Three is… a fortunate number, innit? We have dozens of articles about card games, to be frank, for different numbers of people. It’s finally time to precisely talking about card games for 3 people. For the perfect trios, for you and your 2 besties, for you and your siblings, or whoever you want to play with. An asset of the games you’ll meet below is that they all require only a deck of cards! You’ll spend no extra money on them…
Some of the games work well even with more than 3 people, some work well with less than 3 people, but most importantly, they’re perfect for 3 people to play! All rules for each game will be explained blow-by-blow. Read all instructions carefully and choose your favorite game. Note: if you’re looking to get tipsy, check the drinking games for 3 people!
- Let It Ride;
- Teen Do Paanch;
- Go Fish;
- Sergeant Major;
- Horse Race;
- Sette E Mezzo;
- Crazy Eights;
- Ride The Bus;
- Chairman Mao;
- Oh Hell;
The aim: To be the first to get rid of their cards, even if that includes lying.
How to play ‘Bluff’?
Got trust issues? Well, let’s see how good you can do in this game! All cards get divided between the three of you, equally. One of you should become the lead, participating in the game. The leader begins by playing an Ace. All players, taking turns, should continue placing 2s, 3s, all the way to Kings on top of the Ace. WhenKings are completed, you start again from Aces.
The thing is that you may play as many cards as you want. For example, if it’s your turn to play 2s, you may play all your 2s. The whole idea behind it is that you may also lie. If you don’t have cards of the required rank, you may have other cards, but not let the team know. If they think you’re lying, they should say ‘Bluff!’. If it turns out you lied, you take the whole pile. Otherwise, they take the pile. The game ends when one of the players runs out of cards.
2. Let It Ride
The aim: To make the best hand of cards because that’s how you win more.
Let’s continue with a fabulous poker card game! Start by placing three equal stacks before the deal starts. Next, each of you has the chance to take a look at three of your cards, and withdraw one of the stacks if you want to. You can only see your cards, but not the other players’ cards. After the dealer faces up one of his cards, you may again withdraw one of your stakes.
After the dealer exposes his second card, they collect the remaining stakes of the other players and pay according to that. For example, pairs of 10s or better are even, Royal flush is 1000 to 1, Four of a kind is 50 to 1, etc. Now, long story short, the whole needed skill is to know when to withdraw bets.
3. Teen Do Paanch
The aim: Completing your quota of tricks.
This next one is also called the 3-2-5 game. You’ll need a deck of 30 cards, and you can make it by removing all cards from 2-6 and 2 of the Sevens by the standard deck. Each player randomly chooses 3, 2, or 5, to know the initial trick number. Once you complete your quota in the first round, you have the chance to take one card from another player who was under quota.
Next, you begin leading tricks. The trick is always won by the highest trump. When you win a trick, it means that you should lead the following one. It’s better to also follow the suit of the card that was led, but if you don’t have one, you may play a trump or whatever other card. For each won trick, you score 1 point.
The aim: Everyone tries to fulfill their contracts by dealing with tricks.
Let’s play Skat, kumpel! That’s right, the game’s origin is German! To play, you only need 32 cards from the deck, so you have to remove all cards from 2 to 6. Continuing further, the game begins with the dealer, which has to deal 3 cards to each player, then 2 cards to the center, and 4 more cards to each player. Keep in mind that in the game there’s an auction, and there are contracts.
The auction is the number of points that are available to win the game. Each player has their own ‘role’, F, M, or R. When it comes to contacts, they are based on cards, which tell how many points the declarer wants to achieve. Next, the play continues clockwise, and all players try to win tricks. The points are calculated by the trump suit.
5. Go Fish
The aim: To be the player who has the most books of cards.
Let’s go fishing, shall we? Since you’ll be 3 players, the dealer deals 7 cards to the three of you, facedown. The remaining cards are placed in the center of the table. Someone starts first randomly, by asking for cards from another player. So, you say one player’s name and ask for Aces, let’s say. It would be something like ‘X, give me all your Aces’. If they have any Ace, they have to give them to you. Otherwise, they should say ‘Go Fish!’.
