Top 3 most popular card games of all time

By Neal - 04/26/2021

Did you know that playing card games has been a favorite past-time since the 9th century AD? For centuries people have been gathering together at parties and social events and dealing out cards. The earliest known deck of cards originated in China but the cards that we are most familiar with now weren't developed until the early 19th century and since then they have only continued to  grow in popularity. 

While card games had quickly spread from Asia to the European countries, it wasn’t until merchant ships began arriving on the shores of North America that card games first arrived in the United States. Small changes were made to adapt these games to more Westernized standards and slowly, but surely, the games that we are familiar with today were born.

Over the years, there have been three such card games that have made a name for themselves. Most people are familiar with these three games and have probably played them at some time in their life. What makes these games so popular is the fact that they use a standard deck of cards, the rules are easy to learn and they can easily be played with a small group of people at any gathering - not to mention they are a ton of fun!

The 3 most popular card games are…

3. Solitaire

Ranking as the third most popular card game on our list is Solitaire. This game was originally called Patience and its origins can be traced back to the 1600’s in Germany. It is played using a deck of 52 cards and the main objective is to finish the game with only four piles of cards, one for each suit. These piles must be in ascending order with the Ace on the bottom and ending with the king on top.  What makes this game so popular is the fact that it can be played anywhere and it doesn’t require anyone else in order to play. It is also a strict competition against yourself, which is why so many find this game alluring. You are challenging yourself to beat your last time and your previous skill level.

It gained even more popularity in the 1990’s when Window’s released its 3.0 version which included both the games minesweeper and Solitare. This game swept the nation, becoming a common way to pass the time in both offices and school rooms across the country, and variations like Freecell or Spider were also popularized.

2. Euchre 

Euchre ranks as our number two most popular card game of all time. This game is played in teams of two players and was first introduced in North America in the late 1800s. It is because of euchre that all of our modern decks of cards now include the joker.

Only the nine, ten, jack, queen, king, and ace cards are used when playing euchre. The main goal of this game is for each team to win as many tricks as possible and therefore receive a higher overall score than their opposing team. 

While some versions of this game require betting, most tournaments are played for fun, and only points are accumulated. Winning teams claim bragging rights instead of a pot, as was common when the game was first introduced. 

Euchre tournaments are a popular past-time, and many of these tournaments can last for days as teams all compete against one another to move up the ranks with the goal of coming out on top.

1. Go Fish!

It probably comes as no surprise that Go Fish ranks as our number one most popular card game of all time. This game is popular among kids of all ages, and, for many, it is the first card game that they ever learned to play - their first experience ever using a deck of cards!

Go Fish’s earliest roots can be linked back to variations of card games that have been played for centuries in Chinese culture but its first appearance in America dates back to 1984 where an eight-year-old boy devised the rules that we are all familiar with today. 

What makes Go Fish! so popular is that it is easy to learn and quick to play. Most games only take ten to fifteen minutes to complete and can be played anywhere from two to ten people. 

The game uses a standard deck of 52 cards, including the jokers, and seven cards are dealt to each player. The main objective is to ask other players for specific card values to make sets of four. If the other player can’t hand over any cards of that value, they will tell the player who is requesting it to “go fish!”. They must then draw a card from the pile in the center. 

The game is over when all of the cards have been used, and the player with the most sets of four is deemed the winner.

Since the earliest records of time, card games - whether using paper cards or tiles-have been among the most popular past-times amongst the elite, upper class and the poorest members of society. Playing card games is fun for everyone of all ages and requires little set-up and nothing more than just the deck of cards themselves. Card games can provide hours of entertainment and a friendly challenge amongst yourself or a small group of friends for people of any age or skill level.

No matter which game you choose to play, one thing remains perfectly clear - no matter how society changes or what new technology is developed, card games are still a popular past-time and will continue to be so for many more years to come.