Deck the Halls: Top Card Games to Play this Xmas
Looking for festive fun that doesn’t hit your wallet at this expensive time? Looks like its time for a night of cards!Pick yourself up a standard 52-card deck and you’ve got hours of entertainment, right at your fingertips. So, for all those big group get-togethers, or cosy winter nights in, here are three top card games to play during the holiday period.
Also known as Fan Tan, Laying Out Sevens, or Parliament; Sevens is a card game for three to eight players. The idea is to create layouts (or rows) of each suit, going up and down from seven.
How do you play? Simple. The whole deck is dealt out. The player with the seven of diamonds lays down the card first. Then you all take turns laying down a card. You can either place another seven on the table to start a new layout, or lay a consecutive card going up or down in the same suit from one already on the table. If a player cannot go, they give the table a knock to say ‘pass’. The first player to be rid of all their cards, wins.
It’s a highly entertaining game, which can play out quickly (especially if there’s more players involved). Our top tip? Cling on to those sevens for as long as you can. That’ll hold back players waiting to lay cards of the same suit.
Easy to play, Trumps is a good option for all the family. If there are a lot of people wanting to get involved (let’s face it, Christmas always brings unexpected guests through the door), you’ll find this one just as fun to play in teams.
The game starts with each player being dealt seven cards. With the remains of the deck, the top card is turned to reveal which suit rules as trumps for the first round. The player to the dealer’s left then places a card of their choice on the table. The other players must follow suit if they can. If not, they can choose to lay down a different card or even ‘trump’ it with one of the ruling suit. The player with the highest card of the suit, or the highest trump card, wins the ‘trick’. The player with the most tricks under their belt wins the round.
Anyone without at least one trick gets booted out of the game. A new round then starts up, this time with each player getting six cards and the winner from the previous round calling trumps. It continues like this, with each hand getting smaller with each round, until the ultimate winner remains.
Want to raise the stakes and play something that demands a bit more skill? Whilst the concept behind it is still pretty simple, there’s opportunity to show off some strategic brilliance playing Blackjack (so maybe give that extra glass of mulled win a miss before you play.
In an actual casino, you’d lay chips on the table to place your bet but if you’ve not got any casino chips lying around the house, those festive chocolate coins are a cheap – and tasty! – alternative.
The object of the game is to beat the dealer without going over 21, if you’re playing more communally then just aim to get as close as you can to 21. All players, including the dealer, are dealt 2 cards and stake their bet. You say ‘hit’ to request another card. If the hit takes the total value of your hand over 21, you’ve gone bust. Alternatively, if you think you’ll get closer to 21 than the dealer without taking another card, you can choose to ‘stand’.
Hit blackjack with a hand equalling 21? Lay your cards face up on the table and rake in those chips!
Whilst these are the fundamental rules of the games, there are many variations of Blackjack that can be played. Make sure everyone’s clear on the rules you’re playing by before you start – that should hold off those traditional Christmas game disputes a little longer.
And we know that sometimes, the social demands of the festive season can really take it out of you. If you fancy a cosy night in front of the fire on your own, why not try your hand playing online? You’ll find plenty of casino games available on online. And who knows – you might even pocket yourself a jolly-good win in time for the big day.