What Card Games Did Soldiers Play in the Civil War?

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By Valerie Becker

During the Civil War, soldiers often had long periods of downtime that they filled with games and other leisure activities. One popular pastime was playing card games. Let’s take a look at some of the card games that soldiers played during this time.


One of the most popular card games during the Civil War was Whist. This game is similar to modern-day Bridge and involves four players divided into two teams.

The objective is to win tricks by playing higher cards than your opponents. Soldiers would often play Whist during their downtime to pass the time and bond with their fellow soldiers.


Poker was also a common game among soldiers during the Civil War. This game involves betting and bluffing, making it a bit more exciting than other card games. Soldiers would often play poker to pass the time, but also for the chance to win money from their fellow soldiers.


Another popular card game among Civil War soldiers was Blackjack, also known as Twenty-One. This game involves players trying to get a hand value of 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. Soldiers would often play Blackjack for fun or for small wagers.

Farmer’s Deuce

Farmer’s Deuce was a simple but popular card game among Civil War soldiers. The objective of this game is to have the lowest possible hand value at the end of each round. Soldiers would often play this game because it required little strategy and was easy to learn.


In conclusion, playing card games was a common pastime among Civil War soldiers during their downtime. Whether they were playing Whist, Poker, Blackjack, or Farmer’s Deuce, these games provided entertainment and helped soldiers bond with one another. Today, many of these games are still enjoyed by people all over the world.