Best Two-Player Card Games
My Favorite Card Games for Two People
So you and your buddy/relative/significant other are sitting around with nothing to do. It's raining cats and dogs, and there's a deck of cards on the table. What game are you going to play?
There are dozens if not hundreds of really fun card games, but which games are the best of the best?
Even though I've been playing cards regularly for more than twenty years, I don't believe I'm qualified to answer that question. I can, however, tell you which two-player card games I like best and maybe convince you to give one a try. Below I've listed my favorite two-player card games:
- Gin Rummy
Each game comes with a short description and a link to some more in depth rules. Enjoy!
1. Santase or 66
Santase is a Bulgarian card game for two players. Ever heard of it? Maybe you know it as Sixty-Six. Or perhaps Schnapsen. All three games are similar and share the goal of trying to score 66 points before your opponent does.
I play Santase more than any other two-person card game. For me, it's the perfect card game for relaxing on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There's strategy involved, but not too much. There's memory involved, but not too much. And, of course, winning also depends on the luck of the draw.
Santase uses only 24 cards (9, 10, J, Q, K, A) from the standard deck.
To score big, you need to "marry" Kings and Queens of the same suit.
If you want to give this game a try, here are the rules to 66. As I said, the rules to 66 and Santase are essentially the same.
Cribbage. Or "Crib" for Short
Crib can be played with more than two people, but I prefer it one on one, heads-up. Of course, in addition to a deck of cards you'll need a Cribbage board -- a $10 investment.
I made my first Cribbage board in junior high school and still use it to this day. It's ugly, and the holes don't really line up, but it's served its purpose admirably over the years.
I think it's the board that makes the game unique and gives it that special flavor. Sure, the rules are clever, especially the one that has each player giving up cards from their hand to form a "crib," but it's the board that makes Cribbage, Cribbage.
Cribbage rules are here.
For me, Gin is all about action. There are a lot of things going on, and I totally lose myself in this game when I play. Forget about conversation Grandma, I'm playing to win!
Gin uses a standard deck of 52 cards. Start by dealing ten cards each and flipping over the top card. Like other forms of Rummy, you'll focus on building runs and sets (3s and 4s of a kind).
Here are the rules to Gin.
And an Honorable Mention to Hola
No, this is not a Spanish game. In fact, it is Ukrainian so go ahead and pronounce the "h".
My family plays this game a lot. It's a casual, easy game that is best played by four people playing as teams. But it can also be played by just two people.
2s and 7s are wild. Aces and 10s score points.
Here are the rules to Hola.
More Fun-But-Obscure Card Games
I'm very interested in learning more two-player card games, especially games that are played in remote regions of the world but still use the standard deck of 52 cards. If you have any suggestions, I hope you will post them below.