Have you and your best friend run out of things to talk about? Don’t worry! It happens. So, what better way to pass the time than a fun 2 player card game? Luckily for you, there is a seemingly endless list of excellent card games for 2 players!
In this post, we have rounded up 40 of the absolute best 2 player card games. So, break out your deck of cards, shuffle, and let the games begin!
EASY 2 PLAYER CARD GAMES FOR KIDS
Are you in search of a 2 player card game to play with your kid? Don’t go for anything too complex or challenging. The best games for kids are simple, fast-paced, and exciting. Here are our top picks for kid-friendly card games for 2 players.
First up is one of the most famous card games out there. War is a battle between two players attempting to win all the cards. First, distribute the cards evenly between both players. Then, each player will flip their top card over simultaneously; the player with the higher rank keeps both cards.
If both cards are the same, the players “go to war!” Each player will place one card face down and then flip another card face up. The highest card takes all six cards.
A game of War ends when one player has won all 52 cards.
2. CRAZY EIGHTS
Another popular family card game is Crazy Eights. You can play this card game with up to 10 players, but it is also possible to play with just two players. The goal of the game is to score the lowest possible score.
In Crazy Eights, each player receives 5 cards. Both players then take turns discarding cards (if possible) or drawing a new card (if they can’t discard). You can discard a card if you have a card of the same number or suit as the top card in the discard pile. You may also discard an 8, which is a wild card. When one player runs out of cards, their score is 0 for the round. The other player tallies up their score. When one player reaches a score of 100, the player with the lower score wins!
Head over to our rules of Crazy Eights for an in-depth guide to the game.
3. GO FISH
An iconic easy 2 player card game is Go Fish. While you can certainly play with more players, Go Fish is a perfect card game for two players. The goal of the game is to collect all four cards of various ranks. You start with a hand of seven cards and take turns asking opponents for specific cards to complete sets. If the asked player has the requested card, they must give it to the requester. If not, they say, “Go fish!” then they must draw from the deck. Once you have collected a quartet (all four cards of a rank), you pull them out of your hand and place them in front of you. The game continues until all quartets are matched. The winner is the player with the most quartets.
A fast-paced card game for two or more players, Slapjack is a thrilling card game! The goal of the game is to win all the cards by literally “slapping” the cards at the right moment. Start by dealing the entire deck evenly among players. Taking turns, players place cards face-up into a central pile. Keep an eye out for Jacks – when a Jack appears, the race is on! Be the quickest to slap the pile, and you win all the cards beneath the Jack.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, there is a twist! Beware of false slaps. If you slap at the wrong time, you must give one of your cards to the other player. The game continues until one player accumulates all the cards.
5. OLD MAID
Old Maid is a classic card game that is simple enough for players of all ages. Start by removing three Queens from the deck, leaving a single “old maid.” Then, shuffle and distribute the remaining cards between you and your opponent. The objective is to form pairs and discard them. Players take turns drawing a card from an opponent’s hand without looking. If a pair is formed, those cards are laid down. The game continues until all pairs are matched, except for the Old Maid – the unmatchable Queen left in one player’s hand. The player left with the Old Maid loses!
6. GIN RUMMY
In Gin Rummy, a common two-player card game, the objective is to form sets and runs of cards to score points. Start by dealing ten cards to each player from a standard 52-card deck and place the remaining cards to the side to form a draw pile. Both players then take turns drawing and discarding cards to create melds. A meld is either three or four cards of the same rank (a set) or a sequence of consecutive cards of the same suit (a run). The game allows players to knock on the table to end the game if their unmatched cards total ten or fewer points. Scoring is based on the matched cards (minus the unmatched cards), with face cards carrying the highest values. The game continues until one player reaches a predetermined winning score.
A game similar to Gin Rummy, standard Rummy is another card game you can play with just 2 players. To start off, deal out each player ten cards. The objective of Rummy is to form sets and runs with the cards in hand. A set consists of three or four cards of the same rank, while a run is a sequence of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. Players take turns drawing a card from the deck or discard pile and then discarding a card. The game continues until a player forms their entire hand into valid sets and runs, discarding their last card. Scoring is based on the remaining cards in opponents’ hands, with face cards carrying higher values.
In the card game Golf, you aim to achieve the lowest score possible by strategically creating sets of matching cards, like pairs and runs. Throughout the game, you will swap undesirable cards to improve your hand. Each card holds a point value, and your goal is to score lower than your opponent. Rounds conclude when one player decides to “knock”. Each player shows their cards, and the lowest score wins!
There are several variations of Golf, but in the standard game, you will play with four cards. That said, you can also play the Golf card game with 6 cards, 9 cards, or even 10 cards! The main game can be played with two or more players, but there is also a solitaire version of the game.
