My Family’s Card Game

My family’s holidays are not as traditional as some of yours!

Dayna (Left), Daphne (Right), and Sean try to explain the rules of the game to the rest of the family. Photo by Catie Sims.


My family is not the typical type that enjoys watching football, Christmas movies, or anything on TV in general on holidays. I go to the family on my Mom’s side most of the time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and for both holidays we play the same game. We don’t have a name for it, just typically call it “Thanksgiving” or “Christmas,” based on the respective holiday we are playing on. The game is a lot like Solitare in some ways, but the trump card changes with each new round, such as in the first round, the Spade is the trump card, then in round two there aren’t any trumps, but then the third having hearts as the trump. For our Thanksgiving, I opted to sadly not play the game but instead be the photographer of the evening. This article is full of just some of the pictures I took.

A photo of the rules paper of the game, taken on November 22nd, 2018. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Rules 

Each year, my cousin Dana prints out a rules paper that the family can use both as a way to keep score of how many points they earn or lose each round, as well as a way to know what each rounds’ trump cards are. Some years the rules get changed a little since like any game some of us get bored of the same old game, such as sometimes changing the trump card of the round. This year, we had hands 4, 8, and 14 where the winners and losers trade scores, so you actually want to lose that round. 



Jordan (Right), Brenda (Left), and Trey (Left) wait to start the first round of the game. Photo by Catie Sims.



The First Round

For the first round of the game, the rules are pretty simple. Basically, the trump card is the Spade. You get your partner as the person sitting diagonally from you, so Jordan and Trey are partners for the round. In this round, you and your partner have to try and play the highest spades card you can to try and take the stack and get more points. The winners move on to the next table, trying to get to the head table and stay as many rounds possible to hike up more points. At the moment the three pictured were sat at the head table to begin (There are only 5 tables). Jordan and Trey won the round, so unlike the other tables, they stayed since it was the top table. 

Breanne (Back Right), Faith (Front Right), Jasmine (Back Left), and Vicky (Front Left) start the second round of the game. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Second Round 

With Breanne and Vicky, and Faith and Jasmine as partners that round, the rules of the second round are very similar to the first, only there isn’t a trump card, so anyone can play any card as long as they result in getting the highest. To make the round more meaningful, the rules also state: “Winners add 50 points to their score”. This round can either make or break the game for you, since being 50 points ahead of half of the other players is a good place for you to be at the beginning of a 14 round long game. For this one, Faith and Jasmine were the ones that won, so they got to move to the next table. Seeing as this was the 5th table, they moved to the 4th. Vicky and Breanne, as the losers, had to stay put for another round. 


Linda, Carol, Sean, and Anthony play the third round of the game. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Third Round 

The third round is where things start to get fun. In this round, you aren’t really allowed to look at your cards. In the rules, it states: “Hearts are trump, don’t look at cards. Play blind.” In this you must set your deck out on the table in front of you, facing down. When it comes to your turn, you pick your card off the top and put on the pile. You just have to base the round on luck and if you were dealt a good hand. Many of the people while playing hate the round, but do say they enjoy it when they don’t actually have to do it (like me). For this round, Linda and Sean were partners while Carol and Anthony were. Anthony and Carol were the lucky ones apparently as they were able to move forward. Having been at table 4, they moved on to table 3 (behind them). 


Matthew (Pictured), Danny, Sean, and Linda play the 4th round of the game. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Fourth Round 

The fourth round is difficult if you’re on a big winning streak up until this point, to which you probably want to change that. For this round, the winners and losers switch the scores for the round. So, you probably want to have a bad hand. With the trump card being a clover, you probably don’t want any clovers. Since Matthew only has one clover as seen, he normally would have a completely terrible hand. Still, due to the twisted rules of the fourth round, he’s doing great. He even had such a good hand, he won the round for him and Sean, allowing them to move to the next table up from 3: Table 2.


Debbie (Front) JD (Back left), Dakota (Front right), Dawson (Back right), and Merissa (Back right) play the 5th round of the game. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Fifth Round 

For the fifth round, I took pictures of the 2nd table. For this round, the rules go back to mostly normal in which the spade is the trump card once again. The only difference is that the losers of the round have to subtract 20 points from their score for the round. In this round, Debbie and Dawson (Along with Merissa tagging along with Dawson and following him around) were partners while DJ and his son Dakota were working together. It ended up with Debbie, Dawson, and Merissa winning the round, to which they moved on to the first table.



Debbie, Jordan, Dawson, Merissa, and Trey play the 6th round together at the 1st table while DJ waits to play the next round, since he won very quickly. Photo by Catie Sims.


The Sixth Round

In the 6th round, the rules state that the trump is the clover cards and that the winners will double their scores. Since Jordan and Trey had been able to win (and lose for round 4) up until this point, they were able to keep their spot at the 1st table, as well as be able to stay as partners. Still, it was this round that got them, resulting in them, unfortunately, losing to Dawson, Merissa, and Debbie, allowing them to stay at the first table for yet another round while Jordan and Trey had to go all the way to the fifth table and start back at the bottom. Both Trey and Jordan got very annoyed about that. 



Brenda, Dana, Faith, and Jasmine draw to see who will deal for the 7th round. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Seventh Round

For the seventh round, the rules get very confusing for many of the people playing. It states: “No Trumps. Play the first 2 tricks and then pass your hand to the left, then finish the game.” This means, you probably wouldn’t want to have a good hand at first since you will be passing to the person you’re playing against. In this one, Brenda and Faith ended up winning and being able to move on, leaving Jasmine and Dana at the ‘losers table’ (Appropriately named by Brenda). 




Vicky and Breanne play the 8th round of the game. Photo by Catie Sims.

The Eighth Round 

Now, as the last photo, I was able to take before I got rounded into taking Brenda’s place to be playing for her, it was with the 8th round. The rules for the 8th round state: “Diamonds are trump. Winners and losers trade scores”. So, You had to try and lose once again to actually win. Vicky and Breanne were not partners, in which Breanne and her brother Lucas (Didn’t want to be photographed), and my mom worked with Kathy (Fine with being photographed, just wasn’t in the picture). For this round, Vicky and Kathy were able to win and ended up making it to the 1st table, where they only stayed for one round before going back to the 5th. 


As that is the last actually good photo I took, I didn’t get to capture the last few rounds. For round 9, the rules are clover is trump and to play blind, round 10 is heart is trump with winners taking the loser’s points as well, round 11 saying that the trump is diamond and that the losers take all the points instead, round 12 is still diamonds as trump but you play 3 rounds before passing your deck once again, round 13 being spade trumps and playing blind again, round 14 saying heart trumps again and winners and losers switch hands, then finally round 15 finishing the game off with no trumps and the winners getting 100 points while losers get 0. The game is very fun and engaging to play, and really just different from normal games like hand and foot. So, I always find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas!