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National and regional card games

There are a few card games that have spread throughout the world, but almost all countries and regions have their own characteristic card games. Most people learn to play cards from family or friends, not from books or the Internet. Because of this, card games do not readily spread from place to place. A game that is very popular in one region may be completely unknown elsewhere. International games such as Bridge, Poker and Canasta are the exceptions, and even these often develop local variations.

Information on local card games is quite hard to collect. Books often present a mixture of games personally known to the author, which will generally be those popular where the author lives, and games copied from other books, which may be from anywhere. Quite a lot of the information indexed here has been acquired through personal contacts or from e-mail messages from people living in the regions concerned. For some of the places listed below I have only fragmentary information, and there are many others about which I have no information at all as yet. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has more or better information on card games played in particular regions of the world.


North America

Central America / Caribbean

South America



Australasia and Pacific


Ivan Derzhanski is creating a multi-lingual dictionary of the basic card game terms, starting just with the names of the suits and the court cards.