What Are Jail Card Games?

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By Valerie Becker

Jail card games are a popular pastime in correctional facilities across the world. These games are played with a standard deck of playing cards and can provide hours of entertainment for inmates. In this article, we will explore the different types of jail card games and how they are played.

Types of Jail Card Games

There are several different types of jail card games that inmates can play, including:


Spades is one of the most popular jail card games. It is a trick-taking game where players must follow suit and attempt to win as many tricks as possible. The game is typically played with four players in two partnerships.

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is another popular jail card game. It is a two-player game where the objective is to score points by forming sets or runs of cards.


Cribbage is a classic card game that has been played for centuries. In cribbage, players score points by making certain combinations of cards and moving pegs along a board.

How to Play Jail Card Games

Each jail card game has its own specific rules and gameplay mechanics. However, there are some common elements that apply to all jail card games.

Dealing the Cards: The dealer shuffles the deck and deals the cards to each player. The number of cards dealt depends on the specific game being played.

The Objective: Each game has its own objective that players must try to achieve.

Gameplay: Players take turns playing cards according to the rules of the game. The winner or winners of each hand or round are determined based on specific criteria outlined in the rules.

Scoring: At the end of each hand or round, players tally up their scores based on the rules of the game.


Jail card games are a popular way for inmates to pass the time and socialize with one another. These games require skill, strategy, and a bit of luck to win. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting out, there is always something new to learn about these classic card games.