Card Games For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Go Fish is one of the most popular children's card games! So head to the waterin’ hole, — you’re about to go fishin’ fer sets (four cards of the same kind). To play Go Fish, you need the following:

  • At least three players

  • A standard deck of 52 cards

Each player gets ten cards from the dealer. You pretend as you deal out the full deck that you have one more player than you really do. With four players, for example, you deal out ten cards (one by one, face-down, in a clockwise rotation) in five piles. Add the two leftover cards to the pretend pile and leave those 12 cards as the stock in the middle of the table. With three players, you have three hands of 13 cards and a stock of the remaining 13.

Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player has the opportunity of asking any other player at the table a question. This must be in the form of “Do you have any Xs?” (X is the rank of card; 4s or queens, for example.) The player asking the question must have at least one X to pose the question.

If the person asked has an X or two, she must hand them over, and the questioner’s turn continues. The questioner can then ask the same player or any other player if he has a card in a particular set. As soon as the questioner completes a set of four cards, she puts the set down on the table in front of her and continues her turn.

You can vary the game a little, if you want to to be more difficult, by stating that the responder only has to provide one card from the relevant set, even if she has more than one queen, for example. The questioner has to ask again and risks wasting a turn.

If the person asked has no cards of the rank specified in the question, he replies “Go Fish,” and the questioner takes a card from the stock. The questioner’s go ends, whether she picks up the card she was looking for or not. If the card that she draws from the stock completes a set, she must wait until her next turn to put the set down on the table. The turn passes to the player who sends his rival fishing.

Some play that if the card you draw from the stock completes any set in your hand, or if you pick up the card you were unsuccessfully asking for, your turn continues.

At the end of the game — which almost always occurs when all the cards are in everybody’s hands and the stock has been used up — you count the sets. The player who collects the most sets wins. However, if one player puts all her cards into sets before the stock gets used up, she wins.

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Barry Rigal was born with a deck of cards in his hand. Having started with the children’s games, Whist, Rummy, and Solitaire, he moved on to Bridge at the age of 12. After graduating from Oxford University (where he captained the Bridge team), he worked in accountancy. Highlights of his work career were learning how to play Piquet and Clobyosh in the Tax Department of Thomson McLintock. After four years with Price Waterhouse, supervising the partnership’s Bridge team, he went into the world of business, working seven years in the Oil Taxation department of Conoco. During that time he began a career as a journalist and commentator on card games. Over the course of the last two decades he has written newspaper and magazine articles and six books on Bridge.

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