Games to Play With a Deck of Cards

By Whitney Coy
Deck of Cards
spreaded deck of cards image by timur1970 from

There’s almost no end to what you can do with a deck of cards. A deck of cards is small enough to take anywhere you go or hide away in a drawer for a rainy day. There are card games for children and adults, and games that can be played alone or with a group.


War is a game for all ages, played with two people. The deck is split between the two players, with each player getting 26 cards. When the game begins, both players lay down one card at the same time. The player with the highest-value card wins the hand. The player that wins the hand takes both cards and places them face down underneath her pile of cards. If both players lay down the same card, a “war” has begun. In a war, both players lay down two more cards, one face up and one face down. The player with the highest-value card turned face up wins the hand, including the original two cards (six total cards). If those cards are also of the same value, another war is played until one player wins the hand. The player to have the entire deck of cards in his pile wins the game.

Go Fish

Go Fish can be played with a group of two to six players. One player is chosen as the dealer and deals each player her hand. If there are two or three players in the game, they each should receive seven cards. If there are four to six players in the game, each player is dealt five cards. Each player should hold her cards so that no other player can see them. The rest of the cards are spread out on the table face down to serve as the “fish pond.” The object of the game is to get groups of four matching cards. The first player asks another player for a specific type of card needed to finish a collection of four like cards (for example, four aces or four twos). If the player has the card he was asked for, he must hand it over. If he does not, he says, “Go fish!” The player who asked for the cards must then take a card from the fish pond. Any completed collections of like cards are set aside. The game then continues to the next player. The first player to run out of cards wins the game.


Solitaire, as the name suggests, is a card game that is played alone. Using a deck of cards with the jokers removed, lay out seven stacks of cards, all face down except the top card in the stack, which will be face up. The first row will be one card, the second row two cards, and so on. The remaining cards will be stacked in front of you face down. Ace cards are called foundation cards and will help you remove the rest of the cards. If any Aces are currently face up, pick them up and start a pile off to the side. The object of the game is to complete four piles, each pile starting with an ace and ending with a king. Each pile should be alternating colors as well. Remove any cards that can be added to your ace piles. When no moves are left, turn over the first three cards in the deck. The top card from the three cards turned over needs to be placed on an ace pile, if the value and color correspond, or one of the seven original piles, also if the value and color correspond. After the top card is placed, the next card can be placed, and then the third. Cards can be turned over in groups of three and moved from that pile or the original seven piles until all cards have been moved into the ace pile.