OBJECTIVE OF ICELANDIC GÚRKA: The objective of Icelandic Gúrka is to not win the last trick of each round and to be the last player not eliminated.


MATERIALS: A standard 52 card deck, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game 



Icelandic Gúrka is a trick-taking game for 2 to 4 players. The goal of the game is to not be eliminated and to be the last player remaining.


To set up a player will be the dealer for the round. They will shuffle the deck and deal each player 10 cards facedown. This is for the first round. In subsequent rounds, the number of cards will decrease by 1 card each time. So, for round two you’ll deal 9 cards, for round three 7 cards, and so on. The remaining cards are placed in a facedown pile near all players.

The cards are ranked with the 6 of clubs being the highest and 2 being the lowest rank of card. The full ranking is 6 of clubs, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 (remaining), 5, 4, 3, 2.


Icelandic Gúrka is played over a series of rounds. To start the game the player to the dealer’s left will play the first card(s) of the trick. From then on, the winner of the trick will start the next one. 

When playing a trick in Icelandic Gúrka the player who starts the trick may play any card or any number of equally ranked cards, they would like. The remaining players must then play a card or a set of cards, that is the same or higher rank or they must play their lowest ranking card(s). The player with the highest-ranked card(s) or the highest-ranked card(s) played last. 

All players must keep just one card for the last trick.


When the last trick of the round is won, the player who won the trick is penalized. They receive a score equal to the rank of the card the trick was won with. Ace is worth 14 points, king 13, queen 12, jack 11, and the remaining cards are worth face value. The 6 of Clubs is worth 21 points.

The card that penalized them is kept by the player and all remaining cards are reshuffled for the next round.

When a player receives a score of more than 21, They are eliminated from the game. 

If a player gets exactly 21 penalty points, however, they start over from 0 points and continue playing in the game. All their cards are returned to the deck.

New rounds are started the player to the left of the dealer (if not eliminated) becomes the new dealer until a winner is determined.


The game ends once there is only one player who is not eliminated.

Amber Crook
Latest posts by Amber Crook (see all)