How To Play Thirteen Card Game – 13 Card Game Rules & Game Play

Thirteen card game, also known as 13 card game or tiến lên, is a quick and popular card game that originated in Vietnam. It is the national card game of Vietnam. This game is usually played with four players but it can accommodate anywhere between two to six players. Each game lasts around five to ten minutes and makes it a perfect short break activity.

The game belongs to the climbing family and involves players strategically playing cards in ascending order to empty their hands. In fact, in Oklahoma, it’s a favorite pastime in casino break rooms among staff.

The game’s simplicity and versatility contribute to its widespread appeal. It offers a fast and enjoyable option for recreational card gaming.

Today, card game thirteen can also be played online where it maintains the same charm. In this article, we bring you everything you must know about the game and how you can play it easily. Let’s get started.

How To Play Thirteen Card Game?

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Let’s understand the rules of the thirteen card game so you can play with other players like a pro.

Card Deck

You play 13-card game with a standard 52-card deck.

Number of Players

13 card game is a multiplayer game played between 4 to 6 players. Even if you opt for thirteen card game online, you encounter multiplayer mode.

The Deal

The game begins with the player to the left of the dealer. The standard number of players is four, but it can be played with more. When playing with more than four players, make sure to deal an even number of cards to each player.

Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player receives thirteen cards. This is the initial hand that players will use to play the game.

After dealing the appropriate number of cards to each player, any remaining cards are set aside and not used in that round. These unused cards are typically not part of the active gameplay.

Card Order

The card order in the Thirteen card game is unconventional: 2 is the highest, followed by Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3.

Object Of The Game

Thirteen card game online and offline is like a shedding card game. The aim is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. You can play one card, pairs, three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more cards. Sequences and double sequences can be of any suit.

For example, you can play a run of 4-5-6 or a pair of 8s. The game combines strategy and luck, as you try to play combinations that beat others. The first player to empty their hand wins. It’s a dynamic game where you need to think about what cards to play and when to play them to outsmart your opponents.

Card Ranking

Thirteen stands out due to its unique card ranking. As aforementioned, in card game thirteen, Aces are high, but twos are even higher than Aces, making them the highest-ranked cards. The card progression is 2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3.

Additionally, unlike many other games, suits play a crucial role in breaking ties between cards of the same rank. The order of suits from high to low is hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. This means that a 6♣ is higher than a 6♠, but a 6♥ is beaten by a 7♠. The lowest-ranking card is the 3♠, and the highest-ranking card is 2♥.

Suit Rank

The suit ranking from highest to lowest includes Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. These are the four suits present in a standard deck.


The player with the 3 of spades goes first. If no one has the 3 of spades, then the player with the 3 of diamonds goes first. Here, you take turns playing cards in a clockwise direction.

You have to play cards in combinations, like sequences, and each play must be higher than the previous one. The highest card in the set determines its rank. For example, if the first player plays a pair of 3s, the next player can’t play a pair of 3s with a lower-ranking card but can play a pair of 4s, which is higher than what the previous player played. Players continue to the left, playing higher sets of cards.

If a player doesn’t have valid cards, higher than the previous card, the player passes until the cards are cleared for a new round.

Special combinations, called bombs, can be played on 2s. You gain instant win if you have four 2s or a sequence from 3 to ace. However, the catch is that 2s can’t be part of sequences.

The first player to get rid of all the cards wins the round. However, the game continues between the remaining players. Once done, the winner of the previous game starts the next round. This is how to play thirteen card game.


In card game thirteen, you can introduce a scoring system to add a competitive element. The scoring is based on the order in which players successfully get rid of their cards. 

First Player Out: The first person who successfully plays all their cards and gets rid of them is awarded 3 points. This player achieves the highest score for the first round.

Second Player Out: The player who is the second to clear their hand and get rid of all their cards receives 2 points. This player earns the second-highest score.

Third Player Out: The player who manages to play all their cards third is awarded 1 point. This player scores the lowest but still earns a point for their achievement. The last person remaining doesn’t get any points.

Players can decide on a specific total or agreed-upon amount of points to conclude the game. For example, players may choose to play until someone reaches a certain score, like 10 or 15 points.

Type of Combination of Cards In 13-Card Game

Even if you know how to play thirteen card game, here are some of the card combination types you must be aware of when playing the game.

  • Single Card: A single card or one card is the simplest type of combination, and the ranking is based on the card’s face value. For example, a 2 is lower than a 3, and so on.
  • Pairs: Two cards of the same type make pairs. Higher pairs beat lower card combinations.
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank but of different suits is a kind of combination.
  • Straight: A straight consists of five consecutive cards in rank. Suits do not matter in a straight. For example, 3-4-5-6-7 is straight.
  • Flush: A flush consists of five cards of the same suit, regardless of their rank.
  • Full House: A full house is a combination of a three-of-a-kind and a pair. For example, three 7s and two 5s.
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same type.
  • Straight Flush: A straight flush is a combination of a straight and a flush. It consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit.
  • Bomb: In some variations of the card games, a special combination that can beat any other combination is called bomb. It usually consists of four cards of the same rank and is considered higher than a straight flush.
  • Double sequence: A double sequence is a combination of two consecutive sequences of cards. A sequence, in this context, is a set of consecutive cards of the same suit. A double sequence consists of two such sequences played together in a single turn.

    Examples of a double sequence include:

  • Sequence 1: 3-4-5-6-7 (all of the same suit)
  • Sequence 2: 8-9-10-J-Q (all of the same suit)

Playing With More Than Six Players

previously played bomb

While you can play with six players, the catch is that everyone will receive a low number of cards. However, if you want to introduce more players, you can introduce a second deck.

But it is important to declare one deck higher than the other. For example, if using red and blue decks, one can be designated as the higher-ranked deck.

In the case of two cards of the same rank and suit being played, the card with the higher-ranked cards wins.

This can also bring forth an element of strategy and observation because opponents can observe the backs of the cards you play, and if you are using contrasting decks, they can deduce the strength of your hand based on the number of cards with each back type.


What are the 13 playing cards called?

The 13 playing cards don’t have a specific name and refer to the cards in a standard deck that includes the numbers 2 through 10, along with the four face cards Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.

How do you play a sequence with 13 cards in card game thirteen?

In a 13-card game, playing a sequence involves placing a set of consecutive cards face-up on the table during your turn. Arrange them in numerical order and follow the game’s rules. You could play pairs, triplets, and straights of at least three cards.

Can you play thirteen card games online?

Yes, there are online platforms where you can play the Thirteen card game. Online gaming websites, mobile apps, and multiplayer platforms may offer options to play the game against computer opponents or real players. The rules of the thirteen card game online are usually the same as the offline version but slight variations may be present.

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