A card game is any game using playing cards, either traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games (such as poker). Some games have formally standardized rules, while rules for others can vary by region, culture, and person.
The deck or packEdit
A card game is played with a deck or pack, of cards intended for that game that are identical in size and shape. Each card has two sides, the face and the back. The backs of the cards in a deck are indistinguishable. The faces of the cards in a deck may all be unique, or may include duplicates, depending on the game. In either case, any card is readily identifiable by its face. The set of cards that make up the deck are known to all of the players using that deck.
Although many games have special decks of cards, the standard deck contains 52 cards in four suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) and thirteen ranks running from two (deuce) to ten, jack, queen, king, and ace. In addition to games that use the standard deck, there are also games that use some modification of the standard deck, for example removing all cards of rank lower than some rank (e.g., a pinochle deck), adding a special card (joker) to the standard deck, or rearranging the ranks of the cards. Many European regions have their own variants of the standard deck having different names and imagery for suits, or having a different set of ranks in the cards.
There are also some card games that require multiple standard decks. In this scenario, a "deck" refers to a set of 52 cards or a single deck, while a "pack" or "shoe" (blackjack) refers to the collection of "decks" as a whole.
The deal Edit
Dealing is done either clockwise or counterclockwise. If this is omitted from the rules, then it is assumed to be:
- clockwise for games from North America, North and West Europe and Russia;
- counterclockwise for South and East Europe, Asia, South America and also for Swiss games.
A player is chosen to deal. That person takes all of the cards in the pack, arranges them so that they are in a uniform stack, and shuffles them. There are various techniques of shuffling, all intended to put the cards into a random order. During the shuffle, the dealer holds the cards so that he or she and the other players cannot see any of their faces.
After the shuffle, the dealer sometimes offers the deck to another player to cut the deck. If the deal is clockwise, this is the player to the dealer's right; if counterclockwise, it is the player to the dealer's left. The invitation to cut is made by placing the pack, face downward, on the table near the player who is to cut: who then lifts the upper portion of the pack clear of the lower portion and places it alongside. The formerly lower portion is then replaced on top of the formerly upper portion.
The dealer then deals the cards. This is done by dealer holding the pack, face down, in one hand, and removing cards from the top of it with her other hand to distribute to the players, placing them face down on the table in front of the players to whom they are dealt. The rules of the game will specify the details of the deal. It normally starts with the player next to the dealer in the direction of play and continues in the same direction around the table. The cards may be dealt one at a time, or in groups. Dependant on the rules all or a determined amount of cards are dealt out. The undealt cards, if any, are left face down in the middle of the table, forming the talon, skat, or stock. The player who received the first card from the deal may be known as eldest hand, or forehand.
Throughout the shuffle, cut, and deal, the dealer should prevent the players from seeing the faces of any of the cards. The players should not try to see any of the faces. Should a player accidentally see a card, other than one's own, proper etiquette would be to admit this. It is also dishonest to try to see cards as they are dealt, or to take advantage of having seen a card. Should a card accidentally become exposed, (visible to all), then, normally, any player can demand a redeal (all the cards are gathered up, and the shuffle, cut, and deal are repeated).
When the deal is complete, all players pick up their cards, or hand, and hold them in such a way that the faces can be seen by the holder of the cards but not the other players, or vice versa depending on the game. It is helpful to fan one's cards out so that if they have corner indices all their values can be seen at once. In most games, it is also useful to sort one's hand, rearranging the cards in a way appropriate to the game. For example, in a trick taking game it may be easier to have all one's cards of the same suit together, whereas in a rummy game one might sort them by rank or by potential combinations.
The rules Edit
A new card game starts in a small way, either as someone's invention, or as a modification of an existing game. Those playing it may agree to change the rules as they wish. The rules that they agree on become the "house rules" under which they play the game. A set of house rules may be accepted as valid by a group of players wherever they play. It may also be accepted as governing all play within a particular house, café, or club.
When a game becomes sufficiently popular, so that people often play it with strangers, there is a need for a generally accepted set of rules. This is often met by a particular set of house rules becoming generally recognised. For example, when whist became popular in 18th-century England, players in the Portland Club agreed on a set of house rules for use on its premises. Players in some other clubs then agreed to follow the "Portland Club" rules, rather than go to the trouble of codifying and printing their own sets of rules. The Portland Club rules eventually became generally accepted throughout England.
There is nothing "official" about this process. If you decide to play whist seriously, it would be sensible to learn the Portland Club rules, so that you can play with other people who already know these rules. But if you only play whist with your family, you are likely to ignore these rules, and just use what rules you choose. And if you play whist seriously with a group of friends, you are still perfectly free to devise your own set of rules, should you want to.
It is sometimes said that the "official" or "correct" sets of rules governing a card game are those "in Hoyle". Edmond Hoyle was an 18th-century Englishman who published a number of books about card games. His books were popular, especially his treatise on how to become a good whist player. After (and even before) his death, many publishers have taken advantage of his popularity by placing his name on their books of rules. The presence of his name on a rule book has no significance at all. The rules given in the book may be no more than the opinion of the author.
If there is a sense in which a card game can have an "official" set of rules, it is when that card game has an "official" governing body. For example, the rules of tournament bridge are governed by the World Bridge Federation, and by local bodies in various countries such as the American Contract Bridge League in the U.S., and the English Bridge Union in England. The rules of skat are governed by The International Skat Players Association and in Germany by the Deutsche Skatverband which publishes the Skatordnung. The rules of French tarot are governed by the Fédération Française de Tarot. But there is no compulsion to follow the rules put out by these organisations. If you and your friends decide to play a game by a set of rules unknown to the game's official body, you are doing nothing illegal.
