2 player card games

2-Player Card Games to Play with Friends

2 player card games makes staying at home a lot of fun and exciting. 

Even though you are mostly spending time with your roommate, partner, friend, or parents, there are several card games that both of you can play together. 

So if you are looking for ways to pass time or spend quality time together, then 2 player card games might be the perfect activity for both of you. 

You no longer have to dress up, break the bank, or go outside because you can play these card games from the comfort of your own home. 

No matter what age group you and your opponent belong, these games would surely bring you close together and you will not even notice how fast time passed while playing card. 

We created the list below so that you can alternate different games each night. This way, you would not have to play the same game over and over again. 

What card games can you play with 2 players?

Cribbage

This card is one of the most popular and commonly played card games. Cribbage came from the old English card game of noddy and it is a close relative of the game called Costly Colours. 

The premise of the game is to play and group cards in combinations that would allow you to gain more points. It is usually divided into three parts: the Deal, Play, and Show. 

Without getting into too much detail, your luck at winning at this game would ultimately depend on your opponent’s card, the remaining cards in the deck, and your position on the board. 

If you play your cards right and utilize the right strategy, you have a higher chance of winning this game. 

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a two-player card game that would surely bring out the competitive side in you. It is a fun game to play with your best friend or sibling.

If you have 15 minutes or so to spare, then you should definitely try this game. It would not take up too much time and some even play this game to improve or practice their concentration skills. 

This fun card game is played with a 52 card deck (excluding the joker). We suggest you use two decks for this card game so that while you deal the cards, the other player would also shuffle the other deck. 

The main objective of the game is rather simple. The first player who gets more than a hundred points would win. 

Cuarenta

It is a great game that originates from Ecuador, which means 40 (cuarenta) in English. It is a national card game that is attached and usually played during Fiestas de Quito.

The main goal of the game is to reach cuarenta or 40. Cuarenta is the number of cards found in the deck and the point you need to reach in order to win. 

Rather than using all the standard 52 card decks, you only need 40 cards to play. The eights, nines, and tens are removed from the deck, leaving you with only a total of 40 cards to use. 

To keep track of the score, you can use the eights, nines, and tens you removed from the deck.

Schnapsen

Another card game that originates and is popular abroad is Schnapsen. It is widely known in Austria and it has similarities to the classic german card game called Sechsundsechzig.

If you are familiar with Ace-Ten European card games, then learning how to play Schnapsen would just be a walk in the park. 

Keep in mind that Schnapsen is not one of those drinking games or socializing card games. 

It is one of those card games that helps improve your concertation skills because it requires focus and more attention from the players. 

So if you and your opponent are both competitive, then we highly suggest you check out this game. 

Whist

Whist is a classic card game that has a lot of variety. It is a simple 4 or 2 player card game enjoyed by many people around the world. 

The main premise of the game is to try to score more points than your opponent’s by winning tricks. 

If you are looking for a fun game to pass the time, you should definitely check out this game. 

Like a 30 60 90 triangle, it is an easy card game to solve and learn. You only need a standard 52-card to play. 

Given the popularity of this game, you probably already played this game already. 

The basics of the game are to take the most tricks in order to win. So if you have a high-ranking trump suit or card, then you have a higher chance of winning. 

German Whist

As we have mentioned before, Whist has many versions and one of these is the German Whist. It is an adaptation of the classic game Whist that is specifically tailored for two players only. 

While the game is called German Whist, there is nothing in this game that is distinctively German. Other countries even call it “Chinese Whist” or “Hamburger Whist (Sweden).” We used the name German Whist because it is the commonly used one in several European counties.

In this game, there are two scoring variants which are either all 23 tricks or only the 13.

Like the classic game Whist, you need a standard 52 cards for this game as well. The highest card being the A and the lowest being number 2 

The ranking is A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. 

Spite and Malice

Also known as cat and mouse, this game is like a solitaire competition for two players. 

Since you and your opponent would have to compete against each other, you would need a two 52-card deck to play this game. Because there are different variants of this game, some people just use two standard decks without the joker while others include joker cards as wild. 

Spite and malice is a cat and mouse without the race. For this game, you and your opponent would have to take turns. 

