National and regional card games: Vietnam

Card games in Vietnam

Various types of cards are used in Vietnam for different games:

  • The standard international 52 card pack is used for various games, including:
    • the climbing game Tien Len [with accents: Tiến Lên];
    • the game Catte [with accents: Cắt Tê], in which each player is dealt six cards and the object is to win the last trick;
    • Xì Lác or Xì Dách, a game similar to Blackjack (21) but without the possibility to Split or Double;
    • Xập Xám Chướng, which is the Vietnamese name for Sap Sam Cheung (13 Cards) or Chinese Poker.
  • A special 32 card pack of two colour chess cards is used for the trick-taking game Tam Cúc (three chrysanthemums), described by Jude Wudarczyk in The Playing-Card Vol XXVI No 1 (1997) pp 2-8.
  • Tứ Sắc - a pack of 112 four colour chess cards - the game is essentially the same as the Chinese Sì Sè Pái.
  • A special 120 card three suited money pack is used for the rummy game Tò Tôm (more correctly, Tổ Tôm) described by Michael Dummett in his article "A Vietnamese Card Game" (Ludica 2, p255 - Fondazione Benneton Studi Ricerche/Viella, Roma, 1996). The same cards are used for Chắn which is similar to the Chinese game Quán Duì.

These and other Vietnamese cards are illustrated on the Vietnam page of the Onebadcards site.

Rules for many of the above games can be found at the Asian Games Site, where it is possible to play them on line.

I am grateful to An Thai Nguyen and Hans-Joachim Alscher for most of the information on the page.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2002, 2015. Last updated: 7th March 2015