Many widely-played card games have no official regulating body. An example is Canasta.
Rule infractions Edit
An infraction is any action which is against the rules of the game, such as playing a card when it is not one's turn to play and the accidental exposure of a card.
In many official sets of rules for card games, the rules specifying the penalties for various infractions occupy more pages than the rules specifying how to play correctly. This is tedious, but necessary for games that are played seriously. Players who intend to play a card game at a high level generally ensure before beginning that all agree on the penalties to be used. When playing privately, this will normally be a question of agreeing house rules. In a tournament there will probably be a tournament director who will enforce the rules when required and arbitrate in cases of doubt.
If a player breaks the rules of a game deliberately, this is cheating. Most card players would refuse to play cards with a known cheat. The rest of this section is therefore about accidental infractions, caused by ignorance, clumsiness, inattention, etc.
As the same game is played repeatedly among a group of players, precedents build up about how a particular infraction of the rules should be handled. For example, "Sheila just led a card when it wasn't her turn. Last week when Jo did that, we agreed ... etc.". Sets of such precedents tend to become established among groups of players, and to be regarded as part of the house rules. Sets of house rules become formalised, as described in the previous section. Therefore, for some games, there is a "proper" way of handling infractions of the rules. But for many games, without governing bodies, there is no standard way of handling infractions.
In many circumstances, there is no need for special rules dealing with what happens after an infraction. As a general principle, the person who broke a rule should not benefit by it, and the other players should not lose by it. An exception to this may be made in games with fixed partnerships, in which it may be felt that the partner(s) of the person who broke a rule should also not benefit. The penalty for an accidental infraction should be as mild as reasonable, consistent with there being no possible benefit to the person responsible.
Types of card gamesEdit
The object of a trick-taking game is to take (or avoid taking) tricks, or groups of cards.
- 4 Row
- Cắt Tê
- Gong Zhu aka Chinese Hearts or Chase the Pig
- Nap or Napoleon
- Oh Hell
- Ruff and Honours
- Svoyi Koziri
- List of trick-taking games
- 13 aka Tien Len or Viet Cong
- 500 Rum
- Conquian aka Cooncan, fore-runner of modern rummy
- Five Crowns
- Gin rummy
- Go Fish
- Happy Families
- Liverpool rummy
- Phase 10
- Robbers' rummy
- Seven Bridge
- Shanghai rum
- Steal the old man's pack
- Ten Step
- Wyatt Earp
Casino or gambling card gamesEdit
Solitaire (or Patience) gamesEdit
The object of a shedding game is to get rid of all of one's cards.
- Bartok / Bartog
- Big Two
- Bullshit / Cheat / I Doubt It / BS
- California Speed
- Crazy Eights
- Dai Hin Min ("Rich Man/Poor Man")
- Dead Money
- Kings in the Corner
- Mad Magazine Card Game
- Palase or Screw
- Q Squared Joe or Q2J
- Old Maid/Chase the Ace/Queen of Spades
- Screw Your Neighbour
- Sneaky Pete
- Shichi Narabe
- Spite and Malice
- The Great Dalmuti
- Tien len
- Who's the Ass?
The object of an accumulating game is to get all the cards.
Drinking card games Edit
Collectible card games (CCGs) Edit
Other card gamesEdit
- 1000 Blank White Cards
- 52 Pickup
- A Shpaschakia Pulscha
- Armchair Cricket
- Big Mamma (Card Game)
- Catan Card Game
- Chez Geek
- Cthulhu 500
- Find The Maniacci
- Free Parking
- Get Nifty
- Girl Genius: The Works
- Gother Than Thou
- Grave Robbers From Outer Space
- Hex Hex
- James Ernest's Totally Renamed Spy Game
- Lord of the Fries
- Lost Cities
- Lucky Seven
- Lunch Money
- Mag blast
- Mille Bournes
- Nuclear War
- Obake karuta
- Once Upon A Time
- O'NO 99
- Pimp: The Backhanding
- Rat a Tat Cat
- San Juan
- Starship Catan
- Strange Synergy
- Strat-o-Matic Series
- Three Dragon Ante
- Unexploded Cow
- Yaniv (card game)
- You're Bluffing
Fictional card gamesEdit
- Chop - from the Wheel of Time literary series
- Cripple Mr Onion - from the Discworld book series
- 'Cups' - from the TV show Friends, as a means for Chandler to give Joey money for rent without it appearing like Chandler is giving Joey money out of pity
- Damage from the Iain M Banks novel Consider Phlebas
- Diamondback - from the Cerebus comics
- Double Fanucci - from the Zork series
- Dragon Poker - from the MythAdventures novels
- Exploding Snap - from the Harry Potter book series
- Fizzbin - from the original Star Trek television series
- Go Johnny Go Go Go Go - from the The League of Gentlemen television series
- Montana Red Dog - from the TV series Alias Smith and Jones
- Pazaak - from the Knights of the Old Republic video game
- Pyramid - from the Battlestar Galactica series
- Sabacc - from the Star Wars universe
- Sphere Break - from the Final Fantasy X-2 video game
- Tall Card - from the Firefly television series
- Tetra Master - from the Final Fantasy IX video game
- Triple Triad- from the Final Fantasy VIII video game
- Watch Me - from the Dark Tower book series
- 'WHIS' - from the Tales of Eternia video game (bears a resemblance to UNO)
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