Card Games From Around The World

China - Dou Dizhu (斗地主)

Translating to “Fight the Landlord” (a concept San Franciscans understand), Dou Di Zhu is a climbing game with the objective to play all your cards before the “landlord” tells you the rent is due. Good luck!


3-4 players, 54-card deck including two jokers, red and black.From high to low: red joker, black joker, 2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 (Low). Suits are irrelevant.


As in most Chinese games the cards are not really dealt, but taken from the deck by the players. One of the players shuffles the cards, gives them to the player to his left to cut, and stacks them face down in the middle of the playing surface. One card is turned face up and inserted somewhere near the middle of the stack - this will determine who starts the auction. The dealer then draws the top card from the deck, looking at it but not showing it to the other players, and so on counter-clockwise around the table until each player has 17 cards. The last three cards are left face down on the table until after the auction.


Pair - two cards of the same rank

Triplet - three cards of the same rankTriplet with an attached card - a triplet with any single card added. These rank according to the rank of the triplet

Triplet with an attached pair - a triplet with a pair added, like a full house in poker, the ranking being determined by the rank of the triplet.

Sequence - at least five cards of consecutive rank, from 3 up to ace. Twos and jokers cannot be used.

Sequence of pairs - at least three pairs of consecutive ranks, from 3 up to ace. Twos and jokers cannot be used.

Sequence of triplets - at least two triplets of consecutive ranks from three up to ace.

Sequence of triplets with attached cards - an extra card is added to each triplet. The attached cards must be different from all the triplets and from each other. Although triplets of twos cannot be included, a two or a joker can be attached.

Sequence of triplets with attached pairs - an extra pair is attached to each triplet. Only the triplets have to be in sequence. Although triplets of twos cannot be included, twos can be attached.

Bomb - four cards of the same rank. A bomb can beat everything except a rocket, and a higher ranked bomb can beat a lower ranked one.

Rocket - a pair of jokers. It is the highest combination and beats everything else, including bombs.


The auction determines which player will be the landlord. The player who drew the face up card in the "deal" is the first to bid. Possible bids are 1, 2 or 3. Each player in turn may either pass or bid higher than the highest bid so far. If everyone passes, the hand is thrown in and there is a new deal. If there is a bid, the bidding continues counter-clockwise, each player passing or bidding higher than the previous bidder, until two consecutive players pass or someone bids 3, which ends the auction since it is the highest possible bid. The final and highest bidder is the landlord. This player now picks up the three face-down cards from the middle, for a total of 20 cards.


The landlord plays first, and may play a single card or any combination. Each subsequent player must either pass (play no card) or beat the previous play by playing a higher combination of the same number of cards and same type. There are just two exceptions to this: a rocket can beat any combination, and a bomb can beat any combination except a higher bomb or rocket. The play continues around the table for as many circuits as necessary until two consecutive players pass. The played cards are then turned face down and put aside, and the person who played the last card(s) begins again, leading any card or legal combination.


If the landlord runs out of cards first he has won, and each opponent pays him the amount of the bid - 1, 2 or 3 units - provided that no bomb or rocket was played.If one of the other two players runs out before the landlord, the landlord loses and must pay the amount of the bid to each opponent.For each occasion when any player played a bomb or rocket, the payment for the hand is doubled. For example, in a hand in which two bombs and a rocket were played, a player who bid 3 will win 24 points from each opponent for going out first, or pay 24 to each opponent if another player goes out firstNote that since the opponents of the landlord stand to win or lose equally, they form a temporary partnership. When playing against the landlord it is just as profitable to help your partner to run out of cards first as to win yourself. Because of this the partners will usually not beat each other’s cards, and the weaker partner will play to help the stronger partner.

France - Piquet

This 16th century trick-taking card game comes from France. Once you master the game known as one of the best and most skillful card games you won’t be able to get off your high horse. The objective is to score points by combinations and then a trick taking round.


Piquet is a 16th century trick-taking card game of French origin, with the rules staying fairly similar and still known as one of the best and most skillful card games for two players. The objective is to score points by combinations and then a trick taking round.


2 Players, 32 card deck known as piquet deck (removing 2-6’s in each suit from 52-card deck)From low to high, the cards rank 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A


There are 6 deals called partie, in which 12 cards in groups of three are dealt to each player. Players make combinations of their hand as follows:
Point: The most cards in one suit. The number of cards in the suit is announced (e.g. "point of 5") and it scores this number. Sequence: The longest run of consecutive cards in one suit (minimum 3). The possible sequences are:
tierce (3 cards, scores 3);quart (4 cards - pronounced "cart" - scores 4);quint (5 cards, scores 15);sixième (6 cards, scores 16);septième (7 cards, scores 17);huitième (8 cards, scores 18).Set
A set of cards of the same rank. There are two types:
quatorze is four Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks or Tens, and scores 14;trio is three Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks or Tens, and scores 3.Note that sets of 9s, 8s or 7s do not count.

