Card Games for Two Players

Games for Two Players

This is a list of traditional card and tile games that are designed for or work well with two players. Each game is listed just once - for alternative names see the general alphabetical index. For each game the configuration of players and the type and number of cards or tiles is listed. There is an explanation of the symbols below the table.

GameDesignQuantityConfiguration
Agram   31, 35 individual
All Fives cards   52 individual
All Fives dominoes   28 individual
All Fours 17th Century   52 individual
All Fours North American   52 individual
Auction Draw Dominoes   28 individual
Austrian Dominoes   36 individual
Baccarat   6x52 banker
Badugi   52 individual
Bartok   52 individual
Basra   52 individual
Beggar My Neighbour   52 individual
Belote Découverte   32 individual
Bergen   28 individual
Bezique   2x32 individual
Bingo dominoes   28 individual
Blackjack 21   6x52 banker
Blind Don   52 individual
Blind Hughie Dominoes   28 individual
Block Dominoes   28 individual
Block Dominoes with Spinners   28 individual
Bonanza Pai Gow   32 banker
Brisca   40 individual
Briscola    32, 40 individual
Bura   32, 36 individual
Camicia   40 individual
Caribbean Poker   52 banker
Carioca   2x52+4J individual
Carousel   52+J individual
Casino   52 individual
Casino Hold'em Poker   52 banker
Casita Robada   40, 48 individual
Chicago Swedish   52 individual
Chinese Ten   52 individual
Chiva   28 individual
Clobyosh   32 individual
Concentration Dominoes   28 individual
Conquian   40 individual
Costly Colours   52 individual
Courchevel poker   52 individual
Crazy Eights   52 individual
Crazy Pineapple Poker   52 individual
Crazy Pineapple Hi-Lo Poker   52 individual
Cribbage five-card   52 individual
Cribbage six-card   52 individual
Cricket   52 individual
Cuarenta   52 individual
Cucumber   52, 52+2J individual
Cut Throat Dominoes Jamaican   28 individual
Cuttle   52 individual
Domino Cribbage   28 individual
Domino Loo   28 individual
Domino Poker   20 individual
Domino Rounce   28 individual
Domino Twenty-One   28 banker
Double Bergen   28 individual
Double Briškula   32 individual
Double Draw Dominoes   28 individual
Double Solitaire   2x52 individual
Draw Dominoes   28 individual
Écarté   32 individual
Egyptian Ratscrew   52 individual
Eléwénjewé   52, 52+2J individual
Empat Satu 41   52 individual
Escoba   40 individual
Fapfap   35 individual
Faro   52 banker
Ferbli   32 individual
Fives and Threes Dominoes   28 individual
Flower & Scorpion   28 individual
Freeze Out Dominoes   28 individual
Générala   52+2J individual
German Whist   52 individual
Gin Rummy   52 individual
Gnav Cuckoo cardsCuckoo pieces 42 individual
Go Stop   48+5J individual
Golf   52 individual
Golf Eight Card   52, 52+2J individual
Golf Four Card   52 individual
Golf Nine Card   52, 52+2J individual
Golf Six Card   52, 52+2J individual
GOPS   39 individual
Guadalupe   2x52 individual
Guiñote   40 individual
Hockey   52 individual
Hola   52 individual
Hoola   52 individual
Horse Race Dominoes   28 individual
Humbug   52 individual
Hungarian Dominoes   28 individual
Italian Dominoes   28 individual
Jacks Back (5 Card Draw) Poker   52, 52+J individual
James Bond   52 individual
Jeu de Carte Sipa   31 individual
Jhyap   52, 52+2J individual
K'ap Shap   32 individual
K'ap Tái Shap   8x32 individual
Kaluki European / North American   2x52+2J individual
Kapaga   52+2J individual
Kasino Finnish   52 individual
Kasino Swedish   52 individual
Knock-Out Whist   52 individual
Kozel   32, 36 individual
Kryt'-navalivat'   36 individual
Last One   52+2J individual
Let It Ride   52 banker
Leyden   28 individual
Loba Argentina   2x52+4J individual
Loba de Mas   2x52+4J individual
Loba de Menos   2x52+4J individual
Machiavelli   2x52 individual
Maltese Cross   28 individual
Marjolet   32 individual
Marriage Rummy   3x52 individual
Matador   28 individual
Maw   52 individual
Mille   2x52 individual
Mitaines   52 individual
Muggins Dominoes   28 individual
