How to Play the Card Game Chicago

By Dana Severson

With a name like Chicago, you’d think this game would’ve been created in the United States, but it actually found its way here from Sweden. Players must to get the best poker hand possible--not once, not twice, but three times in a single round. However, that’s not all that makes up the game. Within each round, you’ll also need to be concerned with taking tricks, and not just any trick: You’re looking to get the last one, which is worth 5 points. Familiarity with the rules will help the whole flow of the game, so sit down for a read before sitting down to play Chicago.

Determine the order of play by dealing out the cards until one player is dealt a jack. This player will act as the first dealer. Subsequent deals move to the left in a clockwise direction around the table.

Deal out the deck until each player has a total of five cards in his hand.

Discard any number of cards from your hand, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. You’ll then be dealt as many cards as needed to bring your hand back up to five. Though the game of Chicago isn’t played like poker, you’re looking for the best possible hand based on poker rules.

Receive points for the best poker hand at the table (see the Tips section below for point values). Players will simply announce what they have. No cards need to be shown in this stage of Chicago.

Discard any number of cards from your hand for a second time, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Again, you’ll then be dealt as many cards as needed to bring your hand back up to five. If the player who had the highest poker hand at the table opts to discard any of his cards, he must show the cards that made up the winning combination.

Receive points for the best poker hand at the table. Much like the prior point-earning process, each player will simply announce what combination is in her hand. Still no cards need to be shown in this stage of Chicago.

Discard any number of cards from your hand for a third and last time, starting with the player to the dealer’s left. Just as before, you’ll then be dealt as many cards as needed to bring your hand back up to five. If the player who had either of the highest poker hands at the table opts to discard any of his cards, he must show the cards that made up the winning combination.

Play a card from your hand, starting with the person to the dealer’s left and moving around the table in a clockwise direction. Cards are played directly in front of the players, not to the center of the table (hands must remain intact). As you lay cards, each player must follow suit. The highest card wins the trick and leads the next card. The player to take the last trick earns 5 points to her overall score.

Receive points again for the best poker hand at the table. Unlike the prior point-earning processes, players will have their hands in front of them. The highest hand earns the corresponding point value.

Continue to play the game following the above rules until one player hits a total overall score of at least 52 points. This player will win the game of Chicago.

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.