31 Card Game

Today, I want to share a card game that I was obsessed with in my last years of elementary school. Don’t let my childhood memories detour you: 31 is a game adults can play–with or without kids.

Although simplistic in rules, the fun is in beating your competitors. Add in a wager, and you have a winning combination.


a standard deck of cards

How to play:

Each player is dealt 3 cards. The object is to get 31 pints OR to get the highest score.

On each turn, a player picks up either the top discarded card or one off the draw pile. The player then must choose a discard car, ending his turn. If a player thinks she has a high scoring  hand, on her turn, she can knock–this is her whole turn. All other players have one last turn to better their hands. Players then show their cards, adding up their points. The player with the most points wins. If a player reaches 31 points, he immediately shows his cards declaring, “31.” He is the winner of that round.

A = 11 points, 10 = 10 pints, Q = ten points all equal 31 points for the win!


cards 2 to 9 are worth the number of points on the card

10, Jack, Queen, King are worth 10 points

Aces are worth 11 points.

All cards must be in the same suit. If only two cards are in the suit of hearts, then the third one does not count. If you have three cards with three different suits, count the card with the most points.

3 of a kind: any three cards of the same number  equals 30 pints. For example: three 2s = 30 points, three 9s = 30 points, three Aces = 30 points.

Adding wagers:

To increase the fun, we sometimes like to add friendly wagers–we’re used dimes, jelly beans, candies. Each player starts with 3 candies. At the start, of every round, every player puts in an ante of one (puts one candy in the middle). The player who wins the hand takes all the candy from the middle. Out of candy? You’re out of the game–unless someone deals you back in. The game ends when only player has all the candy. If you’re not comfortable with this “gambling”, stick with the basic game.

Pros: Easy to learn, quick, only three cards to hold (great for smaller hands)

Cons: adults could tire of it Mom: counting, pros and cons of risk taking

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