Card games in Britain

The only standard pack in general use is the familiar international pack of 52 cards, with the four French suits spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, each consisting of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Most 52 card pack come with two Jokers, one or both of which are needed for some games.

Popular games for the full 52 card pack include Brag, Whist (without bidding) and Solo Whist (a simplified descendent of Boston). Cribbage is still widely played in its older five card form, especially in pubs and leagues. Six card Cribbage is also popular. Cribbage's ancestor Noddy, and its elaborate relative Costly Colours are probably no longer played.

The international 52 card pack is used in Britain as elsewhere for Bridge, and also for Rummy and occasionally Canasta, which requires multiple packs with jokers. There are of course local versions of Crazy Eights (known as Switch or Black Jack and by numerous other names), Oh Hell!, Black Maria (a form of Hearts), Pontoon (the British equivalent of 21 or Blackjack), President (known in Britain as Arsehole) and Shithead. ChildrenĀ“s games include War, Pelmanism, Old Maid, Beat your neighbour out of doors (also known as Beggar My Neighbour or Strip Jack Naked), Knockout Whist (also known as Trumps), Snap, Pig and others.

Nap is still played, often with a reduced pack, though it is probably less widespread than it used to be. There are still a few people who remember how to play Piquet (which uses 32 cards) and Bezique (using a Piquet pack doubled to 64 cards), though these games have declined greatly in popularity during the twentieth century. Card Cricket has probably never been very widely known.

The children's game Snap is still well-known and some still remember the more interesting stops game Snip Snap Snorum or its variants such as Earl of Coventry and Nobble. The Victorian round game Speculation, and the disreputable gambling game Put, which was popular until the 19th century, have probably died out. Pip-Pip appears in several 20th century British card game books. Ging was a 17th century showdown game using an unusual 28-card pack lacking aces.

The old game of All Fours is still played in parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, and its descendant Don is quite widespread in northern England and in South Wales. The related game Phat is also popular in parts of the Midlands, northern England and East Anglia. Euchre (played in the South, especially Devon and Cornwall) uses a shortened pack of 25 cards (joker, A K Q J 10 9), or 21 cards omitting the 9's.

Directories of land-based casinos in the UK can be found at the Which Casino site and in the UK section of the World Casino Directory.