17 Best 3-Player Card Games For All Card Game Lovers

Card games are one of the best game genres for millions as they are fun, involve the application of skills, and can be played at any convenient location, be it online or offline. Perhaps the only constraint users face while playing card games is the unavailability of players in games that require four or more players, especially in a physical setting. For instance, poker games usually involve six or more players at a time.

Most classic card games are either best for two, four, or other even numbers of players. But what if your group comprises just three players who love card games, and getting the fourth player can sometimes be challenging? All you need is three-player card games for times like this.

Fortunately, we have the perfect list of the best 3-player card games you can play when caught up in such a situation.

But before you even take a sneak peek at the list, let us warn you that these games are highly entertaining and strategy-packed. Some of these games will only take a few minutes of your time due to their fast-paced nature.

Let unpack all the games we have for you!

Top 17 3-Player Card Games You Must Know About

Here’s a list of handpicked best 3-player card games that you can play online or offline. Take a look!

Game

Number of Players

Deck Size

Objective

Crazy Eights

3

52

Be the first to get rid of all cards.

Sergent Major

3-4

52

Score 1,000 points by forming melds and winning tricks.

Rummy

3

52

Be the first to get rid of all cards by forming melds.

Go Fish

3+

52

Collect more books (sets of four) than opponents.

Bullshit

3-10

52 + jokers

Get rid of all cards by tricking others or catching bluffs.

Let It Ride

Varies

52

Win payouts based on the strength of poker hands.

Slapjack

2+

52

Collect all cards by being the first to slap Jacks.

99 (Ninety-Nine)

3

52

Score points by winning the exact number of bid tricks.

Skat

3

32

Declarer aims to win tricks and make points based on bids.

Old Maid

3+

51

Avoid being the last player with the Old Maid card.

Play or Pay

3

52

Win the most tricks; first to 7 points wins.

Bluff

3-6

52

Get rid of all cards by bluffing or catching bluffs.

Spoons

3+

52

Collect four-of-a-kind and avoid being the last to grab a spoon.

Golf Card Game

3

104

Have the lowest score after nine rounds.

Baccarat Game

3

36

Bet on the player or banker to have a hand closest to nine points.

Cribbage

2 (sometimes 3 or 4 in variations)

Standard 52-card deck

Score points by forming card combinations and reaching the target score (usually 121 points).

Snap

2 or more

Standard 52-card deck

Be the first to call “Snap!” when consecutive cards of the same rank appear. Accumulate all cards to win.

1. Crazy Eights

You know what you’re getting yourself into if you play card games like Uno. The Crazy Eights card game is quite similar to the popular Uno game. The players are dealt five cards each, and the goal is to get rid of the cards before the other players.

In these card games for 3 players, the players use a 52-card deck to deal five cards for each player, and the remaining cards form the draw pile. The top card from the draw pile is placed next to the pile, and players take turns playing cards of similar rank or suit as the previous cards. If a player doesn’t have a card to play, they can draw a card from the draw pile. In each round, the first player that gets rid of all cards scores points based on the opponents’ cards. Finally, the player that reaches a predefined score before others wins the game.

The name of the Crazy Eights game is based on the special cards – 8s. A player can play the 8s card any time (unless a 2 was the last card played) and choose the subsequent suit. The game also has several other special cards, such as 2s, Qs, and As, with special powers.

2. Sergent Major

Sergent Major is a classic French card game played with a standard 52-card deck. It involves 4 players split into two teams. However, three players can also play this card game without partnerships. Each player plays individually against the other two players.

The objective is for one team to score 1,000 points or more by forming special card combinations called melds like sequences of the same suit or sets of three/four cards of the same rank. Melds earn predetermined scores, like 40 points for a king-queen pair.

Points are also earned by winning tricks, with bonuses for high card combos and holding the 9 of hearts. Players take turns leading tricks, following suit when possible. It blends rummy-style melding with trick-taking for engaging and strategic card games. It’s a fun game that you can try.

3. Rummy

Rummy is one of the multiplayer pairing card games but can easily be tweaked into a 3-player card game. You also have Gin Rummy if you are looking for a two-player version. That said, there are instances when Gin Rummy can be tweaked to accommodate three people. Played with a standard 52-card deck, rummy is an all-time classic.

In Rummy, the players are dealt seven cards each, and the goal is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in hand. The players must meld the cards in groups of 3 of the same rank or more cards of the same value or consecutive order from the same suit. Depending on the variant being played, the rules to win the game can vary slightly. Unlike casino poker based game, rummy is played both online and offline.

If you enjoy a faster rummy variant, you can try Gin Rummy on the MPL Pro App.

4. Go Fish

One of the popular classic and fun card games where the cards’ ranking doesn’t matter is Go Fish. It is one of the perfect 3 person card games. The game is popular amongst kids and adults alike due to the easy rules.

The objective is to collect more books than the opponents. Grouping four cards of the same value can make books.

Usually, each player is dealt six cards, and the remaining cards are placed face down. The player takes turns clockwise to pick an opponent and asks if they have a specific rank card. However, the player can ask for a card only if they possess a card of the same rank.

