Are you looking for an entertaining activity to enjoy with friends? Organizing a game night and playing cards just may be the answer, but you may not know any suitable card games for adults. Below are some sound recommendations. In addition to being fun and encouraging social interactions, playing card games offers these health benefits:
You probably already have playing cards somewhere in your home so let’s get reacquainted with some card games for adults!
Standard deck playing cards refer to the classic 52-deck. Each deck contains 4 “suits,” each identified by a symbol, spades (♠️), hearts (♥️), diamonds (♦️), and clubs (♣️). Each suit contains 13 “ranks”: ace (A), king (K), queen (Q), jack (J), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. There is also typically a 53rd card, the joker, and a 54th card, an extra joker, packed with the standard deck.
Dedicated deck playing cards are a non-standard set of cards designed for a specific game. For example, a double pack consists of two 52-card packs mixed or a pinochle deck for playing pinochle.
Below are descriptions of a few of the popular deck card games for adults. Check out your local library for classes, or pick up a new book to learn the complete rules of your game of choice!
Let’s start with a card game that can be played all by yourself – Solitaire. This card game can be played virtually anywhere, and I have played this many a time on an airplane to pass the time!
The objective of solitaire is to organize a shuffled deck of cards into four “foundations” (one for each suit) in ascending order from ace to king. You create a “tableau” of 7 piles, starting from left to right, by placing the first card face-up to make the first pile. You will then deal one card face-down for the next six piles. Repeat this process, again from left to right, placing one card face-up on the second pile and dealing one card face-down on piles three through seven. Continue in this way until pile seven has one card facing up on top of six cards facing down. Foundations are then built by suit and in sequence from ace to king using the face-up cards in the tableau. If you can build up the whole deck of cards onto the foundations, you win!
In this game, 5 cards are dealt one at a time, face-down, beginning with the player to the dealer’s left. Place the remaining cards face-down in the center. Turn the top card over and place it into its own separate pile. Starting to the dealer’s left, each player must place one card that matches the card showing on the pile, either in suit or in rank.
If a player does not have a matching card to play, they must draw cards from the top of the stack until a play is possible or until the pile is exhausted. All eights are wild! This means an eight may be played at any time. However, the player must specify a suit for it (not a number). The next player must play either a card with the same suit or an eight. The first player who discards all the cards in their hand wins. It’s like Uno for adults!
Canasta is a game of the rummy family and was very popular during the 1950s. This game is played in pairs with team players sitting across each other. It uses 2 standard decks of cards with jokers. The jokers and twos are wild. Players can score points by creating “melds.” A meld is 3 or more cards of the same rank. A meld of 7 cards with the same rank is called “canasta.” The first team to reach a total of 5,000 points wins a game.
This card game uses a pinochle pack of 48 cards (two 24-card packs mixed) with two each of the A to 9 in each suit. Pinochle is a popular game that you can play with two teams of 2. You may also play with 2 or 3 people. The game starts with a round of bidding where players make bids on how many points they believe their team can make in the round. Players earn points during the so-called “Melding Phase” and the “Trick-Taking Phase.”
Contract Bridge is often played in organized club settings. There is even a world bridge tournament! Contract Bridge is not easy to learn, but it is popular and played by many. The game usually involves 4 players split into teams of two.
There are many card party games you can find that are boxed sets with their own rules and cards. Here are a few of our favorites:
This game is a great choice for a girl’s night. There are five different color categories of cards: “Truth or Dare,” “Never Have I Ever,” “Most Likely To,” “Best of the Best,” or “Rapid Fire.” The first player rolls the die (each side of the die shows a color that matches the category of cards from the 5 decks), picks up a card from the corresponding color deck, and reads it out loud to the group. The player must perform whatever command or action is described on the card. Some commands may require the whole group’s participation. The next player rolls the die, and play continues. Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.
Another great choice for a group, this action-packed game will have everyone laughing. Start by shuffling all the cards and dealing them face-down to all the players. The person to the dealer’s left puts a card into the center, face-up, saying “Taco.” The player on his left then puts their card face-up on top, while saying “Cat.” Play continues in this way with the next person saying “Goat,” then “Cheese,” then “Pizza.”
When the card laid down matches the card spoken by the player (for example, a taco card is face-up while the player says taco), all the players must slap their hands on top of the pile of cards. The last player to do so takes the entire pile and puts them on the bottom of their own pile. There are also 3 special cards, “Gorilla,” “Groundhog,” and “Narwahl” in the deck that require an additional action by a player before they slap the match. The first player to get rid of all their cards and successfully slap a match or special card becomes the winner.
We hope we encouraged you to get together with friends and organize a game night or even play a game on your own! If you are interested in learning more about games, especially ways to improve your mind, check out this article on brain games.