Classic Family Playing Card Games

We’ve all been there. A family gathering, different generations thrust together and expected to get on. Well, it doesn’t always go as smoothly as it does in the movies. If you need something to unite the different age groups and is family friendly, then games with playing cards are what you’re looking for. In this article, I’ve picked three fantastic, fast-paced playing card games everyone from the youngest to the oldest member of your family will enjoy playing when your family comes to visit.

family playing cards together

Play And Pay

Number Of Players 3-8

Ages Young ones, teenagers, grown ups, grandma

Aim Of The Game Collect the suits and become the first person with no cards.

Why It’s Good The game uses some low-risk betting. You could use small pieces of candy, or poker chips, or pennies.

How To Play Play And Pay

Each player starts by putting one coin/chip/candy into the ante. The cards are dealt one at a time starting with the person to the left of the dealer. The player to the dealer’s left starts the game by placing a card face up on the table. Let’s say it’s the three of clubs. The next card that can be dealt is the four of clubs. The cards must be in numerical order and of the same suit. The order is cyclical however. If the first card laid is the jack, play then goes: jack, queen, king, ace, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and finally ten.

Play continues in a clockwise direction. If someone cannot play a card, they must put a chip/coin/candy into the ante.

Whomever lays the 13th card of any suit can choose any card in their hand to start the next sequence.

The person who has no cards left first, wins the game. And the ante!

Crazy Eights

Number Of Players 2-8

Ages Young ones, teenagers, grown ups, grandma

Aim Of The Game Become the first person with no cards

Why It’s Good It gets everyone in the family involved, and keeps them all concentrating!

How To Play Crazy Eights

Five face down cards are dealt, starting with the person to the dealer’s left. The remainder of the deck fo cards is put in the center of the table. Turn the top card of this pile face up and put it next to the pile. If you get an eight, burn that card into the middle of the pile and turn over the next card.

Play starts with the person to the left of the dealer. Each player puts one face up card onto the face up card in the center of the table. This is making a starter pile. You then play one card face up onto the starter pile. The card played must match the value or the suit of the card on top of the starter pile. Say the three of clubs is face up. You must play either a club, or a three. If you cannot go, you must pick up cards from the face down starter pile until you get a card you can play.

When the face down pile is exhausted, play moves to the next person on the left. Play continues until no one can put down a card. Then the starter pile is shuffled, placed face down once more, a card turned face up, just like at the start of the game, and you continue.

Eights are wild. This means you can play an eight at any time and just a suit is nominated, not a number. If the three of clubs is face up, you can play the eight of hearts and name diamonds for example.

The winner is the first person to get rid of all the cards in their hand.


Number Of Players 4-10

Ages Young ones, teenagers, grown ups, grandma

Aim Of The Game Collect all of the cards

Why It’s Good The rules are easy, and the whole race to slap the cards gives a high level of interaction in the group. The fast pace means no one (I’m looking at you, little Timmy) gets bored waiting for their go.

How To Play Slapjack

Deal the whole deck, face down, one card at a time to each player until the deck is exhausted. Each player holds their hand face down and does not look at any of the cards. Play moves clockwise with each player taking their top card and playing it face up in the middle of the table. This continues around the group.

When a Jack gets turned face up, you have to slap your hand down on the card as fast as you can. The player who has most of their hand on the card adds all the cards from the pile to their hand. If a card is slapped that is not a Jack, they must give the top card of their hand to the person that played the face up card incorrectly slapped. That card is added to the bottom of their hand.

If you run out of cards, you sit there, waiting patiently for a Jack - which you are then allowed to slap, bringing you back in the game.

The game continues until one person has collected all the cards.