Instruction for Playing the Go Fish Card Game

Go Fish is a classic card game that many of us learned to play as kids. Go Fish is simple to teach and learn, since the instructions and rules are minimal. All you need to play is two to six people and a deck of 52 playing cards.

  1. Deal

    • You can get specially made Go Fish decks with graphics for younger kids, but a standard deck of cards will do just fine. Shuffle the cards and deal them out. If you are playing with two or three people, each player will get seven cards. If you are playing with four to six people, each player is dealt five cards. Players should hold the cards so that other players can't see them. Place the leftover cards either face-down in the middle of the table or spread out face-down on the table or floor, like fish in a pond.


    • The goal of Go Fish is to be the player with the most sets of four cards. Players need to match number cards or suit cards in groups of four and place them on the table, face up, once all four cards are acquired.

      Decide who goes first by either starting to the left of the dealer or choosing who is oldest or youngest. Each player starts off by deciding which number or suit of cards he is working to collect from opponents. For example, if you decide you want to try to collect all two-value cards, you ask the person next in turn if she has a two. If she say yes, then she must give you a number-two card. Your turn continues, and you can ask the next person if he has a two as well, or another card if you desire. If that person does not have the card you ask for, he says, "Go Fish!" and you draw a card from the fish pond, or deck. If the card was not the value you asked for from your opponent, your turn ends there. If you draw the card you asked for from the pond, you say, "I fished my wish!" and your turn will continue until you do not get the card you are asking for.

      If the player being asked for a certain number or suit has more than one of that card--for example, two kings--, then both of the kings must be given to the person asking for the specific card value.


    • Each player continues taking turns until there are no more cards left in the fish pond. To win Go Fish, you need to acquire the most groups of cards with the same value. A player can also win by running out of cards in her hand, so long as she still has the most sets of four or if no one else has cards face-up on the table.

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  • Photo Credit Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images

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