Card games in Iceland

The international 52 card pack is in general use. Bridge is said to be particularly popular in Iceland, but apart from this there are several local games.

Manni is a whist-like game for three players, each of which has the option to exchange their cards for the dummy hand - the Manni. There are numerous local variations.

Kani is a four player whist-like game with bidding. The bidder chooses the trumps and calls a card of the trump suit, whose holder becomes the bidder's partner.

Rússi is a whist-like game without trumps.

Olsen Olsen is the Icelandic version of Crazy Eights. Eights are the only special cards: they can be played at any time and are used to change suit. A player who is unable or unwilling to play draws up to three cards from the stock, after which he can pass. The winner says "Olsen Olsen" upon running out of cards.

Gúrka is the Icelandic version of Cucumber, other versions of which are played in Scandinavia.

Zero is a draw and discard game in which players try to reduce their five-card hand to as low a total as possibile when the stock runs out. The winner is dealt one card fewer in the next hand, and the first person who wins with one card or scores zero is the winner.

Púkk is the Icelandic version of Poch, a compendium game in which stakes are placed on a special card. There are three stages: the first is pure chance, the second is Poker-like and the last is a stops game.

Alkort and Treikort are games of the ancient Karnöffel group, which survived into the twentieth century, though it is not clear whether they are still played.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2000, 2011. Last updated: 14th December 2018