Which Card Games Use the Joker?

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By Valerie Becker

Card games have been around for centuries and continue to be a popular pastime for people of all ages. While most card games use a standard deck of 52 cards, some incorporate the use of a joker. In this article, we will explore which card games use the joker and how it is used.

What is the Joker?

The joker is a playing card found in most modern decks of cards, along with the 52 standard cards. It was first introduced in America during the 1860s as a trump card for Euchre, a popular trick-taking game. The Joker has since become an essential part of many other card games, adding an element of unpredictability and excitement to gameplay.

Card Games that Use the Joker

Here are some popular card games that incorporate the use of a joker:

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a two-player game that is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and one joker. The objective is to form sets or runs of three or more cards of the same rank or suit. The joker can be used as any card to complete a set or run but cannot be used on its own.


Canasta is another popular two-player game that uses two standard decks of 52 cards each, along with four jokers (a total of 108 cards). The objective is to score points by forming melds – sets of three or more cards of the same rank – and canastas – sets of seven or more cards. Jokers can be used as wildcards to complete melds or canastas.


Euchre is a trick-taking game played with four players in teams of two. It uses a modified deck consisting only of ranks nine through ace in each suit, along with one joker. The joker is the highest trump card and is used to win tricks.


Pinochle is a classic trick-taking game that uses a deck of 48 cards – two sets of ranks nine through ace in each suit – along with two jokers. The jokers are known as “bowers” and are the highest-ranking cards in the game, followed by the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten.


While not all card games use the joker, it has become an integral part of many popular games played around the world. Whether you enjoy trick-taking games or meld-based games, there’s a good chance that you’ll encounter the Joker at some point in your card-playing adventures. So next time you shuffle up a deck of cards and deal out a hand, remember to keep an eye out for the Joker – it just might be your lucky card!