What are the best 3-player card games?
There are a lot of card games to choose from, but not all of them are designed especially for three players.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of great three-player card games to choose from, and we’ve managed to round up the best!
Now, you can spend more time playing and less time tirelessly searching for the perfect game to play with your friends.
The 10 Best 3-Player Card Games
To create this list, we selected the most popular three-player card games and tested them out for ourselves.
After careful consideration (i.e., multiple rounds of each), we managed to narrow our picks down to 10, which proved to be the most fun and easy to learn!
So, get your favorite deck ready as you check out our list of the 10 best 3-payer card games:
10. Sergeant Major
Kicking off our list, we have Sergeant Major, which isn’t the name of a character from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but a great social card game!
In this game, every player starts off with 16 cards, but they only get four at a time, with the rest being placed in the middle.
As a trick-taking game, the goal is to win as many tricks as possible, and whoever wins 12 in a round is the winner!
Starting off, the dealer will choose the trump suit, which outranks all other cards in the game.
The player to the left of the dealer starts the first trick, and all others have to try and follow the suit, with the winner having the highest ranking trump-suited card.
If no trump suits were played, then whoever has the highest-ranked card overall wins take the trick!
Sergeant Major is a simple but incredibly fun card game, and it’s perfect for when you have three people to play with!
Bullshit is a hilarious game, and it can easily be as entertaining as playing Cards Against Humanity with your friends!
This game is all about calling other people out while trying to get rid of all the cards in your hand.
At the start of the game, all of the cards are split between players, and the dealer kicks things off by putting an ace facedown.
The next player will follow suit with any 2s they have while announcing how many they’re putting down.
However, while you’re supposed to do it in an ascending sequence, this isn’t always possible, but the rules require everyone to put down at least one card per turn.
At any time, players can call others out on their “bullshit” and challenge them to show the cards they’re putting down.
If the player called out was, in fact, lying, then they will have to take the entire stack of cards, making it harder for them to clear their hand.
However, if they weren’t full of it, then the player who called them out will have to take all of the cards!
This game is an absolute blast, and you’re sure to have fun calling out all of your lying friends as they try to sneak in the wrong cards.
Of course, you’ll have to be careful not to get caught lying to them, either!
Ninety-Nine is a relatively new game, having only been developed in 1968 by David Parlett, a game scholar who has invented numerous board games and card games.
In this game, players receive 12 cards from a 36-card deck with only A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 in each suit and choose three “bid cards” to lay aside.
Like any other trick-taking game, Ninety-Nine is all about trying to win tricks, but the number you need to win is indicated by your bid cards.
For example, clubs equal 3 tricks, hearts 2, spades 1, and diamonds 0. So, if you set aside a club and two diamonds, you need to win three tricks.
The player to the left of the dealer goes first and sets up the suit, with players trying to follow it if possible.
A trick can be won if a player has the highest card of the leading suit or a trump card, which is selected and added after the first deal.
If you fulfill the number of tricks you need to win based on your bid cards, you’ll gain 10 points if everyone does the same, 20 if two players do, and 30 if you’re the only one.
The game is played until someone reaches 100 points, at which time they are declared the winner!
7. Old Maid
Old is one of the most popular classic card games, and while you can buy specially-made cards to play, a standard 52-card deck works just as well.
To start off, a Queen is selected from the deck to stand in as the Old Maid, and then all of the cards are dealt equally among players.
The goal of the games is to try and make as many pairs as possible, placing them face-down on the table.
When play begins, the player left of the dealer will then begin by taking a random card from the dealer’s hand to try and use it to form a pair.
Regardless of if they made a pair or not, they will then have to offer their deck to the player to their left so that they can take a card.
This proceeds until players either pair all of their cards or the player to their left takes their last card for the draw.
Because a Queen was taken out, one will never be able to be paired, and whoever is left with that card is the Old Maid and loses the game!
Like the best retro games of all time, Old Maid is a nostalgic classic, and it is definitely fun to play whenever you get the chance!
6. Let It Ride
Up next, we have Let It Ride, a casino poker-based game that involves a lot of luck and a little bit of strategy!
Before this game begins, you’ll have to make your bets, though if you don’t have poker chips, loose change, or whatever’s handy will work just fine.
Bets are usually set up as three rows of chips, and you will have the option to take some away later.
However, if you are playing for keeps, remember that you’re betting before seeing your cards, so don’t get too cocky!
Once the bets are in, the dealer can hand out 3 cards to each player, and while you can look at them, you don’t want anyone else to see them.
If you’re playing as the dealer, you’ll keep two cards face down, which are called community cards that every player can use.
When looking at your hand, you can remove one of your bets if you don’t like your odds, but if you do, you can keep everything in and “Let It Ride.”
At this point, the dealer can flip over one of the cards, which will then count as part of everyone’s hand and toward any winning combinations.
If you’re still not liking your odds, you can take back another bet, even if you didn’t take back anything the first time.
