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, ( ) 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 ( ) and 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 suit||This 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|
|The GON suit||The 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|
|The SOP suit||This 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|
|The TEN suit||This 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|
|The Leefa card is discarded from the deck during play|
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 ( ), 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.
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 ( ) and 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.
|yit / zid||ngee||sam||see||ung||luk||tid||bad||giu|
|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.
Another collector of cards is Andrea Pollet in whose site http://www.oocities.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.oocities.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.