5 regional card games from across Canada

Several sets of hands holding playing cards as a group plays a card game By wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Want a change from classic euchre and bridge? Try one of these other trick-taking card games, popular in different regions of Canada. (A typical trick-taking game is one where players each play one card in succession, with one player winning the round or the set of cards—the “trick.”)

1) Forty-fives, East Coast

This game originated in Ireland, eventually moving into Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and other parts of eastern Canada. There are variations, but in traditional Forty-Fives, the goal is to accumulate points by winning tricks, eventually reaching 45. You can play with two, four, or five or more players. Learn the rules.

2) 200 a.k.a. Deux Cents, New Brunswick and Quebec

As with Forty-Fives, the object of the game is to gather points, up to—wait for it—200. Players compete in teams. Only aces, 10s, and 5s are worth points, so players can only gain points by winning tricks that contain these cards. Learn the rules.

3) Hola, Western Canada

“Hola” is a Slavic word that means “nakedness”—but there’s no nudity in this game. (That’s Strip Poker.) The game works with two or four players (or six if using a second deck of cards). What sets it apart is that unlike in other trick-taking games, a player’s card is only beaten by a card of equal, not higher value, or by a wild card. In Hola, 7s and 2s are wild. Learn the rules.

4) Rook, Ontario and Manitoba

Playing with kids? Family-friendly Rook is a trump-based trick-taking game played with a deck of specialized playing cards. The deck is similar to a standard deck of cards but only contains cards numbered from 1 through 14 in four colours. There are no face cards, and no card suits. Learn the rules.

5) Kaiser, Saskatchewan

Kaiser is a four-player, two-team game using only 32 cards from a standard 52-card deck. Teams bid and take tricks, the goal being to get their hands on the 5 of Hearts and avoid the 3 of Spades. (A different version of Kaiser, called Les Rois, is popular in Quebec; in this version, the King of Hearts is worth the most points, and the King of Spades is worth the least—hence the game’s name.) Learn the rules.

Looking for more? Here are six other card games to play at the cottage.

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