How to Play the Card Game 13

By Dana Severson

Thirteen is more of a counting game than anything. Players are dealt a certain amount of cards and are then tasked with emptying their hands before the rest. How a player rids his hand of cards is based not only on what he’s been dealt, but also what the previous player has played. Each consecutive play must be higher than the one before. The last one with cards at the end of the round must pay the rest. What he pays is entirely up to the group and is usually specified before each round.

Determine the order of play by dealing out the cards face up until one player is dealt a jack. This player will act as the first dealer. Subsequent deals move to the losing player of the prior game.

Deal out the deck until all players have a total of 13 cards.

Play a card, or a sequence of cards, from your hand, starting with the person to the dealer’s left. Each subsequent play must be of greater value than the previous card or combination of cards (see the Tips section for further details on ranking order of cards and sequences). If you play a five of diamonds, the next player can play a five of hearts (hearts being a higher suit), a six on up of any suit or a pair to “beat” your play. If you play a pair of fives, the next player would need to play a pair of sixes on up or another combination of higher rank.

Continue to play until no one is able to lay another card. Once play is frozen, swipe the cards from the table. The player who froze play will then lead the next card or combination of cards, following the same rules.

Continue to play until only one player still has cards in his hands. This player will now pay a fixed amount of money to the other players.

Play the game of 13 for a set amount of rounds. The big winner is the player who walks away from the table with the most cash.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.