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Best Two-Player Card Games

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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:

  1. Santase/66
  2. Cribbage
  3. Gin Rummy
  4. Hola

Each game comes with a short description and a link to some more in depth rules. Enjoy!

A German set of 36 cards for playing 66.

A German set of 36 cards for playing 66.

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.

A winning hand in Gin Rummy.

A winning hand in Gin Rummy.

Gin Rummy

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.

Comments

Deborah Minter from U.S, California on July 25, 2017:

I don't know if crazy eights is obscure.... But it has the option of playing two people.

Simon on July 25, 2015:

Interesting...

dadahakeem on August 29, 2014:

i play evaery day play rammey cards game

JeriAnn on August 18, 2014:

As others have mentioned Speed is fun! Here are the rules:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_(card_game)

I also enjoy Crazy 8's - it's basically Uno but without the special deck. Here are the rules:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Eights

And last but definitely not least Kings on the Corner!! Here are the rules:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_in_the_Corner

My name on July 26, 2014:

I love spit and James Bond.

esmeralda on February 23, 2014:

james it is a very, very ,very, beautiful game. Even if i have not tried it iam sure, that it is great. i will learn how to play it and tryit with my cousins , my brother and sister. continue giving site games because i am sure that you will be very famous.

James on February 15, 2014:

Seep is an amazing card game. You can play it at http://www.seepstation.com/play/ Its really cool and addictive and you get to play this with live people in both 2 and 4 player format.

Jack on February 05, 2014:

If you're looking for something new, try this two-player non-scoring card game called Four Aces: http://listur.co/6-Rules-for-the-Four-Aces-Card-Ga...

Sarah Forester from Australia on February 05, 2014:

Gin, gin and more gin! My favourite game by far.

esmeralda on January 28, 2014:

jett sorry for asking but was is this game? may you explain to me better?

Jett on January 05, 2014:

Crown is an AMAZING game

esmeralda on December 19, 2013:

thnx very much mike. it still hurts but the life continues. again thnx.

mike on December 12, 2013:

.hi sry bout ur uncle

esmeralda on December 04, 2013:

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esmeralda on November 16, 2013:

hi is any body here? you got lost. where is every body????????????????

esmeralda on October 31, 2013:

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esmeralda on October 25, 2013:

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esmeralda on October 20, 2013:

hi is any body here? i see that no one is?

ESMERALDA on October 02, 2013:

hi tomorrow my uncle will be burried. my dad now remained alone without, a brother. because both brothers dead. one 35 or 37 years old and the other 57 years old.

esmeralda on September 28, 2013:

i am very sad, because my uncle died yesterday by a heart, attack.

esmeralda on September 27, 2013:

is someone here? i see that nobody wrote something. i see that you are in vacations. good vacationssssssssssssssssssssss.

esmeralda on August 29, 2013:

hi is someone here

esmeralda on August 15, 2013:

for 33 days school starts

esmeralda on August 11, 2013:

hi sory for that word i wanted to write ni

esmeralda on August 01, 2013:

hi every body have niuce vacations

esmeralda on July 23, 2013:

kdg sorry for asking but is spite and malice?

kdg on July 21, 2013:

Does anyone know how to play Spite & Malice???

esmeralda on July 05, 2013:

hi everyone.

esmeralda on April 17, 2013:

hi. i know that i must have annoyed you, with my words. But this is the way i talk. I want to talk very long. In my common life this happens always. Because i write and talk very very long. Sorryyyyyyyy once again if i have annoyed you with my words.

esmeralda on April 14, 2013:

what are you tryingto say with language because i am not understanding

Futamarka on March 30, 2013:

И еще один немаловажный нюанс: эти кремы позволяют тратить меньше времени на растушевку тона, но при этом вы можете быть уверены в том, что никто не догадается о его наличии на вашем лице. Создатели косметики с удовольствием экспериментируют с различными добавками, рассеивающими свет. Фотохромные пигменты, шелковые протеины, нейлоновые жемчужинки или микропризмы - наличие подобных ингредиентов в рецептуре крема свидетельствует в его пользу.

esmeralda on February 19, 2013:

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Mike on February 18, 2013:

Your all scrubs.

Sincerely,

Your mothers new man

esmeralda on February 06, 2013:

hi everyone. tomorrow i have a difficult day, because i have to learn for the biology test, i have to do a project work, and learn the computer book. It is about how to use the computer, there i have 3 lessons to learn. whar should i do with so much home - work?

esmeralda on December 26, 2012:

steve y. what is game speed?

