Are you new to trick-taking card games and looking for some exciting options to try? Then you have come to the right place! Today, we share our top 5 picks for the best beginner-friendly trick-taking card games. These guarantee excitement without too much of a challenge!
Whether it’s your first hand at Hearts, Pinochle, Spades, or other classic favorites – these choices ensure hours of fun and lots of laughs as you sharpen your skills with each round. Call some of your friends now and start shuffling. You’ll discover the charm of trick-taking with our meticulously curated list below!
The Simplest Card Games in the Trick-Taking Family
For those who haven’t played trick-taking games before, it’s best to avoid overwhelming yourself with challenging titles that will make you hate playing cards. The smartest way would be to begin with easy ones until you’re confident with your skills.
With that said, begin with the games below:
Pitch or Setback is a card game played by two teams while using a standard deck with an addition of two Jokers. The goal is to be the first team to reach 52 points. The common Pitch variation is the 10-point Pitch, which we’ll focus on below.
How to play Pitch:
- Bidding: Players will bet on how many tricks they can take. The minimum bid is 4 points, and the bidding begins with the player on the dealer’s left and continues clockwise.
- Redraw: Once the bid winner determines the trump card, all other players will remove their non-trump cards suited cards, except for the bid winner. These will be reshuffled and dealt to each bid loser until they have six cards each. The bid winner will take all remaining trump cards from the deck and remove all non-trump-suited cards from their hand.
- Trick-taking: The bid winner begins by playing the first trick. All players must try to win the highest-ranking card to win points. Trump-suited cards can be played, and the trick winner will begin the next round.
- Scoring: Trump cards are worth points, with Jack, Jick, Ace, high and low Joker, 10, and 2 are 1 point. Meanwhile, 3 is 3 points. Teams tally points, and the first to reach 52 points win.
To familiarize yourself with this game, you should practice first. Tons of Pitch apps allow you to play against an intelligent AI for those who want to play alone without judgement.
Hearts isn’t a trick-taking game but a variation called trick avoidance. As the name implies, players must avoid taking certain cards worth penalty points. To win, players must have the lowest points accumulated. It’s straightforward, and you can play the Hearts card game as soon as you get its basics.
Some basics to remember:
- Cards from the Hearts suit are equal to 1 point, and the Queen of Spades is 13 points.
- Up to 7 players can join.
- The player to the left begins with the first trick, and the next player follows suit.
- No one can play the Hearts or Queen of Spades card unless a “broken heart” has been played. It means the Hearts suit can be led once a player has no card of the same suit, so they throw a Hearts card instead.
If you’re intrigued and want to see if you’re into trick-avoidance card games, play the Hearts card game online or on your mobile device. Visit browser-based platforms if you want to try it without downloading the game!
Another easy game is Briscola. It’s an Italian card game that can be played by two, three, four, or six players. The five-player variation is called Briscola Chiamata and is also highly recommended.
Basics of Briscola:
- Better if played using a 40-card Italian deck.
- It’s a point-trick card game that doesn’t require you to follow suit.
- Players are dealt three cards, one card at a time.
- The card on the top of the remaining cards is the Trump (Briscola) suit.
- If players haven’t played a Briscola card, the highest leading suit wins.
The winner is determined based on the values of the cards they won, so the player with the highest score wins. It’s less savvy than the other games on the list, but Briscola is an excellent introduction for beginners.
If you’re familiar with Cribbage, Pinochle is going to be easy for you, as they have similar meld systems. It’s played by two teams with two players each and uses a non-standard deck of A, K, Q, J, 10, and 9 in each suit. The game begins with the Melding Phase, then the Trick-Taking phase.
Basics of Pinochle:
- How to win: A team wins if they earn 150 points.
- Melding phase: Players will check if their hands have meld combinations to score points. For instance, a Trump run consists of 10, K, Q, K, and A and is equal to 15 points.
- Trick-taking phase: The player to the dealer’s left will lead a trick with any card from their hand, then proceed clockwise until all players have played one card each. The highest trump suit or the same suit as led wins.
- Scoring: The meld and trick-taking phase scores are added to the total score.
Pinochle can be daunting at first since it has two phases. However, it’s simple, and melding allows you to plot your moves and strategy. You can improve your skills by playing it online or with friends at home!
Finally, we have Spades, an iconic trick-taking card game invented in the 1930s. It’s commonly played by two teams with two players, and also uses a standard deck with 52 cards. The game begins with a bidding phase before trick-taking.
Basics of Spades:
- The goal is to bid the correct number of tricks and make them.
- The player to the dealer’s left begins by bidding, then proceeding clockwise until all players have bid.
- Once every player has made a bid, the trump suit is determined. The player to the dealer’s left leads by playing any card from their hand, proceeding clockwise, where players must follow suit.
- Each trick taken is 1 point, and each bag (over fulfilled bid) equals 1 point.
Spades is a strategic game, and it’s ideal for those familiar with trick-taking rules already since it has additional elements. Nevertheless, the basics are simple and easy to grasp. Playing with friends at home or online can help you become more familiar!
Become an Expert by Playing the Card Games Above
No matter what trick-taking card game you want to learn, there’s no doubt they’re all fun and interactive games anyone can enjoy. These five card games have different rules and objectives, but once you get the hang of them, you can master them and become a master trick-taker! Give them a try, and join your friends or the online community for a fun game night.