The main objective of the game is to be the first person to move all the “pay-off cards” into the discard pile. 

Speed

Speed is a fun game that is played in just a matter of minutes. Since it is a shedding-type game, it is the objective is to get rid of all your cards before your opponent does in order to win. 

Also known as Spit or Slam, it is a fast game that you can play with your friends or family if you are just looking for a fun way to pass the time. 

We find that kids mostly enjoy this game because it is fun, fast, and requires little to no commitment when it comes to time and attention.

All you need to do is to get rid of all your cards first before your opponent does. What could be harder than that? It is like teaching greater and less than sign to your kid.

Nerts

This game is often associated with Speed because of the nature of the game. However, even though both are fast-paced card games, they have distinctive gameplay unique for each other. 

Unlike Speed, you would need multiple decks of cards in order to play this game. Aside from that, it is a competitive solitaire game.

The objective of the game is like a shedding-type game; but for Nertz, you need to get rid of the cards from the “Nerts” pile in order to win. 

Keep in mind that the sequencing of the game is from aces upwards. 

Idiot

Another fun game to add to the list is Idiot or Palace. It is a 2 player card game that requires a standard 52 card deck and can even be played by kids age 8 or above.

To play your cards, you need to either match the current number in the pile or play a higher-ranking card. 

In this game, there are only loser and no winners. So the main objective of the game is to avoid being a loser as much as possible. 

The premise of the game is to not be the last person to play out their cards. Whoever is left with the cards, they would now be crowned the Idiot of the game. 

Trash

Also known as garbage, the premise of the game is to race against your opponent in completing the layout of ten cards (A,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10).

For the two-player version of this game, you just need a standard deck in order to play. 

Kids mostly enjoy playing this game. So if you are a parent, we highly suggest you teach your kids these cards. 

This would not only preoccupy our kids but would also help them learn and practice counting. 

Since this game can be played in less than 15 minutes, you no longer have to worry about keeping your kid’s attention span for a longer period of time.

Pinochle

Another trick-taking game to add to this list is Pinochle. It is a game derived from bezique and it is played with a 48-card deck. 

The standard name is partnership auction pinochle and the ordering is A, 10, K, Q, J, 9.

In Pinochle, the higher score your score is the higher your chance of winning. 

The game is divided into three parts: bidding, melds, and tricks. 

With that, you need to have several winning tricks up your sleeve in order to win. Aside from that, you can also form melds to increase your chances of winning. 

This trick-and-meld game is in the same category as belote.

Kings Corner

Kings Corner is a classic card game that can bring out the competitive side in you. The first player to get rid of all his cards wins. 

Aside from that, it is also a great introductory game for solitaire because it follows a similar set of rules. With that, it is a perfect game to play with kids or even adults who have no idea what solitaire is.  

Egyptian Rat Screw

Also known as Slap, this card game is just as fun as its name. Egyptian Rat Screw is a classic game enjoyed by people of all ages.

Since this game is in the family of matching and fast-paced card games, it requires concentration and quick reflexes. 

This card game is a popular game whenever there is a get-together with friends or family. 

While this game is best enjoyed when played with many people, you and your friend or sibling can still enjoy this game. 

As long as you have the right spirit and excitement for the game, the Egyptian Rat Screw can be as fun and crazy even with just only two people laying. 

Go Fish

To finish off this list, we would like to end it with another fast-paced game. You can play it with your friend or family in just about 5 to 15 minutes. 

Like Egyptian Rat Screw, this game is also best enjoyed with huge crowd. However, two people can still play it and have fun. 

This game also uses a standard deck and it is very easy to learn and play. With that, Go Fish is mostly popular among kids. 

Without going into too much detail, the goal is to win as many “books” as you can. Books are any four of a card type. For example, four kings, four queens, and so on. 

Conclusion 

We hope we successfully compiled a variety of games to add to your mix. If you are bored of playing two truths and a lie, then you can just refer to this list if you want to change things up a bit in one of your game nights. 

To briefly recap, we have compiled this list for you:

While all the games we cited can be played by only two players, it is worth noting that some of them can be played with more than two people as well.

Should you ever get tired of the games above, you can check out some of our articles that covers a few interesting topics such as

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!

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