Traveller’s Card Games

Screw Your Neighbour
Yellow Lemon
Chinese Cards 1. Best Cards Win 2. Sevens
Gin Rummy

An Israeli game with multiple different rules.
The deck: 52 cards plus the two jokers. All cards at face value with the ace as 1 and joker is 0
The play: The true Israeli rules are: 5 cards are dealt, and on your turn, discard first then pick up one card either from the discard pile or the deck. Try to get the lowest score with a total value in hand of 5 or under. Achieve the lowest score by discarding high cards for lower ones and by shortening hand by discarding 2, 3 or 4 of a kind or sequences of 3, 4, or 5 in the same suit. As you only pick up only one card, your hand shortens. For example, the player to your left discards a card and you have one of those in your hand – discard a card you don’t want and pick up the card now giving yourself a pair; on your next turn you discard your pair and pick up one card shortening your hand by one card. If the card picked up from the pack is the same as the card discarded, it can be played on the discard pile if it has not been covered by the following player. That introduces an element of speed into the game. You always know your discard well in advance, so have it ready to cover the discard of the player you follow. Can only pick up the outside cards of a sequence or if 3 or more of a kind are played. Joker can be used as a wild card to complete a sequence (is not available to following player if the middle card of the sequence).
Call Yaniv with a total 5 total points or less (must wait until the play comes around to you before you can call yaniv, not on the turn when that score is achieved). The play stops at that point and everyone counts the value of the cards in their hand adding it to their cumulative total.
Scoring: If beaten or tied, the person who called Yaniv gets a penalty of 30 plus the value of cards. Everyone counts the value of the cards that remain in their hand and the score is kept cumulatively. If Yaniv with 0, deduct 10 for each joker. The other way to have 0 is with one card left, you pick up the same card as you discarded and are able to play it before the following player covers the discard pile. The player who wins a hand gets a ‘happy face’ and then get to go first in the next hand. if win 3 hands in a row, deduct 10 points from score. If total cumulative score lands on exactly 50 or 100, deduct 50 points (this is one of the most fun rules in the game). Total game to 100. Remainder of players continue to play until there is one winner.
Variations: 1. kings also count zero. 2. jacks count -1. 3. anyone can play on sequences anywhere at table (this version is sometimes called Josef). 4. can call Yaniv with 7 points or less. 5. There are many scoring variations: Person who wins the hand counts zero, if the person who calls Yaniv is tied or beaten, he scores 30 + his points and everyone else counts zero, if tie the Yaniv caller, only beat him if have fewer total cards (I personally do not like these scoring variations).

The deck: 52 cards. Ace high. 2s are the strongest card.
The play: Deal entire deck. Play higher cards up the line with all cards having face value – ace higher than king and 2’s highest card of all. If singles being played, can only play singles, likewise for doubles and triples. If can’t play card (or for strategy reasons do not want to play your good high cards saving them for the endgame – which is the way to play), then pass. Wipe out pile with 4 of a kind, all pass or any time a 2 is played.
Scoring: The winner of the hand is the President, the player who came second is the Vice-President. Loser is the asshole and must give 2 best cards to president, (in same suit as low cards passed by president) and second loser gives 1 card to vice president. President starts next hand. No points tally is kept. No one keeps track of who wins over time.
Variation: can play doubles over singles (next player skips turn) and then doubles must be played. Silent rule: if talk to asshole then you become the asshole with the penalty cards.

