A game of cards

I was once told that all the card games I'd created were "rubbish" for gambling, and I should try and create a card game that'd allow people to bet properly. I replied, saying that gamblers always lose in the end. However, my friend insisted, so I wrote this simple game in order to illustrate the point.

In order to play, you need any number of players, a cheap pack of cards, and something to wager.


"A game of cards" is perhaps the simplest card game you'll ever play. You should always play in a public place (e.g. a pub) and preferably shortly before you're planning on leaving.

Deal all the cards as equally as you can to all of the players, leaving one card in the middle of the table (face down.) - at this point every player makes a wager on the game, and places it into a communal pot on the table. As all players are guaranteed to lose their wager, there is no need for bets to match, but everyone should bet something of small value (sweets, loose change, etc.)

When all bets are made, turn the centre card face up. If this card is the ace of spades, all players immediately lose. Losing players should throw their hands in the air and loudly lament their loss, then leave the establishment in disgust. Leave the wager and the pack of cards on the table.

In most cases, it won't be immediately apparent that the players have lost, and the game should be played. Players take it in turns to place cards on the pile face up, and should act like they are playing a game with more serious rules. However, there are no rules to the play phase, players can do what they like. The idea is simply to ensure that an outside observer would observe you playing a game. Taking tricks can be a good way to create an effective illusion here.

At some point during the game, one of the players will reveal that they have been holding the ace of spades. This player is not the winner of the game - the winner of the game is the closest person who is a complete stranger to the player of the ace of spades (when it is played.) When all cards are played, the player of the ace of spades should collect up the winnings and present them to the winner.

Good luck explaining this.

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