OBJECTIVE OF NEWMARKET:  Be the player with the most chips at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 – 8 players

MATERIALS NEEDED: 52 card deck, an additional J, Q, K, & A, chips or tokens

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Hand shedding

AUDIENCE: Kids, Adults


Newmarket is a hand shedding game that relies almost entirely on luck.  This makes it a fun game for parties, and it is intended for larger groups.  While the game can be played with only three players, it is much more enjoyable with groups of six to eight.


In order to play Newmarket, you will need a standard 52 card French deck as well as an Ace, King, Queen, and Jack from a second deck.  These cards each need to be a different suit. So that one is a heart, a spade, a club, and a diamond.  These four cards are the horses that will be bet on throughout the game.

In order to decide the first dealer, each player should take a card from the deck.  The player who took the lowest card is the first dealer.

Before the game begins, each player should be given ten chips.  In order to play each round, players must pay an ante of one chip to the center.  A player may not take part in the round if they do not pay the ante.  Each player must also place one chip on a horse of their choosing.  More than one player can bet on the same horse. 

After the ante has been played and horse bets have been made, the dealer may dole out the cards.  The dealer should pass out the entire deck one card at a time to each player.  A “dummy” hand should also be dealt.  Some players will have more cards than others depending on the number of people in the game.  That is okay.

The cards in the dummy hand act as “stops” which play an important role in this game.  No one should look at the dummy hand.


During Newmarket, cards will be played in sequential order by the players who have them.  For example, if the 3 of diamonds is played, whoever has the 4 of diamonds plays next and so on.  The same player might be able to play multiple cards in a row. 

The round begins with the player on the left hand side of the dealer.  That player chooses the lowest card from any suit in their hand and plays it face up in front of them.  They must say the card’s rank and suit out loud.  Whoever has the next card in the sequence plays that card and announces its rank and suit.  Play like this continues until the sequence can no longer be continued.  This is called being stopped

A sequence might be stopped for two reasons.  First, the card that is needed might be in the dummy hand, or it has already been played.  Second, an Ace also acts as a stop.  When an Ace is played, the sequence has ended.  In the event that the sequence is stopped, whoever played the last card gets to play again.  They can choose the lowest card from any suit in their hand.

Play like this continues until one of the players gets rid of all their cards.


If at any time a player plays a card that matches one of the horses, they win the chips that were bet on that horse.  For example, if one of the horses is a queen of hearts, and player two plays the queen of hearts, they win any chips that are on that horse.

Any chips that were not won during the round carry over to the next round.


The length of a game of Newmarket is predetermined by the players.  This game could be played like poker where players are out of the game when they run out of chips.  In that case, the last player remaining with chips is the winner.

This game could also be played over a predetermined number of rounds.  The player with the most chips at the end of the game wins.

Mark Ball
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