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How To Play The Card Game Kings Corners

Updated on November 12, 2014

Traditional card game

I first learned to play Kings Corners, also called Kings In The Corners, when I attended junior college in Minnesota. We sometimes played cards in the cafeteria between classes. This became one of my favorite games.


Kings Corners is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. It can be played by 2 to 6 players, but is best with four.

The game is played by laying cards on foundation piles in descending order and with alternating suit colors. For this game, the cards rank, from high to low, K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A. The cards that are not dealt are laid face-down as a draw pile, and the foundation piles are then placed in the eight positions around the draw pile.

The initial layout consists of the draw pile and one card in each of four foundation piles. These cards are laid face-up above, below, left of, and right of the draw pile. This initial layout resembles a plus sign.

The other four foundation piles will eventually be located at the four corners of the layout, and each will begin with a King. (Hence, Kings Corners.)

Game Rules

To play Kings Corners, choose a player at random to be the dealer. The dealer shuffles the cards, and deals them one at a time around the table starting with the player to his left and moving clockwise. He continues dealing until each player has seven cards.

He then lays the remaining cards face-down at the center of the table as the draw pile. He takes four cards from the top of the draw pile, and lays them face-up above, below, left of, and right of the draw pile to form the beginning of four foundation piles.

Then the players take turns playing beginning with the player to the left of the dealer and moving clockwise around the table.

On your turn, take a card from the draw pile, and then lay as many cards from your hand as you choose on the foundation piles. You can:

1. Lay cards on foundation piles. You can lay a card on a foundation pile if the rank of your card is one less than the rank of the card on the top of the pile and its suit is the opposite color. For instance, you can lay a Four of Hearts (red) on a Five of Spades (black). Try to keep the bottom card of each foundation pile visible.

2. Lay Kings on empty corners around the draw pile. Each King starts a new foundation pile.

3. Lay foundation piles on top of other foundation piles. You can lay a foundation pile on top of another foundation pile if the rank of the bottom card of the first pile is one less than the rank of the top card of the second and its suit is the opposite color.

4. Lay cards on empty spaces. You can lay a card on an empty space above, below, left of, and right of the draw pile to start a new foundation pile.

(Note: If the draw pile empties, just lay down cards from your hand on your turn.)

When you have played as many card as you choose, your turn ends. If you still have cards in your hand, the game continues and the player to your left takes a turn.

The first player who lays down all of her cards wins the game.

If there comes a time when the draw pile is empty and nobody has laid down any cards once around the table, the player holding the least number of cards wins the game.

Scoring Version

Kings Corners can also be played as a scoring game. Use a sheet of paper as a score pad by placing the players' names across the top of the sheet. Then play a series of hands where each hand is played like a regular game from deal to win.

When a player wins a hand, the other players score 10 points for each King and 1 point for each other card held. (The 10 points for a King is a penalty for holding that card.) Each player adds this score to any previous score on the score pad. The deal then passes one player to the left of the previous dealer, and a new hand begins.

When a player scores more than 25 points, the player with the lowest score wins the game.


Kings Corners is a fun game. You should try it sometime.


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