Two Player Card Games

Here are our top ten card games for two players. All you need is a standard deck of cards, and someone to play with, so what are you waiting for?!

Mr Cosmo the dog playing a two player card game with his hooman
Photo of Mr Cosmo the dog playing a two player card game with his hooman

1) Spades for Two Players

Players: 2  |  Age: 8+  |  Game Length: 60 min  |  Learning Curve: Medium

Spades for Two Players is a trick taking game based on the original four player Spades but with a few different rules to make it work for two players.

Players take turns drafting cards from the deck until they have a hand of 13 cards, and you then bid on the number of tricks you think you will win, with spades trumping all other suits. You have to think hard about the number of tricks you might be able win, as you are penalised for bidding too high or too low.

A very fun game that isn’t too complicated and involves a lot of strategy.

2) Gin Rummy

Players: 2 – 4  |  Age: 8+  |  Game Length: 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Medium

In Gin Rummy you start with 10 cards in your hand and need to form as many Runs and Sets as possible. 

Decide whether to push your luck and go for a Gin (forming Sets and Runs with all 10 cards), or whether to call an end to the round early by Knocking and risk gifting points to your opponent. 

The game is played over a series of rounds where the winner is the first player to 100 points.

3) Egyptian Rat Screw

Players: 2 – 8  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 10 – 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Egyptian Rat Screw is a fun game that requires speed and a good memory.

Cards are split evenly between players, and you take turns placing the top card of your deck into the middle. There are basic game play rules that give the cards in the center pile to one or other player throughout the game based on chance, but you also need to look out for various different patterns within the pile of cards and slap the pile if you see one of these patterns occur. The person that slaps the pile first gets to add the pile to their deck.

The winner is the player who collects all of the cards.

Be careful not to make any mistakes or flinch at the wrong time, or your opponent will get to add the cards in the middle pile to their deck!

4) Card Golf

Players: 2 – 4  |  Age: 5+  |  Game Length: 45 min  |  Learning Curve: Very Low

Card Golf is a fun, light hearted game that works well with two players. The game involves a bit of luck, but this is balanced out over 9 rounds.

Players are dealt 6 cards face down in a grid and you take turns replacing cards in your grid in an attempt to get the lowest score possible. The lowest score wins.

5) Schnapsen

Players: 2  |  Age: 10+  |  Game Length: 20 min  |  Learning Curve: High

Schnapsen is a trick taking game for two players. Only the cards 10 through Ace are used.

The rules are somewhat complicated, and not helped by the fact there isn’t a good instructional video online…yet. However it is well worth persisting, by watching this video to get an idea of how the game is played and then reading the rules.

There is some luck involved with Schnapsen, but it also has a very strong strategic element to it. Those with a good memory will excel at this game.

6) Spit

Players: 2  |  Age: 5+  |  Game Length: 10 – 30 min  |  Learning Curve: Very Low

Spit is a game where those with good pattern recognition and a quick hand will excel. 

In Spit, you race to play consecutive cards on one of the two communal spit piles, in order to use up all of your cards before your opponent does.

The game is played over a number of rounds where the winner of each round generally gets to start the next round with less cards. The winner is the player who ends a round with no cards to pick up.

7) Whist for Two Players

Players: 2  |  Age: 8+  |  Game Length: 60 min  |  Learning Curve: Medium

Whist for Two Players is a trick taking game with two phases. 

During the first phase you are trying to better your hand by playing a trick, with the winner taking the top face up card and the loser taking the next face down card. When the deck runs out the second phase begins. 

Players then play 13 tricks and 1 point is scored for every trick won after winning 6 tricks. The game is played to a predetermined number of points.

8) Speed

Players: 2  |  Age: 5+  |  Game Length: 5-10 min  |  Learning Curve: Very Low

Speed has a lot of similarities to Spit, in that is a two player game where you race to get rid of your cards, by playing consecutive numbered cards into the center piles. 

The main difference is that your opponent can’t see your cards in Speed, as you hold your cards in your hand rather than having them laid on the table. Speed also tends to be a shorter game than Spit due to the typical scoring methods used which require less rounds to find the winner.

9) Kings in the Corner

Players: 2 – 6  |  Age: 7+  |  Game Length: 15 min  |  Learning Curve: Low

Kings in the Corner is kind of like multiplayer solitaire. 

It is a race to deplete your hand by playing all of your cards into the middle. As in solitaire, cards can be played on top of a card that is one higher in number and a different color. 

There is a lot of luck in the game but any mistakes can cost you the game.

10) James Bond

Players: 2  |  Age: 6+  |  Game Length: 5 min  |  Learning Curve: Very Low

James Bond is a fast paced, easy to learn game, where players race to complete 6 piles each with 4 cards of the same number.

The game is a lot of fun to play a few times, but doesn’t have an enormous amount of replay value.

Let us know what you think of our list in the comments below. Are there any other two player card games that you love? 

Here are our top 10 card games for two players, using a standard deck of 52 cards. Perfect for a free at home date night for couples - turn that TV off and spend some fun, quality time together!

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Play Rummy Online
Play Rummy Online
4 years ago

Yes, I love to play two player card games

3 years ago

the game of smear is a derivitive of whist but plays through very fast in about 3-6 hands where you bid the highest you can to call trump but go back the whole bid if not fully acheived game ends at 11 points