The deck: 52 cards. Wild cards: these may be played at any time during the play of the hand. 2 – starts the play over at 2; 3 – keeps the value of the last card played (for ex. if a King was played, playing a 3 keeps it as the King – this card functions as a ‘pane of glass’); 10= buries the pile. The 10 is the most valuable card in the deck.
Other cards with special meaning but must be played in the normal sequence: 7=must play lower; 8=skips the next player.
The Deal: Deal 3 cards face down spread out – you must not look at these. Deal 6 cards. placing the 3 best of these (see below) face up on each of the face down cards, leaving 3 cards in your hand. During the play, you must have 3 cards in your hand and pick up as many cards as necessary to maintain 3 cards in your hand.
The play: At start of hand place your 3 best of six cards dealt. Person who starts plays low card and each successive player can play an equal card or higher card or a wild card. Four of a kind or ten buries the discard pile.
If unable to play, must pick up the entire discard pile. Always maintain at least 3 cards in hand by drawing from the pile. After the pile is finished, get rid of the 3 cards in your hand, then the 3 exposed cards on the table, and then turn up your unknown cards on the table in random order. Luck is important at this point. The first one to get rid of all his cards wins. The rest of the players continue to play. The last player with cards is the shithead.
Variation #1 (Power Shithead): This is probably the best of all as speed is introduced.
Deal is the same but wild cards change: 2, 7 and 10 have same use. 8’s take on the role of the 3 – i.e. the last card played is kept the same (functions as a pane of glass). 3’s have no special role. The big change is when any card is played, if anyone has the same value card, they can play it out of order (if they are fast enough before a higher card is played). The next player to the left then continues the play so that it is possible to be skipped often if you do not play fast enough before the discard pile is covered by the next player in order. As in normal Shithead, four of a kind buries the pile – this happens much more often in this game.
It is important to remember the cards that are in the face-up pile as that will determine a lot of strategy. A good strategy is: if the player who has had to pick up the discard pile and it has two 10’s for example and you also have two tens, play one ten, he plays his two tens and you play your fourth one, burying the pile. Speed matters.
Variation #2: Chance Rule. If you don’t want to play from your hand, and the top card is low, you can take a chance, turn over the top card and play that card hoping that it is higher than the card on the top of the pile.
Variation #3: Make it a drinking game. If you bury the pile (with 10 or 4 of a kind), everyone else takes a drink, or if you have to pick up the pile or make a mistake, then you have to take a drink.

SCREW YOUR NEIGHBOUR (this game has many other names)
Again there are many rules but these are the best.
The deck: 52 cards.
The deal: Any number of people can play. If 6 for example, divide the number of players into 52 (the # of cards in the deck) and everyone gets dealt 8 cards in the first hand. On the second hand, 7 cards are dealt to each, 6 on the next, and so on down to one. You then go back up the line until on the last hand 8 cards are dealt again. After the cards are dealt, the top card on the pile is turned over and that suit is trump.
The play: Aces are high and then kings, queens, jacks, tens and down the line. Cards are played to take “tricks” (when 8 cards are dealt, there are 8 tricks available). To start the hand you make your best guess at how many tricks you think you can take with the cards in your hand realizing that trump cards are all powerful. As there are many cards that are not dealt out, it is difficult to know the exact value of your cards. The player to the left of the dealer “guesses first”. Once everyone has made their prediction and it is the dealers turn, the total number of tricks cannot equal the number of tricks available (for example, with 8 tricks available and six players, the first five players predict that they will take 8 tricks between them, the dealer cannot say 0; if they have predicted that they will take 5 tricks between them, the dealer cannot say 3). The number of tricks predicted is recorded for each player. One good rule is when only one card is dealt, the total does not have to equal one (this prevents the dealer from being penalized).
Scoring: At the end of the play, every player who made his contract exactly, gets 10 + the number of tricks he contracted for. If he did not make his contract exactly, he gets zero. After all the hands are played (15 hands if 6 players), the player with the highest cumulative total wins.
Swedish variation: No trump. Start with 6 cards being dealt no matter how many players. All the players make a fist and put it into the center of the table, knock 3 times and on the third knock, display with fingers extended, the number of tricks they think they will take. When down to one card, the card is not looked at and placed face out on your forehead so that everyone can see everyone elses card, and then guess out loud if you think you are going to take a trick starting to the left of the dealer. The total number of tricks contracted for can be the same as the number of cards dealt and thus the number of tricks available. Score the same.

This card game is similar to Yavin but with some significant changes.
The deck: 52 cards plus 2-4 jokers. Jokers count 0 and are wild.
The deal: Deal 7 cards to each player. The deck we used had 4 jokers but use the number you have. If you have a joker in your hand at the end of the hand it counts 20 against you. All other cards are face value with the ace equal 1.
The play: Discard first, then pick up from the pile or deck. The object is to get less than 10 by picking up smaller cards and by reducing the number of cards in your hand through forming 2, 3 or 4 of a kind or sequences of the same suit, discarding that and picking up only one card. If 3 or 4 of a kind is discarded, the next player can pick up any of the cards, but when a sequence is discarded, the next player can only pick up the exterior cards in the sequence.
When a player has less than 10 and thinks he has the lowest hand, he calls yellow immediately without having to wait for his next turn and before the next player plays. All the other players have a turn before the hand is over. If another player then thinks he has a lower or equal hand, he can call yellow lemon. Unlike Yavin, if the player discards a card and then picks up the same card from the pile, he cannot play it on the discard pile so there is no element of speed in the hand.
Scoring: The person who wins the hand counts 0 and all the other players the total value of his cards. If the player who calls yellow lemon has a lower or equal hand, the player who called yellow scores 20 + the value of all his cards. If he doesn’t have a lower or equal hand, the player who called yellow lemon gets a penalty of 20 + the value of his cards. Always discard any jokers in that last turn to avoid getting a penalty of 20 for each joker. The only way a joker should remain in your hand is if after his discard, he picks up a joker from the pile. The game goes to 150.

