Jacks: a simple card game

Sally-sThis is a fun little card game.

We often play it on train journeys because it doesn’t take up much room on a table. It was sunny the other evening so we played outside.

You need to shuffle a full pack of cards and deal 8 cards to each player. Place the rest of the cards face-down in a pile. The top card is turned over and placed next to the pack.

Now the players take it in turns to deal a card face-up onto a central pile.


The rules are:

  • You can only place a card on the pile if it is the same suit or the same number as the card already there.
  • If you cannot play, you must take another card from the pack
  • A Jack is a ‘wild‘ card and can be played at any time on any card.
  • The winner is the first person to use up all of their cards.

At the end of the game any players with cards left in their hands must add together all of the cards (Ace scores 1, all picture cards score 10 each).

We usually write down the ‘scores’, play three or four games and find the ultimate winner – the player with the lowest score.

Sally, our 7 year old, loves this game – she plays fast and furiously. She even likes the adding up at the end. Though we do help by asking her to rearrange the cards. So, rather than trying to add these:




…she sorts them first, like this:



She finds how many tens…jacks-_0000_Layer-1


and pairs that make ten



and then adds on the rest of the cards:



So, 10+10, and another 10, and 7 = 37

37 is not her best score… but it was hot that day and no one was really concentrating!


There are many other ways of sorting the cards to make adding them easier – if your children find a different way that works for them please tell us about it by posting a comment below.

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