13 Card Game Rules


Thirteen is a card game typically played by four people, although it can be modified to play with fewer or with more. The objective is to get rid of your cards before anyone else gets rid of hers.


  • The 2s are the highest-ranking cards in the deck. After that, the order is typical of most card games: Aces, Kings, Queens and so forth, with 3s the least powerful.

    Suits can come into play if the same numbered card or cards are matched against one another. The highest suit is diamonds, then clubs, hearts and spades. If you play a 5 of hearts, for example, a 5 of diamonds or clubs beats you, but a 5 of spades does not.


  • Choose a player to be dealer. Often, players draw a card and the player with the lowest card deals. The loser of the previous hand deals subsequent hands.

    Deal cards one at a time face-down clockwise around the table until all players have 13. They can then look at and arrange the cards as they see fit.


  • The player who holds the lowest card, the 3 of spades, must go first. He can lay the card down by itself or in combination with other cards. Play proceeds clockwise, with each player in turn trying to beat the card(s) played before.

    Cards can be played as singles, pairs, threes of a kind, fours of a kind, straights of at least three cards in sequence (though not necessarily of the same suit) and sets of pairs, such as two 3s and two 7s or two 5s, two Queens and two Kings.

    Players must follow the pattern that was led and must either beat what has been laid or pass. For example, player 1 lays down the 3 of spades and another 3. Player 2 must play a higher pair or pass. This continues around the table until no one can beat what has been thrown down. Whoever wins that turn then goes, laying down any single or combination he wants.

    Play continues in this fashion until one player runs out of cards and thus wins the hand. Remaining players can either continue until only one player has cards or the player currently holding the most cards can be considered the loser of the hand and dealer of the next one.


  • To play with three players: Deal 17 cards to each player. The 52nd card is traded for the 3 of spades by whichever player has the 3. That player also leads, but since the 3 of spades is now out of play, he must lead with something else. If the 3 of spades happens to be the 52nd card, the player with the 3 of hearts leads.

    To play with more than four: Add cards from another deck--13 cards per extra player. Choose these cards randomly, but make sure you remove the 3 of spades from the second deck so you don't have two in the game.


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