People have been playing card games for centuries, and they are still some of the most popular types of gambling games out there. Blackjack, craps, and poker all come to mind when you think of the most gambling-style card games, but there are plenty outside of the casino that are equally as fun to play, easy to learn, and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Plus, nobody has the added pressure of losing money, which makes these games even more entertaining!
Even though there are some extremely complex card games out there *cough* bridge *cough*, we decided to stick to the easiest ones so that anyone in your family or friends group can pick it up and doesn’t need to be left out.
Crazy Eights is a card game that’s played with two or more people and involves shedding the cards. The first to empty their hand wins. Those who have played UNO in the past will easily pick this one up, as its rules are very familiar. Unlike the latter, however, Crazy Eights doesn’t involve using those special plus cards that make everyone literally go crazy. The person to go first lays a card on the table. The next person to go then needs to place a different card of the same suit on top or a card with an equal value but a different suit. For example, if you place the Q of hearts on the pile, the next person might decide to lay the six of hearts on top of the queen, or the Q of clubs. Players are allowed to draw from the pile whenever they want, even if they have cards in their hand that they can still choose to play. Eights are the power cards in this game, which you can place on top of any other cards regardless of their value or suit. This card also gives you the power to change the card underneath to any other suit.
Go Fish is undoubtedly one of the easiest kid-friendly card games you can learn. Depending on what country you live in, you might play the game slightly differently in terms of how you ask for cards and how they are displayed on the table, but the rules are essentially the same everywhere. The aim of this game is to construct as many “books” of four cards as possible. A book is made up of four cards of the same denomination or four face cards (e.g., four kings) until no cards are left on the table. The pack is distributed among the players, and each one must take turns in asking others what cards they want, i.e., if you needed a couple of fives, you would tell the players that’s what you need from their hand. If they have them, they need to hand them over to you; if not, they need to say, “Go Fish!” and the player who requested the cards must then take a card from the pile. If they draw the initial card they wanted, they then get another go at asking a player for the cards they need. If not, it moves on to the next person.
Tripeaks is a Solitaire-style card game that’s also extremely easy to learn. The goal is to continuously collect cards that are one number higher in value or one number lower until none are left. The game begins with three pyramids on the table, with all of them face-down apart from the ones on the bottom row. Players need to keep drawing from the pile, and depending on the number; players can take any of the cards displayed on the pyramid tables, which are one card higher or lower than the one the player draws. For example, you might draw a four from the pack and then will remove 5 or 3 from the cards on the tableau. Then you will continue drawing cards from the stockpile and removing cards from the table accordingly. Just like Solitaire, you can only overturn a card on the pyramid when it becomes free (when no other cards are lying on top of it). If you can’t turn over any cards from the pyramids, you can pick from the stockpile again. Be careful, though, as once the pile is depleted, you cannot use any of those cards again.
War is played with two people, and the objective is to collect all 52 cards in the deck to win. The pack is split in half and handed out to each player, which must be stacked face-down in front of them. Each player then needs to turn a card over at the same time, and whoever has the card with the highest value wins and takes the other person’s card. These cards are always stashed away at the bottom of the round winner's deck, and the game continues in this fashion until someone has them all. If both players have a card of the same value during each round, “War” is declared. Now the players need to draw another 2 cards from their decks: one facing down on the table and another face-up on their pile. Whoever has the card with the highest value on the pile gets to collect all 6 cards (the original two, the two facedown, and the two cards that went to battle (on the top of the pile).
Snap is very easy, but it requires a high degree of concentration and quick thinking—which only adds to the excitement and suspense! The rules are easy: a 52-card deck is used to play, and every card is laid face-down on the table. Each player is allowed to reveal two cards at a time. If they manage to find two cards that match the same denomination, i.e., two sevens, two Aces, two eights, etc., they call “Snap!” If they shout Snap before the other person, they get to add the two cards in their pile. If the players shout “Snap” at the same time, each pair is added to the “snap pot,” and then whoever wins the next round of snap gets to collect those cards and the ones in the “snap pot” pile. Whoever collects the most cards before there are no more left on the table wins.
Another card game family favorite is Old Maid. The aim of this one is to not become the “old maid” by finding as many pairs as you can within a 52-card deck (minus one Queen) and getting rid of them until no more are left. The player that ends up with the “odd queen” is the “old Maid,” who ultimately loses. The dealer distributes the cards to each player (it doesn’t matter if someone has more), and then each one begins to remove the pairs from their hand. They then add these cards face down on the table and offer the person next to them to pick one card. If a pair is formed, they discard it, and if there isn’t, they spread their own cards on the table and offer the next player to pick from theirs. This keeps happening until all the pairs are eventually found, and the player left with the last one has the “Old Maid.”
Also known as Patience, Solitaire is one of the most famous and easiest solo card games out there that’s great for beginners. So much so that it became a default game on Microsoft computers back in the 80s, and it continues to be one of the most top-played mobile games even today. The aim of the game is simple: grab a 52-card deck and create six vertical columns starting from one card in one column, two in the next, three in the one next to it, and so on until you have six rows of cards all face down apart from the last card on each column. Aces should also be removed and laid out at the top. Cards can only be added to these foundation piles in numerical order, i.e., the first card to be added to the Ace of spades needs to be the two of spades, followed by the three, etc. The rest of the cards are laid in a stockpile, and the goal is for the player to reveal every card in the column and add them to their four foundation piles until they eventually have all 52. To do this, they need to shift the bottom cards from one column to the next to reveal more cards under each column or draw from the stockpile to help them release the facedown cards. This one is extremely entertaining, but it can go on forever—as the original name implies!
Memory is a great springboard for kids before they learn to play games like Snap. Normally it uses special card decks, but it can also be played using your standard 52-card deck as well. The objective is simple: reveal and collect as many pairs of cards as you can until all the cards are gone. The person with the most wins. Like Snap, all the cards are laid face down on the table, and each player is required to turn two cards over at the same time. If a pair is formed, they can collect them, and if not, they must return the card back to its original face-down position. It’s known as “Memory” because players need to memorize the cards that they needed to return back to their face-down position so that when they turn the next one over, and it’s a match to the one before or one that came up recently, they’ll have a good idea where to find the other card that pairs with it.