Money is a two-player card game found in several Arab countries, including Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The players hold their playing cards in a face down stack, and must play the top card of the stack at each turn. In this way it is similar to children's games such as Beggar My Neighbour or Snap. Players have no choice over which card to play next, but speed of reaction is important when capturing the play pile.
The capture method is similar to that of fishing games with a single play pile such as Xeri or Pishti: the pile is taken when the number of the card played matches the top card of the pile. The name of the game refers to the picture cards (K, Q, J) which are set aside and can be used to buy cards when a player runs out.
The basic Jordanian version of the game will be described first, followed by details of variants found in different countries.
This page is based on information collected by Sultan Ratrout.
Players, Cards and Objective
This is a two-player game normally played with a standard international 52-card pack. In some variants two Jokers are added to the deck.
Suits are irrelevant. The picture cards are used as money to buy numeral cards. All other cards including Aces and Jokers (if used) count as numeral cards: they have no ranking order but match if the numbers are equal. The values of the money cards are:
|King:||5 number cards|
|Queen:||15 number cards|
|Jack:||10 number cards|
The objective is to collect all the cards, money and number cards, leaving the opponent with nothing.
The dealer is chosen by any convenient random method. Before shuffling, all the picture cards (King, Queen, Jack) are extracted from the pack, and each player is given two Kings, two Queens and two Jacks, which they store face up in their money area or bank. That leaves 40 numeral cards (Aces count as 1's and have no special value), which are shuffled and dealt out equally to the players. Each player then has a stack of 20 cards which they must not look at, but must hold face down without changing their order.
Play and Capture
The players take turns to play the top card of their face down stack to the playing area, which is known as the 'floor'. Each card is played by 'throwing' it to the floor face down and then turning it face up to reveal its value and adding it to the top of the 'play pile'. If the play pile is empty, which will be the case at the start of the game or if the previous play captured the pile, the played card begins a new face up play pile.
The pile is captured if the number of the played card matches the number of the top card of the pile. The player then takes the whole of the play pile, turns it over so that the cards are face down, and adds these cards to the bottom of the stack of cards in their hand, without changing the order of the cards.
If a player throws and turns a matching card but does not notice the match before their opponent throws and turns the next card, the opportunity to capture is lost and the pile remains in play. If a player throws a card that does not match but nevertheless attempts to take the play pile, then as a penalty the player's opponent can claim and take the play pile.
When revealing the card they have thrown to the floor, a player is not allowed to turn it slowly in such a way that they can see its face and check whether it matches before revealing it to the opponent. Ideally the card should be flipped rapidly onto the play pile in such a way that the player cannot see its value before the opponent does.
Buying Cards, Exchanging Money and Capturing Money
When the player whose turn it is to play has no numeral cards in their hand, they must use one of the pictures in their money area to buy some numeral cards to play. If there are at least 5 numeral cards in the play pile on the floor, the player must buy from the floor. If there are fewer than 5 numeral cards on the floor the player must buy money cards from their opponent.
A player who is buying cards may also exchange money cards from their bank area for money cards of equal value on the floor or in their opponent's money area - for example a Queen could be exchanged for a King and a Jack or for three Kings. Alternatively a player who is buying cards with a higher valued money card can take a lower valued money card in part exchange along with some numeral cards.
Buying from the floor
For example a player can use a King from their money area to buy 5 money cards from the floor. The player places the King face up on the floor beside the play pile, then takes the bottom five numeral cards from the play pile, turns them over as a block so that they are face down, and these numeral cards become the player's hand. The money card (King) that was used to buy the cards is slid part-way under the play pile so that its face is still visible. The next card thrown to the floor by the player who bought the cards will be the numeral card that was previously at the bottom of the play pile, since this is now the top card of their hand.
If there is already one or more money cards at the bottom of the play pile, left as payment for cards that were previously bought, a player can use a money card to buy the appropriate quantity of number cards from the bottom of the main part of the play pile, leaving any money cards that were under the play pile in place, and sliding the money card used for the purchase under any money cards that were already there.
If there are fewer than 10 numeral cards in the play pile but the player needing to buy cards has no King, it will be necessary for the player either to exchange money cards with their opponent to obtain a King or to take a money card that is under the play pile in part exchange. For example a player could exchange a Queen (value 15) from their money area for a King and a Jack (value 5+10) from their opponent's money area or from under the play pile, place the Jack they obtained in their money area use the King to buy five numeral cards from the bottom of the play pile, or if there was already a Jack or two Kings under the play pile, the player could take these in part exchange along with 5 numeral cards bought from the play pile. The five numeral cards become the player's new hand, while any money cards taken in part exchange are placed in their money area, and the Queen is left under the play pile.
