What are Indian Card Games?
Indian card games are a classic pastime for the Indian public, and some have even gone on to be popular across the entire world. Originating from the early 16th century, Indian card games have survived the test of time, still finding play in households and restaurants across the country. Modern-day India plays card games online using special commercialized simulators that serve as a substitute for physical cards.
What is the History of Indian Card Games?
Indian card games’ history is long, beginning as far back as the early 16th century. It is agreed upon that cards were first introduced in China, during the Imperial rule of the early 12th century. As time went on, the cards spread across the globe and came to India during the 16th century. The cards were brought over by the Mughal emperors coming from Central Asia.
The first known card game was found during the Mughal dynasty, known as “Ganjifa”. The name originates from the Persian term for playing cards, “ganjifeh”. This game was played as a game in Court, with cards made of luxurious material such as ivory or tortoise shells. Eventually, this game spread to the general public, with cards made from wood or leaves, far more affordable materials.
It is worth knowing that Indian playing cards were made to be shaped as circles, as opposed to the classic rectangles. These cards typically include 10 suits and comprise 12 cards each. The classic cards have images of traditional Indian artwork, such as horses, demons, warriors, and elephants.
List of Indian Card Games
Ganjifa is a classic Indian card game originating from the 16th century and uses circular cards made using traditional methods. The game is a trick-take game and involves up to 4 players. The cards played must be of the same suit, and the higher value wins.
Much like in Western card games, the King is the highest card, followed by the Vizier. Each turn starts with the dealer playing out a card of their choice, and other players in anti-clockwise order countering with their own cards. Each winner leads the next suit.
Andar Bahar is a very popular local card game. It is based on pure luck, and somewhat resembles Baccarat. Players bet on a 50/50 outcome. The Dealer starts by laying down one card, which must be matched. Then, cards are dealt into two piles – Andar and Bahar – and Players wager on whether the matching card will be placed in the Andar or the Bahar pile. The Dealer alternates between the two piles while dealing.
A card game originating from India, it has similarities to the game of Judgement in Western countries. This is a multiplayer trick-trading card game with an adaptable game length depending on the number of players.
The standard 52-card deck is used, and each round has a different trump suit. After cards are dealt, players bid, followed by the playing of cards. The bidding stage allows players to fold a round depending on their chances. Similar to most trick-taking games, players must play cards of the trump suit to progress the round.
This is one of the most popular Indian card games played today. The game is a trick-taking card game for 4 players, and uses the standard 52-card deck, though only 32 cards are used. The ranking of cards differs greatly from the usual, going from high to low as J-9-A-10-K-Q-8-7. Note that the 2-6 cards are removed.
Each player is dealt 4 cards and bids individually, with the highest bidder deciding the trump suit, followed by each player receiving a further 4 cards. The highest bidder chooses the trump suit and places a card from this suit face down.
There is another game called 29 with similar rules.
Indian Rummy is the most popular variation of Rummy in India and has similarities to the worldwide phenomenon of Gin Rummy. The game uses the standard 52-card deck, with more decks being added at higher player counts.
Each player receives 13 cards, and has to play out melds or certain combinations. Each card has a designated point value, and the winner is the player managing to play out all cards from their hand. Depending on the round requirements, certain sequences must be played. This game is extremely popular as an online game.
Another variation of the popular game Rummy, Marriage Rummy is played using 3 packs of the standard 52-card deck. This game is about being the player with the highest score at the end of the game.
Each player gets 21 cards, and the rest are placed face-down on the table. The players can draw from this pile, but have to make a discard for each draw made. The players then play out their cards in sets of 3 or more.
Pronounced “three-nought-four”, this is a trick-taking card game played with teams of two. The standard 52-card deck is used, and it is one of the rare card games that is based completely on strategic thought, with luck being minimal if at all present.
Cards are dealt to all players, 4 cards each. A designated player will decide the trump card, and decide on a score for their team. The game is played using typical trick-taking rules, with extras that award strategic play.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to play Indian Card Games?
Most of the modern India card games use the standard 52-card deck, and can be adapted to player counts by adding in extra decks.
What are the most common Indian Card Games?
Indian Rummy is a phenomenon, being played both physically and online. Most physical Indian card games tend to be trick-taking games, a takeover from the traditional Ganjifa game.
What is the major difference of Indian Card Games?
Card games throughout the world tend to follow a similar ranking system for cards, but the Indian card games sometimes have different rankings.
Can I play Indian Card Games online?
For many, playing card games online is the only way to play, thanks to the widespread adoption of technology.
Are online card games superior to physical card games?
Depending on whether you play games for the social or competitive aspect, your opinion may differ with regard to this question.