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Cultural Card Games Around the World

Jodie Day
by Jodie Day

February 03, 2023

4 minute read

A few decks of cards can cure a lifetime of boredom… or at least hold you over until you reach your destination. After all, sometimes Travelling isn’t all about the journey. If you’re visiting a new country (or curious about a different culture) try learning more about one of these card games to boost your excitement.

500 – Australia

 Despite getting its start in the United States, 500 is the national card game of Australia. This game is commonly played with four players (two against two), although it can be played in groups of 2-6 people.   

The game uses 43 cards (depending on number of players) with the following deck:   

 

  • A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 in red suits  
  • A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 in black suits  
  • One Joker (referred to as a bird) 

500 gets its name from the reference to its objective – the first team (or player) to reach 500 points or more is the winner. A bid process, popular among Australian gameplay, creates an interesting way to start the game. Each player essentially makes a bid (or a bet) by considering the value of their hand and determining the number of tricks (turns) they can win using a specific suit.      

Down under, this card game fuels long game nights by testing players concentration and forcing them to continuously think. There are many quirks that make these rules challenging – especially since no luck is involved for winning a round.    

Do you think you have what it takes to master the card game 500?    

How to play the card game 500   


Doppelkopf – Germany

 One of Germany’s most popular card games, Doppelkopf, translates to “double head” and is a trick-taking game that’s played with four people (two against two). Although it’s unclear exactly where this game originated, it’s mostly played in Northern Germany and shares similarities with Skat – another popular card game in the region.    

Depending on whether a deck of 40 or 48 cards is used, the setup is as follows:   

 

  • Eight aces (worth 11 points each) 
  • Eight tens worth (10 points each) 
  • Eight kings worth (4 points each) 
  • Eight queens worth (3 points each) 
  • Eight jacks worth (2 points each) 
  • Eight nines worth 0 points each (these cards are optional) 

 

The name “Doppelkopf” (double head) comes from the idea that each set of eight cards will contain two of the same suits (i.e., out of eight queens, there will be two spades, two hearts, etc.).    

Due to rules being a bit confusing, this card game is easiest to understand by jumping right into play. And like many games, players have adopted their own house rules despite the German Doppelkopf Association (Deutscher Doppelkopf-Verband) developing standard rules for tournaments.    

If you practice enough, maybe you’ll be the next Doppelkopf champion.

How to play the card game Doppelkopf

 

Belote – France

 Belote, the national card game of France, was introduced around 1920 with the definitive rules being published in 1921. The game is typically played with two or four players (two against two) and uses a French-style deck of 32 cards.    

The playing cards used in French-style decks are comprised of the following:  

 

  • A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 of hearts 
  • A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 of spades 
  • A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 of diamonds 
  • A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 of clubs 

 

The goal of Belote is to score as many points as possible by collecting cards in a sequence. Players have added a layer of complexity to the original card game by adding new rules over the years.    

There are many variants of Belote, but it often gets confused with the card game coinche. Very similar to one another, these are two games that shouldn’t be confused.    

Although, players who are familiar with coinche have a good chance of taking up Belote.   

How to play the card game Belote

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