Steve Y. on December 24, 2012:

Speed is also a great game

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpGevDMIIvs

esmeralda on November 18, 2012:

porkie person. to say the truth i don't understand this games. could you give an example of how should we play it

porkie person on November 16, 2012:

Speed is an interesting game also garbage is a quick game that can be played with 1-4 people with one deck, also slapjack

esmeralda on November 13, 2012:

sorry. it was every body

esmeralda on November 01, 2012:

hi. how is evry body? are you having a nice weekend?

esmeralda on October 21, 2012:

hi to every body. i will speak a little albanian. you may think i am crazy but no. i will explain in english what does it means. si jeni mire? si keni kaluar? how are you well.? iam glad for that. how have you passed?

esmeralda on October 05, 2012:

hi everybody . i have made a mistake. what? writing sk. it means ask sorryyyyyyyyyyyyy for this byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

esmeralda on September 29, 2012:

i sk to much . i know but i cant avoidi it this is me

esmeralda on September 27, 2012:

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

esmeralda on September 27, 2012:

wowow jubalub thnx

esmeralda on September 27, 2012:

i don't understand that coment charlie

Charlie Goodknees on September 26, 2012:

Esmeralda, have you ever seen Bruce Forsyth's play your cards right? xx

jubalub on September 26, 2012:

Esmeralda, I have watched you on here for a while now

esmeralda on September 22, 2012:

helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. how is evry bodyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

esmeralda on September 22, 2012:

thnx for the compliment jubalub

jubalub on September 21, 2012:

You are a good girl Esmeralda

esmeralda on September 21, 2012:

wowowoowowowowowow jubalub you surprised me with that. that you are god. it needs a lot of strength and courage, to be god. but iam glad that you are god.

jubalub on September 20, 2012:

No, I am not good.. I am God.

esmeralda on September 19, 2012:

hellooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

esmeralda on September 09, 2012:

the schoolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll starts tomorroooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww,

esmeralda on September 07, 2012:

hi how are you

esmeralda on September 01, 2012:

it is a pleasure that you are good jubalub

jubalub on August 31, 2012:

Hey, I'm god

esmeralda on August 24, 2012:

hi how is everybody

esmeralda on August 22, 2012:

jaxson it is a cute game

jaxson on August 21, 2012:

Very simple game for 2 players but very difficult to play well.

Separate the pack into suits and each player gets a full suit to hold and play with. One of the remaining suits (say, hearts) is shuffled thoroughly and placed face down - the top card is turned up.

Each card is worth its face value Ace=1.....King = 13. The aim of the game is to win the most points.

Imagine that the upturned card is a 7. Each player then 'bets' a card from their suit and lays it face down. Both cards are then turned face up and the highest card wins the 7. The 3 cards are piled near the winner with the 7 showing. The next heart is then turned over and betting begins again. And so on.

If both players bet the same value card for the 7 (say a 6) the cards stay in the middle and the next heart is upturned and added to the 7.

The game is full of bluff/strategy as each player aims to win the value card with the minimum bet - eg, if I thought you were going to bet a 6 to win the 7 I might play an Ace or two. But then you might think I'd do that and play a 3 to win. But then I should really play a 4 ...etc.

As there are 91 pts available, the first person to reach 46 wins.

esmeralda on August 12, 2012:

iliketrain this a new game for me because i have never heared about it. but i like it is very beautiful from your description, i will learn how to play it because it seems very fun

esmeralda on August 12, 2012:

iliketrain this a new game for me because i have never heared about it. but i like it is very beautiful from your description, i will learn how to play it because it seems very fun

iliketrain on August 11, 2012:

montieur is a fun fast 2 player card game.

the aim of the game is to get rid of all your cards. half the cards are dealt to each player. each player then takes four cards and put them face up in a row next to their decks( with a gap in the middle ). then each player takes one card and players it in the middle. both players then flip over the cards at the same time. you can then put cards which are either higher or lower from your four cards( aces can go on kings and vice versa). you can also put down more cards in your row as long as the maximum is 4. Jokers can go on anything. When both cards are the same, you can shout monteiur. The other person then takes all the cards in the 2 piles. When neither player can put a card on any pile, you put the piles aside and both players put down two new cards. The piles put to side are still given to player who has to take the piles because the other players shouted monteiur.

