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The Best Card Games for 2 People

Tired of watching Netflix or aimlessly scrolling through TikTok? Card games are a fun and easy way to enjoy a relaxing evening at home or a date night on a budget.

A couple plays a fun card game on game night

Sitting around the table with your trusty pasteboards is a rare moment where you can put your phone away, disconnect from the world and make exciting new memories with friends, family and loved ones. Some even believe that the concentration it takes to play card games like Rummy, Texas Hold ‘Em, Five Card Draw Poker or Blackjack can even be a form of mindful play that helps train your brain.

You also don’t need a ton of people to play card games either. In fact, there’s a wide array of amazing 2 player card games for kids and fun 2 person card games for adults.

Don’t just play Go Fish or War because those are the only games you know. Check out these awesome 2 player card games that you can play today.

Slap Jack

Slapjack is a fun, fast paced game for kids and adults. The basic objective of the game is to collect all the Jacks by being the first to slap each Jack as it’s played in the center.


How to Play Slap Jack

Slap Jack is best played with a full 52-card deck of cards (Jokers included.) If you’re missing a few cards, that’s fine, as long as you have all the Jacks (or another four of a kind).

Deal out all the cards in order to every player. If you’re playing with more than two people, or don’t have a complete deck of cards, you may end up with uneven piles—which is fine.

With everyone’s cards in a neat face down pile in front of them, the person to the dealer’s left deals one card face up into the center of the table. This then continues in a fast clockwise motion until someone deals a Jack.

Once a Jack appears, everyone must try to slap it as quickly as they can. If more than one person slaps the Jack at the same time, whoever’s hand is directly on top of the Jack wins. Each time someone wins, they take the Jack and all the cards beneath it. They then shuffle them face down into their already existing pile.

If any player slaps a card that is not a Jack, they must give the player who dealt the card one of their cards face-down at random. If a player loses all their cards, they may attempt to gain cards back by staying in the game until the next Jack is turned. If they fail to slap that Jack and win, they are out of the game.

The player who gets all the Jacks wins the game.


Egyptian Rat Screw

If you like Slap Jack, then you’ll probably also enjoy Egyptian Rat Screw. This is another card game relying on speed and dexterity that will entice both kids and adults. Instead of trying to just get a four of a kind, the player who gains all the playing cards wins the game.


How to Play Egyptian Rat Screw

Deal out a full deck of cards face-down between both players. The non-dealer then turns over the card on the top of their deck and deals it to the table. If this card is a number card, their opponent then deals one of their cards.

Play continues until a court card (Jack, Queen, King) or Ace is played. When this happens, the next card played by the opposing player must be a court card or Ace. If it is, the game continues until the next court card or Ace is played.

However, if the next player follows an Ace or face card with a number card, the round ends. The person who played the face card or Ace wins the entire pile of played cards. Those cards are then added to their remaining packet of cards and shuffled before the top card is dealt to start the next round.

If this feels like it relies too much on luck, keep reading, as there are some interesting scenarios that make Egyptian Rat Screw a super fun card game.

Players can override the court card/Ace rule by slapping the pile and winning the played cards in any of the following scenarios:

  • When doubles are played (e.g. two fours are played back-to-back)
  • When a sandwich occurs (similar to a double, but when two cards of the same value are separated by an indifferent card such as a five, then a two, then another five)
  • When any two consecutive cards add up to ten (i.e. a three and a seven)
  • When a Queen and King are played consecutively (known as the “Marriage” rule)
  • If any four cards are played in ascending or descending order (e.g. two, three, four, five or five, four, three, two)
  • Anytime a Joker is played

We know there are quite a few rules to memorize. So, you can either use them all or pick which ones you like best before the game starts.

If, at any point, a player slaps the cards outside of any of these scenarios, that player is penalized by taking their top card and placing it face-up at the bottom of the pile of played cards before the game continues.

Once one person gains all the cards, they win. Shuffle up and deal because it’s time to play again.


Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a fun variant of the classic card game Rummy. While it’s typically played with two deck of cards, it's ok to use just one deck of cards if that’s all you have. As Gin Rummy requires a bit of mental math, it is a great card game for adults.


How to Play Gin Rummy

Players play multiple rounds of drawing and discarding cards in an attempt to reach 100 points. These points are determined by different combos of cards and the values assigned to them. Since it’s a lot to read, check out the helpful video above on how to play Gin Rummy.


Trash

Trash, sometimes known as Garbage, is a great card game for those who like slower-paced games that require thinking and strategy. The object of the game is simple: be the first player to get rid of all your cards until you have just one left. Yet, it’s unique game mechanics make it a fun challenge for adults and kids.


How to Play the Trash Card Game

Deal 10 cards face-down in two rows of five to each player. This is your playing field. The rest of the deck is then left face-down between the two players.

Start the game by having the youngest player draw one card from the deck. If that card is between Ace and 10, then you use it to replace the face-down card in it’s corresponding position starting from the left of the top row (which would be the Ace/One). So, if you drew a five, you’d replace the last card in the top row.

The replaced card is then flipped over. If it can replace any of the face-down cards, then repeat the above process. However, if the card in that position is already face-up, or you reveal a Jack, Queen or Joker, put that card in the discard pile (or “trash” pile) and end your turn. The same applies to any scenario where you hold a card that cannot be played anywhere. (Note: some variations allow you to use the Jack as a "10").

You’ll notice that we didn’t mention the Kings above. That’s because Kings are wildcards that can be placed in any spot at any time.

After the first turn, players have the opportunity to either draw from their own deck or dig through the “trash” to find a card that could help them.

Turns continue back and forth until one player has 10 face-up cards in sequential order from Ace through 10. This ends Round 1. You then shuffle up, re-deal the cards and begin the next round. This time though, the winning player goes first and only has nine cards to replace.

Play continues with each player having one less card in their field each time they win. The losing player gets dealt the same amount of cards from the previous round. The game ends when one player has only one card on their playing field and then wins that round.


What are the Best Playing Cards for Card Games?

the dapper deck playing cards from vanishing inc

As an online magic shop, we know a thing or two about playing cards and card magic tricks. That's why, we can say that Bicycle Playing Cards from the United States Playing Card Company are the best and most affordable playing cards for everything from card games for couples to card games for families and card games for kids.

However, they can also be pretty boring. That’s why we offer 1,000’s of different playing cards to fit any personality or liven up any card game night. Just make sure to avoid any marked playing cards if you don’t want to get accused of cheating at the card table.

Need some inspiration? Here’s 20 of the best custom stylish playing cards.

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