Contributed by Alex Olesen

Please note that this game is unconnected with the Vietnamese game Tien Len, which is known as Thirteen by many American players.

You need a standard deck of 52 cards plus one red and one black joker.

There are two players, and the object of the game is to be the first person with zero cards.

Deal out 13 cards to each player and place one card face up in the middle to start the play pile. The rest of the cards are placed face down beside the face up card in the middle as a stock.

Players then take turns. At your turn you play a card either one lower or one higher in rank than the card on top of the play pile. The ranking order is -A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K-A- so aces can be put on kings or twos, and kings or twos can be played on aces. A player may play more than one card in one turn if those cards are of the same suit and each is one rank higher or lower than the last. (When more than one card is played in this way, it is called a run.) Any queen or ace (no matter of what suit) can follow any king in a run. So for example on the diamondJ you could play a run of heartQ-heartK-spadeA-spadeK-clubQ-clubJ-club10.

A joker can only be played on a king of the same color. When a player plays a joker, the other player must then play any card of the same suit as the king under the joker. For example if a player plays a red joker on a king of hearts then the other player must play a heart. If that player cannot play a card of that suit, that player picks up 13 cards from the stock. In that case the player of the joker must continue with the suit matching the king or pick up one card. The game continues with the players alternately picking up one card until one of them is able to play the required suit.

If a player is unable to play when the top card is not a joker, the player picks up one card.

A joker can be played on a king of the same color as part of a run, but the joker ends the run, and the other player then has to match the suit of the king.

When someone picks up the last face down card, take the top card off the play pile, shuffle the rest of the cards of that pile, and put them face down beside the card that was on top and resume playing.

When a player is down to one card, they must shout "last card". If they fail to do this and the other player shouts "thirteen" before they remember to say "last card", the player with one card must pick up 13 cards.

The first player with zero cards wins.

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Last updated: 4th March 2007