.

There are alternative names for the two red value ones cards, 1 Sip and 1 Ten. The two characters represented in the 1 Sip card is Bak Tsu ( Bak Tsu ), however, the card is named Yau Bak Tsu or Zau Bak Tsu. Here Yau/Zau is used to mean the number 1. Bak Tsu means "a hundred sons" or "hundreds of offspring". However, for the 1 Ten card, it is usually only called Yau Ten or Zau Ten. The suit names are revealed below.

Four suits of the Hakka Luk Fu deck

The closest Chinese characters to the those on the suits are given. Their translations would seem a little strange, but they all seem to have the idea of gathering together of things in bundles. Hence, SIP means "to gather or collect", GON means "stung together", SOP means 'string or rope', TEN is the character for 'line or thread', which in modern Hakka chinese is pronounced 'sen'.

The two extra cards, Leeten ( Leeten ) and Leefa ( Leefa ) mean "beautiful thread" and "beautiful flower" respectively. Here Lee is pronounced differently to it's usual intonation. The characters are stylised on the cards as with those of the numbers. Only by recognising Lee in the Leefa card is it possible to tell what the Lee in the Leeten card was.

Hakka Numerals 1 to 9

Numeral designs and Chinese Numerals in Hakka
yit / zidngeesamseeungluktidbadgiu
yau / zau

As you can see, the normal Chinese characters represented in the second row, are all similar to the card numerals except for number 8. It can be said that the numbers were designed with some artistic licence in mind.

Special Properties

More about how the cards are used can be found in the How to Play page.

Card Collectors Click Here!

Bob Lancaster's Homepage http://members.aol.com/rslancastr/blgupc/blgupc.htm is full of interesting things about cards. He collects and writes about them.

Another collector of cards is Andrea Pollet in whose site http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/5305/cards.html can be found cards from around the globe. (I'd like to thank him for asking me about the names of the suits - I overlooked the meanings in my first attempts at this page.) He has some more examples at http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/5305/cards8.html of a wonderful collection of Oriental cards.

John Mcleod has a page on Hakka Luk Fu also at http://www.pagat.com/multitrk/liukfu.html . It has slight differences, but its essentially the same thing. Links to many world wide playing card games as well.

How to Play : Scoring Scheme : Shorthand for Recording Luk Fu
Back to Hakka Links : Return to my homepage
This page was last updated on Thursday 22nd October 1998
and continuously revised since Saturday 15 March 1997.

© Dylan W.H.S. 1996-1997
You can e-mail me here on anything you like!