Classic Card Games

There are 52 cards in a deck plus two cards called jokers. apilorm Most games do not use the joker anymore, so you can just pull them out of the deck and put them to the side. The rest of the cards are sorted by suit. There are four suits: hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs.

Each suit has 13 cards:

Hearts:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king, and the ace.

Spades:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king, and the ace.

Diamonds:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king, and the ace.

Clubs:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king, and the ace.

The cards in each suit are shown from lowest to highest value. So kings are higher than queens, queens are higher than jacks, and jacks are higher than 10s. For most games, aces are the highest cards in the deck. But in some games, aces are the lowest. Higher cards beat lower cards. Cards can also be sorted by rank. The rank of a card is the number or letter on its face, such as 10 or J (for “Jack”). There are four cards in each rank, one for each suit. So the 10 of hearts, the 10 of diamonds, the 10 of spades, and the 10 of clubs are all in the same rank, they are all 10s. Together, four cards of the same rank make a book.

Example: the 10 of hearts, the 10 of diamonds, the 10 of spades, and the 10 of clubs.

Getting ready to play: Before each game, one player must shuffle (mix up) and deal (hand out) the cards. That player is the dealer. Players take turns being the dealer. To determine the first dealer, have each player pick a card from the deck. The player with the highest card becomes the dealer for the first game. The player to his left becomes the dealer for the second game, and so on around the circle in clockwise order.

Shuffling the cards: Why shuffle the cards? To make sure they are all mixed up! Shuffle the deck well before each new game.

Cutting the cards: It is a custom for the dealer to let the player on her right cut (divide) the deck after shuffling. This is to make sure the cards have been shuffled fairly. To cut the deck, the player lifts about half the cards from the top of the deck and lays them facedown beside the bottom of the deck. The dealer then puts the bottom stack on top of what used to be the top stack. Now the dealer is ready to deal!

Dealing the cards: To deal the cards, the dealer places one card facedown in front of each player, starting with the player on his left and moving clockwise around the circle until all players have the correct number of cards. Now you are ready to play! But who goes first? That is easy: The player on the dealers’ left always goes first. Play moves to the left in a clockwise rotation.

From The Card Files

*The four suits (hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs) that are now used in most of the world originated in France. But in some countries, decks use different suits:

Germany: hearts, leaves, bells, and acorns
Switzerland: shields, roses, bells, and acorns
Italy: and Spain: coins, swords, cups, and clubs

*Playing cards are believed to have been invented in China, where paper was invented. Joker cards were invented in the United States in the 1800s.

Some Games To Play

1. Crazy Eights

1. 2+ players.
2. Object of the game: To get rid of all your cards.
3. Deal five cards to each player. (Deal seven cards if only two people are playing.) Place the rest of the cards facedown on the table to form the draw pile. Turn one card face up and place it next to the draw pile. This is the discard pile.
4. Players hold their cards in their hands and consult them as they play. (Do not let anyone else see them, though!)
5. The first player places on the discard pile any card from his/her hand that matches the suit or rank of the card already there. For instance, if the card on the discard pile is a 3 of clubs, he/she can play either another 3 or another club.
6. He/She can also play an 8. That is because in this game 8s are wild cards. When a player plays an 8, she can change the suit to whatever he/she wishes. He/She may want to change the suit to one of which he/she has a lot of cards. Or he/she may want to change the suit to one of which he/she knows another player has only a few. To try to stop him from winning!
7. If the player does not have a card that matches, and he/she does not have an 8, he/she pulls cards from the draw pile until he/she gets a card he/she can play. He/She then places that card on the discard pile, and the next player takes his/her turn.
8. The player who gets rid of all his/her cards first wins.

2. Hearts

1. 4 players.
2. Object of the game: To get the lowest score.
3. Deal out all the cards.
4. Players hold their cards in their hands and consult them as they play. (Do not let anyone else see them, though!)
5. Each player takes from his/her hand three cards that he/she does not want and passes them to the player on his/her left.
6. The player holding the 2 of clubs starts the first round by laying that card face up on the table. The next player must lay down a card in the same suit if he/she has one. If he/she does not have one, he/she can lay down another card in his/her hand.
7. When each player has laid down one card, the round is over. The player who played the highest card of the same suit as the first card played (a club in the the first round) takes all the cards.
8. The winner of the first round leads the second round, and so on for a total of thirteen rounds. After the first round, the first player can lead with any suit she chooses. However, he/she can lead with a heart only after someone has played a heart in a previous round. This is called “breaking hearts.”
9. At the end of the thirteen rounds, count up the points in each players’ hand. Record everyones’ scores on a notepad.

Points are scored like this: You get 1 point for each heart, 13 points for the queen of spades, and 0 points for all other cards. This means that you want to take the fewest hearts possible and do your best not to take the queen of spades! The player with the lowest score wins.

3. Twenty One

1. 2+ players
2. Object of the game: To get cards that add up to 21 points or to a number that is as close to 21 as possible without going over.
3. Deal one card to each player facedown, then another card face up.
4. The first player takes a look at his/her face-down card (without showing it to the others) and silently adds up the value of both cards. If his/her cards add up to 21, he/she says, “stick,” which means he is sticking with the cards he has.
5. If his/her cards add up to less than 21, he/she must decide whether to ask the dealer for another card. If he/she decides he/she does not want another card, he/she says, “Stick.” If he/she wants another card, he/she says, “Hit me!” and the dealer gives him/her a third card.
6. He/she then silently adds the value of that card to his/her other two. If his/her cards add up to more than 21, he/she must show his/her cards and say, “Bust.” He/she is out of the game. If his cards now add up to 21, he/she says, “Stick.” If his/her cards still add up to less than 21, he must again decide whether to ask the dealer for another card by saying, “Stick” (if he/she does not want one) or “Hit me!” (if he/she does). A player can take as many cards as he wants until he goes bust.
7. The game continues until every player has had one turn. Then the players who are still in the game, the ones who “stuck” and did not get “busted” show their cards. The player who gets 21, or the number closest to 21, wins.

Cards 2 through 10 are worth the number on their face. Jacks, kings, and queens are worth 10 points each. Aces can be worth either 1 point or 11 points.

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