The final dealer card is flipped at this point, and who wins depends on who’s five-card hand has the highest-ranking combination of cards!
While the rules are straightforward, the hardest part is learning the official hands in poker so that you’ll know whether you have good cards or not!
Slapjack is a very simple game, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
In this game, the goal is to try and get the most cards possible, which you do by slapping the Jack.
When the game starts off, all of the cards are dealt between players, and then everyone goes back and forth, laying down cards from their face-down piles.
However, as soon as a Jack is laid down, it’s an absolute free-for-all as everyone has to try and be the first to slap their hand on it!
Whoever ends up smacking it first gets to take all of the cards, which are then shuffled and added to their own deck.
That said, if you get a bit over-eager and accidentally slap a card that isn’t a Jack, you’ll have to hand over one of your cards to the player who put it down.
If you do end up running out of cards at any point, you can stay in the game and try to win a way back in by slapping the next Jack.
Unfortunately, if you miss your chance, you’ll be out of the game permanently with no way back in.
Then you’ll have to kick back and play one of the best games like Clash of Clans, while you wait to see who wins!
Skat is the king of German card games, and while you may not have heard of it before if you’re not from Germany, it’s an addicting game!
This trick-taking game starts off with players being dealt 10 cards each from a 32-card deck, and the remaining two are placed face down to form the Skat.
After this, the two players bid against each other, with the winner then bidding against the dealer.
The highest bidder becomes the declarator and can decide whether or not to see the Skat and pick a trump suit.
Gameplay proceeds clockwise, with players having to try and follow the suit as closely as possible, and whoever has the highest card wins the trick.
Declarers will win if they earn at least 61 points, while the two other players will win if their combined tricks equal 60 points.
This is definitely one of the most complex games on our list, but we felt the need to add it because it is incredibly fun once you get the hang of it.
Plus, learning it with your friends can be fun on its own, and if you don’t live in Germany, you’ll likely be the only folks in your area to know how to play!
3. Crazy Eights
Crazy Eights goes against everything the best video games of all time have taught you because, in this game, you DON’T want to earn points!
The goal of Crazy Eights is to get rid of all of your cards as fast as possible while trying to have the lowest score.
Everyone starts off with 5 cards, and the remaining cards are placed in the center of the table with one face-up card.
While all of the cards follow their numerical values, all of the 8s are wild cards, so if you use one, you get to change the suit.
A bit like UNO, players will have to try and match the suit of the face-up card, and if they can’t, they’ll have to draw from the stockpile until they can or until they draw 5 cards.
If a player gets rid of all their cards, everyone has to tally up their points based on the cards they have in their hand.
When someone earns 100 points, the game is over, and whoever has the lowest score is declared the victor!
2. Go Fish
Go Fish is one of the fun card games that almost everyone played at least once as a child. However, it remains incredibly fun no matter how old you are!
At the start of this game, everyone gets 7 cards, and the remaining cards are placed in the center of the table as the fishing hole.
The player to the left of the dealer goes first, and they can ask any player if they have a specific card.
If the player does, they’ll have to hand it over, but if they don’t, they can say “Go Fish,” causing the other player to have to draw a card from the middle pile.
After the first player’s turn is done, the player to their left gets to go, and gameplay proceeds from there.
The goal of this game is to create the most “books,” which are 4 of any kind of card, which are then placed face up on the table.
If a player runs out of cards, they will be able to select a card from the center pile, but if there are no more cards, they’re out for good.
The game automatically ends when all 13 possible books are made, and the player with the most books wins!
Go Fish is still one of our favorite card games, and it remains incredibly simple but wholly entertaining to play!
1. Gin Rummy
Taking our number one spot is one of the best games like Rummy but with a couple of distinct differences.
At the start of this game, all players are given 10 cards, with the remaining cards placed face-down in the center next to a face-up card.
These form the stock and discard piles, which will be used frequently throughout the game.
To begin, the player left of the dealer can take a card from either pile, and they must discard one to end their turn.
The goal is to be able to create melds of as many cards as possible in order to “Go Gin,” meaning you have no cards left in your hand.
In order to make a meld, a player has to have at least three or more cards of the same kind or three or more cards of the same suit forming a run.
Unlike other forms of Rummy, all melds are held until someone goes Gin, at which time they can be laid on the table.
Alternatively, players can choose to Knock, which is when the value of their un-melded cards equals 10 or less. This will also end the round.
While this may seem like a lot to learn, it’s really easy to learn once you run through it a few times.
Gin Rummy is easily one of the best card games for three players, and we highly recommend giving it a try for yourself!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the 10 best 3-player card games and found some that you can’t wait to play!
Card games are a great way to spend time with friends, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these great options!
That said, Gin Rummy is easily our favorite, and we definitely suggest giving it a try if you haven’t already!
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best 3-player card games:
- Gin Rummy
- Go Fish
- Crazy Eights
- Let It Ride
- Old Maid
- Sergeant Major
What’s your favorite three-player card game? Leave a comment below.
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