Spit is a fast-paced and competitive card game for 2 players. In this speedy game, the goal is to get rid of their entire hand of cards by playing them in a shared pile in ascending or descending order. Spit is undoubtedly one of the best 2 player card games out there.
The game begins with a setup of five stockpiles with one face-up card on each pile, and players simultaneously play cards onto 2 central spit piles. The goal is to get rid of all the cards in your hand and your stockpile. Speed is crucial in Spit as players race to deplete their hands and spit piles. The first player to run out of cards or spit piles claims victory. Spit is a simple and easy card game for 2 players with a touch of chaos, providing an exhilarating experience for those seeking a rapid-fire card game.
10. SPITE AND MALICE
Played in a similar way to Double Solitaire, Spite and Malice is a two-player card game in which players race to get rid of their individual goal piles. To get rid of cards, you will place ascending sequences in the center while simultaneously working to empty their own stacks. The game involves strategic card placement, blocking opponents, and utilizing special cards to gain an advantage. Players will take turns placing one card at a time, so, unlike other 2 player card games, you must think several steps ahead. Spite and Malice is a thrilling game that keeps players on their toes as they strive to outmaneuver their opponent.
If you have never played Uno, you have probably been hiding under a rock for your entire life. Uno is one of the most popular card games of all time, is simple to play, and most importantly, is super fun!
Uno is a card shedding game, similar to Crazy Eights. Both players are dealt 7 cards, with the remaining deck forming the draw pile. During your turn, you must play a card that matches either the number, color, or action of the top card in the discard pile. There are special cards, such as Skip, Reverse, Draw 2, Draw 4, and Wild cards. When you have only 1 card left, you must shout “Uno!”. If you fail to do so, you must draw 2 cards as a penalty. The winner is the first player to run out of cards!
Looking for a more detailed overview of the rules? Check out our complete guide on how to play Uno!
2 PLAYER CARD GAMES FOR ADULTS
Had enough of the easy games? Let’s take a look at some of the more challenging 2 player card games out there.
Shithead is one of the most fun and entertaining card games you can play. This challenging and strategic game is unpredictable, so you’ll have to think several steps ahead to stand a chance at winning. You can play Shithead with several players, but it is totally possible to play with just two. The objective of the game is to be the first to discard all your cards and avoid the undesirable title of “Shithead.” During the game, you and your opponent will take turns playing cards in ascending order, navigating through face cards and special rules that will keep the game interesting. Shithead is fast-paced and straightforward, making it a perfect choice for a casual adult game night!
13. DOUBLE SOLITAIRE
To play Double Solitaire, you’ll just need a deck of cards. Begin by dealing out eight tableau piles, with the first four containing six cards each and the remaining four containing five cards each. You and your opponent will take turns playing cards on the tableau and building foundations in ascending order by suit.
Both players can work on the tableau and foundations simultaneously. Additionally, you can move cards between tableau piles or build on existing foundations, but remember, only the top card of each tableau pile is accessible. The game ends when one player successfully builds all their foundation piles. This is an exciting 2 player twist to the classic solo game of Solitaire.
A 2 player game that originated in Russia, Durak is an exciting trick taking card game. The game uses a standard 52-card deck, designating one suit as trump.
Distribute the deck, leaving a draw pile. The player with the lowest trump starts as the attacker. Attackers play cards of the same rank or higher trump, while defenders counter with the same suit or higher trump. The goal is to be the first player to deplete your hand. In each round, the leading player will attack their opponent by playing a card. The other player can then choose to either accept the attack or try and defend.
Durak puts a unique spin on classic trick taking games and is definitely a game that you must try!
Fancy a bit of gambling, anyone? Blackjack is undoubtedly one of the most iconic casino games out there. Even better, since Blackjack is only played between you and a dealer, it is a perfect card game to play with 2 players.
The objective of Blackjack is simple: Get your cards to add up to as close to 21 as possible without going over! That said, there are some rules to Blackjack you’ll need to know to play effectively.
The dealer will start by dealing you two face-up cards and themself, one face-down and one face-up. Face cards are worth 10 points, Aces can either be 1 or 11, and all other cards are worth their face value. You can ‘hit’ to get more cards or ‘stand’ to keep your current total. To ‘double down,’ double your initial bet and receive one more card. If you have two identical cards, you can ‘split’ them into separate hands. Beware of busting (going over 21) and losing your bet. Pay attention to the dealer’s upcard, adjusting your strategy accordingly. Blackjack is the perfect blend of luck and skill and a simple casino game!
Another fun card game that you need just 2 players for is Cribbage. In this game, you’ll need a standard deck of cards and a Cribbage board.