The opponent must give all the cards of that rank if they have them. The other players follow the same until an opponent has no cards of the desired rank. That opponent says Go Fish, and the player that asked for the specific card must pick a face-down card from the discard pile.

5. Bullshit

Bullshit comes in the category of super-easy card games and is often played for fun in the US. As the title suggests, the key is to use trickery and deceit to discard the cards in hand.

The fundamental trick to win this game is to be smart enough to bullshit other players and catch other players bullshitting. The game can be played between three to ten players using a standard 52-card deck, including jokers.

The game begins with players being dealt cards equally, and the first player announces which card/cards he is playing while placing them face down. The next player can either ask to view the first player’s cards if they think they’re bullshitting or pass or play their move by placing their cards face down, announcing that the cards are of the same rank.

If the player that challenges the previous player’s cards finds that the player bluffed, the first player must take their cards back. If the first player rightly announces the cards, the second player must pick all those cards. Bullshit is a fun card game for 3 people.

6. Let It Ride

Let it Ride is part of the new wave of casino games that emerged during the late 1990s

and is one of the popular three-player card games! It was immensely popular during the last twenty years, though the player base has slightly reduced recently.

The game’s rules aren’t precisely why new players fail to show interest. Many serious poker players are not too excited about the game’s high house edge. In simpler terms, there is no option for players to impact their winning odds much by using their skills and experience.

The game commences with every player being dealt three cards, exactly as two face-down to the dealer. The poker strength of the player’s hand decides what is paid to them. What makes Let It Ride different from other casino games is the player’s opportunity to pull out their stakes.

7. Slapjack

Slapjack is one of the easy 3 person card games. Inspired by Egyptian Ratscrew, the game is enjoyable for all age groups. Essentially, this card game can be played between two or more players using either one or more decks. Therefore, it is a perfect card game for three players as well.

Any guesses for why it’s called Slapjack? The game involves a slapping mechanic to take ownership of the cards.

Firstly, the players are dealt an equal number of face-down cards. They take turns playing their top card face-up at the center. The players must play the cards quickly and watch out for the Jacks in the discard pile. As soon as a player plays a Jack, all the players slap the card, and the fastest one gets to keep the stack. When a single player collects all the cards, the game ends, and that player becomes the winner.

8. 99 (Ninety-Nine)

Trick-taking card games are challenging yet entertaining for all age groups. One of these 3-person card games is the Ninety-Nine game, which originated in 1967. The unique feature of removing cards to make a bid makes the game quite popular.

Ninety-Nine is similar to Spades, where players must bid how many tricks they expect to win. However, the twist in this original game is that the players can make a bid after removing three cards. The game is played for nine deals, and the player with the highest score is declared the winner. You can go for as many tricks as possible, with 7 being the maximum.

The players make their bids in secret, represented by suits:

♣ = 3 tricks

♥ = 2 tricks

♠ = 1 trick

♦ = 0 tricks

The gameplay is similar to Spades, where the players have to follow suit when possible, and the higher-rank cards win the trick. The scoring system of the Ninety-Nine game awards 1 point for each trick won, and bonus points are awarded if a player wins the exact number of tricks as they bid. This game doesn’t have a trump suit.

9. Skat

Isn’t it fun to ally with a player against the third player? The Skat is one of the fantastic trick-taking three player card games. The Skat card gameplay is a little complex for beginners, but there’s no end to the entertainment once you get the hang of it.

In this card game for 3 players, you play with German-suited cards or a French deck of 32 cards from 7s to Aces.

When the game begins, each player is dealt ten cards, and the remaining two cards are placed face-down to form the Skat. Then, two players bid against each other, and then another bid takes place between the first bid winner and the dealer. The higher bidder becomes the declarator and can decide whether or not to see the Skat.

The declarator can pick a trump suit from the seven options, including four suits or four jacks, no trumps, or open null. The declarator must make higher points than the other players and cover the points bid initially.

The Skat card gameplay is a little complex for beginners, but there’s no end to the entertainment once you get the hang of it.

10. Old Maid

Old Maid is one of the classic games for grown-ups and young children, sometimes even better than your usual board games. Also known as Black Peter, this card games for 3-players is played with only 51 cards and simple rules. Players are dealt all the 51 playing cards at random, and they must make pairs of two cards of the same rank and remove the pairs to be left with only 1 card of any rank.

The dealer plays first, followed by other players, putting down any card face-down in front of the player on the left. The player on the left can make a pair with that card and discard the pair. The game continues until there’s just one player left – the loser. This is a super interesting 3 player card game.

11. Play or Pay

Play or Pay is a trick-taking card game for three players. The deck of cards is dealt out entirely, so each player gets 17 cards. One player leads the first trick, and others must follow suit if possible.

After each trick, the winner leads the next one. Scoring happens after all tricks – the player who took the most tricks gets 1 point per trick over 8. If two players are tied for most tricks, they get no points. If all three tied at 8 tricks each, the player who led to the last trick scores 1 point. The first player to 7 points wins! Simple but requires strategy in playing off high/low cards.

