Double Joker

A 2-player game in which players must avoid winning tricks whilst also rationing their cards, contributed by Angus Benedek .

Requirements: Standard 52 card pack with 2 jokers. The cards in each suit rank from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3.

Setup: The deuces of each suit are placed in the centre of the table, the red deuces (hearts and diamonds) on one side, and the black deuces (spades and clubs) on the other, leaving a space between them in which tricks are played. Each player is given a joker which is placed in front of them outside the central area. The remaining cards are shuffled and divided equally between the players - 24 cards for each*.

Play: Unlike most card games, the players take it in turns to start tricks. Just before you start a trick however, you must either:

  • place a card on the deuce of the same suit (for example 8 of clubs on deuce of clubs), or
  • take a whole stack of cards of one suit that have already been placed on a deuce, leaving just the deuce in place (for example take the stack of hearts, leaving just the deuce of hearts).

Having done this, you must lead a card of the same suit that you have just added to or taken from a deuce stack. The other player must follow suit if possible, playing a card of the same suit that was led.

The person who played the higher card wins the trick and stacks the two cards on top of their joker. Then the player who played second to the trick places a card on a deuce-stack or takes a deuce and leads to the next trick.

Result: There are three ways that the game can end.

  1. One of the players runs out of cards. In this case the winner is the player with fewer cards in their¬†“joker stack”.
  2. A player is unable to follow suit to the card that was led, having no cards of that suit in their hand. In this case the player who could not follow suit loses. This is the most common way for the game to end.
  3. A player places a place a card on a deuce-stack before starting a trick and then realises that they have no card of that suit to lead. In this case the player who cannot lead loses the game. This can only happen by mistake: a player can always avoid losing this way by taking a deuce-stack (rather than placing a card) and leading one of the cards that was taken.

Strategy: Make sure that you have plenty of cards of every suit, and place cards of the suit you think your opponent has run out of.

*Note: The rules as submitted did not specify how the cards were to be dealt to the players. Since nothing is said about player hands or drawing cards during the game I have assumed that all the cards are divided between the players at the start, making this a game of perfect information.