A player’s turn to ask for cards ends when someone says ‘Go Fish’ to them, and now it’s their turn. Everyone’s goal is to make four cards of a kind (books). When you make, let’s say, four Aces, you place them down in front of you, face up. The game ends when all cards belong to books. About scoring, the player who has the most books wins! Ps. the game is also an amazing card game for 2 people.
6. Sergeant Major
The aim: Winning 12 or more tricks in one round.
The Sergeant Major game is just as cool as its name is! The game is developed in two main phases: the first dealing phase which has to do with the first deal, and the second dealing phase which deals with all the other deals. Each player should be dealt 16 cards. Next, the game continues with tricks. The player to the dealer’s left starts first, with whatever card they want to lead.
The other players should follow the same card suit, if possible, but if not, they may play another card. Again, each player has a specific number of tricks to win. So, The dealer has 8, the player to the dealer’s left has 5, and the last one has 3. If played as a poker game, there are also payouts. So, you have to pay based on how down you are for tricks. If someone wins 12 tricks, the game ends.
The aim: Be the first player who has one token left.
To play 99 you need a full deck of cards (without the Jokers), and whatever coins that symbolize tokens. Each player gets 3 cards and places 3 tokens in front of them. The game continues clockwise, with every player putting down one card. Each card has its own face worth, for example, Aces are worth 1 point, and 10s are worth 10 points. There are also special values, for example, all 4s reverse the game direction (such as in UNO), a King takes the point total to 99, and so on.
Once every player plays their cards, the new total of the points is announced. That player also has to draw a replacement card. Each player on their turn should play cards, but only if they don’t send the total of points higher than 99 points. If they can’t do that, they lose a token, and that round ends. Cards are shuffled again and the new rounds begin. When only one player is remaining with a token, the game ends and that player wins.
8. Horse Race
The aim: Being the first ‘horse’ to reach the finish line.
Riding horses is therapeutic, isn’t it? Let’s do that more simply, without any real-life horse! You should create a large L shape on the table: the large side is for 8 to 10 face-down cards, while the short side is for your horses. Horses should be in different suits but the same rank. Everyone should announce what their lucky horse will be, so at the end, you know who won the game.
One of the players should be the announcer, which flips the face-down cards over. Now, when your lucky horse (let’s say the heart-suited Ace) has the same suit as the card flipped over, your card moves one step forward. This continues until one of you reaches the finish line. Wait till you find out that you can also add drinks to the game. Yes, the Horse Race drinking game!
9. Sette E Mezzo
The aim: to be the player who beats the dealer.
Want me to translate the name? Yup, it means 7 and a half in English, which tells a lot about the game. The game is played with 40 cards, with 8s, 9s and 10s removed. You should know that each player should place their bet before having their first hand of cards. After receiving the cards, players may decide if they want to stand or hit. Stand means ending the turn, and hit means receiving another card.
You mustn’t exceed 7 ½ points, because then you lose your bet. All face cards (1 to 7) are worth ½ point. Your goal is to defeat the dealer. You can do that by getting 7 ½ points in your first 2 cards, reaching a final score (without exceeding 7 ½) higher than the dealer’s, or letting the dealer draw as many cards as they need until they have the needed points. When you announce the required points, you should announce them and show your face-down card.
10. Crazy Eights
The aim: be the first to get rid of all cards.
‘Crazy Eights’ is as simple as it could be! The three of you get 5 cards, facedown. The remaining stock is placed in the center of the table, and the top card is flipped over. Now, all players should play one card from their hand only if the suit or the rank matches. So, if the card is a diamond 2, you may play whatever card that has a diamond suit, or a 2 of another suit.
If you don’t have any cards to play, you should start drawing cards from the remaining pile, until you have a playable card. Remember that all 8s are wild, so, you may play them in whatever case you need. Once one of you three runs out of cards in your hand, the game ends, and that player is the winner!
11. Ride The Bus
The aim: To avoid riding the bus.