The deck: 52 cards plus spoons.
The play: Place a number of spoons in the centre of the table equal to one less than the number of players. Deal 4 cards to each player. The goal is to get four of a kind. Everyone rapidly discards a card, one at a time to the player on their left. The dealer not only has to pick up the cards passed to him from the player on his right but also has to deal the cards from the deck. When the first player gets four of a kind, he grabs a spoon. One player will not get a spoon and he is eliminated or takes a drink or pays the first player to get four of a kind, or whatever “penalty” decided by the group.

1. Best Cards Win.
This is played everywhere in China on the street and the rules are similar everywhere. Allowed melds are often different with a single deck and there may be some regional variations. I have seen as many as 20 tables going at once and there is usually a crowd watching. Everyone in China plays from a young age. The Chinese are animated card players with lots of card slapping, arguing at other’s play and commentary. I have watched a great deal but have only played a few times. Often it is played for a lot of money.
Value of the cards. The order of the cards from lowest to highest is 3 through to the ace, 2s, and jokers being the strongest. Jokers can also be used as a wild card.
The deal: This can be a 3-person game with one deck but is often 4 people with two decks. After a minimal shuffle, the deck is cut and can be dealt many ways. The dealer starts with himself. A common way with 3 players is for each player to take one card at a time off the top until each has 17 cards (sometimes they are dealt 2 each and then 3 each). The last 3 cards are given a player on a rotation basis. They are turned over so that everyone can see them. If 4 players and 2 decks, deal 3 to each player, then 4 or 6 at a time.
The play: This is played almost identically to asshole but there are many more types of melds in this game.
The dealer starts the play. Cards are played in several combinations: singly, pairs (a pair of jokers are the strongest cards), three of a kind (in the 3 person/1 deck game they are combined with a fourth single always your lowest), four of a kind (the second strongest hand), 3 or more sets of pairs in sequence (for example 2 fours, 2 fives, 2 sixes) or a sequence of 5 cards or more, in any suit. One must always play higher cards of any of the above combinations and can’t pair the top of the discard pile (except with jokers). If you can’t play on a combination, the play passes. If no one can play on the last combination, then that player who played last starts a new combination. Four or more of a kind beats any of the other combinations.
Strategy: Just like Asshole, one tends to keep your strongest combinations to the last, trying to get rid of your weakest combinations first. The first one with no cards wins the hand. Betting is always a part of the game – usually the stakes are low – 2¥.
2. Sevens.
The deck: All 52 cards are dealt with no jokers. Usually 4 people play.
The Play: Players lay down the 7 in each suit. Play proceeds by each player adding to that suit in order (for example 7,8,9 on so on, or 7,6,5 and so on. If you can’t play, you place a card face down. The player with the fewest down cards wins the hand and money is paid out by subtracting his number of down cards from each of the others.
Strategy. If you hold the 7 in your shortest suit, don’t play it until you have to avoid a down card. The down cards played will block a suit from further additions.

