Have you ever found yourself sitting at home and bored out of your mind? There is nothing new to watch on Netflix, it’s raining or cold outside, and it’s too early to go to sleep. We’ve all had those moments when minutes feel like hours.
One way to go tackle the problem is to invite a friend over for a game of cards!
Instead of mindlessly browsing your phone and refreshing various social media feeds, why not shoot your friend a message to come over and have some fun?
People have used card games to counter boredom for centuries, and it still works pretty well even in the 21st century.
If you don’t have a big circle of friends or even a chance to play fun 3 player card games, that’s not a problem, either.
We’ve come up with the list of 2 player card games to make it easier. Even if your friend isn’t too big on playing cards, some of these games are very simple and you can learn them together in a few minutes.
War Card Game: One of the Simples Two Player Card Games
You don’t need guns, tanks, and airplanes to go to war. You just need the standard deck of playing cards and the willing “enemy” across the table. This is one of the best two player card games if you just want to have fun and not think too much about strategy.
War card game rules are very simple and easy to learn. All cards from the deck are split equally between the players, so you both start with 26 cards, facing down.
Then, you’ll simply turn over cards from the top of your pile simultaneously, and whoever turns over the higher card will win the battle and pick up both cards. Whoever picks up more cards by the end of the hand is the winner.
If you turn over the card of the same rank, this is when the war happens.
You’ll both place either one or three cards in front of you from the pile and then draw the next card for the battle. Whoever wins the battle will win the two cards, as usual, and those additional cards.
If you’re looking for some card games for two that are easy to learn and fun to play, War is definitely worth checking out. Your friends will love it even if they aren’t into cards because there are no strategies or tricks involved. It’s all about luck and excitement.
To make things more interesting, you can add some fun challenges to the mix as well. The game itself is pretty simple, but if you have a good imagination, you can work in some exciting new elements.
Go Fish Game For Two
Although it can be played by several players, Go Fish is definitely one of the simplest yet funniest 2 person card games. Again, it’s easy to learn, anyone can learn to play it, and it doesn’t require any special preparation.
The game is played with the standard deck of cards with no jokers and Go Fish rules are very straightforward.
Your goal is to make sets of four cards of the same ranking.
You do this by asking other players for cards that you need. If they have one of the cards you asked for, they give it to you and you keep playing.
If you ask for a card they don’t have, you have to “go fish,” i.e. draw one card from the “pond,” which is the remainder of the deck set in the middle of the table.
Every time you make a set of four cards, you’ll take them out of your hand and put them on the side. The winner is the player who has more matched sets once all cards have been drawn and all sets created.
Go Fish is usually regarded as a kids’ game, but it can be just as entertaining for adults to play. Try not to take yourself too seriously: relax and have some fun playing this awesome card game for two players.
Fun Card Games for 2: Crazy Eights
Another game that’s not exclusively in the group of 2 player card games, Crazy Eights can be just as fun when played by two, three, or more players.
You’ll both start with five cards in your hand and there will be one card in the middle of the table turned face up. This is the starter card that kicks off the action.
The goal of the game is to get rid of all cards from your hand. You do this by following either the suit or the rank of the top card on the discard pile. If you can’t discard any cards from your hand, you have to draw from the deck until you can.
Like the name of the game suggests, all eights are wild and can be played at any time.
The first player to gets rid of all the cards from their hands wins the round. The other player receives penalty points based on the cards they haven’t gotten rid of.
When played as a two-player game, Crazy Eights is quite fast-paced and very entertaining. You don’t have to think too much about strategies as the game is simple enough and mostly about who gets luckier.
That said, there are a few simple tips that you can follow if you want to get better and win more often, but don’t focus on that too much. The key is for both of you to have as much fun as possible.
Garbage or Trash – Another Two Person Card Game
Here’s a fun little game that stands out from the rest of the two person card games in this article. The gameplay is simple, but quite different and rather entertaining, so you and your friend will probably enjoy it.
The best part is, it will only take you two minutes to learn how to play Garbage even if you’d never played it before.
The standard deck of 52 cards is used and you don’t need any additional props like poker chips or even a pen and paper.
A round begins with each player receiving ten cards. These cards are arranged face down in two rows of five in front of each player. Your top-left card is in the number one position, and the bottom-right one is in the number ten position.
The goal of Garbage is to replace all the cards on the table with their corresponding cards according to the positions, i.e.
An ace goes to the first position
A deuce goes to the second position
A nine goes to the ninth position, etc.
Kings are wild in this game and you can use them to fill any position. If you later find an actual card for that position, you can replace the king and then move it to any other position.
The play begins with one player drawing the top card from the remainder of the deck, which is set in the middle of the table.
If you draw a card that you can use, (A through 10 or a King), you’ll replace your face-down card in the corresponding position with it.
You’ll then turn over the card that you’d just replaced to see if you can use it to fill another position. If you can, you’ll repeat the same action, replacing the next card and then turning it over.
Your round ends when you flip the card that you can’t use, either because it’s a Queen or a Jack or because the position has already been filled.
You’ll then discard that card and it’s your opponent’s turn to play.
If they can use the card you’d just discarded, they’re free to pick it up. If not, they’ll draw the card from the deck and either use it to make as many moves as they can, or discard it if they can’t use it, moving action back to you.
The round continues until one player manages to arrange all cards in a sequence.
When the first round completes, the second round begins. The winner from the previous round is now only dealt nine cards, and they need to fill only nine positions.