Suppose that the play pile contains 12 numeral cards with a King underneath. In this case a player who has run out of cards and wants to buy cards with a Jack (value 10 cards) has two possibilities: to buy 10 numeral cards from the floor and plave the Jack under the King or to buy just 5 numeral cards from the floor and take the King from the floor in part exchange, placing the King in their money area and the Jack under the play pile.
Buying from the opponent
If a player runs out of cards and there are fewer than 5 numeral cards on the floor, the player must buy numeral cards from their opponent. The player without cards pays with a King, Queen or Jack from their money area, their opponent adds this card to their own money area and gives the buyer the appropriate quantity of numeral cards, in a single face down block, from the top of the stack of cards in their hand. This becomes the buyer's new hand from which they now play the top card. The order of these cards cannot be changed.
Since there are fewer than 5 numeral cards on the floor and the player buying cards has none, the opponent must have at least 36 cards in hand, so will always be able to supply the full value of the money card in numeral cards. However the opponent has the option, if they wish, instead to give a smaller number of numeral cards and make up the value of the offered money card by giving money cards back in part exchange - for example giving 10 numeral cards and a King when the buyer offers a Queen.
Note that a player buying cards can only obtain numeral cards from a single source - either from the floor or from the opponent, not some from each. Numeral cards must be bought from the floor is there are 5 or more of these cards on the floor, otherwise from the opponent. Money cards can be obtained in exchange or part exchange either from the floor or for the opponent at the choice of the buyer.
Note also that the full value of a money card must always be given when it is used for buying or exchange. The buyer is not allowed to accept a lower value - for example just 8 numeral cards for a Jack.
Capturing Money from the Floor
A player who throws a numeral card that matches the numeral card on top of the play pile captures the whole pile, along with any money cards that may be under it. When money cards are captured in this way they are added to the player's money area and can be used in future to buy cards. The numeral cards from the play pile are turned face down and added to the bottom of the stack of cards in the capturing player's hand.
Note that cards can only be thrown to the play pile from the player's hand, which always consists entirely of numeral cards. There is no possibility to use a card from a player's money area to capture cards. These money cards can only be used to buy cards when the owner runs out of cards in their hand.
End of Game
The game ends when one player has collected all the numeral cards and money cards, leaving their opponent with nothing. The player who has all the cards is the winner.
Jokers. Some players add two Jokers to the game. These function exactly like numeral cards. Each player has 21 rather than 20 cards in hand at the start of the game. The Jokers match each other but do not match any other card, so a Joker only captures the play pile when the other joker is on top of the pile.
In Egypt the game is known in Arabic as floos, which means 'money'. Information on this version of the game was obtained by Sultan Ratrout from Mahmoud Ramadan and from the the website dotmsr.com. It differs from the Jordanian game as follows.
- There is no possibility for the opponent to prevent a capture by playing the next card before the player notices that the capture is possible. If the played card matches the top card of the pile, the pile must be captured. This makes the Egyptian version a game of pure luck - speed of reaction is not an issue.
- At the start of any turn a player may use money cards to buy cards or exchange for other money cards, even if the buying player has not run out of cards to play. The player has a free choice whether to buy or exchange cards from the floor or their opponent, provided that sufficient cards are available there, but can only buy numeral cards from once source with one money card.
- When a player buys numeral cards from their opponent, the cards are given in a block from the bottom of the opponent's play stack, not the top. In all cases numeral cards that are bought are added to the bottom of the buyer's play stack.
- The values of the money cards differ from those used in Jordan. In Egypt some play that the Queen is worth 5 cards, the King 10 and the Jack 15. Others give the Queen a value of 10 cards, the King 15 and the Jack 20.
- Some play that Aces are not numeral cards but extra money cards worth 30 cards each: each player has two Aces and six pictures in their money are at the start of the game and just 18 numeral cards in hand. Others dislike this version as it requires extra money exchanges when using an Ace and makes the game last too long.
- Some play that the Seven of diamonds (known as Al-koumi) captures the whole play pile even if its top card is not a 7. This rule is probably borrowed from Basra, where the 7 of diamonds has a similar power.
In Syria the equivalent game to Money is known as Buying-Selling. Details of this version were obtained by Sultan Ratrout from Abdul malik Fatayerji. It differs from the Jordanian game as follows.
- Two Jokers are added to make a deck of 54 cards. In this version the Jokers are money cards worth 5 cards each. Jacks are worth 10 cards, Queens 15 cards and Kings 20 cards each. Each player begins with one Joker, two Jacks, two Queens and two Kings in their money area and a hand of 20 numeral cards.
- When numeral cards are bought from the floor, these cards are taken from the top of the play pile, not from the bottom.