Be the first to 31!

Materials needed

  • A deck of 52 cards


This is a a simple, lightly strategic game of hand management, trying to arrange a hand whose value is closest to 31.

It is a last-person-standing game, with the last person taking the whole prize pool.


Everyone sets an ante, like 40¢, and makes 3 piles of the ante. These are your lives.

Dealer shuffles and deals 3 cards to each player. The remaining cards make the draw pile.

The top card of the draw pile is discarded to form the discard pile.

Play can now begin with the player to the left of the dealer.

Your hand

The goal of the game is to have your hand equal 31, or as close to 31 as possible.

Aces are worth 11, Royal cards are worth 10. All other cards are worth their face value.

If your cards are three of a kind, no matter what number, they are worth 30 points.

Otherwise, you choose a suit in your hand and total up those points.

If two of your cards are of a suit, then you total those two cards. If none of your cards match suit, you choose your highest card.


Kelly draws their first hand: 10♥ A♥ J♣. Their hand is either 21 points (counting the hearts suit) or 10 (only counting the club).

Al draws his first hand: 8♦ 4♦ 7♦. His total, then, is 19 since he can count all his cards.

Lou draws her first hand: 2♦ 2♥ 2♣. Her total is 30.


On your turn, you can draw the top card of either the draw or discard pile.

Add it to your hand, then discard a card to the discard pile.

Play continues to the left.

After discarding a card, yf you feel confident about your hand, you can knock. All other players get one more turn, and then you tally final scores.


Whoever gets the lowest score loses one of their stake piles to the central kitty.

If they have no more piles to give, they are out of the game.

If the person with the lowest score was also the one who knocked, they lose TWO of their stake piles.

If there is a tie for lowest between the person who knocked and another person, the other person loses their life (since they had a chance to improve their score).

Otherwise, if there is a tie both players lose a life.


Kelly knocks. Al draws and discards a card, Lou draws and discards a card, and then it is score tally.

Kelly, with 10♥ A♥ 4♥, has a final score of 25.

Al, with 8♦ 10♦ 9♦, has a final score of 27.

Lou, with 2♦ 2♥ 2♣, has a final score of 30.

Kelly lost this round. Since she is the one who knocked, she loses two of her piles to the pool.

Game end

Game ends when there is only one person remaining. They take the kitty and scream in triumph.

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