This continues until one of you is down to just one card. When you are down to the round with just one card, all you need to do to win is draw an ace. When you pick up an ace, you’ll exchange it for the your sole face-down card, winning the game of Garbage.
Fancy Strategic Two Player Card Games? Try Gin Rummy
If you prefer card games for 2 that involve more skill and strategy, gin rummy is one of your best choices. The game does have a significant luck element, but it’s widely considered a skill game, where the best player will win in a long run.
If you’ve never played this game before, it’s no problem. Check out these gin rummy rulesto quickly get up to speed.
In a nutshell, the goal of gin rummy is to get rid of all ten cards from your hand by setting them up in melds. These can be sequential runs of cards of the same suit or sets of three or four cards of the same ranking.
The game isn’t too difficult to learn, at least in terms of basic rules. However, if you want to play it well, you’ll need to understand some underlying ideas and strategies.
Gin rummy can be a lot of fun, especially if both you and your friend are of competitive nature. Because the game isn’t just about luck, there are certain bragging rights and pride attached to winning.
Slap Jack: Reflex Card Games for Two
Not all best two player card games are about playing cards. Some are also about speed and reflexes. Slap Jack is one such game.
You won’t need any math or strategy to play Slap Jack – just very good eye-hand coordination.
The game starts by splitting the deck evenly between two players. You’ll both place your half of the deck in front of you, face down.
The first player moves the card to the middle of the table and turns it over. If it’s a Jack, you need to be faster than them in noticing it and slapping your hand over it. When a Jack is placed and you’re the first to “slap” it, you win all the cards in the discard pile.
If you slap the pile when the jack isn’t played, you’ll have to give one of your cards to the other player.
The play continues until one player has all the cards.
Slap Jack is a fun game for two, but try not to get too excited. If you slap too hard and hit your friend’s hand instead of the card, they might lose the desire to keep on playing.
Cribbage – Game That Can be Played By Two
If you enjoy card games for two that require a bit of preparation and some effort, then definitely check out cribbage. The game is very popular in some parts of the world and once you fall in love with it, you won’t be able to get enough.
Cribbage rules aren’t too complex, but there is a bit of a learning curve. I suggest you take a bit of time learning them before you get down to playing.
This approach will save you a lot of frustration and make the experience much more fun.
The game is all about playing correct cards from your hand to earn pegs (points), but without going over the sealing of 31.
You’ll earn points for other things as well, though, which makes cribbage scoring quite difficult.
I suggest you take the time to learn it by heart but also have the rules handy at all times when playing the first few games.
It will help avoid confusion and move things along. Cribbage isn’t one of the simplest 2 person card games, but once you get the feel for it, it’s one of the more entertaining and engaging.
Cool Card Games for Two: James Bond
This game doesn’t just have a cool name but it’s actually pretty fun to play. It’s a game of speed and memory that isn’t too hard to learn and can provide you with a few hours of good entertainment.
The game begins by distributing the deck equally between two players. You’ll each have six piles of four cards in front of you to start the round. All piles are dealt face-down.
The remaining four cards are set in the middle of the table and remain face down until the play begins.
When you’re ready to start, you’ll turn over the four cards and the play begins.
You can look at only one pile at a time and take any card in the middle to exchange it for one of the cards in your pile. You’ll take the exchanged card and place it in the middle face up, so there are always four cards in the middle.
The goal of the game is to arrange all your six piles into four of a kind, just like poker hands. When you’re done, you’ll shout James Bond to let the other player the game is over.
There are no turns in this game. You can take cards at will, as long as you stick to the rules and only look at one pile before taking a card.
It sounds simple enough, but James Bond can be a rather challenging game. You’ll have to stay sharp and do your best to keep track of what cards are in what pile.
The game isn’t just a lot of fun to play, but it will also help you improve your memory, so definitely give it a try.
Black Peter – Another Two Player Card Game
Black Peter, also known as Old Maid, is one of the oldest 2 player card games around. It can be played by more people as well, but it works very nice when there are just two of you.
It’s a simple game, but that doesn’t take away anything from it.
To start with, you’ll remove one black jack from the deck – this is your Black Peter.
Next, you’ll shuffle cards and split the remaining 51 cards equally. Obviously, one of you will have one extra card as there is odd number of cards, but this doesn’t matter that much.
You’ll then take turns taking one card from each other’s hand. Every time you make a pair, you’ll take it out of the hand and put it on the side.
This will continue until one of you is left with a lone Jack. This Jack can’t be paired up because it’s missing its pair. The player left holding the last unpaired card loses the game.
Bonus Pick for 2 Person Card Games: Texas Hold’em
When you think about poker, you usually think about a table full of players. However, Texas Hold’em can be a lot of fun when played by just two opponents.
This format is known as heads-up poker.
All standard Texas Hold’em rules apply so there is nothing special you need to know. It may feel awkward at first, but playing against a single opponent gives you a chance to play many more hands and try some crazy bluffs.
This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love poker as is, give it a go. You may be surprised at how entertaining it can be.
Best Two Player Card Games Summary
Whether you enjoy card games as is or you’re just looking for some new ideas to pass some time, this article should be helpful.
There are so many great card games for two out there and it’s really a shame that some of these games are slowly becoming forgotten.
Hopefully, after reading this text, at least one or two options have captured your imagination enough to give them a try.
If that’s the case, don’t waste any time. Invite a friend over and go for it! You’ll be surprised at how fast the time flies when you find the game you enjoy.