2009 November 25

Card Games by Deck

Topics

Although the average US card player rarely sees a deck that isn’t 52 cards, the rest of the world displays a little more variety. Popular games exist that use anywhere from 20 cards to more than 100!

Based on the indispensable card games site Pagat.com [Note], this brief survey classifies card games by the type of deck used in play. The left column specifies the number of cards in the entire deck and the specific makeup of each suit, as well as any additional cards. The name of each game in the right column links to rules when available and is followed by the preferred number of players.

I use the abbreviations K, Q, J to refer to the three court cards of non-tarot decks, even though they may not be called kings, queens, and jacks. German decks, for example, have a king, an upper jack, and a lower jack; Latin decks have a king, a cavalier, and a page. (Tarot decks include the additional abbreviation C, for cavalier.)

Listing of Card Games by Type of Deck Used
Deck Game
20 Cards

A K Q J T
in 4 suits

24 Cards

A K Q J T 9
in 4 suits

28 Cards

K Q J T 9 8 7
in 4 suits

32 Cards

A K Q J T 9 8 7
in 4 suits

33 Cards

A K Q J T 9 8 7
in 4 suits, + 6

36 Cards

A K Q J T 9 8 7 6
in 4 suits

40 Cards

A K Q J 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits

40 Cards

K Q J T 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits

40 Cards

K Q C J T in the 2 black suits
A K Q C J in the 2 red suits
+ 20 trumps

42 Cards

K Q C J T in the 2 black suits
A K Q C J in the 2 red suits
+ 22 trumps

48 Cards

A K Q J T 9
in 2 sets of 4 suits

48 Cards

A K Q J 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits

  • Aluette [4]
48 Cards

K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits

52 Cards

A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits

54 Cards

K Q C J T 9 8 7 in the 2 black suits
A K Q C J 4 3 2 in the 2 red suits
+ 22 trumps

62 Cards

A K Q C J T 9 8 7 6 in 4 suits
+ 21 trumps and the Excuse

62 Cards

K Q C J T 9 8 7 6 5 in the 2 black suits
A K Q C J 6 5 4 3 2 in the 2 red suits
+ 21 trumps and the Excuse

63 Cards

K Q C J T 9 8 7 6 5 in 4 suits
+ 22 trumps, + 4

  • Tarocco Siciliano [3]
64 Cards

A K Q J T 9 8 7
in 2 sets of 4 suits

66 Cards

K Q C J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 in the 2 black suits
A K Q C J 7 6 5 4 3 2 in the 2 red suits
+ 21 trumps and the Excuse

78 Cards

A K Q C J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits, + 21 trumps and the Excuse

97 Cards

A K Q C J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 4 suits, + 40 trumps and the Excuse

  • Minchiate [3–6]
108 Cards

A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
in 2 sets of 4 suits, + 4 Jokers

112 Cards

A K Q J 5 4 3
in 4 sets of 4 suits

Note: The site takes its name (pagat) from the lowest numbered trump in Eastern European tarot games. This in turn derives from the Italian name Il Bagatto (Le Bateleur in French, The Magician in English).