Mustamaija   52 individual
Ninety-Eight   52 individual
Noddy   52 individual
Ogórek Cucumber   52 individual
Omaha Poker   52 individual
Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better Poker   52 individual
Omaha High Poker   52 individual
Omben   52 individual
One-Eyed Jack   2x52, 2x52+4J individual
Open Face Chinese Poker   52 individual
P'yanitsa Drunkard   36 individual
Page One   52+J individual
Pai Gow 牌九   32 banker
Pai Gow Poker   52+J banker
Passing Dominoes   28 individual
Pâsur   52 individual
Pelmanism   52 individual
Penneech   52 individual
Pineapple Poker   52 individual
Pineapple OFCP   52 individual
Pinochle Two Player   2x24 individual
Piquet   32 individual
Pishe Pasha   52 individual
Pitty Pat   52 individual
Porrazo   52 individual
Prostoy Durak   36 individual
Put   52 individual
Racing Demon   2x52 individual
Railroad Canasta   4x52+8J individual
Ramsli   32 individual
Război   52 individual
Red Frog Black Frog   52 individual
Remi Indonesia   52 individual
Ronda   40 individual
Royal Casino   52 individual
Rubamazzo    40 individual
Rummikub ®   2x52+2J individual
Rummy basic   52 individual
Rummy Indian   2x52+2J individual
Rummy 500   52, 52+2J individual
Russian Bank   2x52 individual
Russian Poker   52 banker
Scala Quaranta   2x52+4J individual
Schnapsen    20 individual
Sechsundsechzig    24 individual
Sedma   32 individual
Sedma osmová   32 individual
Seven Bridge   52 individual
Seven-Toed Pete Dominoes   28 individual
Sevens Dominoes   28 individual
Si Se Pai 四色牌 Chess cards 112 individual
Simultaneous Solitaire   2x52 individual
Sink-Sink   35 individual
Sipa Togo   31, 32 individual
Siwweschrööm   32 individual
Slabberjan Cuckoo pieces 42 individual
Smear   52 individual
Snap   52 individual
Sniff   28 individual
Sotho Casino   52 individual
South African Casino   40 individual
Spar   35, 36 individual
Speed   52 individual
Spit   52 individual
Spite and Malice   2x52 individual
Spizzichino    40 individual
Steal War   52+2J individual
Stealing Bundles   52 individual
Stortok   36 individual
Strip Poker   52 individual
Svoi Kozyri Besikovich   36 individual
Swazi Casino   52 individual
Table Top Cribbage   52 individual
Tablić   40, 52 individual
Tahiti   2x52+4J individual
Texas Hold'em Poker   52 individual
Three Card Monte   3 banker
Three Card Poker   52 banker
Three-Thirteen Rummy   52, 52+2J individual
Tile Rummy Romanian   2x52+2J individual
Tiu-U 釣魚   2x32 individual
Tod und Leben Life and Death   32 individual
Toepen   32 individual
Tonk   52 individual
Top Trumps Top Trumps cards 48 individual
Tournament Blackjack   52, 6x52 banker
Truc France   32 individual
Truco individual
Truco Argentinean   40 individual
Truco Uruguayan   40 individual
Tsung Shap   32 individual
Turkish Poker   24 individual
Tute individual   40 individual
Tute americano   40 individual
Tute corriente   40 individual
Tute habanero   40 individual
Twenty-Four   40 individual
Twenty-Two   52 individual
Twist'em Dominoes   28 banker
Umtali   52 individual
Vatikan   2x52+2J individual
Vazhushal   52+2J individual
Verish' Ne Verish'   36 individual
War   52, 52+2J individual
Whisky Poker   52 individual
Whist two-player   52 individual
Whot ® British Whot cards 49+4J individual
Whot ® Nigerian Whot cards 49+5J individual
Žandari   52 individual
Zsírozás   32 individual
5 Card Omaha poker   52 individual
6 Card Omaha poker   52 individual
   40 banker
52 pick-up   52 individual

Explanation of symbols

Configuration

  • Individual. With only two players, there is no possibility of forming teams. The players must play against each other - one against one - and there are no "partnership" or "alliance" games.
  • Banker. The players have unequal roles: one is the "banker" and the other the "player". These games also work, and are most often played, with one banker and several players. Many casino games have this format, with a representative of the house playing as the banker. In home games, the participants usually take turns to be the banker.