12. Bluff

Bluff is a simple card game that tests your bluffing abilities. It’s played with a standard deck of cards between 3 to 6 players. The goal is to get rid of all your cards by making true or bluffing statements about the cards in your hand.

On your turn, you make a statement like “I have 3 Kings” – it can be true or a bluff. The next player can either challenge your statement by calling “Bluff!” or accept it and make their own statement. If you’re caught bluffing, you pick up the discard pile. But if your statement was true, the challenger picks it up.

The game continues with players bluffing and challenging each other until one player runs out of cards and wins! Bluff is all about reading your opponents, making believable bluffs, and calling out fibs. It’s a fun game of deception and strategy that gets everyone laughing.

13. Spoons

Spoons is a fast-paced card game that combines skills and quick reflexes. It’s played with a standard deck of cards and one fewer spoon than the number of players.

The cards are dealt out evenly, and players quickly pass one card face-down to their neighbor after each round. The goal is to collect four-of-a-kind as quickly as possible. The first one to get all the cards wins. Once a player has a four-of-a-kind set, they must stealthily grab a spoon from the center pile.

When one player takes a spoon, all other players frantically scramble to get a spoon, too. The last player left without a spoon loses that round and gets a penalty letter (S-P-O-O-N-S). The first player to spell “SPOONS” is out of the game.

14. Golf Card Game

Also called the Crazy Nines, Golf is one of the fun card games for 3 players. The goal is to score the least points after nine rounds are completed.

Golf has several variations, such as 4-card Golf and 6-card Golf. The 6-card Golf game is played with two standard decks of 52 playing cards, and each player is dealt six cards. The players must arrange their cards face-down and turn only two cards face-up. The players draw and discard cards to lower their score at every turn. The winner of this fun game is the player with the least points.

15. Baccarat Game

Baccarat is one of the casino games featured frequently in Hollywood movies. The game is relatively easy as it’s based on guessing and uses only thirty-six cards from a standard deck. In this game, the number of cards dealt isn’t based on the number of players. Only two hands are dealt with two cards for each hand in the game.

The goal in a Baccarat game is to score the closest number to nine by betting on the player or the banker. The game has a few rules to understand to play smoothly. Nonetheless, Baccarat seems one of the most entertaining three-player card games where you don’t need to strategize much.

The cards in Baccarat are ranked as follows:

  • 2 to 9 are worth face value (in points)

  • 10, J, Q, K = 0 points

  • A = 1 point

16. Cribbage

Cribbage is one of the popular 3-player card games where each player aims to score points by forming card combinations. First, you will need a standard 52-card deck. Players cut for the first deal and the lowest card deals and each player receives 5 cards.

Each player discards 2 cards into the crib, which belongs to the dealer but scores for them later.

Players take turns laying down cards, starting with non-dealers. Cards are laid in sequence, and points are scored for pairs, runs, and adding up to 15. You use a pegboard to track scores.

The objective of the game is to reach 121 points by scoring during play rounds and with the crib. The game ends when someone reaches the target score.

17. Snap

Snap is one of the fast-paced card games for 3-players where the goal is to be the first to collect all the cards. It’s the same as SlapJack but with a slight tweak in the rules. First, you will have to shuffle and deal out all cards evenly among players.

Players take turns flipping cards from their pile into a central pile, one at a time. When two consecutive cards of the same rank appear (e.g., two Kings in a row), players race to shout “Snap!” and slap the pile. The player who slaps first collects the central pile. But remember to shout Snap as you do it.

The winner is the first player to collect all the cards.

FAQs

What is the best card game for three people?

Rummy is an excellent card game for three players. In this classic, the objective is to form melds of sets and sequences from the cards dealt. It’s easy to learn yet challenging and needs skills in arranging melds, discarding wisely, and keeping scores. For a quick game with strategy, rummy is top-notch for groups of three. You also have Gin Rummy, which again, is a fun card game. The above article contains handpicked games for three players.

How to play 500 with 3 players?

500 is a partnership game, so one player can play alone against the other two as a team to turn it into one of the 3-player card games. You can switch players after each round to keep things fair.

How do I play 21?

In 21, each player receives cards face up, and the dealer’s first card is face up, with the second being face down. Your aim is to get your cards to add up to 21 points or as close as possible without going over. Face cards are 10 points, aces 1 or 11. The first player to reach 21 points with their hand wins that round. This is one of the new casino games.

How to play Gin rummy with 3 people?

In 3-player Gin Rummy, the deal rotates clockwise each round. 10 cards are dealt to each player, and the remaining cards form the stockpile. Players form melds of the same ranks or runs of the same suit. On your turn, draw one card from the draw pile and discard one. The first person to get rid of all cards by forming melds scores points. If no one melds, the player with the lowest deadwood score wins the round. Play continues until one player reaches the target score.

How to play Gin rummy with 3 people?

While gin rummy is a two-player game, you can turn it into card games for 3-players. Here, the rules of the game remain the same only the number of cards in the stockpile goes down.

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