To start the game, players are dealt six cards each and then immediately choose two cards to discard. The remaining four cards form your hand. The goal of Cribbage is to score points by creating combinations such as pairs and runs.
You and your opponent will take turns placing cards on the board, and the non-dealer starts the count. After making card combinations card combinations you will place pegs on the Cribbage board. Cribbage requires a balance of skill, strategy, and a touch of luck, making it a perfect choice for card game enthusiasts.
While usually played between two teams of 2 players, you can also play Pinochle as a 2 player card game. In this game, you play with 2 standard decks, but first, you’ll remove all cards except the As, Ks, Qs, Js, 10s, and 9s.
Each player is dealt 24 cards from the 48-card deck. After organizing your cards, you and your opponent will begin bidding. The highest bidder becomes the declarer.
The declarer aims to score points through melds, like marriages and Pinochles, as well as by winning specific cards during tricks. The non-dealer’s cards are then placed face up for both to use. Pinochle is an intense, strategic card game that combines elements of skill, luck, and decision-making for an engaging head-to-head competition.
For more on the rules of Pinochle, check out our post on the topic.
18. STRIP POKER
Looking to play a risque twist to classic poker? Strip poker is played almost identically to normal poker games, except instead of betting money, you bet items of clothing!
One player deals five cards to both themself and their opponent. The players then progress through betting rounds in which they will bet on articles of clothing. After the betting rounds are over, the player that either folds or loses the hand must then remove the articles of clothing that were at stake. Alternatively, the winner of the hand can choose a player to remove an article of clothing.
19. HAND AND FOOT
Another rummy game that you can play with 2 players is Hand and Foot. This popular card is played with not 1, not 2, but 5 standard decks! Now, that is a lot of cards.
In the Hand and Foot card game, each player is dealt one stack of 13 cards to make up the “hand” and another stack of 13 cards to make the “foot.” The “foot” stays face down, and you pick up the “hand,” looking at the cards.
Your objective in the game is to create melds of three to seven cards of the same rank. You can continue adding to your melds until they reach a maximum of seven cards, at which time they are squared off and completed.
After you have run out of the cards in your “hand,” you pick up your “foot” and begin melding with these cards.
The goal of the game is to score the most points by creating melds and “go out,” meaning to get rid of your cards. You lose points for every card left in your hand at the end of the round.
Euchre is a trick-taking card game, generally played with four players in two partnerships, but it also works well as a 2 player game.
In this game, you use a modified deck of cards, removing all 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s.
As a trick-taking game, the main objective is to…. win tricks! At the beginning of the game, players will determine a trump suit by “calling.” When calling, you will assess your hand and decide whether to bid on the trump suit or pass.
Once the trump suit has been decided, play will begin to the left of the dealer. This player can play any card they want, and this card will determine the “lead suit” of the round. The winner of the trick is either the highest card in the “lead suit” or the highest card in the “trump suit.”
Head over to our complete guide to this game to learn the full rules of Euchre.
Piquet is another popular two-player card game that can be traced back more than 400 years! This game uses a 32-card deck, removing all cards 6 and lower. The game consists of two separate phases: melding and trick-taking. In the melding phase, you create sets and sequences to earn points. Then the trick-taking phase unfolds, where players attempt to take high-value cards.
Piquet’s unique scoring system allocates points for specific combinations and accomplishments. The game progresses through a series of hands, and victory hinges on accumulating the most points.
DRINKING CARD GAMES FOR 2 PLAYERS
Drinking card games are a great way to spend a weekend night! The below card games are a few of our top picks for 2 player card games to get drunk to. So, pop open a beverage, and get ready to laugh out loud!
22. SOTALLY TOBER
A simple and entertaining drinking card game for 2 players is Sotally Tober. This game is extremely easy to play, so it is a good option, even if you are already drunk. Simply place all the cards in the middle of a table and take turns picking them up and reading them out loud. Each card will have a rule or action that must be followed. The cards are separated into Activities, Curses, Skills, Secrets, and Decrees, each with different types of actions.
Activity cards are actions that you must perform. Curse cards are actions that will make you suffer. Skill cards give you a special power for part of the game. Secret cards are a secret trick or action you can perform at any time. And Decree cards are actions that apply to both players.
23. RIDE THE BUS
One of the most well-known drinking card games out there is Ride the Bus. This game is more fun with more players, but it is still a blast with a duo. Keep in mind that with just 2 people, you may end up drinking a lot of alcohol!
First, one player will act as the dealer and ask a player and then themselves, “Red or black?” If the player answers correctly, they do not need to drink. If they are wrong, they must take a sip! Next, the dealer will ask, “Higher or lower?” “In between or outside?” and finally, “Guess the suit.”
