What Card Games Do Pirates Play?

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By Eric Wilson

Ahoy, mateys! Have you ever wondered what card games pirates play on their long voyages at sea?

Well, wonder no more! In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular card games among pirates. So hoist the Jolly Roger and let’s get started!


One of the most popular card games played by pirates is Blackjack. It’s a simple game that requires a bit of strategy and luck. The goal is to have a hand that totals 21 or as close to it as possible without going over.

Each player is dealt two cards, and they can choose to hit (get another card) or stand (keep their current hand). The dealer also gets two cards, but one of them is face down. Players can bet on their hand or the dealer’s hand.


  • Numbered cards: Face value
  • Face cards (King, Queen, Jack): 10 points
  • Ace: Either 1 or 11 points


Another popular card game among pirates is Poker. It’s a bit more complicated than Blackjack but offers more opportunities for bluffing and strategy. Players are dealt five cards each, and they can choose to bet or fold based on the strength of their hand.

Types of Poker:

  • Texas Hold’em: Players are dealt two cards each, and five community cards are laid out on the table.
  • Omaha: Players are dealt four cards each, and five community cards are laid out on the table.
  • Seven-Card Stud: Players are dealt seven cards each, but only five of them are used to make the best hand.


War is a simple card game that’s easy to learn and play. It’s a great way to pass the time on long voyages.

Each player is dealt half of the deck, and they play one card at a time. The player with the highest card wins that round, and the game continues until one player has all the cards.


  • Capture the Flag: Each player chooses one card from their hand and places it face down on the table. The winner of each round gets to collect all the face-down cards. The game continues until one player has captured all of their opponent’s cards.

Go Fish

Go Fish is a simple, fun game that’s great for kids and adults alike. Each player is dealt five cards, and the goal is to collect sets of four cards (e.g., four Kings).

Players take turns asking each other for a specific card from their hand (e., “Do you have any Aces?”). If the other player has that card, they must give it to them, and they get another turn. If not, they say “go fish,” and the player must pick up a card from the deck.


  • Crazy Eights: Players try to get rid of all their cards by matching them with either the suit or rank of the top card on a discard pile. Eights are wild and can be used to change the suit.

In conclusion, there are many different card games that pirates play on their long voyages at sea. Whether it’s Blackjack, Poker, War, Go Fish or any other game, these games offer hours of entertainment while passing time aboard a ship. So, the next time you find yourself on a pirate ship, make sure to brush up on your card game skills and join in on the fun!