Card games in India

Many card games are played in India usinf the standard international 52-card pack include:

  • Twenty-nine is a point-trick game descended from the jass group, played by 4 people with a 32 card pack.
  • Two games similar to 29 are played in Kerala: Twenty-eight using the same 32 card pack, and Fifty-six, using a double pack of 2x24 cards.
  • Literature, a sophisticated game of the Quartet family, is played in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Seep, also known as Sip or Sweep - a fishing game related to Casino, played in northern India.
  • Mendikot - a west Indian game trick-taking game in which the object is to capture tens.
  • Dehla Pakad - a north Indian game of capturing tens, in which cards can only be won by a player who takes two consecutive tricks.
  • Indian Rummy in which each player is dealt 13 cards, and a player must make at least two runs, one of them without wild cards, in order to go out.
  • Vazhushal (Wipe), a rummy game in which more than one card can be taken from the discard pile, played in Tamil Nadu.
  • Teen Patti (Three Cards) - is an extremely popular gambling game similar to the British game Three Card Brag.
  • Judgement or Kachuful is the local name for Oh Hell, which is played in Gujurat and perhaps elsewhere.
  • Coatpees (or Court Piece) is a four-player plain-trick game with fixed partnerships. The first player chooses the trump suit on the basis of his first 5 cards, and the object is either to win the first 7 tricks or to win the majority of the tricks in 7 consecutive deals. A similar game called Seven Hands, in which the object is simply to be the first team to take 7 tricks is played in Goa.
  • 3-2-5 is a 3-player game played with 30 cards in which each player has a different quota of tricks to win.
  • 7-8 is a 2-player game related to 3-2-5.
  • Call Bridge or Call Break is a four-player game similar to the American game Spades, but played without partners. Langdi is a a somewhat similar game in which the trump suit is chosen by turning up a card.
  • Getaway, also known as Bhabhi, is played in the Punjab.
  • Andar Bahar is a simple gambling game, also known in Tamil as Mangatha or Ullae Veliyae. Katti is a similar game.

The traditional circular Ganjifa cards are well-known to playing-card collectors but unknown to most Indian card players. There are very few places where they are still used. With these cards there are the plain-trick games Hamrang and Ekrang, and the gambling game Naqsh, which can also be played with standard international cards.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2010. Last updated: 8th January 2021