Top 10 Card Games for Diwali


According to folklore, Goddess Parvati played dice with Lord Shiv on Diwali. It’s said that anyone who gambles on this auspicious day receives blessings aplenty from her! So, whether you are a complete newbie or a seasoned pro, here are 10 simple & awesome card games to get you in the groove. Many of these involve a little gambling, while others can be played just for fun.

10. Gadha (Donkey)

4 – 6 players can play this game. In case there are four players involved, collect four sets of four cards of the same kind for each player (E.g. 4A’s, 4Queens, 4kings, 4Jacks). Now shuffle those 16 cards and deal them face down equally for all the players involved. Review the cards on your hand and discard one useless card you don’t need to make a set. Place the discarded card in front of the player on your left and then take the card placed in front of you by the player on your right. Continue this until you have a whole set with you and lay them down. You win. The others continue to play until they make a whole set and the last one to fold is the Gadha. Repeat playing the game until everyone is a Gadha.

Gadha (Donkey) Card

9. Jodidaar (Partner)

This game is played in teams of 2. If there are 4 players, two teams are formed and the members of a team sit on opposite ends of a table, facing each other. Before the game begins, each team decides a secret signal to give to the other member in case they have four of a kind. This should be a simple facial cue like scratching your nose, winking, smiling, snapping your fingers, yawning (something you are liable to do unconsciously and should avoid doing it until needed). The dealer deals four cards to each player and keeps the rest of the deck in the middle. The dealer takes one card from the middle and has the choice of either keeping it or discarding it. He passes on the unwanted card to the next player and if everyone rejects it, the dealer takes a fresh card from the middle. This goes on until someone makes four of a kind. In this case, that player has to give the signal to his jodidaar (partner) that he has made a set and that partner has to shout “Signal”. If this is a legitimate set, they win and if the partner misreads the signal, they lose. If a member of the other team notices this signal claims it, and it was a legitimate signal, the other team wins.

Jodidaar (Partner) Card Game

8. Ghanchakkar (Liar)

2 to 12 players can play this game and the objective is to get rid of all your cards. Dealer deals all 52 cards from a shuffled deck. Some may get some more than others, but that doesn’t matter. The game starts with a random player discarding an Ace in the middle facedown, the second person discards a two, the third person discards a three and so on…Ten, Jack, Queen and a King. Because every card is discarded facedown, there is no way to make sure if they are discarding the card that they claim. You can bluff your way and place any card. If any other player suspects that you are bluffing, he can call you out as a Ghanchakkar and you will have to show everyone your discarded card. If you are right, he gets the whole pile in the middle and if you bluffed, you get the whole pile of cards. The first player to get rid of all of his cards and survives any challenge till the end wins the game.

Ghanchakkar (Liar) Card Game

7. Matha (Forehead)

This is a fun game to play with family. 3 to 5 players can participate. Each one gets one card and without seeing its face value, everyone has to stick it on his / her forehead with glue. Now everyone can see your card, but you. Everyone gets a chance to ask other players some vague questions like if their card is higher or lower than others? Is it black or red? Is it a number or a character? Everyone can pitch in to answer his / her question in yes or no. Each one asks one question each round. The first one to guess his card correctly wins the game. Bets can also be placed.

Matha (Forehead) Card Game

6. Blackjack

This is a very popular American casino game that has been gaining popularity in India. In this game, the players don’t play against other players, but only against a dealer. Players can take turns being the dealer or, if the host decides, he gets to be the dealer the whole nine yards. The cards 2 through 10 have their face value, J, Q, K are worth 10 points and Ace is worth 11 points. Best possible blackjack hand is a deal of an Ace with a 10-point picture card. The dealer deals one card face up to each player starting clockwise and ending with himself. He repeats this a second time, only this time the dealer’s card is dealt facedown. The player with the highest total of 21 or below it wins. Anyone above 21 loses. If the player loses, the player’s bet is taken by the dealer. If the player wins, the player wins as much as what he bet. In case of a Blackjack (21), the player wins 1.5 times the amount he bet and in case of a draw everyone keeps his / her money. For the next round, the winner can become the dealer.

Blackjack Card Game

5. AK47

AK47 is a variation of the classical Indian game of Teen Patti. People love to play Teen Patti with their family and friends during the Diwali season. There are many variations to this Indian game. AK47 is one of them. In this version of the game, Ace, King, Four and Seven are treated as a joker, i.e., players can substitute any one of these cards for a missing color or a number to form a required sequence.

AK47 Card Game

4. 1942 – A Love Story

This one too is a variation of Teen Patti. In this version, Ace, Nine, Four and Two are considered as Jokers and any one these cards can be treated as a missing card that is required to make a competitive sequence. One more additional rule applied to this game is that people should stick to Hindi. Any English spoken during the game leads to their elimination.

1942 - A Love Story Card Game

3. Muflis (Lowball)

This is another popular variation of Teen Patti. In the usual game of Teen Patti, the highest ranking combination wins. But in Muflis, the card combinations are reversed and the player with least ranking combination wins.

Muflis (Lowball) Card Game

2. Nilami (Auction)

This is not a variation of Teen Patti, but just a preparation for it. This will ensure some extra money in the pot in the beginning of the game. As per the rules of Teen Patti, all players get three cards. Then the dealer arranges two sets of three cards in the middle with two cards closed and one card open in each set called ‘Game.’ The two cards of each set that are open are assigned as Jokers automatically. These two ‘Games’ are now open for auction. The players can look at their cards and if they have a bad set, they can bid for a ‘game’. Each player gets to bid and the highest bidder gets a ‘game’ and the money goes into the pot. After both the ‘games’ are sold, betting for the usual game of Teen Patti proceeds.

Nilami (Auction) Card Game

1. 3-2-1

This too is not a variation of Teen Patti, but just an extension to it. Three to six players can play this game. The dealer deals six cards to each player. Each player then without looking at them arranges his six cards in three different sets: three cards in the first set (Teen Patti), two cards in the second set (Imagine one), and one in the last set (highest card wins). So now betting starts for three games. Teen Patti is played with the first set and Imagine One with the second set. In this game (Imagine One), without looking at your card, you have to take a guess and declare to others which card would best complete their sequence (just like Teen Patti). The player with the best set wins this one. In the final set of one card, the player with the highest card wins. The player who wins maximum number of times in these three games takes the money. In case of a tie, only those three players will play again until a sole winner emerges.

So play along with your family and friends to have fun. SkillKindle wishes you and your loved ones a very happy, prosperous and safe Diwali!


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