Card games for three?
April 18, 2009 10:36 AM   Subscribe

My wife and a friend of ours like to play cards, but we don't know many good three person card games. Does anyone have any suggestions for good card games for three people?
posted by Bulgaroktonos to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Three Hand Cutthroat card game I've ever played.
posted by iconomy at 10:40 AM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh hell.
posted by brevator at 10:46 AM on April 18, 2009

Three Handed Cribbage
posted by ms.v. at 10:48 AM on April 18, 2009

Sergeant Major. Fun as hell but it has a tendency to not end on its own.
posted by pmdboi at 11:06 AM on April 18, 2009

1000 Blank White Cards
posted by deezil at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2009

Euchre and Canasta can be played three-handed too - both are really fun.
posted by iconomy at 11:14 AM on April 18, 2009

Preference. It looks really complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy to handle. One of the most addictive games I've ever played. (It is important that you play for money, even if the amounts are small, because this keeps people from making wild bids and generally keeps the game interesting.)
posted by nasreddin at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2009

Best answer: Dou Di Zhu is very popular in Southwest China
posted by geekyguy at 11:28 AM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fluxx and Gloom.
posted by sacrifix at 11:29 AM on April 18, 2009

Most popular game in Russia: Durak
posted by pyro979 at 11:34 AM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sequence is one of my favorites, and I always pull out this game first whenever there are three players. In my experience, three is the perfect number for this game, providing just the right balance of challenge and game length.

Fan Tan (aka Sevens) can be played with three as well, but is probably best with four.

Both games are lots of fun, and easy to learn.
posted by velvet winter at 11:48 AM on April 18, 2009

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Skat, which I thought was the canonical three-player card game.
posted by dfan at 12:07 PM on April 18, 2009

Best answer: Yaniv ( I lovelovelove this game and it's simple.
posted by monkeygenius at 12:14 PM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pinochle can be played 3-handed or 4-handed.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:24 PM on April 18, 2009

Mille Bournes is one of my favorites. It's been around for years and you should be able to find it anywhere.
Phase 10 is ok too.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:52 PM on April 18, 2009

Thirty one is great for even two people. Three would just make it better.
posted by Brainy at 12:56 PM on April 18, 2009

Many partner games can be adapted to three players, some better than others. Three-handed canasta is a little more unbalanced than I'd prefer, but three-handed spades works pretty well. And three-handed hearts is interesting, because the fewer players, the more moon-shots.
posted by box at 12:58 PM on April 18, 2009

Ditto three handed hearts. Leave out the deuce of clubs and start with the three instead.

I used to play a game called three handed rat fuck. I don't remember the rules, and it doesn't show up in Google.
posted by Bruce H. at 1:44 PM on April 18, 2009

Bruce, do you mean Egyptian Rat Screw?
posted by iconomy at 1:50 PM on April 18, 2009

There is a variation on solitaire which I've encountered many places under different names (Pounce, Competitive Solitaire, Solitaire Frenzy [the current marketed version]). I won't type out all the playing rules here, but it basically takes a card deck for each player (get unmatched decks for later sorting), and then each player plays on ANY ace promoted to the middle for suit building, etc. It can be expanded to any number of players as long as you have a deck of cards for each player. In fact, it STARTS to really get fun with three players.

If you need the full rules, mefimail me. Great fun.
posted by hippybear at 3:00 PM on April 18, 2009

My absolute favorite card game is Cassino, and it can be played with two, three, four, or six players. The game play is simple enough for most people to learn, but there is a lot of strategy and a lot of different modes of play which can give the game a different feel when needed. I find the end-game strategy particularly engrossing. There are a lot of different variants - I have my preferred one and my own set of house rules.

Personally, I find most betting games instantly boring, especially if there isn't real money at stake, and I find the strategies at work in most other card games a little dull (though that may be because I do not appreciate the denseness of strategy involved.)

Since rediscovering this card game three years ago, I have played hundreds (maybe thousands) of hands of this game with my friends, and I haven't gotten tired of it yet. I've even recently been trying to get a friend of mine to write an on-line version so that we can play each other over the web.

I really love this game.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:33 PM on April 18, 2009

Rummy (not necessarily Gin) works great with 3 people, and I third Hearts.
posted by LionIndex at 4:39 PM on April 18, 2009

I agree on Cassino, especially Royal Draw Cassino. (And when we played it, aces were either 1 or 14.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2009

Remove the three of spades and play Hearts.
posted by easy_being_green at 5:23 PM on April 18, 2009

You should definitely try "99". It was invented relatively recently by David Parlett, a British card-game archivist. Trick-taking game with good depth, but not nearly as complex as Bridge or Skat (which I also love, but they take a lot longer to learn). I've taught 99 to many people over the last 10 years or so, and all have really enjoyed it.

Rules can be found here.
posted by Maximian at 6:34 PM on April 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Chocolate Pickle:

Valued face cards is pushing it, but multivalued aces? That's just perverse. The whole point of the ace as a point-granting card is that it is so delicate.

An unbound ace is one of the most fragile cards on the table, but in this variant we could just build it into a 16-value ("King") with the two of spades, making it a two-point trick AND a safe bet. With valued faces, you just destroy the specialness of the ten of diamonds by eliminating a lot of ten-building strategies and broaden the risk of playing tens without really adding anything. What is the intended game dynamic with these changes?

(I really like this game.)
posted by Sangermaine at 7:06 PM on April 18, 2009

Hearts is the greatest game ever - fine for 3.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:19 PM on April 18, 2009

My friends and I usually play Rummy with 3 people. I'm no expert on card games, but it's fun.
posted by bradbane at 9:25 PM on April 18, 2009

It requires a special deck, and the rules are a bit counter intuitive if you are used to other trick taking games, but French Tarot is a great three player game. (And the four player version is pretty good too.) Skat, as mentioned above, is pretty much The three player card game, but I've never played it.
posted by aspo at 9:46 PM on April 18, 2009

The game is called Bullshit, You Lie, Liar, or any number of other names. It's the game where you deal all the cards in the deck around and around, start with one people, and put down cards. Person 1 says 'Three Aces', puts three cards face down. If no one challenges, player 2 says 'Two twos'. Someone calls 'Bullshit, You Lie, Liar', or whatever the name of the game happens to be, and the cards most recently laid down are flipped over. If the person was telling the truth, the person calling 'Bullshit' keeps the cards; if they were lying the person that laid them down has to take them ALL back. Winner is the person that runs out of cards first.

A fun game no matter how many people :)
posted by chrisinseoul at 10:06 AM on April 19, 2009

Skitgubbe ("hwit-goob-uh") is pretty fun, and works very well with three.

I'd recommend Koi-Koi/Go-Stop as card games that are meant specifically for three people (traditionally) but hanafuda cards aren't exactly ubiquitous in English-speaking countries. Quite fun games, though, if you're willing to invest the money and time in finding the cards and then learning how they work. has more general info, though they call Koi-Koi a two-player game.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:32 PM on April 19, 2009

posted by orangemiles at 6:07 PM on April 21, 2009

« Older Help me stop forgetting my apartment keys   |   How do I spin my grad school experience into... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.