Design

This column indicates the type of cards or tiles needed. See the equipment section of the classified index for further details of the different designs.

Quantity

This column gives the number of cards in the deck, indicates where multiple decks are used, and the number of jokers. Where the game can be played with various sizes or numbers of decks, perhaps depending on the number of players, the possibilities are listed, separated by commas. For example, "2x32" means a double 32-card deck: 64 cards in all with two copies of each card. "52+2J" means a 52-card deck with two jokers. "32, 36" means the game can be played with 32 or 36 cards. "2x52+2J, 3x52+3J" means that the game can be played with two 52-card decks plus two jokers (106 cards) or three 52-card decks plus three 52-card decks plus three jokers (159 cards).

Adapting trick-taking games for two players

Trick-taking games, especially those in which most or all of the cards are dealt, often do not work well with only two players. If you know that your opponent holds exactly the cards that you do not have, the play can become uninteresting. There are several solutions to this.

Undealt cards
The simplest solution is to leave some of the cards undealt and out of play, for example by dealing the same sized hands that would be used with three or four players. It will be impossible to deduce whether missing cards are held by the opponent or are undealt.
Selective deal
Instead of a normal deal, each player in turn has a choice of two cards, having seen only one of them. At your turn you draw one card and look at it. You may either add this card to your hand and then look at the next card, which you must discard out of the game, or discard the first card face down and take the second card for your hand. This way, you know half the cards that are out of the game, and can guess that of the unknown cards, the higher cards are likely to be held by your opponent.
Discard and draw
Deal some of the cards to the players and stack the remaining cards face down. Then each player in turn may discard any unwanted cards and draw an equal number of replacement cards from the face down pile. As with the selective deal, players know some of the cards that are out of play, and can guess that the high cards are likely to be in play. There can be restrictions on the number of cards each player may discard and replace.
Phased deal
Deal half the cards to the players and play them. Then deal the remaining cards to the players and play those. If you can remember what was played in the first phase you will know what your opponent has in the second phase.
Trick and draw
Deal some cards to each player and stack the rest face down to form a stock pile. After each trick, the winner of the trick draws the top card of the stock and adds it to his or her hand, and the loser draws the following card similarly. When the stock is exhausted, play the remaining cards without drawing. In this endgame, players with good memories will know their opponent's cards. Often the bottom card of the stock is turned face up and turned at right angles to it. The suit of this card is the trump suit, and this trump will be acquired by the loser of the last trick before the stock is exhausted.
Dummy hands
Deal more than two hands. Two hands belong to the two live players and the remaining hand or hands are dummy players. Dummy hands may be face down, face up or partly face up, and there are various options for who plays from the dummy hand(s) and what to do when a dummy wins a trick.
Packets on the table
This is probably the most recently developed method and is one of the most successful. Each player is dealt a hand of cards plus a number of packets of cards which are placed in a row on the table with the top card of each packet face up and the cards under it face down. When playing a card, you may use either a card from your hand or the top card of any of your packets. Whenever you play a card from a packet, you turn the next card of the packet (if any) face up - this may happen immediately after you play the card or at the end of the trick, depending on the rules of the game.

Possible for Two Players

Here is a list of other traditional card and tile games that can be played by two players. Although these games are possible for two, they are not particularly recommended, since they work better with some other number of players.

