OBJECT OF PÖYTÄPASKA: The object of Pöytäpaska is to not be the last player with cards in hand.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 3 players

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

TYPE OF GAME: Beating Card Game



Pöytäpaska is a beating card game for 2 to 3 players. The goal of the game is not to be the last player to hold cards. This player is declared the loser. There is no winner in this game. 

Players empty their hands by playing out cards from their hands and running out the stockpile. 


The dealer is determined randomly. They will shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of 5 cards in two batches of 2 and one batch of 1. Then each player is dealt four face-down cards on the table in front of them and four face-up cards on the table in front of them. The remaining cards are placed in the center as a stockpile for the game.

Card Ranking 

The cards are ranked 2 (high), ace, king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3 (low). The suits do not matter. The aces, 2s, and 10s have special rules discussed later under gameplay. 


The first player is the player who has the most 3s, and if there is a tie then starting from the player closest to the dealer’s left. If players have no 3s, then follow the same rules with 4, and so on. 

The first player must play the 3s or whatever starting card determined them being first. This starts the play pile all cards will be played to. A player’s turn consists of doing one of three things. 

You may play one or multiple cards that are the same rank as long as the below requirements are met. When cards are played, they must be the same or higher rank than the cards in the play pile, if any. Face cards cannot be played to the pile unless the top card is a 6 or higher rank. An ace cannot be played unless the top card is a face card or another ace. 2s can be played at any time to the play pile except when the top card is ace or 10, but only the other 2s can be played on a 2. Only another 10 can be played on a 10. A new pile can be made by playing any card when no play pile exists.

If you cannot or wish not to play a card to the play pile, all cards from the pile must be taken into your hand. Then your turn is passed. 

If the stockpile is not exhausted, you may draw the top card of the pile and attempt to play it. If it follows the rules mentioned above it can be played, if not then that card, along with the rest of the play pile. 

If after you play cards, you have less than 5 cards in hand, and the stockpile is not empty, you will need to draw cards to fill your hand to 5 cards. If the stock is empty you may proceed with less than 5 cards in hand. 

The play pile can be cleared. When the play pile is cleared, the same player will play again to start the new pile. The following are the three ways the pile is cleared. If one or more 10s is played to a lower-ranked card, if one or more aces is played to a face card, or if there are 4 cards of the same rank on top of the play pile. 

Once the stock is empty and a player’s hand is exhausted, they may start playing their face-up cards. Once the face-up cards have all been played a player will move onto their face-down cards. Players may not look at their face-down cards before trying to play the card. if you pick up a card and cannot legally play it, it goes to your hand and must be played before you can continue to play the remaining face-down cards. 

When the stock is empty and a player has played all of their available cards, they are out of the game.


The game ends when only one player remains with cards to be played. This player is the loser of the game.  

Amber Crook
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