Once you have gone through all four guessing rounds, the dealer will build a pyramid with the remaining cards face down, with 5 cards at the base, then 4 cards, 3, 2, and 1.
The dealer will slowly flip each of the cards, and if one of your four cards matches the rank of a flipped card, you can force your opponent to drink!
24. RING OF FIRE FOR 2 PLAYERS
A popular drinking card game for groups, Ring of Fire or Kings Cup can also be modified as a 2 player card game. As most of the rules of the classic game are designed for larger groups, e.g., “girls drink,” “boys drink,” and “mate,” you’ll need to change up the game a little bit. That said, if you are willing to get your creative juices flowing, it is definitely possible! All you need to do is make new rules for cards that are targeting a group of players. The world is your oyster in 2 player Ring of Fire, and you can get as creative as you want with the rule variations!
25. SEXY GO FISH
As mentioned above, Go Fish is one of the most iconic children’s card games, but you can make it a 21+ edition by adding drinking and stripping into the mix! This is a perfect drinking game to play with your significant other!
Just as with traditional Go Fish, the goal is to form sets of all four cards in a particular rank. The twist is that you must drink if you ask for a card from your opponent and they do not have it. Additionally, every time a player successfully forms a set of 4 cards, the other player must strip an item of clothing!
A simple and fun drinking card game for 2 players is Horserace. To start off the game, pull out all four aces from the deck and line them up vertically. Then shuffle the remaining cards together and place seven cards horizontally across the track. Both players will then make bets on which ace (horse) they think will win the race. You can bet a specific number of drinks on your preferred suit. Just keep in mind, if your “horse” loses, you will have to drink that many times!
Next, you will start flipping over cards from the deck one at a time. With every flip, you will move the corresponding ace of that suit forward. The first ace or “horse” to cross the finish line (pass the seven horizontal cards) wins! If your “horse” wins the race, you get to give out the number of drinks you bet. But, if your horse loses, you must drink the number of drinks you bet.
27. POWER STRUGGLE
A fun party card game, Power Struggle is sure to get you and your friend drunk and happy! There are three types of cards in Power Struggle, “Rules,” “Cabinet” cards, and “Playing” cards. At the beginning of the game, separate these cards into three decks and deal out the Playing cards evenly between you and your opponent. The player with the “Start” card begins the game as “President.”
The goal of the game is to empty your hand of cards. Players will then take turns playing normal cards and wild cards, attempting to get rid of their cards first. The three wild cards in the game are “Drink,” in which you can choose someone to drink, “Cheers,” in which all players drink; and “Clear,” in which you clear the remaining cards and start again!
28. BLIND SQUIRREL
Next up for the best 2 player drinking card games is Blind Squirrel. This is a super easy drinking card game that requires very little brain power to play. Essentially, to play, you have to guess whether the next card will be higher or lower than the previous one. The dealer will flip a card, and then you will guess if the next card will be higher or lower, and you will guess what number the next card will be. If you guess incorrectly on both, you must drink and continue guessing until you guess correctly. If you guess the “higher or lower” part correctly but incorrectly guess the number, you must take the number of drinks between your guess and the actual number.
For example, the current card is a 10, and you guess that the next card will be “lower” and that the number will be 6. The dealer flips the next card to reveal a 4. So, you guessed correctly since it is lower than 10, but you still must drink twice since you were wrong about the specific number.
29. HAPPY NINJA STAR
A completely different kind of drinking card game is Happy Ninja Star. In this game, you’ll be literally throwing your cards around the table like ninja stars!
The rules to Happy Ninja Star are simple: throw cards ninja star style onto the table and attempt to make them land face up. At the beginning of the game, deal the cards evenly between all players. If the card lands face down, nothing happens, but when it lands face up, things get interesting!
If your “ninja star” lands face up, the next player must also make their top card land face up, or they must drink half the face value of the face-up card. For example, if the face up card is 8, they must drink 4 times.
If you are looking for a fun drinking game for 2 players that you only need a deck of cards to play, look no further than Arrogance! In this game, you must take risks and push your luck, but don’t get too cocky!
The rules to Arrogance will sound familiar as they are pretty similar to Ride the Bus and Blind Squirrel. Place a pint glass between you and your opponent, and then take turns guessing if the next card will be “red or black.” Before each guess, you must pour some of your drink into the pint glass. If you guess correctly, you are safe, and your opponent must guess. If you guess incorrectly, you must chug the contents of the pint glass! Arrogance is a perfect simple drinking game for 2 players!
18 MORE 2 PLAYER CARD GAMES!
The above 30 games are our top picks for 2 player card games, but there are MANY more options out there. Here are a few other of our favorite card games for 2 players.