OBJECT OF SCHWIMMEN: The object of Schwimmer (31) is to be the last player remaining.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 8 players

MATERIALS: A modified 52-card deck, Chips or money, and a flat surface. 

TYPE OF GAME: Commerce Card Game



Schwimmer AKA 31 is a commerce style card game for 2 to 8 players. The game is played elimination-style so the last player standing wins. Players compete over a series of rounds to make the highest valued hands possible. The player with the lowest value will be punished and possibly eliminated. 


Before the game begins players should all receive the same number of chips or coins. the usual number is three but the more chips the longer the game. Then the deck will need to be modified. This is done by removing cards 2 through 6 from the deck. 

The first dealer is random and passes to the left for each new round. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of three and an extra hand of three to the side. Then the dealer may look at their hand and decide if they wish to trade with the extra hand. They do not get to see the cards of the extra hand. Whichever hand is not chosen by the dealer gets revealed face up to all players and is left in the center for the game. 

Card and Suit Ranking and Values

The ranking for 31 is Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7 (low). The suit ranking is Clubs(high), spades, hearts, and diamonds (low). These will be used in the scoring section of the game mostly. 

The cards also have values associated with them. Aces are worth 11 points. Kings, Queens, Jacks, and 10s are all worth 10 points each. 9s, 8s, and 7s are all worth their numeric value in points. 


The player left of the dealer is first. On a player’s turn, they will do one of the three things. They may exchange a single card from the center from their hand, they may exchange all three cards from the center from their hand, or they may pass their turn. The turn then passes clockwise. The goal is to increase the value of your hand, but it only counts the cards of the same suit. The exception being three of a kinds, which have their values discussed below in scoring. 

If at some point all players pass tier turns the three cards are removed from the center and 3 new cards are dealt face up to the center from the remaining deck. 

There are two special hands you must declare if you hold it. Theses end the hand immediately. If you hold three aces this is called Fire and is worth 32 points. If you hold 3 cards all the same suit, and they equal 31 points you must also declare it; this is called 31. 

If not declaring, the other way to end the round is to close. If a player at the end of their turn decides they feel comfortable with their hand value, they may close the round. All other players get one more round to exchange from their hand, and then hands are revealed. 


When the round ends either from a declaration or a closing, hands are revealed and scored. The players tally their hand’s score and compare. This is done by adding the values of cards of the same suit in your hand. There is also a special value for three of a kinds worth 30.5 points. Three aces, however, is worth 32 points. 

In the event of a closing hand or a declaration of 31, the player with the lowest hand values loses and places a chip in the central pot.  In the case of a tie for a losing hand, hands are compared based on the rank of cards or ranking of suits to determine the loser. If both hands are truly tied all tied players lose and pay the penalty. 

In the event of a declaration of fire, all other players pay a chip to the center. 

A player is eliminated when he must pay the penalty but has no chips left to do so. 


The game ends when one player remains. They are the winner and earn all the winnings of the central pot. 

Amber Crook
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