Card Games to Teach Your Friends This Christmas

All you need is a deck of cards to play these games

If you’d like to avoid your friend threatening to leave her husband over an incorrect Trivial Pursuit answer this Christmas, then learning a few new games to teach your friends is maybe the simplest way to do so. Card games are a great option because everyone has a deck of cards at home, so if you turn up and there isn’t a game plan yet, then you needn’t worry about having left the Scrabble board at home. We’ve put together a guide to some simple but fun games that can be played by as few as two and as many as eight players, so whatever size friendship group you have, you’ll be well-catered for.


Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world and it’s the perfect game to learn if you’re not sure how big your group will be. It’s super flexible, with certain varieties being suitable for anywhere from 2 – 14 people. However, we’re going to focus on Texas Hold’em, as that’s the most widely played variation and is suitable for 2 – 10, but ideally three or more, as you’ll need a dealer.

The aim of the game is simple: to get the highest-scoring hand that you can by making up a hand from your own cards and the community cards in the centre of the table. The difficult bit is remembering which hands are the highest scoring, and if you’re going to really get into the game then this is a good idea. However, for the purposes of keeping things fair for beginners, you can simplify things and print off a list for everybody. 

There are betting rounds that need to be taken into account, too, in which you increase your bet if you’re feeling confident about your hand, or about your bluffing abilities. If you want to get a little practice in beforehand without spoiling the surprise then your best bet is free online poker. Not only are there always people ready to play whatever time it is, but you can also rattle through as many rounds as you like until you start to get the hang of things.


Bridge is a slightly trickier game than poker, but it’s a good one if you enjoy couple dates. Bridge is played by two teams of two players each, and it’s a really good exercise in learning to understand how your partner is thinking. It is a trick-taking game, which means that you’ll want to have high cards in the same suit as your partner. For example, if the suit was decided as hearts by the first player putting down a three of hearts, then you’d want to follow it with a higher card in the suit of hearts to win the trick. You begin by choosing which suit is trumps (and will beat any trick), and then begins the round of betting on how many tricks you think you’ll take. This game is better suited to practising in person than online and learning the rules as you go along. Agree with your friends that the first couple of rounds won’t count for anything so you can really engross yourselves in the gameplay and learn the rules naturally.


The ultimate final hand in a game of Karma

If you’re after a game that’s quick to learn and will enable you to be truly vindictive to one another then Karma is a great choice. You can play with as few as ten people and as many as your deck will allow, or you can increase the number of decks if necessary. Everybody is dealt three cards into their hand, three cards face down on the table, and three cards face up on top of that. You need to be the first one to get rid of all of your cards to win. There are lots of magic cards in this game, which don’t behave in the way that others do. The rules can vary slightly from variation to variation, but generally speaking, 2 is invisible, you must play lower than a 7 if it is put down, and 10 burns the deck; other than that, play continues with higher cards going on top of lower ones. Play begins with the person who has the lowest card, which in this game is a 3, and continues around with cards getting higher until somebody has to pick up. This continues until the final three cards on the table, which must be played blind.

Here at UrbanMatter, we pride ourselves on leading the charge when it comes to entertainment. Need ideas? News? Info? From venues, restaurants, and bars to events, festivals, and music — we’ve got you covered.

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