What are Four Player Card Games?
4 player card games are card games played by four or more players. These games are generally less of the focus, with the spotlight
Despite the larger player count, these games still involve special rules, which are designed to ensure smooth gameplay despite the longer waiting times between each turn. This has been implemented in fun and innovative ways, with the most popular being turn disruption. Players are often given the opportunity to interrupt the turns, adding a layer of challenge and demanding players to stay alert.
To play four player card games, all you really need is the standard Anglo American 52-card deck, consisting of 4 suits of 13 cards each. Due to the larger number of players, certain game types may involve the use of more than one deck, shuffled together to form a stock of 104 cards. Depending on the requirements of the rules, Jokers can be included or omitted to taste.
A selection of the most played four-player card games are explained in the section below.
What are the Most Popular Four Player Card Games?
As with all card games, the space of 4-player card games is vast. To give you an idea about the possibilities, this is a tailored list of card games for four players.
Palace Card Game
Designed to be played in short bursts, Palace is quick to set up and to-the-point. Two 52-card decks are shuffled, and each player is dealt 3 cards face-down. Another 6 cards are dealt, with 3 chosen cards being placed face-up on the previously set cards. Each player takes turns playing cards and replacing them with cards from the deck. After 3 phases, the player who clears their hand wins.
A trick-taking card game that capitalizes on large player counts. Each player is dealt 12 cards each, and the trump suit is revealed by showing the top card of the stock. Each player bids an estimated number of wins, and the game begins. The players then play as usual, following the lead suit if possible.
A fast-paced shedding game, where the goal is to clear cards form the hand. Each player is dealt 7 cards (or more), and play one card per turn, following the rank or suit of the previously played card, drawing one if there is no valid play. Special ‘power cards’ are set, such as the 2s forcing the next player to draw 2, and the Kings forcing the turn order to be reversed.
A game of luck, this uses the standard deck, with 3 cards being used at each time. Wagers are made, and two cards are revealed on board. If the cards form a straight, the wager is returned. If the cards are a pair, a third card is dealt, and if it is the same card, the player’s wager is returned with 10 times the original value.
A shedding game with similarities to Switch, a single 52-card deck is used. Each player is dealt 5 cards each, with the remaining forming the stock. The top card is revealed to start, and each player matches the rank or suit one card at a time. If a player does not have a valid play, they draw from the card until they can make a play. 8s are always valid, and allow players to optionally reverse.
Knock Out Whist
A trick-taking card game specific to 4-players, each player is dealt 7 cards, and the trick can be led with any card. The played cards must follow suit if possible, and the trick is won with the highest ranked card. The winner leads the next trick. At the end of 7 rounds, the player with the least tricks take is eliminated, and the one with the most can call for a trump suit, which overrides even the leading suit.
How to Play Four Player Card Games
Four player card games use the same fundamentals as other card games, with the same terminology and gameplay styles. The concept of dealing is described below, followed by a quick overview of the three main styles of card games for four people.
The dealer is determined before the start of the game, normally by nomination or by deck-splitting. The cards are shuffled and dealt one at a time to each player, with the undealt cards forming the stock for drawing purposes. In most games where the dealer is involved in play, the player to the left of the dealer begins.
Turn order in four player card games follow clockwise order unless explicitly stated. The different game types will now be discussed.
Trick-taking games are played in rounds, which are then further split into individual tricks. The first player to play a card leads the trick, determining the leading suit. Other players must then match suit, while also playing a higher ranked card to win the trick. If a player cannot beat the card, they can play any card as a discard or forfeit. The winning player leads the next trick.
Matching games describe games that require the construction of specific combinations of cards, such as sets or straights. These games often use the same combinations used in Texas Hold ‘Em, such as pairs, triples or flushes. Constructing these sets can be done in a myriad of ways depending on the rules.
Shedding, much like the name describes, is all about clearing cards from hand as fast as possible. These games use simple rules to determine what can or can’t be discarded, and are generally fast-paced.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are easy four player card games?
Switch is easy to understand, and extremely popular.
Which four player card games can I play with one deck?
You can play Switch, Red Dog, Crazy Eights and Whist with one deck.
Can I play four player card games with different player counts?
Yes, the rules form the basis of each