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The 12 Most Popular Card Games You Should Know

Posted by Reid Carlberg on

I want to learn how to play more games, which is how I landed on this list in the first place. Essay 7 in my #Ship30for30 Journey. (Ask me about #ship30for30!)

Source: stats from the amazing card game rules site Pagat -- link at the bottom!

1. Shithead is a 2-5 player game (best with 3+) using a regular deck of cards that’s popular around the world. Your goal is to not be the last person with cards. Some interesting rules around 2's and 10's. 

2. Golf is for 2 or more players (best with 4+) where the object is to have the fewest points after nine hands. Lots of interesting variations here, and a cool mechanic where you can’t look at cards before deciding to get rid of them. 

3. Crazy Eights: 2 or more players, standard deck, great for kids. Win by getting rid of all your cards by matching what’s on the discard pile. 

4. Spades: 4 players in 2 teams, standard deck. Tricks are taken by the highest card played, or a highest spade when that’s played. Each player bid a number of tricks. First team to 500 points wins.

5. Hand and Foot. 5 decks of cards, 4 players, 2 teams, no standard rules. The object is to create melds and score points and you play through 4 rounds. This is a game for the detail oriented among us. 

6. Gin Rummy. 2 players, standard deck. Make sets and runs, getting rid of your cards before your opponent and score the most points. 

7. Blackjack. The popular casino game. One dealer, N players who are competing with the dealer. Object is to get closest to 21 without going over. 

8. Rummy (Basic). 2-6 players, standard deck, the goal is to create sets or runs (melds) or to layoff cards on others. Yes, there's a lot of rummy. 

9. President. AKA Asshole. 4-7 players, standard deck. The goal is to run out of cards first. Suits don’t matter, only card rank. Winner of each hand gets the most comfortable chair. 

10. Canasta. 2 decks, 4 players, 2 teams. Goal is to create melds including 7 card melds known as a canasta. First team to 5000 wins. Fun fact: invented in Uruguay, 1939. Canasta was super popular in US in the 1950s. 

11. Rummy 500. 2-8 players, 1 deck if playing 2-4 players, 2 decks if 5 or more. Importantly, you can take more than one care from the discard pile. First player to 500 wins with version to 1000, 1500, etc etc. 

BONUS 12: I'm personally a big fan of Euchre, which is not on this list, but reading through here helped me discover a 2 player version called Ecarte. I'm pretty excited about it. 

Check out the original list and the whole site -- it's really great.