OBJECT OF CHINESE 51: The object of Chinese 51 is to be the first player to score 500 or more points. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 or 4 players

MATERIALS: One standard 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Commerce Group Card Game



Chinese 51 is a commerce group card game for 3 to 4 people ideally. It can technically be played with 2 to 5 players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to reach 500 or more points or have the highest score if multiple people achieve this at once. 

Players can achieve this goal by curating a hand of 5 cards, to be all the same suit. The cards are scored based on their associated values and these points are scored at the end of the round. 


A starting player should be randomly determined. The starting player passes to the right for each new round. Any player may shuffle the cards and then starting with the starting player each player will draw one card from the shuffled deck, anticlockwise, until all other players have 5 cards and the starting player has 6. The remaining cards will form the stockpile for the game.

Card Ranking and Values

The ranking does not matter in this game, but suits do. To score your hand, all cards must be of the same suit. Cards do have values associated with them as well. Numeric cards have their printed values associated with them. Face cards such as jacks, queens, and kings have a value of 10, and aces have a value of 11. 


The starting player will begin the game by discarding one card from their hand to the table next to the stockpile. Then the player to their right will start their turn. a turn can consist of completing one of the four actions described below.

A player can call. This means all the cards in your hand are the same suit and you wish to end the game to score hands. 

A player may choose to draw from the stockpile a card and then discard a card from their hand next tot eh previously discarded cards, so they do not overlap. If five cards have already been discarded this way, you will collect them and set them aside out of the game and start a new discard layout. 

A player may also choose to take all the cards from the discard as long as there are not five of them. To do this you must discard from hand first a matching number of cards as those in the discard and then draw all the discard cards, exchanging them with the ones you have previously discarded. To do this you must draw all the discard cards and must discard before drawing them. 

A player may exchange one card from the discard layout only if there are 5 cards in the layout. You will discard and then draw the card placing your discarded card in its place. 

If at the end of your turn you have a hand value of exactly 51 points (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 all a single suit), you may call it immediately to end the round. this cannot be done however if at the end of your turn you have less than 51 points in hand, even if you have a hand of cards all the same suit. You will need to wait until your next turn to call it. 

When calling with less than 51 points a player will need to place their hand facedown on the table. The other players all have a chance to challenge this player. Players who challenge all reveal their hands along with the caller’s hand. They are all compared and the player with the highest valued hand scores for all hands, while other players who participated in the challenge score nothing. The caller has the advantage that their hand may equal the highest challenger’s hand or be greater, while all challengers must have a higher hand than the caller or other challengers. If there is a tie the last player to challenge wins the tie. Players who do not participate in the challenge or if no challenge is issued at all, score their hands traditionally. 

The round ends once a player calls, or the stockpile is emptied. 


To score a hand at all it must have 5 cards all the same suit. All the values of the cards in hand are summed and added to a cumulative score kept over several rounds. A player who calls a hand of 51 scores double the points, so a total of 102 for the round. 


The game ends once a score of 500 or more is reached. If multiple players reach this at the same time, then the player with the highest score wins. If there is a tie, these players play additional rounds until a winner is achieved. 

Amber Crook
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