Three is… a fortunate number, innit? Since you’re here, we’re assuming you are struggling to find good games for 3 people. Well, we’re here to solve your problems! In this article, you’ll find a list of 17 card games, which require nothing more than a standard deck of cards, and your will to have fun!
- Let It Ride;
- Teen Do Paanch;
- Go Fish;
- Sergeant Major;
- Horse Race;
- Old Maid;
- Sette E Mezzo;
- Crazy Eights;
- Ride The Bus;
- Chairman Mao;
- Oh, Hell;
The aim: To be the first to get rid of your cards, even if that includes lying.
How to play ‘Bluff’?
All cards get divided between the three of you, equally. One of you is the leader, who begins by playing an Ace. All players, taking turns, should continue placing 2s, 3s, all the way to Kings, following the numerical order. You may play as many cards as you want in your turn. For example, if it’s your turn to play 2s, you may play all your 2s. If you wanna get rid of your cards faster, you may also lie. 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 gets rid of their cards.
2. Let It Ride
The aim: To make the best hand of cards.
Let’s continue with a fabulous poker card game! Players are dealt 3 cards, and the dealer is dealt 2 cards, facedown. Then, players may withdraw their stakes two times: before and after the community card is revealed. Then, the dealer collects the remaining stakes of the other 2 players and pays 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. Here’s a video explaining the game: How To Play Let It Ride.
3. Teen Do Paanch
The aim: Completing your quota of tricks.
A.k.a 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 two Sevens from 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. 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! To play, you only need 32 cards from the deck, so you have to remove all cards from 2 to 6. Each player is dealt 10 cards, and 2 cards stay in the center of the table, facedown, creating the ‘Skat’. The first outbidding battle starts between two players, then between the winner of the first battle and the dealer. The player with the most points becomes the declarator, who picks up the trump suits. There’s a total of 120 points, and 61 are necessary to win a round. Since it’s pretty complex, watch this video to help you out: How To Play Skat.
5. Go Fish
The aim: To be the player with the most card books.
Let’s go fishing, shall we? 3 of you should be dealt 7 cards, facedown. The remaining cards are placed in the center of the table. Someone starts first randomly, by asking for cards from another player ( for example ‘X, give me all your Aces’). If they have any Aces, they have to give them to you. Otherwise, they should say ‘Go Fish!’, and your turn ends. Everyone’s goal is to make four cards of a kind (books). The game ends when all cards belong to books, and whoever has the most, wins. Ps. it’s also a great card game for 2 players!
6. Sergeant Major
The aim: Winning 12 or more tricks in one round.
This game is developed in two main phases: the first dealing phase (about the first deal), and the second dealing phase (about 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. 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 someone wins 12 tricks, the game ends. Watch this video for meticulous instructions: How To Play Sergeant Major.
The aim: Be the first player who has only one token left.
To play 99 you need a full deck of cards (without the Jokers), and whatever coins to symbolize tokens. Each player gets 3 cards and 3 tokens. The game continues clockwise, with every player putting down one card. Each card has its own face worth, and there are special values as well. 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.
Start by creating 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 have the same rank. 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. Old Maid
The aim: Discard pairs of cards, and not be the player with a queen at the end.
Before playing, make sure you use a standard deck of cards, but with one of the four queens removed. Deal all cards equally to all players. Players look at their cards and discard the pairs of cards they have in their hands. If they have a 3 of a kind, discard 2, and draw one card from the dealer’s hand, face-down. This continues the same for the 3 of you, discarding cards, and drawing from the player to your left, until all cards belong to pairs. Since there are 3 Queens, one will remain single. The player who has the Queen at the end of the game is the Old Maid.
10. Sette E Mezzo
The aim: to be the player who beats the dealer.
The game is played with 40 cards, with 8s, 9s, and 10s removed from the standard deck. Everyone places their bets, receive their cards, and 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.
11. Crazy Eights
The aim: be the first player 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 with the card on the center. 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. Whenever someone runs out of their cards, the game ends and that player wins.
12. 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. In all these rounds, you have to guess cards (the name tells what you have to guess). 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 card of the court: Jack, Queen, or King, or if it’s an Ace.
13. Chairman Mao
The aim: get rid of all your cards, and also follow the unspoken rules.
Chairman Mao 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. Now, the whole point of the game is on the unspoken rules, which are usually house rules set by the players. 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.
14. 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, placing the other cards in the center, and flipping 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 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. If you need extra information, watch this: How To Play Oh Hell.
The aim: to be the first who reaches 121 points.
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. To move the pegs on the board and score, you should make special events (such as pairs, runs, 3-of-a-kind, go, and so on). At whatever point someone reaches 121 points, the game stops and that player is officially the winner. Watch this if you want to know more: How To Play Cribbage.
The aim: Creating books, sets, or any other combinations of cards.
Straight to the point, 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 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 face value. Just as simple as that sounds!
The aim: have the lowest value of cards.
To start playing golf (not the sport), deal each player 6 cards, place the remaining cards in the center, and turn the top card over. Players must create 2 rows of 3 cards in front of them, turning only 2 of them over. Everyone takes turns drawing cards from the pile, to swap them with any of their 6 cards. If swapped with a face-down card, the new card remains face-up. The game ends when all cards are turned over, and whoever has the lowest score, wins. Aces are worth 1 point, 2s are worth minus two points, cards from 3 to 10 are worth their face value, Jacks & Queens are worth 10 points, and Kings are worth 0 points.
To be frank, we love how unique each of the games is! Because it may get boring to write about all games in detail, we explained the basics, so if you’re interested in more, you can always read our specific articles for all instructions explained! Because there’s a total of 17 games, we’re pretty sure you’ll find at least a few of them to love! Ps. there are also lots of drinking games for 3 people out there!