GameDesignQuantityConfiguration
Ace-To-Six Lowball (Draw) Poker   52 individual
Aces, Straights and Flushes Poker   52 individual
All for One and One for All Poker   52 individual
All Fours Trinidad   52 individual
Baseball Poker   52 individual
Big Two   52 individual
Bitch, The Poker   52 individual
Black Mariah Poker   52 individual
Bourré   52 individual
Bridge with Semi-exposed Dummies   52 individual
Bullshit   52 individual
Burako Argentinean   2x52+2J individual
Burraco Italian   2x52+4J individual
California Lowball Poker   52, 52+J individual
Canasta   2x52+4J individual
Chicago Poker   52 individual
Chicken Foot   55, 91 individual
Chinese Poker   52 individual
Clabber   24 individual
Cöch Cuckoo cards 40 individual
Coteccio   40 individual
Crates   52 individual
Domino Euchre   28 individual
Double Draw Poker   52 individual
Double Dummy Bridge   52 individual
Draw and Discard Bridge   52 individual
Draw Bridge   52 individual
Dudák   32 individual
Durak Podkidnoy   36 individual
English Stud Poker   52 individual
Fast Track   2x52+4J individual
Five Card Draw Deuces Wild Poker   52 individual
Five Card Draw Poker   52 individual
Five Card Draw with a Bug Poker   52+J individual
Five Card Stud Poker   52 individual
Five Card Stud High-Low Poker   52 individual
Five Card Stud High-Low With a Buy Poker   52 individual
Five Hundred   42+J individual
Five Up Dominoes   28 individual
Follow The Queen Poker   52 individual
Football Poker   52 individual
Go Fish   52 individual
Hand and Foot   3x52+6J individual
Hokm   52 individual
Honeymoon Bridge   52 individual
I Doubt It!   52 individual
Jacks or Better (5 Card Draw) Poker   52 individual
Juse   52 individual
Kaiser   32 individual
Kansas City Lowball Poker   52 individual
Kings Corners   52 individual
Klabberjass   32 individual
Lansquenet   6x52 banker
London Lowball (7-card Stud) Poker   52 individual
Low Chicago Poker   52 individual
Low Hole Poker   52 individual
Lowball (5 Card Stud) Poker   52 individual
Lowball (Draw) Poker   52 individual
Mao   52 individual
Mariáš   32 individual
Memory Bridge   52 individual
Mexican Stud Poker   52 individual
Mexican Sweat Poker   52 individual
Mexican Train   55 individual
Napoleon Japanese   52, 52+J individual
Night Baseball Poker   52 individual
Ninety-Nine adding game   52 individual
Ninety-Nine trick-taking   36 individual
No Peek Poker   52 individual
Old Maid  Old Maid cards 43, 51 individual
Paiute   52 individual
Paskahousu   52 individual
Pepper   24 individual
Pitch   52 individual
Poker Menteur   52 individual
Pontoon   52 banker
Pöytäpaska   52 individual
Primero    40 individual
Raub   32 individual
Razz   52 individual
Roll Your Own Poker   52 individual
Ruotsalainen paskahousu   52 individual
Sam Sip ผสมสิบ   52, 52+3J individual
Samba   3x52+6J individual
San Francisco Poker   52 individual
Scat   52 individual
Schwimmen   32 individual
Scopa    40 individual
Scopa d'Assi    40 individual
Scopa di Quindici    40 individual
Seep   52 individual
Sequence Poker   52 individual
Seven Card Stud Poker   52 individual
Seven Card Stud High-Low Poker   52 individual
Seven Card Stud with Wild Cards Poker   52 individual
Shithead   52 individual
Single Dummy Bridge   52 individual
Sjavs   32 individual
Skitgubbe   52 individual
Slapjack   52 individual
Sökö Stud Poker   52 individual
Spades   52 individual
Svoi Kozyri   36 individual
Tiến Lên   52 individual
Triple Draw Poker   52 individual
Tripoli   52 individual
Trips to Win (5 Card Draw) Poker   52 individual
Troeven   32 individual
Truc Catalonia   40 individual
Tysiąc 1000   24 individual
Voormsi   36 individual
Watten   32, 33, 36 individual
Woolworth Poker   52 individual
Yukon   52 individual
Zecchinetta    40 banker
Zwickern   52, 52+3J, 52+4J, 52+6J individual
25   52 individual
41 Exchange   52 individual
55   52 individual
110   52 individual
220   52 individual
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