You missed some drinking card games, didn’t you? ‘Ride The Bus’ is played in 3 main phases. The first phase has 4 rounds: Red Or Black, Higher Or Lower, In-Between Or Outside, and Pick A Suit. The names of the rounds tell it all. When all these 4 rounds end, the three of you have 4 cards in front. Then you continue with the second phase, building the pyramid, with 5 cards in the first row, and 1 in the top row.
When a card in the pyramid is flipped, and you have a matching card in your hand, you can give out drinks based on that card’s row. The last phase of ‘Ride The Bus’ is riding the bus, and that is done by the player who has cards left in their hand after the end of the previous phase. They start flipping over the cards and drink for every ‘member’ of the court: Jack, Queen, or King, or if it’s an Ace.
12. Chairman Mao
The aim: get rid of all your cards, and also follow the unspoken rules.
We love the name, we love the game! It starts with the dealer dealing everyone 3 cards, and saying out loud: ‘The name of the game is Mao’. The remaining deck is placed in the center of the table, with the top card flipped over. Next, just as in ‘Crazy Eights’, you have to play cards that match the draw pile either by suit or rank. This goes clockwise, and if you don’t have a needed card, you start drawing.
Now, the whole point of the game is on the unspoken rules. These are usually house rules set by the players, which makes it more interesting and confuses everyone, so it isn’t that easy to play. Here are some ideas: If you play an Ace, the next player skips, if an 8 is played, you change the game direction, if you play a Jack, declare a new suit, take an extra turn if you play a 2, and so on. Whoever gets rid of their cards first, wins.
13. Oh Hell
The aim: Each player tries to win the before-bid number of tricks.
We say ‘Oh hell’ quite a lot, don’t we? The dealer starts first by dealing 10 cards to each player. Place the other cards in the center, creating the stock, and flip the top card over, whose suit is the trump suit of that round. Continuing further, each player should announce the number of tricks they think they can take. The play goes on with each player following the suit of the top card.
The highest card of the trump suit wins the trick. Scoring is definitely based on the number of tricks. If you’ve won the exact number of tricks you’ve bid on, you win. You also get extra scores for each won trick individually. It’s worth mentioning that there are also other variations of the game, including determining trumps, bidding, Boerenbridge, 7-Truf, and many more.
The aim: to be the first who reaches 121 points.
In today’s edition of famous card games, we present to you: Cribbage! Besides the cards, to play you also need the Cribbage board (available on Amazon). The dealer deals 6 cards to each of the players. They should look at the cards and make a group of 4 of the cards, to form their crib. Next, the game has different phases: checking for his heels, Pegging, counting hands, and more rounds.
To move the pegs on the board and score, you should make special events (such as pairs, runs, 3 of a kind, go, and more). Count your hand score, including all combinations (for example 5-6), pairs, threes of a kind, and all the others. At whatever point someone reaches 121 points, the game stops and that player is officially the winner. Also, a game similar to Cribbage, the Cribbage Squares, is an amazing single-player game!
The aim: Creating books, sets, or any other combinations of cards.
We know you enjoy matching cards, we do as well! Each player is dealt 7 cards, and the remaining ones create the stock. Everyone on their turn can either draw a card from the discard pile or the draw pile. If you have a matching set, you may lay them down on the table. You can also discard piles, but if you draw one card from the discard pile, you can’t discard the same one on that turn.
You may also add other cards to the already-laid down melds. Once you get rid of all your cards, you win the game. To determine the loser, you should calculate all the cards remaining in your hand. Cards of the Court are worth 10 points each, number cards are worth their number, and Aces are worth 1 point. Just as simple as that sounds!
We can’t help but wish you enjoyed these games as much as we did! To be frank, we love how unique each of the games is. The level of difficulty is different, the number of cards, the winning ways, variations, the game’s origin, and all that. You can always find a game that fits your preferences perfectly.
You must know that we couldn’t describe all the rules of each game since lots of them require more explanation. However, we did explain the basics, and if you’re interested in more, you can also read our specific articles for lots of the games.
The greatest pleasure is that most of them are safe and can be played by all ages (of course, not the drinking ones). Yes, family card games, here we come!
3 is a great number, isn’t it?