The Best Games With A Regular Deck Of Cards
Games with playing cards have been entertaining people for hundreds of years have are a go to way to pass the time. It’s easy to carry a deck of cards, the games are great socially, and a regular pack of playing cards is cheap. (Of course there are amazing designer decks of cards too but best not to play games with them)! For many of us, card games were just part of growing up. People would play with their parents and brothers or sisters.
Here at Vanishing Inc., the world’s largest magic store, sure, we love magic tricks, especially card magic, but we also love playing games. Yes, we will happily set you up with mind reading tricks, coin tricks, tricks for stage or parlor, even tricks for zoom magic shows. But we’ll also teach you the rules to many popular games. Here are some of our favorite games to play with a regular deck of playing cards. Don't cheat at these games!
Card Games For Two People
Nearly all games for more than one person can have extra players added or taken away and the games we list here are best for two. Some will have a variation for three players, but they work best with you and one other person.
This is a fantastic game and here’s why: it’s quite fast to play, it’s got easy rules and there’s a “Mario Kart” aspect to it where you can start off badly, but come to win at the end! (Additionally someone can “red shell” you when you think you’ve won and scupper your win). As the name suggests, it’s part of the Rummy series of games. You have to group together cards in runs and collections of suits. You win when you get 500 points.
In order to earn points, you have to play three-card sets that are either the same value (i.e. three Kings) or a run (i.e. two, three, four).
You play 500 Rummy in rounds, and the game ends when one player has run out of cards. The kicker is that if at that point you still have cards in your hand, they are counted against your total score.
There’s two good ways to look at playing this. Firstly, you can try and aim for a fast game to make sure the other players have multiple cards left. Alternatively, you can try and play each round as long as possible, to try and rack up as many points as you can.
The issue with the first option is that it’s usually tricky to get a good score in a short round. The issue with the second option is you’re gambling that someone else isn’t going to finish before you, leaving you with a high number of points to subtract from your total.
There’s one thing I can almost guarantee you already know about Cribbage. That there’s a board involved to keep score of the game.
However, despite the board’s iconic status, you don’t actually need one to play the game. Pen and paper will work just fine.
To win the game, you need to score either 61 or 121 points. You earn points by making groups of two or more cards that are the same value, runs of cards, and combinations of cards that total 15. Your total can’t be more than 31 during a hand. It’s a funny game you play in three different phases - but don’t worry. It’s nowhere near as complicated as you might think.
The cards are shuffled and dealt. You get six cards each, and then you pick two to discard, which are put into the “crib”, this is a spare hand that only the dealer is allowed to use to score points.
It’s the ideal mixture of luck and strategy. You have to work out your strategy when the game starts because of the discard rule. Additionally, there’s a random card turned face up at the start with any player can also use as part of their hand.
The game ends when one player reaches 61 or 121 points.
The Best Old Favorite Card Games
If there was a card table in your home growing up, these games will have been played on it - often long into the night. These are the most popular card games mainly because they’re so social. But also because they’ve become cemented in popular culture because they’ve been featured in movies and TV shows.
Euchre is very popular in Ontario (and throughout Canada). It’s a game where you have to take tricks and you need four players in two teams. Although talking is forbidden during play, it’s a very social game. If you know your partner very well, it’s more likely you’ll win. You have to have total trust in your partner and that trust is almost more important than any strategy.
The idea of the game is to win a minimum of three tricks and you get a bonus if you win all five tricks. You win by playing the card with the highest value in a round. At the start, a trump suit is chosen. This means that all the cards in that suit (including the mate of the jack) are the highest value cards.
You have to trust that your partner actually knows what they’re doing! If they play, say, a King or Ace, it’s really likely they’re going to win that trick. This means if you have a card higher, there’s no point playing it - trust your partner and save your high card for a subsequent round!
Learn more about Euchre here.
It would be hard to find someone in the Western world who is unaware of poker. It’s just ingrained in our culture. From movies to shows, everyone has at least someone playing poker. Especially if they’re a Bond fan!
The dramatic aspect of poker can be as exciting as it is in the movies when you play in real life. Some people may be math geeks who can instantly work out the odds of winning, and some may think they’re like The Mentalist and can read people and work out if they’re bluffing or not.
The idea of the game is to get the most money. You win by making the highest hands, or pretending you have the highest hand (known as bluffing) and getting the other players to give up that round (or folding). The game is very exciting, but can be played as seriously or casually as you prefer.
Poker is a game you should definitely experience - we bet you’ll enjoy it.
Learn about the best cards to play poker here. Definately do not play with these rare playing cards!
Hearts is kinda similar to Euchre - you have to take tricks. The idea of Hearts, though, is to take the smallest number of tricks and score as few points as possible. You can play the game with three people, but usually it’s played with four.
The whole deck is dealt out and for every heart you have you get one point. The Queen of spades is a massive 13 points. Normally you’d start off playing a low spade, to try and get someone to play the Queen. Everyone adds up their scores and the player with the lowest wins.
If you’re feeling confident, there’s an option to do something called shooting the mon, which means you win every heart and the Queen of spades. If you pull this off, your get 26 taken off your score - or, as a twist, you can chose to add 26 to every other player’s total.
Two Vanishing Inc. Favorite Card Games
We like most games, but here are two that we love, and you may not have come across.
Spite and Malice
You can play this with two or four players. If you’re a fan or Mario Kart and love to try and mess people up, you’ll love this.
The idea of the game is to get rid of all your cards. They go into a pile called the payoff pile. The top card of your payoff pile has to be turned face up. This lets you know which cards your competition are attempting to get rid off and you can attempt to block them from doing this.
It’s extremely satisfying to see your opponent finish their go because they have no other options. Spite and Malice is almost pure strategy, it’s fun but be warned, it can ruin love friendships!
Also known as Tripoli, Rummoli is a game from Canada that is a mix of poker and a board game. It’s a total joy to play and is a great game for a larger group of people. Not much strategy, lots of fun.
You really do want a Rummoli board:
But, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one. Just draw the spaces on a big bit of paper where players can put their chips. These spaces come into their own in the second phase of the game and link to different cards or sequences. Every player puts a chip on every space on the board. Additionally, there’s a “pot” that the winner of the Poker phase is awarded. That’s just one hand of regular Poker - whomever has the best hand wins.
After the Poker part, everyone plays the cards in their hand in sequence. The twist here is that is a ghost hand, and cards in the ghost hand cannot ever be played. This means there are good odds you will not be able to finish a sequence because one of the cards you need is lying in the ghost hand.