13 is a great card game that was invented in Vietnam and Southern China. It is also known as Tien len, Vietnamese cards, and American Killer. It is considered a “climbing” card game and is meant for 4 players. The object of 13 is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.
What you need to be able to play 13:
- A standard 52-card deck of cards
- 3 friends (you can play 13 with most any number of players, but 4 is standard)
How to play 13
Knowing the rank of cards:
From lowest to highest, the ranking is: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, 2. The 2 is the most powerful card in the game. Suits also have rank in this game. From lowest to highest, the ranking is spades ♠, clubs ♣, diamonds ♦, and then hearts ♥ is the highest suit. So the 3 of spades is the lowest single card in the game, while the 2 of hearts is the highest ranked.
Dealing: Deal evenly so each player has 13 total cards. If you are playing with more or less than 4 players, just make sure each player has the same amount of cards.
The 5 types of plays:
Single: one card (ex: 7♠)
Pair: two cards with the same value (ex: 8♥, 8♠)
Triple: three cards with the same value (ex: J♠, J♦, J♥)
Run (straight): three or more cards that are in a sequence (ex: 10♥, J♦, Q♠, K♥)
Bomb: A bomb can be played on any of your turns. It will end that round and allow you to begin the next round (unless someone plays a higher-valued bomb on top of yours). A four of a kind is the highest-valued bomb (ex: 5♣,5♠,5♥,5♦). Another type of bomb is pair sequence of the same color (ex: Q♣, Q♠, K♣, K♠, A♣, A♠). The more cards involved in the pair sequence, the higher in value it is (ex: 3♥, 3♦, 4♥, 4♦, 5♥, 5♦, 6♥, 6♦, is worth more than a 10♠, 10♣, J♠, J♣, Q♠, Q♣).
- The player who was dealt the 3 of spades begins the game. He/she can start the game using any type of play as long as it involves the 3 of spades. (so they can start with a single, run, pair, etc…)
- From there, the turns go in a clockwise fashion.
- If it is your turn, you can decide if you want to play or pass.
- If you pass, you can’t play again until all other players have passed and that round is over (you must pass if you can’t lay down a hand with a higher value).
- In order to play, you must be able to lay down a hand that has a higher value than the hand just laid down by the previous player, but it has to be the same type of hand (unless you are dropping a bomb). In other words, if the round begins with a pair, you can only play pairs until that round is over (with exception to bombs).
- The round is over once all the players pass.
- The player that ended the round gets to begin the new round by playing anything he/she wants.
- The player who gets rid of all their cards first, wins. The others can continue to play for 2nd, 3rd, and so on.
Instant-Win: A player wins instantly if he/she is dealt all four 2s or a dragon (3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2)