Card Games for 2 People Play

Card Games for 2 People Play

We’re not sure what the first-ever card game was. We’re fairly sure it wasn’t Snap, and there’s a good chance it wasn’t Go Fish. But what we are sure of is that card games have been going on for over a thousand years, with the very first game being reported in China, in 1000 AD. 

And there’s a good reason why they’ve stuck around so long. Even amidst all the video games we have access to in 2024, card games are still being played by people looking for a quick, convenient, and challenging way to have fun. 

Unlike other games, card games don’t require time, effort, or money to set up – other than the $2.99 you paid for them – which means you can play a game in minimal time with minimal effort. They’re also adaptable. With just a simple deck from aces to kings, you can play plenty of intricate games that can work for both quick play and a more in-depth, complicated challenge. 

What’s that you say? Baldur’s Gate 3 was the best game of 2023? Bah, nonsense. An estimated 1.6 billion people play in an online casino every year, so we’re pretty sure the best game remains a toss-up between Blackjack, Poker, or Roulette

Two of those, of course, are card games, and that goes to show that ever since their inception over a thousand years ago, cards have remained the best ‘gaming devices’ that anyone can own. And as we mentioned before, they can provide you with plenty more games than Blackjack and Poker.

Instead of looking at the best video games to play in 2024, then, we’re going to give you a rundown of the best card games to play in 2024, with a particular focus on 2-people-play for those who are looking for multiplayer action – without having to sit in an unskippable waiting room!

Playing cards spread on a table with the Queen of Spades face up


Sadly Bridge is a predominantly four-person game – in that you need a partner to play – so we’re going to start with our other favourite card game, Karma. Also known as Ten-Two Slide or Palace, this is a perfect game to while away some time with a partner, and the best thing is, it’s incredibly simple to play.  According to the card game website, Catsatcards, this is a favorite among travelers and backpackers, particularly across Europe, and, as a result, is known and played in many countries throughout the world as well as by a wide variety of other names such as Shed, China Hand, and Ten-two Slip.

You start by shuffling your deck and laying three cards face down in front of you and the opposite player. You then place three cards face up on top of the ones face down, and deal a further three cards for your hands. You then place your cards down one at a time in the middle of the table, with the main aim being to get rid of the deck and the cards you have face up and face down. 

It’s essential that the card you lay down is higher than the card your opponent lays down, otherwise, you have to pick up the deck and have more to get rid of. 2’s can be played on any card to start again, 3’s are invisible cards, and tens get rid of the middle deck. The cards face down must also be played ‘blind’, which means it’s down to chance on whether you will play a card higher than what’s on the table. Click here for complete rules for Karma.

playing cards on the table, mans hands preparing to deal


Another classic two-player card game is Rummy. If you’ve been on the planet for longer than eighteen years, then the chances are you’ve come across this game before, but for those who haven’t, we’ll briefly explain the rules. Each player is dealt ten cards, and their objective is to put their cards into two combinations: ‘runs’, which are a consecutive sequence of three or more cards of the same suit, or ‘sets’, which are three or four cards of the same rank. 

If you can meld your cards, then you put these cards down on the table, but if you can’t, you discard one card from your hand and place it face-up in the discard pile. Each player can draw a card from either the stock pile or the discard pile, depending on the type of hand they’re trying to build. The game ends when a player gets rid of all of their cards. 

Apparently Rummy games first appeared in the early twentieth century, and are thought to be derived from the Mexican game Conquian. Full rules of Rummy can be found here.

Warm coloured image of dealer at a black jack table in a casino


We mentioned it just now, and we have to mention it again. Blackjack remains one of the most exciting and invigorating 2-person card games there is – and it takes our vote as the best game ever to be invented, outside of Bridge of course. 

The rules are, again, fairly simple. You start by placing your bets and the dealer will then give you a card, face up, and themselves a card, face down. They will then deal one more card to you, face up, and another for themselves, face up. The player will then decide what to do next, with the objective being to ‘beat the dealer’ by drawing a hand that is higher than their hand but lower than 21. You can also win by drawing a hand of 21 – Blackjack! – or if the dealer draws a hand value that exceeds 21. 

The cards 2 through 10 are perceived on face value, while jacks, queens, and kings are counted as 10. Ace is interchangeable, meaning it can be counted as either 1 or 11 depending on what helps your hand. If you need more to get to 21, you can ask the dealer to ‘hit’ and receive another card. If you’ve been dealt a pair, you also have the option to ‘split’ so each card becomes the first card on a new hand, and you’ll be dealt a second card for each.  

There’s so much more to the game of Black Jack. If you think this would be something you’d like to learn you can start with the Rules of Black Jack here.

Warm photo of a crib board and playing cards on a brown table, holiday lights in the background, someone holding a glass of wine


Cribbage (or Crib) is the ultimate two-player game. Many couples have been playing together their entire marriage, keeping a running score. While some thought Cribbage wouldn’t survive the digital world, it’s still going strong even in 2024. If you want to play Cribbage, however, then you better like math, because this is essentially a game of numbers. However, not to worry. You don’t have to count past 31 on any given hand. In this card game, you and your opponent collect points by combining cards together and making runs – sometimes you score points, sometimes you try to block your opponent from scoring points. 

Each player takes turns to play the cards in their hand and add up the values, with the ability to score by making a total of 15 or 31. The first player to reach 121 points wins the game. Unlike the other games on this list, you will need a cribbage board to go along with your cards, as each player races their pegs around the board, earning points to cross the finish line. 

For complete Rules of Cribbage, you can visit Bicycle Cards.

The Ace and King of spades being revealed next to a stack of poker chips

Texas Hold’em Poker

We’re going to end this list with another long-famous card game. Blackjack remains one of the most played games in online casinos and in traditional casinos alike, but the other is undoubtedly Poker. While it’s great fun to play poker with multiple people – leading to more stakes, more tension, and more excitement – it’s perfectly doable to play poker as a twosome. There are many variations of Poker, but for this, we’re going to focus on the most popular: Texas Hold’em. 

The object of this game is to stay in hand and see out the five cards as they are laid in the centre of the table. Each player has two cards dealt face down, and the player who has the best ‘hand’ by the time the fifth card is dealt wins the pot – which is added to throughout the game depending on the type of hand the player is building.  

To play with two players, you will need to distribute three buttons – dealer, small blind, and big blind – or give a single player the small blind and dealer button, with the other becoming big blind. You will also need a hand ‘cheat sheet’ if you haven’t played before, with explanations on the big blind and small blind, and the variety of hands you can build – which include ‘five of a kind’, ‘flush’, ‘straight flush’, ‘full house’, and many more.

You can find a good outline of how to play Texas Hold’em on Wiki here