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Card games offer a fascinating, cheap, and screen-free means to pass time. However, several classic card games are most suitable for 2, 4, or other even numbers of players.

But does that mean a group of three should miss out on the fun? No, as there are many card games (for children, adults, or families), which can keep 3 people engaged.

3-player card games are made for three or more individuals and are naturally competitive since they involve multiple players. These games, unlike the more serious 2-player card games, feature a lot more interactions as a result of the longer downtime between turns.

Hence, the three-player games are popular in social settings, like restaurants and family gatherings. Here are some of the best card games for 3 people:

Best Card Games for 3 People

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy belongs to the Rummy family of games. The object of the game is to gather cards into melds and hold as little deadwood as possible when the game ends.

The scoring is done based on how much deadwood you’ve when each game comes to an end. A game of Gin Rummy can involve several rounds, and it ends when a player gets 100 points.

When that happens, the overall points for each player are determined, adding their bonuses. The player that earns the highest score becomes the winner of the whole game.

Just like most games, many variations exist. So, the game could be slightly different from the way you play it.

To get started, each player is given ten cards. Then, the remaining deck is placed on the table face down between the players, with one card positioned face-up beside the deck to begin the discard pile.

A player starts each turn by drawing a single card.

They can either pick the top card from the discard pile or the top card from the deck. Generally, you’re only allowed to take the top card from the discard pile if you’re sure the card will help you make a meld with a couple of the other cards you’re holding.


In this game, the object is to win all the cards, by becoming the first player to slap each jack as it’s played to the center. Slapjack uses the standard 52-card pack.

You’re to deal the cards, face-down, one at a time to each player in the game until all of the cards have been dealt.

It’s not necessary that the hands come out even.

Without checking any of the cards, each player will square up their hand to form a neat pile in their front.

Starting by the dealer’s left, each player will pick a card at a time from their pile and put it face up in the center of the game table.

The fun starts when a jack is played to the center, and the 1st player that slaps down their hand on the jack will take it, along with all the cards beneath it.

The player, who wins these cards, will turn them face down and put them under their pile of cards. Then, they’ll shuffle them to make a new, larger pile.

Once more than 1 player slaps at a jack, the person having their hand directly atop the jack will become the winner of the pile.

If the card a player slaps in the center isn’t a jack, they’ve to offer a card, face-down, to that card’s player. When a player has exhausted all their cards, they’ll stay in the game until the next jack gets turned.

The player could slap at the jack in a bid to have a new pile, and if they fail to win that next pile, they’re eliminated from the game.

Go Fish

Also called Fish, Go Fish is a card game, which is typically played by 2 – 6 players in around 5 – 15 minutes.

The rules are straightforward, and any standard deck of cards without Jokers can be used in the game.

Learning how to play will only take a few minutes. If 3 or more players are to take part in the game, each player will be dealt 5 cards.

But if there are just 2 players, you’ll deal 7 cards to each person, and the remaining cards will be put in a pile, placed between all of the players.

Beginning with the player by the dealer’s left, each player will take a turn to ask another player if they’ve a specific card rank. (For instance, “Mark, do you have any Queens?” or “Jane, do you have any 9s?”)

A player has to give all the cards of that rank if asked for a rank they’ve in their hand, and the asker will then take another turn.

If a player doesn’t have any cards of the requested rank, they give the response, “Go fish.”

After that, the asker will draw a card from the pile. If the asker draws the card they were requesting, the asker will show the card to the other players as evidence and proceeds to have another turn.

To win, players make an effort to create sets of four-of-a-kind, and when that’s done, the 4 cards are immediately put face up on the table.

Gameplay will continue until all books have been formed, and the player that forms the most books wins the game.

You can also make Go Fish more interesting. Rather than stacking the leftover cards in a pile, consider spreading those cards into a make-believe fish pond & acting out the fishing part.

Exploding Kittens

Several “all ages” games are based on strategy, which is simple enough to be learned by even the youngest of players.

Exploding Kittens is one of such games that has a pretty simple strategy, which is to avoid exploding by ensuring you don’t draw an exploding kitten card.

The fun in this game comes from defuse cards and the ones that let you take a glance into the future, skip turns, and even steal from other players.

It’s up to you to decide the amount of strategy to use. Even children that might not find it easy plotting and scheming like adults would love the goofy and personality-filled cards in Exploding Kittens.

It has quick gameplay, which keeps all players engaged as well.

Monopoly Deal

Monopoly Deal is a small-group card game, which is also the ideal solution for Monopoly fans, who don’t have the luxury of time to be devoted to the original game.

Monopoly Deal lasts around 15 minutes. Players will charge one other rent, acquire properties, and make money, just like what we’ve in the normal game.

The game involves action, property, and money cards, with a healthy dose of luck to put all players on their toes.

Both older elementary-aged children and whole families can enjoy playing it.

Joking Hazard

Though certain adult card games, such as Cards Against Humanity, are more suitable for larger groups, Joking Hazard is a card game that’s actually better played by fewer people (but at least three persons).

Players serve as the judge in turns, with the other 2 or more players (as many as four are allowed) make lewd, rude, and ludicrous comic panels.

Players who win the round will be given cards. Also, the player that collects the maximum number of cards at the end of the game is the overall winner.

But winning might not be your priority when you’re laughing each round.

As larger groups would make gameplay much slower, Joking Hazard is ideal for small groups of 3 at least.

Old Maid

Old Maid is a matching-type card game, which came from the Victorian era. It involves any number of players and is a classic game that’s suitable for players of all ages.

Also, the game is easy to understand and has a simple gameplay loop, integrating minuscule skill with luck.

In Old Maid, the aim is to avoid becoming the titular “old maid”. To play, all you require is the standard 52-card Anglo American deck, without Jokers.

Also, you’ll need to take out a Queen from the deck, making the Old Maid deck a 51-card deck.

FAQs about 3-Player Card Games

Which three-person card games are easy to play?

Though it’s aimed at kids, Slapjack is fun and straightforward to learn. It’s also entertaining.

How can I play card games that have 40 or 48 card decks?

You can adapt the standard 52-card deck by taking out the 8, 9, and 10 cards. This gives you the 40-card deck. Alternatively, you can form the 48-card deck by removing the 10 cards.

In a Nutshell

While a lot of classic card games are best played by for 2, 4, or other even numbers of people, there are still several card games which can keep 3 people entertained.

These 3-player card games, the likes of Gin Rummy, Slapjack, Go Fish, and the others, are designed for three or more individuals and are competitive since they involve more than 1 player.