I personally like to play a first game where the cards are shuffled. I then very sloppily shuffle for the second game. a lot of the cards are in order so the game becomes very fast.

the game is interesting because you have to pay attention to your cards as well as the opponents and the 2 middle piles

esmeralda on August 11, 2012:

is a poppy my game julian

Julian on August 10, 2012:

This is poopy

esmeralda on July 26, 2012:

rolyat was that coment for my game

lul on July 26, 2012:

add your comment

Rolyat on July 24, 2012:

Definitely add the game speed. Me & my friends sit for hours playing - its so addictive!

esmeralda on July 15, 2012:

wowowowow thnx annominys.

annominys on July 14, 2012:

gin sounds like 500 rummy

esmeralda on June 28, 2012:

today i will explain my favourite game called thieves. it is played with four or more persons. put the four cards in the game or better in the ground. if the four cards in the ground are similar you should not change them. should be distributed to every player four cards. and if any of the players has the same card as he or she than this must not be changed. we may receive card from the areas whre the have decided, like i said before in different ways. neither example nor either two with two or even ten with ten pig an pig and the other figures that remain. or even if they have taken six plus one seven. we do thus meeting papers. we should not cover the letter that we received from the earth because every one should see. this for the reason that someone may have a similar letter with you and takes them to another player. so evry one should see if others may have similar letters so he can steal them. that is why the game is called thieves

esmeralda on June 26, 2012:

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tillacat on June 23, 2012:

We play 3 13 alot - not the same as 13. You deal 3 cards for the 1st round & 3's are wild, 4 cards second round and 4's are wild, etc. until you get to 13 cards and K's are wild. The game plays like rummy making runs or matches of 3 or more - lowest score wins. Need to use 2 decks for 3 or more players. You can google the official rules.

esmeralda on June 19, 2012:

hi every body

esmeralda on June 19, 2012:

how is every body . tomorrow iam going to show you game with the cards that we play hre in albania. it is a little hard to explain but i will do it.

esmeralda on June 18, 2012:

hi to every body.

esmeralda on June 16, 2012:

marcus8 very well. albania is a very very beautiful country thanks for asking. and where are you from marcus8 and hows your country.

marcus8 on June 14, 2012:

Hi esmeralda...hows albania

esmeralda on June 09, 2012:

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esmeralda on June 07, 2012:

joker what games

joker on June 04, 2012:

these games are for all ages and i really enjoy them!!!! Thanks!!!

esmeralda on June 04, 2012:

hi. i love ice cream you are right ice cream is the best.

josh on June 04, 2012:

boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ♥ ICE CREAM!!! on June 03, 2012:

Guess wat!! Ice cream is the best!!!!!

esmeralda on June 03, 2012:

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esmeralda on May 26, 2012:

what is that whist joe. you don't like that albania is in the final ofeurovision directly.

joe on May 25, 2012:

whist!

esmeralda on May 24, 2012:

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii albania was in final directly at eurovision

esmeralda on May 23, 2012:

iam sad

esmeralda on May 20, 2012:

what jukiak

jukiak on May 19, 2012:

i do not like of those games

esmeralda on May 13, 2012:

i now that all of you are thinking that iam a stupid girl but no. may be you are thinking that for the coments that i wrote i mean that i wrote so may coments. those coments were not to get attention but new friends and i have no friends. and about that the coments that you write are about me i didn't mean that. my self it is not important here. but i like to read your coments what you write to each other.

shutupfag on May 05, 2012:

shut up esmerelda no one cares and the comments aren't to you so just shut up!

esmeralda on May 05, 2012:

iam writing only to say hello.

esmeralda on May 04, 2012:

iam waiting for you to write something boys and girls

esmeralda on May 04, 2012:

hellooooooooooooo. do you have any idea how is to read your own coments.

esmeralda on May 04, 2012:

ok. why all of you are remaining in silence. i want you to write something.

esmeralda on May 03, 2012:

ok. why all of you are remaining in silence. i want you to write something.

esmeralda on April 30, 2012:

it is me again. i may seem a little boring person but i like so much to write on a computer . i would like to say only good nigt for every one. and the last start a good day. we have a party tomorrow or better all albania. it is the workers day. may be in your country this is not celebrated but in our yes,. night. from albania iam waiting fr a coment i hope some body can do this to wirte a coment not for my words but for eveything else.

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