Go Fish

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Go Fish Card Game Rules


Go Fish is a classic game where players try to match up cards by asking other players for cards in their hand. Go Fish is very popular among kids and can be played with 2 to 12 players.

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The Deck and the Deal

Go Fish is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. For 2 to 3 players, the dealer passes out seven cards one by one to each person. For 4 to 8 players, the dealer passes out five cards. For 9 to 10 players, the dealer passes out four cards. For 11 to 12 players, the dealer passes out three cards. After the deal, the remainder of the deck is placed in the center of the gameplay area. If using two decks, the dealer distributes seven cards each with 2 to 3 players and five cards each with more than 3 players.

Traditionally, Go Fish is played with a special deck where players match pictures instead of numbers.

How to Play

Beginning with the player left of the dealer and going clockwise, players ask another player if they have a certain kind of card. If the asked player does have that certain kind of card, they must give the asking player all of the cards with that value. If the asked player does not have the requested kind of card, then the asked player says 'Go Fish' and the asking player goes fishing in the deck by drawing a card. If they luckily fished the same card they requested, they retain their turn and request another card.

As play like this continues, players try to make four of a kinds, or books, in their hand. When a player makes a book, they place the matching cards in a pile face up in front of them.

If players run out of cards, then they draw one from the deck. If there is no deck remaining, they are out of play and wait for others to finish their hand.


Players score points for the amount of books they make.


Each round ends when all 13 books are made. The game ends when one of the players reaches the predetermined points. The player with the highest points wins the game.


We support several customizable rules and options so you can play Go Fish exactly how you like or how you grew up playing with your friends and family. In addition to the classic way of playing, we often have new creative options for you to try to spice up the game if you are interested in trying different spins for fun.


Players determine a set amount of points when the game ends.


Players determine a set amount of rounds (also known as hands or deals) that the game will go to (instead of the points selection above).


Players only have a set amount of time to make their turn after which a turn is automatically played for them and the game proceeds: Fast is 7 seconds, Standard is 15 seconds, Slow is 30 seconds, and Very Slow is 60 seconds. Players can also choose to disable the timer, but that is only for private tables.

Scoring Method

Players can determine if each book is worth 1 point or if books are worth their pip value, e.g. a book of 2s is worth 2 points and a book of aces is worth 14 points.

Double Deck

Players can determine if they want to play with two decks or 104 cards. In this variation, books require 8 cards of the same value.

Card Game Basics

A deck of cards consists of 52 cards, with 4 distinctive subgroups. Each of these subgroups is recognised by a symbol and are referred to as suits. They consist of Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds. Each suit contains 13 cards which, generally, are considered in this order, Ace (A), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jacks (J), Queen (Q) and King (K). Some games include the two Jokers found in a standard deck but most games don't.

Solitaire Games

As the name implies, Solitaire games are typically games that one can play alone. Solitaire begins by building a grid of cards called a Tableau. The Tableau, or Cascade, is a set of 7 piles of overlapping cards. The first pile has 1 card, the second pile has 2 cards, and so on. Only the bottom card in each pile is facing upward. The remaining deck forms the discard and draw piles. The goal of solitaire games is to move cards from the tableau, discard, and draw piles into four suited piles (called the foundations) in ascending order (Ace to King).

Trick Taking Games

Trick Taking games center around having the highest ranked card in a draw. Typically, players of trick taking games sit in a circle, sometimes in teams and sometimes playing solo, and are dealt a hand of cards. Given the specific game's card ranking (and trump), players draw a card from their hand in hopes that it outranks the other cards played. The player who outranks the others wins the trick for that round and gameplay is repeated until the cards are exhausted. Typically the player or team with the most tricks wins the game.

Rummy Games

Rummy games are typically played in teams of two where players try to play their cards, or meld them, in groups of a kind or in sequences of a suit. Rummy games often contain the joker and wildcards (Ace and 2) to help make melding easier. Depending on the type of meld made, teams receive a certain number of points. After a player lays off all of their cards, the game ends and the team with the most points wins.

Betting Games

Betting games typically center around having the highest ranked hand in a group of players. Before the hands are dealt, betting games normally require an ante, or an initial bet that starts the pot, or the winner's prize. After receiving their cards, players make bets over who has the highest ranked hand. Players do not need to bet according to their real hand; they can bluff, or lie, in hopes that other players fold from the game rather than challenge their hand. Either the last player betting or the player with the highest hand between the last players betting, wins the pot of bets.

Climbing Games

Climbing games typically center around players getting rid of their cards as fast as they can. Each climbing game has its own rules for discarding cards and its own implications for getting rid of your cards first. Some games run on a points system where the player who gets rid of their cards first gets the most points. Other games run on a ranking system where the player who gets rid of their cards first is in a better position for the next round.

Classic Games

Classic games vary to a great degree in terms of rules and objectives. A thread that binds them all is their simplicity and age. Classic games are typically easy enough for young children to play them and have typically been around for many years.


Would like to discuss new features or variations for Go Fish? Need a custom rule? Have a question? Got a suggestion? Don't see a game you want to play? Please contact us by email, facebook or twitter - we really value your feedback and love hearing from all of you!

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