A few months back my friend taught me this game he picked up called Zhen Shangyou which is a Chinese card game. He translates it as “Swim to be the First”. It also appears to readily be known as “Winner”. Either way, it’s a fun and simple game for two players with variations for more players.
Number of players: 2
Goal: Be first to get rid of all their cards.
Hierarchy of cards and combinations:
Highest -> Lowest:
Spades -> Hearts -> Diamonds -> Clubs
3 -> 4 -> 5 -> 6 -> 7 -> 8 -> 9 -> 10 -> Jack -> Queen -> King -> Ace -> Joker
Red Joker -> Black Joker
- Single cards: Any card from the deck, ordered by rank with suit being the tie-breaker. (For instance, Ace of Spades will beat the Ace of Diamonds, which will beat the King of Spades.) The red Joker is the highest single.
- Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the King of Spades and the King of Clubs will beat a pair consisting of the King of Hearts and the King of Diamonds.)
- Two [or more] pairs. Any number of pairs of cards with consecutive rank, e.g. 5-5-6-6-7-7
- Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank.
- Full House: A composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Ordered by the rank of the triple, regardless of the pair.
- Straight: Any five or more cards in a row. Twos are low in a straight (so K-A-2-3-4 is not valid, but 2-3-4-5-6 is), and Aces can be played high or low. A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest straight. If a [x] card straight is the current play type, it is only possible to beat it with another [x] card straight with a higher lowest card.
- Bomb: Any four cards of matching rank. Can be played on all tricks excepts higher bombs (i.e. the four same cards having a higher value) or straight flushes.
- Straight Flush: Any five or more cards in a row of the same suit. Same rules apply as a straight. A straight flush can be played on any tricks except for a higher straight flush [see straight].
Rules for Play:
- Once the cards have been shuffled, deal out the entire deck including jokers.
- Who ever has the 3 of diamonds goes first, however the 3 of diamonds does not need to be played.
- The player who goes first lays down the lowest card they have as a single, double, or triple (as if player one has two 3’s they could play one 3 or both).
- The next player plays the cards that are of the next highest available combination or if they cannot or choose to they can pass. The first player to run out of cards wins.