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How to Play the Aggravation Card Game

Two-handed card games are plentiful.
playing cards image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

Aggravation is a card game that makes traditional Rummy a lot more interesting. In Aggravation, the playing deck is made up of a combination of four playing decks. This allows players to have many more cards to draw from to form their meld combinations. There are a total of 24 wild cards in the deck, so this also makes the game move at a fast pass. Aggravation is a great game for those that have become bored with traditional Rummy or Gin.

Find a group of friends to play the Aggravation Card Game. The minimum number of players for the Aggravation Card Game is three, and the maximum is six. The ideal number of players is either five or six players.

Combine four playing decks of cards to form the deck of cards used in the Aggravation Card Game. Include the jokers in the playing deck.

Place a sheet of paper on the table where every player can access it, or give each player a copy. This paper should list the eight rounds that must be completed in Aggravation; melding three of a kind, melding two sets of three of a kind, melding four of a kind, melding two sets of four of a kind, melding five of a kind, melding two sets of five of a kind, melding six of a kind and melding two sets of six of a kind. Each phase must be completed before a player can move on to the next phase. Melding refers to playing the cards face up in front of you. Direct players that jokers and twos are wild. Wild cards can only be used to form a meld when a player has at least two natural cards to form a meld. A natural card is any card other than a wild card.

Deal 10 playing cards to each player. Each player may look at his own ten card hand. Place the draw deck on the table and flip the top card face up placing it next to the draw deck to form the discard pile.

Start with the player to the left of the dealer and take turns in a clockwise rotation. On a player's turn she may either draw the top card from the draw deck, or the top one to three cards from the discard pile. If a player takes a card from the discard pile she must take three cards from the draw deck for each card she took from the discard pile in addition. That player may then place down the meld in front of her for the current round. Each round presents a new meld that must be met for a player's first meld of the round. Once a player has played her meld for the current round, she is free to add cards to opponent's melded sets that are face up on the table, add cards to her own sets or play any set of three of a kind. After a player melds or plays cards onto other player's melds on her turn, the final step to complete their turn is to discard one card from her hand face up on the discard pile.

Continue taking turns around the table in a clockwise manner until one player melds or plays all of his cards, or discards the final card from his or her hand. This ends the round and results in the round being scored.

Scoring the round involves subtracting 25 points from the player's score that ran out of cards first to end the round. All other players have points added to his or her own score. Jokers and twos are worth 50 points, face cards and tens are worth 10 points, and all other cards are worth five points.

Total each player's score, collect the cards and deal the next round. There are a total of eight rounds in Aggravation. The player that plays all of his cards in the eighth round receives a bonus of 200 points deducted from his score instead of the typical 25 point deduction. After the eighth round, total every player's score and the player with the lowest score wins the game of Aggravation.

Things You'll Need:

  • 4 decks of playing cards
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper


Each round requires more cards to be used to make a meld for a player to start discarding cards from her hand. In the final round each player must draw cards from the discard pile along with the three card addition for each one from the draw pile. This is because a player must have a 12 card meld (two sets of six of a kind) and is only dealt 10 cards at the beginning of each round. A set is a group of cards that all have the same face values, or include cards with the same face value along with wild cards.


  • This game can take over an hour to play all eight rounds, if you wish to shorten it, eliminate the first two or three rounds.
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