6 Enjoyable Traditional Card Games for 3 Players

Are you looking for something new and exciting to do with two good friends? Maybe it’s time to pull out the cards! For centuries, card games have been beloved by people worldwide. They bring families, friends, and strangers together in enjoyable competition while fostering teamwork (and a bit of friendly rivalry).

Whether you’re interested in classic favorites such as Cribbage or daring options like Golf, plenty of options are available to keep the conversation flowing and make your next three-person get-together a little more interesting. Keep reading to learn about six traditional card games that are sure to put smiles on everyone’s faces!


The Greatest 3-Player Card Games Out There

Thanks to the creativity and development of iconic card titles over the years, three-player card games come in multiple forms. Below are some examples you should try:


A game that will surely keep you and your friends preoccupied throughout the entire day is Slapjack, or Slaps for short. Derived from another old-age icon called Egyptian Rat Screw, the goal is to get all the cards in your corner using the slap rule. Don’t worry; the game is simple, and you won’t have difficulty mastering its mechanics.

Here’s a quick rundown of the game:

  • Players receive cards face-down
  • Players take turns playing the top cards at the center of the table
  • Once a Jack is discarded, players must slap on the stack of cards to take them all
  • The player who manages to take all the cards win

If you like card games designed for children to enjoy, Slapjack is an exceptional choice you shouldn’t miss out on. Mastering it doesn’t need too much effort. All you have to do is take note of the rules and be fast enough to slap away the Jacks!


A three-player card game that involves a lot of matching and grouping cards in sequences or sets is Cribbage. Although the game was initially designed for two players, it can still be adapted for three! Besides that, every Cribbage game has a particular set of features to ensure its main elements are respected.

Some features to familiarize yourself with:

  • Cribbage board and pegs for scorekeeping
  • Unique scoring system
  • Two scoring stages

If you don’t have a Cribbage board and pegs, you can still play a Cribbage game using a pen and paper, but it’s easiest to play cribbage online. However, memorizing the scoring system is necessary for fair play and to keep track of every player’s score.


Also known as Crazy Nines, Golf is a card game for three or more players who enjoy competition and challenge! Here, the goal is not to score high points but the opposite. It’s all about scoring as little as possible after nine rounds. We can give you some basics if you haven’t played this game before.

Some Golf card game features to remember:

  • It uses two 52-card standard decks
  • Each player receives six cards, and the remaining ones are placed at the center as the draw pile
  • Players will arrange their cards face-down in front of them and then turn two cards face-up
  • Players will discard and draw cards during their turns to lower their card values
  • The player with the lowest score wins

Ready to experience a competitive card game? Don’t hesitate to try Golf now. With its simple gameplay and basics, you can enjoy this game with friends. If you’re not familiar with it yet, play the game against an AI by downloading an app or visiting a gaming website to hone your skills!

Old Maid

Another lighthearted game that kids and adults will truly enjoy is Old Maid. It was believed to have come from an ancient gambling game where the loser has to drink, so you might want to add that element if you’re having drinks with friends! Nonetheless, this game is still a favorite among families who want to experience something different.

Some Old Maid basics to remember:

  • It uses one 52-card standard deck with the Joker or Queen removed
  • Each player takes turns picking up cards from their opponents and discards pairs of matched cards
  • The player holding the last card (either the Joker or Queen) is the Old Maid

Due to its simple mechanics, you won’t have to worry about the game being too stressful. All you need to do is create pairs of cards and avoid becoming the Old Maid! If you want to try this game before inviting your friends, download a free mobile app to try it against an AI opponent first.


Skat is a trick-taking card game from Germany designed for three players. These three players are known as forehand, middlehand, and rearhand – rearhand also being the dealer. Forehand and middlehand will be the defenders, and it’s all about cooperation without verbal communication!

If you’re unfamiliar with Skat’s gameplay, here are some things to remember:

  • Tricks are won by the highest card of the led suit
  • If a trump is played, the highest trump wins
  • The winner of the trick leads the next play
  • The dealer can only succeed if they take 61 card points in tricks plus skat
  • The defenders win if they score a total of at least 60 card points

The defenders will have to find a way to prevent the dealer from winning. What made it challenging was that they couldn’t talk or share cards. However, the right strategy will enhance the main gameplay, so Skat is one of the ultimate favorites for three players to enjoy!

Sergeant Major

Last but not least is a well-known game among the British armed services, particularly the Royal Air Force. It’s called Sergeant Major, and it’s specially designed for three players. This trick-taking game cannot be played with one player more or less due to how the game is set up.

To give you more idea about this amusing game, below are some basics:

  • The Dealer must win the most tricks according to general rules.
  • The Dealer must win eight tricks.
  • The Eldest hand, the Player to the Dealer’s immediate left, must win 5.
  • Middle hand, the Player to the left of the Eldest hand, and the right of the Dealer must only win 3.

With the existence of targets, players can potentially get into a “target debt” if they lose more tricks than they’re supposed to win. Overall, Sergeant Major will keep you on your toes as you try to win more tricks than your opponents!

Experience Renowned Card Games with Your Friends

Best Games like Eve Online to Play for Free

Take advantage of the fun and excitement that card games can bring. Give these traditional card games a try with your friends and family. Whether you want something light or challenging, there’s sure to be one that would satisfy everyone in the group! The best part is you can play them for free on your PC or mobile device, giving you an advantage against your friends!