How to Play the Card Game Three to Thirteen

By Dana Severson

If you’ve ever played a game called Five Crowns, sold in many stores around America, you’ll easily be able to pick up the rules and game play of Three to Thirteen because it’s virtually the same. Three to Thirteen is played with a standard deck of playing cards. The number of cards and the objective of play changes with each round, but the principles remain the same—setting up your hand in runs and kinds. Once you’ve grown accustomed to the play, the game can be extremely fun.

Determine the order of play by cutting for deal. Each player cuts the deck around the table. The highest card deals the first round and deal continues around the table in a clockwise direction.

Deal out the double deck (you’ll be using two for Three to Thirteen) until all players have a total of three cards in his or her hand. Each subsequent deal will increase the number of cards in a given hand by one—first round is a hand of three, second round is a hand of four and continuing through the 11th round with a hand of 13 cards. The remaining cards are placed to the center of the table, creating the draw pile, and the top card is place face up next to the deck, creating the discard pile.

Pick up your cards. For the first hand, you will be trying to create either a run of three within the same suit or a three of a kind. Wild cards can also be used to create these runs and kinds. For the first hand, the wild cards are the 3’s. For each subsequent hand, the wild card will change (see the Tips section for further details).

Draw a card from either the discard pile or the draw pile, starting with the player to the dealer’s left. You may only draw the topmost card from either pile.

Discard a card from your hand, always keeping your hand at the total for the round you are playing.

As soon as you’ve brought your hand to a run or a kind, you may lay down your hand. Each player will have one more turn to ready their hand and lay down as many sets as possible. As the number of cards in your hand increases during each round, you’ll have the option of creating more than one run or kind—except for the hand of four and the hand of five. Each run or kind must be made up of three or more cards.

Tally the scores for the round. All cards that are not part of a run or a kind are marked against the player left holding them. Cards are worth their face value, with aces being worth 1 point up to kings, worth 13 points.

Win the game of Three to Thirteen by having the lowest score after the eleventh round of play.

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.