How to Play the Card Game 31

Hearts is a card game that has many variations.
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It takes two to seven people to play the card game 31, which also goes by the names Big Tonka, Blitz, Scat and Cadillac. The goal of the game is to get a hand of suited cards to add up closer to 31 points than your opponents. Aces count as 11 points, face cards count as 10 points and the remaining cards count as their face value. The game is immediately over if a player draws 31.

Distribute an equal amount of coins or tokens to each player. For a quick game, give each player one token.

Deal three cards to each player, starting with the player to the dealer's left and moving around in a clockwise motion.

Place the remaining cards in the middle of the table and flip one over for the discard pile.

Start the game with the player to the immediate left of the dealer. The player draws one card from the draw or discard pile, then discards a card on the discard pile.

Moving clockwise around the table, each player, in turn, draws a card from the draw pile or the top card from the discard pile, then discards a card in the discard pile.

Continue play in this manner until one player believes he has a better hand than the other players and knocks on his turn (a knock is when a player taps the table with his hand instead of drawing a card). The remaining players now have one opportunity to draw one more time for the best hand possible.

Add up the points of each player's hand. Only suited cards count toward the final score. The player with the lowest score places a coin or token in the middle of the table. If there is a tie for the lowest score, both players place a token in the middle of the table. If the loser is out of tokens, he is out of the game.

Shuffle the cards, deal and continue play as described in Steps 2 through 7. The game is over when only one player remains.

Things You'll Need

  • Playing cards
  • Coins or tokens


  • Pay close attention to the cards that the opponent on your immediate left discards and draws from the discard pile to gain clues about which suit he is going after. This will factor into the cards you choose to discard.