THE PLAY (The play is made up of three parts)

Player 2 (the non-dealer) goes first and can choose to exchange 1-5 cards by discarding and drawing the same amount.Player 1 (the dealer) then can choose to exchange up to the remaining cards.

Player 2 now announces the combinations in their hand to try and score points.Player 1 will then state “Good” meaning Player 2’s combination is better and then can score the points, “Not Good” meaning Player 1 has a greater combination to be scored, or “Equal” meaning more information is needed to score.When players have an equal combination on point, scare is decided based on the value of the combination where A’s are 11, K-10 are 10, 9 is 9, 8 is 8, and 7 is 7. When players have an equal combination on sequence the player with the highest ranking card scores. When players have an equal combination on sets the player with the higher valued card in the set scores.THE TRICK:
Player 2 plays the first card of the trick.Player 1 must follow the suit if the trick is possible. If not possible, Player 1 can play any card.The player with the higher card in the lead suit wins both cards.The winner begins the next trick.Play continues until all cards have been played.Begin the next deal. Play continues for 6 partie with alternating dealers, the winner being the player with the most points after all 6 partie.


Scoring should be kept throughout the game.Combinations are scared as follows:
Point = # of cards in the combinationSequence = # of cards in the combination, bonus 10 for 5+ sequenceSet of 3 = 3Set of 4 = 14Trick Led = 1Trick taken from opponent = 1Last trick win = 1Most tricks won = 10All tricks won = 40

México - Conquian: The Origination of Rummy

Conquian is the ancestor to all rummy games! Born in Mexico in the mid 1800’s, Conquian is the great abuelito to all rummy games. The objective of this old timer is for each player to form matched sets consisting of groups of three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more cards of the same suit.


2-player, 40 cards (removing the 8’s, 9’s & 10’s from 52-card deck)Jacks & 7’s are considered to be in sequence. The Ace is the lowest card, allowing for a sequence A, 2, 3 but not Q, K, AMelds ("spreads") are as in regular Rummy - matched sets of three or four (i.e. four Queens) or a run of three or more cards of the same suit (i.e. A, 2, 3 of spades)


Each player is dealt 10 cards, placing the remaining stock cards face down. Non-dealer begins by turning the top card up. The player can not add it to their hand but must immediately meld it with cards from their hand (placing the meld face up on the table) or discard it.Each player in turn thereafter takes either the top discard & melds it, or turns up the top card of the stock & melds or discards it. When a player takes & melds with a discard, they must discard another from their hand.If a player can add the discard to one of their existing melds, the opponent may require them to do so. This is called forcing.After turning up the top card of the stock, and before discarding it, a player may meld or lay out from his or her hand if they wish.A player may shift their own melds around as long as only valid melds remain. For example: If the player previously melded 6, 7, J and the 5 is drawn or discarded, they may add it to the run, remove the jack, and meld three jacks.The game ends when a player has melded exactly 11 cards. Therefore, a player may have no cards in their hand but continues to play because they need another melded card to go out.Each deal is a separate game, and if the stock is exhausted before either player has melded 11 cards, the next game counts double.

México - La Viuda: The Widow

The objective of La Viuda (The Widow) is to be the surviving player with chips ($$). But be warned, make sure you don’t gamble all your money away or your wife might find the idea of becoming “La Viuda” appealing.


4-7 players, standard 52 card deck + 2 jokersJokers are always wild cards and Aces are wild on the first dealFrom high to low, the Spanish terms for the hand are as follows:
Quintilla (five of a kind)Flor Imperial (royal flush)Flor Corrida (straight flush)Poquer (four of a kind)Full (full house - Tercia + Par)Color (flush)Corrida (straight)Tercia (three of a kind)Dos Pares (two pair)Par (pair)Carta más alta (high card)Game is dealt and played counter-clockwise


Players agree on the value of the chips (ex. $1 per chip)Each player must buy an equal number of chips - usually 2 or 3An extra chip, called “La Viuda”, is placed in the central pool and costs twice the value of a normal chipThe wild card in each game is determined by the number of chips in the central pool11, 12 or 13 chips in the pool correspond to wild Jack, Queens and Kings respectively14 chips correspond to wild Aces again, 15 to wild twos, and so on.


