Card Games Everyone Should Know

card games

There are thousands of games you can play with a regular deck of cards. But just which card games are worth learning? This post delves into some of the most popular card games and offers a brief overview of how to play them and why you should play them.


Rummy is a popular game in which players attempt to get rid of all the cards in their hands by making either sets (e.g. 2♥, 2♣, 2♠) or sequences (e.g. 2♥, 3♥, 4♥) of three or more cards. Each player starts with 10 cards and must draw a card at the beginning of each go (from the deck or discard pile) and dispose of a card at the end into a discard pile. There are various variations of this game including gin rummy and 500 rummy – some of these variations allow you to add to other people’s sets/sequences or require you to pick up the entire discard pile rather than just the card at the top. It’s a fun family game that requires patience and strategy.


Solitaire is different to other card games in that it is played solo. It is commonly played on a computer or online, but can be played with real cards. There are a few variations including klondike, spider and Yukon – however the objective of most of these variations is similar: you must turn up all the face down cards by moving them between rows and assembling full sequences from Ace to King. This game is great if you’re by yourself and is a great test of patience and forward-planning. 


In the card game Pairs, every card in the deck is spread out on a table face-down. Each player takes turns to unveil two cards face up. If they are a pair (e.g. two fives or two kings), the player wins that pair. If the cards are not a pair, they are returned to the table face down. The game challenges players to remember what each face down card is in order to win the most amount of pairs. The game is sometimes called ‘memory’ as it primarily tests players’ memories. 


Cheat is a card game that encourages you to cheat! The entire deck is dealt out so that each player has the same amount of cards in their hand. Each player must then get rid of all the cards in their hand by discarding one or more cards each turn face down on the table while announcing what the cards are (e.g. ‘two queens’). You can lie about placing down sets (e.g. you could put down three random cards and claim you’ve put down three queens). However, another player can call you out by declaring ‘cheat’ – in which case you have to pick up all the cards in the discard pile. It’s a fast-paced game that is a test of bluffing and reaction. 


The inspiration behind Top Trumps, this card game is played in quick rounds. Each player starts by being dealt five cards (or seven cards in 7 Card Trumps). One player starts by putting down a card and the other players must follow by placing a higher card of the same suit. Whoever places down the highest card wins the round. If you’re unable to play a card of the same suit, you can play a card of another suit (but will lose that round) or you have the option to ‘trump’ it. In every game, a particular suit such as hearts or clubs is selected as the ‘trump’ suit and beats every other card of any other suit when laid. For example, if someone puts down a K♠ and you put down a A♠ to beat it, someone can still beat you by putting down a 3♦ if diamonds are the trump suit and they don’t have any spades. This is a game of strategy and fast decision making. 


Hearts is a points-based game in which the aim is to get as few points as possible. When one player hits 100 points, the player with the lowest score wins. The gameplay is similar to trumps in that players must play down cards of the same suit and the highest card wins the round. However, the cards you win from each round are scored. The value of each card is equal to the number on it in most cases (a 5♣ is worth 5 points) – however there are exceptions such as hearts (which are each worth 1 point) and the queen of spades (which is worth 13 points!). The complete rules are hard to summarise in a single paragraph, so it’s worth checking out this video for a more in depth guide. More so than Trumps, this is a game of strategy, while also incorporating some maths. 


One of the most popular casino card games in poker. Poker has several variants, but the most popular is Texas Hold Em. In this game, you are dealt two cards and five community cards are then revealed on the table. Whichever player has the best combination of cards wins (different combinations have different terms and are ranked differently – with ‘royal flush’ being the best possible combination of cards). Each player places bets based on how good their combination of cards is. Of course, you can bluff opponents into thinking you have a better hand than you really do. In fact, being able to bluff well and being able to tell when others are bluffing is often key to winning this game. 


Blackjack is another popular casino game. Players must get as close to a value of 21 in their hand as possible. If a player’s hand exceeds 21, they go ‘bust’ and lose. At the beginning each player is dealt two cards and the option to bet. Players can choose to stick or draw extra cards. Drawing extra cards can increase the chance of going bust, but could also get you closer to 21 (you can also win a round with a ‘five card trick’ if no-one else has two cards equalling 21).  This is a game of mental maths and calculated risk.







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