This is a two-person game where one forms melds 1. 3 0r 4 of a kind and/or 2. sequences of cards in the same suit at least 3 cards long. Deadwood cards are those not in a meld. The objective is to score points and reach an agreed number of points or more, usually 100, before the opponent does. Dealership alternates between players. Players alternate taking turns until one player ends the round by knocking, going Gin, or until only two cards remain in the stock pile, in which case the round ends in a draw and no points are awarded.
The Deck: 52 cards with the King high and Ace low. Aces are scored at 1 point, face cards at 10, and all other cards are scored at their numerical values.
The Deal: 10 cards are dealt to each player and the 21st card is turned up. This is the knock card and its value should be recorded.
Play: Form melds of three or more of a kind or 3 or more sequences of same suit. On each turn, a player must draw either the (face-up) top card of the discard pile, or the (face-down) top card from the stock pile, and discard one card from his or her hand onto the discard pile.
Knocking: If your deadwood count is 10 or less (or in the tournament variant less than or equal to the value of the Knock card), one can lay down this hand and both players are allowed to lay off cards that fit into each others melds.
A Gin hand: If all 10 or 11 cards in a player’s hand fit into melds and thereby the player has no deadwood, he or she can choose to go Gin in which case the round ends and the player going Gin receives a Gin bonus of 25 points plus any deadwood points in the opponent’s hand. The defending opponent can only lay out his or her melds and cannot lay off any deadwood into the melds of an opponent that has declared Gin.
Knock Points – After a player knocks, and the lay offs are made, the knocking player receives a score equal to the difference between the two hands. For example, if a player knocks with 8, and the defender has 10 deadwood points in his or her hand after laying off, the knocking player receives 2 points for the hand.
Gin Bonus – After going gin, a player receives a bonus of 25 points plus the entire count of deadwood in the opponent’s hand. There is no chance to lay off when a player goes gin.
Undercut (or underknocking) – Occurs when the defending player has a deadwood count lower than or equal to that of the knocking player (this can occur either naturally or by laying off after a knock). In this case, the defender scores an undercut bonus of 25 points plus the difference between the two hands.
Game Bonus – Once a player has acquired 100 points the game is over, and that player receives a game bonus of 100 points (or another agreed-upon number).
Line Bonus or Box Bonus – Added at the end of the game. For every hand a player won during the game, 25 points is added to his score.
Big Gin Variant – Prior to knocking, if all 11 cards in a player’s hand form a legal gin, the player can retain the extra card as part of his hand, and is awarded 31 points plus entire count of deadwood in his opponent’s hand. (In some rule sets players may be awarded 50 points or another established amount plus the entire count of deadwood in the opponent’s hand)
Shutout Bonus – If a game is completed with the winner having won every hand, the points for each hand are doubled before adding the line bonus.

A variant of rummy played in Sardinia usually for money.
The deck: two decks, remove the red 2s and use all 4 jokers.
Card Value: 3 – 6 count 5pts, 7 – king count 10pts, ace counts 15pts, jokers wild and count 25pts, black 2s are wild and count 20pts. Total game to 1,550.
The play: two to four players. With 4, play partners. Deal 13 cards to each, turn one face up for the discard pile and the player to the left of the dealer starts.
The object is to form melds of 3 – 4 of a kind (must all be in different suits) or sequences of the three or more cards in the same suit of any length. Aces can form part of melds as Ace, King, Queen or 4, 3, Ace. Play melds down (these count positively). In a meld using a joker as a wild card, only opponents can exchange the joker with the actual card and claim the joker. In a meld using a black 2 as a wild card, the 2 cannot be exchanged except in the partner game when only the owners of the exposed meld can exchange the 2 for the actual card. An exposed meld can be played on only by its owner (except for the joker as above). The suits have an order: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The location of the wild card determines the suit of the card to be exchanged.
On a player’s turn, can pick up from main pile and discard. The discard pile is fanned so that all cards are visible. To pick up a card from the discard pile, at least one meld must be exposed on the table (except at the very beginning with the first player who does not need a meld down to pick up the first card). If pick up more than one card, all the cards above it must also be picked up and the bottom one must be used in a meld and exposed immediately on the table.
Scoring: The hand is over when one player exposes all his cards in melds. The total value of cards remaining not exposed is subtracted from the total value of cards in exposed melds. Partners can play on each other’s exposed melds (but must have one exposed meld to play on partners cards). First person to 1,550 wins. A simple way to play for money is to value each 100pts = 1€ or $.
100pt bonus for player who wins the hand.
200pt bonus if expose all 13 cards in melds at once. If they have not placed any melds down, his partner and each opponent count 200pts against (not the value of individual cards).
200pt penalty if hand over and player has not exposed any melds.
Double the value of the meld if four of a kind melded.
Double the value if play a sequence of 6 or more cards played at once.
500pt bonus if play four jokers at once.
1,500pt bonus if have 13 card sequence of one suit at the end of the hand: ace, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, ace. This is much more likely if playing with 4 people and partners.
Strategy: Try not to discard cards that opponent can use in a meld. Remember cards picked from discard pile to prevent opponent from completing melds (as three or four of a kind must be in different suits, can discard cards in same suit).

About admin

I would like to think of myself as a full time traveler. I have been retired since 2006 and in that time have traveled every winter for four to seven months. The months that I am "home", are often also spent on the road, hiking or kayaking. I hope to present a website that describes my travel along with my hiking and sea kayaking experiences.
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