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How To Play Big 2 (Fun Card Game)

Updated on January 7, 2013
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Overview

Big 2, also known as Deuces, is a four-player card game originating from China. It is easy to learn and really fun to play on a trip, with family and friends, or at a party.

The Setup

The four players sit facing each other and the dealer shuffles and passes out the cards in a circular pattern. Make sure the jokers are taken out as this is a 52 card game. When each player has their thirteen cards, they arrange their hand and start planning out combinations (more details later). Once all players are ready, whoever has the 3 of diamonds starts first round and must play the 3 of diamonds in his/her first combination.

Rules

Big 2 works in rounds. Players play combinations of cards in a counter-clockwise fashion until a player "wins a round". A player "wins the round" when all other players pass. When you win a round, you get to start a new round by playing any combination you want. Other players, going in order counter-clockwise, can choose to follow up on the prior player's combination or pass. When you follow up on another player's combination you must play a combination with the same amount of cards and the combination must be a higher value. For example, let's say I start the round and I play a pair of 5s. The next player must play pairs that are higher than a pair 5 (or he/she can choose to pass). Players keep going counter-clockwise, playing a higher combination or passing, until a player wins the round. That player starts the new round and the process repeats itself.

Card value ranks from 3 as the lowest value card, to 2 as the largest value card. They go in this order from lowest to highest: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2. Also, there are suit values as well which go in the following order from lowest to highest: Diamond, Clubs, Hearts, Spades. (Note: Some people play with Clubs as the smallest suit and Diamonds the 2nd smallest. Traditionally, Diamonds should be the smallest suit so I'll stick with that in this Hub.) The number values are worth more than the suit values. For example, a 5 of Clubs will beat a 4 of Spades, but not a 5 of Spades.

Combinations

Single Card - The most simple combination. If you play a single card, the next player must play a single card higher than the one you played or pass.

Pair - Two of the same numbered card. The next player must play a pair of a higher value or pass. A pair with a spade beats a pair without a spade if they are both of the same number value. (i.e. Pair 5 with a 5 of diamonds and a 5 of spades beats a pair 5 with a 5 of clubs and 5 of hearts.)

Triple - Three of a kind. The next player must play a triple of a higher value or pass. (Note: Some people do not play with triples. Triples is only used in some variations, be sure you ask others if they play with triples.)

5-Card Combinations - There are multiple 5-card combinations that can be played on top of one another. They go in this order (from weakest to strongest): Straight, Flush, Full House, 4-of-a-Kind, and Straight Flush.

  • Straight - 5 cards that are in numerical order. For example, 8,9,10,J,Q is a straight. The lowest straight is 3,4,5,6,7 and the highest straight is J,Q,K,A,2. In some variations players allow A,2,3,4,5 and 2,3,4,5,6 as a combination. There are also variations to whether that is the lowest combination or one of the higher combinations.
  • Flush - 5 cards that share the same suit. The higher value flush is determined first by higher number, and then by higher suit. For example a diamond flush with a K will be higher than a heart flush with a Q but not higher than a heart flush with a K.
  • Full House - A triple coupled with a pair. The value of the full house is determined by the triple. The pair has no say in the value of the combination. For example, three 5s with a pair J is smaller than three 7s with a pair 4.
  • Four-of-a-Kind - A four-of-a-kind coupled with a single card. The single card has no leverage. The value is determined by the four-of-a-kind.
  • Straight Flush - 5 cards in numerical order and also of the same suit. Higher number has a higher value, followed by higher suit if the highest number is tied.

Source

A four-of-a-kind is larger than a full house, flush, and straight, but smaller than a straight flush.

Winning the Game

You win the game when you have played all thirteen cards and have no cards remaining in your hand. The game is over when one person has won the game. All other players must count the remaining cards in their hand and score themselves accordingly (only if playing with a scoring system). Another rule to keep in mind is that you must announce "Last card" the moment you have only one card left in your hand. This is so other players are aware that you have only one card left. Why is this important? Well, if another player before you plays a single card which leads to your victory, and they could have played a higher card which prevented your win, then they will be penalized. The penalties become more clear if you play with a scoring system, but if you don't then it is just common etiquette to not "let someone win" by playing low singles when you could have prevented the win.

Scoring

Big 2 is completely playable without a scoring system. For others however, Big 2 is a lot more fun while including a system of scoring. The traditional version of the game has scoring subtracting points from the three losers and adding points to the winner. There are many variations and rules to this that it gets quite complicated, so I won't go into detail on it in this Hub.

However, my group of friends and I have used a variant method of scoring that is simpler to implement but still just as effective. At the end of each match, players with cards remaining add up how many cards they have left. Then they add that number to their score. If the player had 7 to 9 cards left, then their score for this match is doubled. If the player had 10 to 12 cards left then their score is tripled. Finally if a player has all 13 cards left, then their score for the match is multiplied by four. At the end of a set number of matches, each players score is added up. The player with the lowest score is the winner and the player with the highest score is the winner.


That's about it! I hope you find this Hub helpful and get the chance to play Big 2 with some family or friends.

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    • profile image

      steve 2 years ago

      I wish there was a better explanation on scoring, but thanks for the rest

    • xionnguyen profile image

      xionnguyen 4 years ago from Darkest part of the my heart

      Yes, most vary I heard there is a Korean Thirteen which is more complex and harder to play, you can only use certain cards and suit in order to play and such. Have not try it myself. Big 2 and Thirteen play style are same even if the are different, that is why card games are never so boring. Since they never repeat itself with same rules :) .

    • GameApathy profile image
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      GameApathy 4 years ago

      Yes I've heard of Thirteen and played it myself. The games are very similar but a little different. I believe in Thirteen you can play with unlimited straights with a minimum of three cards like 3,4,5 as a straight or 3,4,5,6,7,8,9.

      Big 2, on the other hand, does not allow this. It is a popular game in Hong Kong, Macau, and in Guangdong Province.

      Yes, there are a lot of variations on the game too. I would not be surprised if the variations of the game led to massive similarities between Big 2 and Thirteen.

    • xionnguyen profile image

      xionnguyen 4 years ago from Darkest part of the my heart

      Actually that is called Killer or Thirteen. It is not originated only in China. It is also originated in Vietnam and Japan. There is an American version of it too. Depending what style you play it varies and the rules are different.

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

      It sounds ok if we ever find 2 more players ! We play Rumicub - a board game a lot or Double Rummy

    • MattWritesStuff profile image

      Matt Bird 4 years ago from Canada

      I'll have to give this one a try some time. Always on the lookout for four-player card games I can try with my parents and girlfriend. (No one else will really play cards with me. Stupid friends always wanna play board games.) Thanks!