Hobbies & Leisure

Play Card Games Like a Master

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A simple deck of playing cards can unlock dozens of interesting and varied card games. While using the same 52 cards (or 56, if including jokers) in every case, games like bridge, go fish and hearts are completely different experiences with unique rules and objectives.

Learning to play cards as a beginning player can seem a bit daunting at first glance. Experienced players often times play rapidly and seem to be juggling strategy, tactics and the rules of the game effortlessly. For those not experienced, it can be overwhelming.

But the good news is that learning new card games is a deceptively easy process, especially when playing with family or friends who are willing to help teach the rules. Usually, the core rules of the game are fairly simple, and the tough part is learning to master the strategy of the game in question.

Learning New Card Games

There are two basic ways to learn a new card game: Either find an experienced player willing to teach the rules, or find a resource that explains the rules. In many ways, the former option is better. After all, and experienced player can answer any questions that come up and key in on areas of misunderstanding. Getting live feedback is preferable to a static list of rules.

However, many excellent online resources can simulate the face-to-face experience of teaching a card game. Youtube and other streaming videos in particular can be excellent substitutes for an experienced teacher in-person.

Regardless of the method of learning the game, it will be necessary to assemble a group of people to play the game. Many card games can be played by as few as two people. There are even solo games. Others can play as many as 10 or more, so choose a game that fits the number of people wanting to play. Finally, once it seems like the rules make sense, try to play the game. There may be areas of misunderstanding or confusion, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes at first.

Popular Card Games

A massively popular card game is bridge. Bridge is a trick taking game, where players take turns playing cards in the middle of the table, with the winning card taking all the cards, or the ‘trick’. Bridge incorporates a bidding system, similar to betting but slight distinct. Most card games can be classified as either a trick taking game, such as:

  • Spades
  • Hearts
  • Whist
  • Euchre
  • Pinochle

Or as a matching game, such as:

  • Rummy
  • Go Fish
  • Old Maid
  • Crazy Eights
  • Canasta

And there are many other games that don’t fit into any of those categories. The above-listed games are some of the most popular and widely-played card games in the world, but that’s only scratching the surface. Dozens of other games exist, each with varying rules.

The good news is that learning one card game makes learning the next one easier. By the time a person knows how to play 10 or more card games, learning new ones is fairly easy.

Card Game Alternatives

There’s a wide variety of games that offer the same strategic fun that card games do, with minimal cost commitment. Chess is one of the oldest games in the world. The rules are relatively simple, but the strategy element can go deeper than any other board game out there! Chess is classic and it has completely stood the test of time. 

If you want to keep to yourself, sudoku can be an impressive choice. Sudoku is the perfect puzzle game for people who have a mathematical mind. If words are more your thing, crossword puzzles are still popular. Both can be found in varying degrees of difficulty, allowing a challenge for any level of player. 

Playing Online

Up to a few decades ago, playing card games required assembling a group of family, friends or acquaintances around a table to play. But the advent of the internet has made finding a group to play card games online as easily as opening a browser window.

For just about any card game you can imagine, it’s possible to find free card games on websites that offer the possibility of playing the card game live with other people online. You can also find websites that will let you play cards with computer-controlled ‘players’ if you prefer. This second option can be nice if just starting out and not feeling confident. Get in a handful of games with the computer players, and once feeling more confident about the rules switch to playing with live opponents.

In most cases, to find a free website offering games of a given card game, a simple search engine query will work. For example, to find a site offering hearts, search ‘free online hearts games’ in any search engine to find several websites that will let people play hearts for free.

No matter what card game it is, chances are there’s at least one online resource that allows people to play, and with a mobile device this means it's possible to play card games almost anywhere at all.

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