Chinese Ten is a rather straightforward card game in which players try to make combinations of two cards—one from their hand and one from the playing board—that add up to a total of 10 points. If you’re able to accomplish this, you capture both cards and earn points towards your score. If not, the card you’ve just played becomes part of the board and is then open to being captured by another player at the table. Since the mechanics are fairly simple, a player of any skill level will be able to pick up the rules and play with great ease. Typically, Chinese Ten is played with four players, but can also be played with fewer people.
Deal out the deck until each player has a total of six cards in his hand. The remaining cards are placed towards the center of the table.
Turn over the top four cards of the unused deck, placing two to the left and two the right of the deck. These four cards and the remaining deck now become part of the playing board.
Players now lay down cards from their hands, starting with the person to the left of the dealer. The goal is to capture cards by making a combination of two cards that add up to 10—one card from the playing board and one card from your hand. A nine will capture an ace, an eight will capture a two, a seven will capture a three and so on down the line. Since the 10 and the face cards are already worth 10, you must match them to one an identical card—king to king, queen to queen, jack to jack and 10 to 10—to capture a card.
Take the two cards from the board when you lay down a winning combination and place them in front of you. These cards are now out of play for the rest of the round. If you were unable to make a valid combination, the card played from your hand is now added to the playing board, either to the left or the right row of cards.
Turn over the top card from the deck and place it on either side of the board. If this card captures another card already on the table, swipe it with its counterpart from the table and place it in front of you. If not, it too becomes part of the board. And play will now move to the player to your left.
Continue to play around the table, following the described rules, until no cards remain in any player’s hand.
Tabulate your total for the round. Players earn 20 points for each “royal” capture (kings, queens, jacks and 10s) and 10 points for all other captures. Earn an additional 5 points for each capture that contains an ace.
Win the game of Chinese Ten by having the highest score at the end of four rounds of play (after each player deals once).
To determine the order of play for the game of Chinese Ten, deal out the cards face up until one player is dealt a jack. This player will act as the first dealer. Play will move to his left in a clockwise direction around the table. Subsequent deals will follow this same path.
If you’re playing with less than four players, simply increase the number of cards in each player’s hand. For a three-player game of Chinese Ten, play starts with eight cards per player. For a two-player game, the game is played with a 12-card hand.