Fun Card Games for Two People

By Lynn Mancini
Card games can be a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Card games are a great way to have intimate conversations while engaging in competitve play. This makes them ideal for friends and families. They are even a great way for the newly dating to get to know one another. The time spent enjoying each other's company can be marred, however, if the play gets too competitive. Also, if one player is on a losing streak, it is wise to switch to a different game. There are many card games for two people to play. Some are old favorites and others may be new to you.


You will need a standard 52-card deck to play.

Before you play, you will need to decide how long you are going to play. You may either quit playing based on the number of desired deals or when you reach a certain number of points such as 500. You will need a standard deck of 52 cards.

Determine which player will be the dealer first and then alternate who gets to deal. Then deal 7 to 10 cards, one at a time, to each player (the number of cards will be the same for both players--each gets 7 or each gets 10, whatever you choose). After you have dealt the requisite number of cards, the next card is placed face up on the table to start the discard pile. The remainder of the deck is placed face down. The players look at and sort the cards (by suit or numbers) they were dealt without showing their hand to the other player.

The goal is to eliminate all the cards in your hand. There are three ways to dispose of cards: melding, laying off, and discarding. Melding is taking three or more groups of cards from your hand and placing them face up in front of you on the table. There are two kinds of groups which can be melded: sequences (also known as runs, such as 5, 6, 7) and groups (all the same number, such as 7, 7, 7). Laying off is adding a card or cards from your hand to a meld that either you or the other player has placed on the table (such as a 4 or 8 to the above run or another 7 to the group). You cannot rearrange the melds. For example, once you play all of the 2s, you cannot remove one of them to form a sequence. Discarding is the last way you can eliminate cards from your hand and must be done at the end of each turn. These cards are laid on top of the discard pile.

Once the cards are dealt, the person who did not deal has the choice of picking up either the card in the discard pile or from the remainder of the face-down deck. If you pick up from the face-down deck, you place the card in your hand without showing the other player. Decide whether this card helps your hand or not. If it does, keep the card and discard one of the other cards in your hand. Otherwise, you may place the card on the discard pile. When one player has placed all of his or her cards down, all further plays cease (whether they have additional moves or not). The other player must count the cards remaining in his or her hand against the cards already placed on the table.

When a player goes out, the other player adds up the value of all the cards still remaining in his or her hand as follows: face cards (K,Q,J) are worth 10 points each, aces are worth fifteen, and number cards are worth five points each. The total value of the cards is subtracted from the points the player has already laid down. The winner, on the other hand, would just count up all of the points that were played. The game continues until a player reaches the agreed-upon number of points or until the specific number of deals has been played.

Two Handed Euchre

If hearts are trump, then the jack of diamonds becomes part of the trump and is essentially a heart.

Discard all the cards numbered 2 through 8 from the 52-card deck except for the cards numbered 5. You will need the 5s to help you keep score, so each player should take two of them and place them face down. The remaining 24 cards, the aces, face cards, and 9s and 10s, will be used in playing the game. The dealer will shuffle the remaining 24 cards.

The dealer will pass five cards out, two and three at a time. There should be four piles of five cards, with additional cards left over. Two of the piles should be in front of the dealer and two in front of the other player. One of these piles (for each player) will be the blind hand, which means that neither player looks at the cards in this pile. The remaining four cards (those not dealt) are set in front of the dealer face down. Turn the top card over to determine the trump suit.

The trump suit has eight cards. They are ranked from highest to lowest as follows: Right Bower (the jack of the trump suit), Left Bower (the other jack of the same color as the trump suit), ace, king, queen, 10 and 9. The other suits are ranked as they would normally be ranked from ace to 9. Note that the Left Bower counts as belonging to the trump suit. For example, if spades are trump, the jack of clubs is a spade not a club. It can be played to a spade lead, and if it is led, spades must follow (except in the blind hand, which does not follow suit).

