Back to Blog Mar 18, 2021

Two-Person Card Games That Don't Suck

Grab a friend, your spouse, or your kiddo and enjoy any of the following two-person card games.

Two-Person Card Games That Don't Suck

Still, waiting on your next stimulus check? No worries, the following games are fun and cheap so you don’t have to worry about saving your pennies to enjoy some entertainment that goes beyond your regularly scheduled game of Go-Fish.  

Grab a friend, your spouse, or your kiddo and enjoy any of the following two-person card games.


Speed is an awesome game for two people ages 10 and up, and while the setup may seem a little complicated at first, once you get going this game is a simple and fun way to break up your usual board or card games you have on rotation.

You can skip the setup and gameplay directions by checking out this video from Gather Together Games. Or, if you learn best by reading, these directions will help you to set up and play the card game Speed:

  • Number of Players: 2
  • What You’ll Need: A standard 52-card deck of playing cards.
  • Game Set-Up: Two players sitting across from one another will be dealt a total of 20 cards with 15 of those cards placed in a pile facedown(individual draw pile). The remaining 12 cards will be dealt out in a horizontal row of 4 piles between the players. Both outside piles will consist of 5 cards, while the two inside piles will have one card each. All card piles are placed face down on the table. Your row should follow this pattern 5-1-1-5.
  • Object of the Game: Be the first player to get rid of all 20 cards that were dealt to you.
  • How to Play: 
    • Each player picks up the five-card pile to begin the game. 
    • Next, each player will flip the two middle cards (from the single card piles) and begin to play a card from their hand that is either one number higher or lower than the playing cards shown in the middle. 
    • Players try to place cards onto these two piles as fast as they can (get it, Speed). Players do not have to take turns playing cards from their hands. 
    • Only one card can be played at a time.
    • Once a player puts a card into the middle pile, he or she will then draw another card from their individual draw piles in order to keep no more than 5 cards in their hands at all times. 
    • If both players are stuck and unable to play a card, players can flip one card from each of the outside piles of draw cards (the five-card pile in the middle).
    • If both players are stuck and all draw cards have been played from the outside middle piles. The two inside middle piles are shuffled and divided into two piles to be used as the outside middle piles to draw from. 
  • How to Win: If you are the first player to get rid of all 20 cards dealt to you, you win by yelling, “SPEED,” once your last card is gone. This card game can go by fast, so play best two out of three or try playing tournament-style (the next person plays the winner or take turns) if there are more than two players and only one deck of cards. 

Egyptian Rat Screw

Egyptian Rat Screw has an interesting name as well as an interesting set of rules that can be added as necessary during play and will probably be forgotten during gameplay. This game has a fast pace and if you don’t keep your wits about you, there’s a good chance you’ll forget some or all of the rules!

That’s why Egyptian Rat Screw is the perfect card game to play if you’re ready to move on from basic card games. Warning: This game may cause you to slap your friend's hand suddenly.

As you’ll see in this video, by Shut Up & Sit Down the number of rules for this game can border insanity, but half the fun is forgetting the rules. Have fun with this card game and don’t take yourself too seriously. To skip all the rest of the word nonsense and get a more in-depth look at this card game, watch the above video.

  • Number of Players: 2+ players, optimal gameplay is anywhere between two and four players.
  • What You’ll Need: A standard 52-card deck of playing cards.
  • Game Set-Up: All cards are dealt out to each of the players. Depending on how many players there are for the game, this may mean that a player ends up with one extra card.
  • Object of the Game: To get all of the cards from your opponent's hands into your hand. 
  • How to Play: 
    • Starting with the player on the left-hand side of the dealer, players take turns dealing one card at a time from the top of their decks into the middle of the table until a face card (King, Queen, or Jack) or an Ace appears.
    • Once any of these four cards are played, the next player starting at the left of the person who placed the face or Ace card has to “pay” a certain amount of cards to the middle pile according to which card was played. 
      • Ace = 4 Cards
      • King = 3 Cards
      • Queen = 2 Cards
      • Jack = 1 Card
    • After the player has paid their cards, without laying down a face card or another Ace, the previous player (who laid the face card or Ace) then gets to shuffle the pile of cards in the center into his or her deck.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, this is where it starts to get interesting. Here are more rules, which can be called Slap Rules as you’ll see below, that can be added to your game of Egyptian Rat Screw, depending on how difficult you want to make it. When any of the following situations happen, the first person to slap their hand on top of the middle pile gets the pile:

  • Matching Pairs: If player 1 plays a number card and player 2 lays down the same number, that’s a slap.
  • Sandwich or Hot Dog: When there is one number between two of the same numbers, that’s a hotdog or sandwich slap. *There can only be one card between the matching number cards.
  • Top & Bottom: If the bottom card matches the top card, that’s a slap. This one is a tough slap to get since you won’t necessarily be able to see the bottom card during gameplay. 
  • 10s: If two cards next to each other add up to 10 (7+3; 4+6; 2+8, etc), that’s a slap. 
  • 4-card straight: Four cards in a row: 7,6,5,4, etc. will earn you a four-card straight and a slap. 
  • Marriage: When the King and Queen and up next to each other. A Marriage can have the Queen on top or bottom.
  • Jokers: If you choose to play with jokers you can play with them two different ways. You can either always slap when the joker is played or the next player pays 5 cards to the middle, much like with the other face and ace cards. 
  • Three-of-a-kind: A very special kind of slap rule, if you get three of a kind (for some reason no one saw the pairs) and slap before anyone else, you WIN Egyptian Rat Screw.
  • How to Win: Try to get all of the cards from your opponents. The person with all of the cards at the end of the game wins. 


Blackjack also called 21, is a classic card game for two or more players and is easy to learn. If you don’t know how to play Blackjack yet, it’s time you learned. You can up the stakes with Black Jack even at home, by playing with betting chips or even real money. For visual learners, check out this Blackjack video for the basics on how to play this card game or continue reading.

  • Number of Players: 2 or more players
  • What You’ll Need: A standard 52-card deck of playing cards. You can play for money or with chips, but you don’t have to. 
  • Game Set-Up: Players are dealt two cards, one face down and one face up. They can choose to “hit” for additional cards or “stand” to keep their cards.
  • Object of the Game: Beat the dealer each round or your opponent if only playing against one person.
  • How to Play: 
    • One player acts as the dealer each round. This can be changed throughout the game depending on your own personal preferences. The “dealer” deals out two cards to each player including themselves. 
    • The first card dealt is laid on the table face-down, the second card is laid face up.
    • Next, each player can look at both of the cards. Don’t turn the first card over, you don’t want your opponent to see!
    • If you want another card added to your hand, you will “hit”. This means that the dealer gives you one extra card(s) that is dealt face up.
    • If you are confident that your hand is closer to 21 than your opponent’s, you can choose to “stand”. 
    • If you are betting during your game of Blackjack, you can choose to double down at this point and “double” your initial bet that was made at the start of the game. 
  • How to Win: Be the closest one to 21 without going over. 



Derek Monk

Mar 18, 2021