Dealer hands 5 cards to each player and a spare hand of 5 cards. The play begins to the dealer's right, by exchanging cards with the spare hand dealt to the table.When a player knocks and the others have had one more turn, all the cards are shown.The player with the worst hand puts one of their chips in the pool. Since the pool now contains two chips, twos will be wild in the next deal.The player who loses all their chips is either out of the game or buys “La Viuda”. Buying “La Viuda” means the player can continue playing until they lose the chip and are finally eliminated from the game.“La Viuda” can only be bought once, and only immediately after a player loses their original chips. If the first player who runs out of chips buys “La Viuda”, players thereafter are eliminated as soon as they lose their chips. If “La Viuda” is not bought by the first player, the opportunity is passed on to the second player, and so on.The game continues until all, but one player, have lost all their chips. Surviving player wins and collects all the money paid for the chips.

México - Siete Locos

The objective is to score as close to 7 without exceeding it. You’ll need a sweatband for this one: requesting an extra card might cost you a win.


40-card deck (removing the 8’s, 9’s, & 10’s from the 52-card deck)J, Q, and K are worth half a point and number cards are worth their valueLike Blackjack, players are dealt 1 card at a time


Players are dealt 1 card at a time, and can request more cards.Player closest to 7 without exceeding it wins.

Spain - Manilla

“Manilla” comes from Spain and is popular in Mexico, where it is known as “Malilla”, and France, called “Manille”. Remember any of these three names and you’ll be golden. The objective of the game is to reach a cumulative score of 35 points with your partner before the opposing team.


4 players in fixed partnerships, with partners sitting opposite of each other40-card deck (removing the 8’s, 9’s & 10’s from 52-card deck)If the opponent is winning the trick, the rules go as follows:
Seven (or "Malilla") is worth 5 pointsAce is worth 4 pointsKing (“Rey”) is worth 3 pointsHorse ("Caballo") or Queen is worth 2 pointsJack ("Sota") is worth 1 point6’s, 5’s, 4’s, 3’s, and 2’s are worth 0 points.Game is dealt and played counter-clockwise


First dealer is chosen by drawing cards - highest card deals. Thereafter, the turn to deal passes to the right.Dealer shuffles the cards and allows the player to the left to cut and show the bottom card to everyone before shuffling to the right.The last card is dealt face up and is the trump suit for this hand.


The player to dealer's right leads to the first trick and counter-clockwise thereafter.Each trick is won by the highest trump, or if no trumps are played by the highest card of the suit. The winner of each trick continues to the next trick and keeps the tricks the team has won in a single pile.It is legal to lead with a seven as the first card of the trick, but cannot play a seven of a non-trump suit that has not been led thereafter.If the opponent is winning the trick, the rules go as follows:
Follow the suit led that beats the cards already played.Follow the suit led even if it does not beat the cards played.Play a trump card if it’s not possible to follow the suit.Out-trump the trump card played by the opponent if it’s not possible to follow the suit.Any card can be played when a player cannot assist the suit led, trump or out-trump.Follow the suit led that beats the cards already played.When the partner is winning, the only obligation is to follow the suit, if possible.


After all ten tricks have been played, each count the value of their winning, adding one point for each trick won (the total of the two teams should always add up to 70)If a team scores more than 35 points, they take their total points minus 35 and score the difference. The opposing team scores none. If each has 35 there is no score.If a team wins all ten tricks, it is called Capote, winning the whole game in a single deal.If a team reaches a cumulative score of 35 (over several hands), while the opposing team still has zero, it is called a Zapato (shoe), the team also wins.

USA - Klondike Solitare

Recognized by many from their Windows 95 PC, you’ll notice some appalling differences between the two: You now have to shuffle your own cards, lay them out yourself, and there are no hints. But look at the bright side, there’s no better time to learn this single player game than 2020.


1 Player, a standard 52 Card Deck


Deal out 28 cards into seven piles of ascending size beginning with a one card pile on the left and ending with a seven card pile on the right.The top card of each pile is face up, all others are face down.


The four aces form the foundations. As it becomes available, each ace must be played to a row above the piles. Cards in the appropriate suit are then played on the aces in sequence - 2, then 3, and so on - as they become available.Any movable card may be placed on a card next-higher in rank if it is of opposite color. Example: A black five may be played on a red six.When there is no face-up card left on a pile, the top face-down card is turned up and becomes available.Only a king may fill an empty pile in the layout.The player turns up cards from the top of the stock in groups of three. The top card of the three may be used for building on the piles or, if possible, played on a foundation. If a card is used in this manner, the card below it becomes available for play. If the up-card cannot be used, the one, two, or three cards of the group are placed face up on the waste pile, and the next group of three cards is turned up.