Both players sort the cards in their nonblind hands into suits. The opponent then has the option of having the dealer pick up the top card that was turned over or passing. If the opponent passes, then the dealer can decide whether she would like to pick it up or turn it down. If the dealer picks up the card (whether through the opponent's ordering her up or through her own choice), she must discard one of the cards in her hand. If she turns it down, her opponent has the option of calling any suit other than the one initially dealt or of passing. If he passes, the dealer has the opportunity to call the suit or pass--unless you are playing "stick the dealer." (If this is the case, then the dealer must call the suit. Otherwise, the dealer redeals the cards and the process starts over.)

Once trump has been decided, the opponent starts the play with any card, and the dealer must follow suit. The blind hands should be thrown in next. The hand is won by whoever played the highest card of the suit led. However, if a trump card was played (even if it was from the blind hand), then the person who played the highest trump wins. The winner of each hand leads the next one.

If the person who called trump wins three or four tricks, she scores one point. If she wins all five tricks, she scores two points. However, if she takes fewer than three tricks, she is "euchred," and the other person scores two points. If you choose to not use a blind hand by "playing alone" and win all five tricks, you score four points instead of two. Otherwise the scores are the same as above.

The game is normally played to 10 points. The person who reaches 10 points first wins the game. It is usual for each person to keep score using the spare 5 cards. The cards are arranged on the table so that the number of pips showing demonstrates the person's current score.

Mille Bornes

Mille Bornes is a card game that has you racing to be the first player to reach 1,000 miles.

Mille Bornes is a commercial card game that has you following the rules of the road. As a driver, you can only go when the light is green and you must stop when the light is red. Additionally, you must obey speed-limit signs, use a spare tire if you get a flat, refill your gas tank if you run out, and repair your vehicle if you get in an accident. In this card game, you must follow the same rules while trying to travel 1,000 miles along an imaginary road. However, your opponent is also trying to do the same and will try to slow you down by placing hazards such as flat tires, speed limits, accidents, etc. in your path. You are placing mileage cards down while overcoming the hazards your opponent is giving to you. However, you will want to slow your opponents' progress with hazards of your own. In addition to go cards, mileage cards, hazard cards, and remedy cards, there are safety cards to resolve the hazard and prevent the incident from happening again.

The goal of the game is to reach 1,000 miles. The actual directions read that you need to reach that amount exactly. However, one variation is that the first person to exceed 1,000 miles is the winner. The directions further state that the final object of the game is to be the first player to accumulate a total of 5,000 miles in several hands of play.

The dealer will deal seven cards. The remaining cards are set face down in the tray. The other player starts by drawing a card from the draw pile and adding it to his hand. He then must make one of the following plays: (1) If he has a Roll Card, he may place the card face up to begin his Battle Pile. His turn ends, and play passes to the dealer. (2) If he has a Safety Card, he may play it vertically, facing up. Whenever you play a Safety Card, you are safe from that particular hazard and may take another turn immediately. (3) If he has a Speed Limit Card, he may play it in front of his opponent, even if his opponent has not yet had a chance to play and does not have a Roll Card showing. This play starts the opponent's Speed Pile, and when she gets a Roll, she must stay below 50 kph until she gets an End of Limit Card. (4) If you can't make any of the above plays, you must discard one card, face up in the discard pile.

If you are the second player, you may make any of the previous plays described above or you may have two additional possibilities. If the first player played a Roll Card, you may play a Hazard Card on top of it to prevent him from being able to lay mileage cards down until he has the Remedy Card. If the first player placed a Speed Limit Card on you, you may play an End of Limit Card on top of it. Both players continue to follow the above-mentioned plays until a player reaches or exceeds 1,000 miles.

About the Author

Lynn Mancini was an elementary teacher in Michigan for five years. She has been a high school reading teacher in Florida for five years. Mancini holds a bachelor's in education with a major in language arts and a minor in social studies from University of Michigan. Mancini also holds a master's from Marygrove College.