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Playing Cards Without Gambling

Updated on June 17, 2018
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Marianne comes from Scotland and has always loved to play card games with her family and friends.

This article is about how to play cards without risking any money. Some people will not want to gamble for religious reasons. This is not particular to any one religion as you can find Christians, Muslims and Jews who do not believe in gambling. Card games have frequently banned throughout history, as often card playing has brought anti social behaviour with it, and has been associated with drinking, cheating and scams. Some very conservative religious groups ban card games altogether as they believe playing cards, whether or not for money, to be a sinful waste of time.

However people like me just don't like the idea of risking lots of money on a game, and enjoy the challenge of playing cards for fun.

Here is a list of some ways to play cards without gambling.

Playing cards can be fun, not serious.
Playing cards can be fun, not serious.

How Do You Like To Play Cards?

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Leisure Playing

You can just play cards for the fun of it.

Cards can:

  • satisfy your competitive streak is satisfied by the pleasure of beating everyone.
  • give your brain a workout as you enjoy working out the best strategy
  • be a good way to spend time with your family and friends and socialise
  • keep your brain active

Playing For Chips

You could use poker chips, but not assign them any value.

If you don't have poker chips improvise with:

  • Spare coins
  • Scrabble pieces or similar
  • Wrapped sweets.

Keeping a Tally

If you don't have chips you could get a piece of paper and a pen and simply keep a tally of scores.

Small Stakes

Play cards for limited stakes. I suppose this is gambling of a sort, but it depends on your views. Some options are:

  • Chocolate coins or other sweets
  • Limited number of real coins of low value (for example 1 pence, and 2 penny pieces)

One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards

— Oscar Wilde

Playing for "Raps"

When I was at School some of my classmates used to play cards for "raps". This meant that when someone lost whatever game they were playing, the loser would clench their fist and get hit on the knuckles with the pack of playing cards.

Depending on the force used by the player delivering the raps, it is possible to break someone's skin with this method and draw blood.

I am not recommending playing for raps, only mentioning this as an interesting option.

Loser Must Do a Forfeit

Whoever loses must do a forfeit.

For example:

  • Be tied to a chair for half an hour
  • Say a joke
  • Sing a song (chose an embarrassing one)
  • Recite the alphabet backwards
  • Swap socks with the person sitting to your right
  • Wear a silly hat/tutu/glasses
  • Stand on one leg for 2 minutes
  • Cook the dinner, do the hoovering, mow the lawn (the idea is that they do whatever chore you need)

Winner Wins Something

Rather than a forfeit, the winner could win something.

This could be

  • a favour
  • some cake/ice cream
  • a homecooked meal
  • a medal or trophy
  • the feeling of glory when you win.

What Card Games to Play

Trick playing card games like Poker and Blackjack are more designed for gambling than others, although of course you can easily play them for fun.

However there are plenty of card games which work much better as leisure card games than for gambling. For example shedding games like Bastard or Switch where the main aim is to get rid of the cards in your hand, or matching games like Rummy.


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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 months ago from UK

      Gambling has become big in the UK in recent years, but this article reminds me of the card games of my youth, passed on by my grandmother, where no money changed hands.


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