Jacks or Better to Open

Hancock.Tom, Game of Authors card deck from 1897, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

After responding to comments this morning, I started thinking about family time and how often we played card games. There was always a well worn deck of playing cards within easy reach. There were also specialty cards, too.

Of course some of the earliest games were Match, a memory game where half the deck was placed face down as the players try to find the matching cards. There was always War with the goal being to capture the entire deck of cards or Go Fish for the younger set. If you were by yourself, then a quiet game of Solitaire would help pass the time. When you got mad at a sibling, there was always 52 Pickup!

We also had a deck of Old Maid but playing cards would do in a pinch using the Joker as the Old Maid.

How about a game of Authors? It was a deck of cards with photos of well known classic authors with names of their works. That’s how I learned who James Fenimore Cooper was.

Our family, especially my mom’s parents, loved Rook. Another classic game with the goal of ‘taking tricks’.

We learned to play poker at a very early age. Five Card Draw, Jacks or Better to Open was a family favorite. We all learned very early what card combinations would beat another. Five Card Stud was another favorite.

Of course there was Black Jack, too. “Hit Me” was often echoing through the house, but learning when to split, stand, or take a hit was critical. Do you dare take a hit on a sixteen?

Rummy, Hearts, and Spades were popular when several people would play. My mom was a bit of a sore loser and I have seen her hurl her hand of cards across the room when she lost.

No one in my family played Bridge but I remember all the 50s TV couples playing. We did play Euchre but I do not remember the rules well enough to play today. Pinochle was another favorite but I would need a major refresher on that one, too!

It was easier to play cards back in the day because everyone played and therefore almost everyone was well versed in the rules. No extra time was needed to ring people up to speed. Families spent a lot more time together then it seems.

I am sure there are others, but these were the most common in our house.

Did you play any of these games? Do you still play cards today?