Big 2 Card Game: How To Play, Rules and Strategies

In this post, we’re diving into the captivating world of Big 2, a popular card game that offers thrilling strategy, fast-paced action, and endless fun.

Get ready to learn everything from its setup to strategies for becoming a pro.

Overview of Big 2 Card Game

Big 2, also known as Deuces, Big Two, and other names, is a card game of Chinese origin.

It’s a member of the “climbing” family of card games which also includes games like President (Scum), Asshole, and Dai Hin Min.

Number of Players and Deck

Big 2 can be played with 2 to 4 players, with 4 players being the most common. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck, without any jokers.

Objective of the Game

The primary goal in Big 2 is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

It’s a shedding-type game where players discard cards from their hand on each turn, trying to empty their hand before their opponents.

Big 2 Card Rankings

In Big 2, the cards are ranked from 3 to 2, with 2 being the highest and 3 the lowest. So, the ranking from lowest to highest goes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, 2.

Big 2 card ranking
Card rankings from lowest to highest in a game of Big 2. Aces are high and 2 is the highest card.

Suit rankings are also used, in ascending order of diamonds, clubs, hearts, and spades. This means a 3 of diamonds is the lowest card in the game, and a 2 of spades is the highest.

All of the 2's in a deck of cards
The order of suit ranking in a game of Big 2

How to Setup Big 2

Setting up Big 2 is simple and straightforward. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Shuffling and Dealing: Shuffle a standard 52-card deck and deal the entire deck to the players. For a 4-player game, each player should receive 13 cards.
  2. Seating Arrangement: The player with the 3 of diamonds starts the first round. The play will continue clockwise.
  3. Card Exchanges: Unlike games like President, there are no card exchanges between players in Big 2.
  4. Card Organizing: Each player arranges their cards in whatever order or grouping they prefer, usually in ascending order and grouped by suit to keep track of their cards more easily. This setup will vary based on personal preference and strategy.

Remember, the objective of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards, so plan accordingly as you organise your hand.

Setup for a game of Big 2

Gameplay and Rules of Big 2

Understanding the flow of Big 2 is critical to mastering the game. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Playing the Game

  1. Starting the Round: The player with the 3 of diamonds starts the first round. They may play a single card, a pair, a triple, or a five-card combination (more on this later).
  2. Continuing Play: Play continues clockwise. The next player must play the same number of cards and a higher combination, or pass.
  3. Passing: If a player cannot or chooses not to play, they pass. Passing does not prevent you from playing the next time your turn comes around in the same round.
  4. Ending the Round: The round ends when all players pass, unable to or choosing not to beat the last played cards. The last player to play cards starts a new round with any card or combination.

Card Combinations

Here are the possible card combinations you can play:

  1. Single Card: Any individual card can be played.
  2. Pair: Two cards of the same rank, e.g. two Queens.
  3. Triple: Three cards of the same rank, e.g. three Kings
  4. Five-card combinations: There are several combinations, ranked as follows from lowest to highest – Straight, Flush, Full House, Four-of-a-kind plus a card, and Straight Flush.

Important Rules

  1. Card Ranking: A higher rank card beats a lower rank card, and a higher suit beats a lower suit when ranks are equal.
  2. Matching Combination: You must play the same number of cards as the previous player. If a pair was played, you must play a pair, etc.
  3. Five-Card Combinations: For five-card combinations, the rank of the combination determines the winner, not the individual cards. For example, a Straight Flush beats a Four-of-a-kind plus a card.

Remember, the first person to get rid of all their cards is the winner! The game continues until all players have emptied their hands.

Variations of Big 2

Like many card games, Big 2 has several regional and house variations that can spice up your gameplay. Here are a few you might encounter:

  1. Three Player Game: When playing with three players, one variant is to remove the 2 of diamonds from the deck, leaving 51 cards and ensuring each player receives an equal hand of 17 cards.
  2. Scoring Variations: Some versions of Big 2 incorporate scoring systems, where each remaining card in a player’s hand counts as a point against them. Different card combinations may have different point values.
  3. Different Starting Card: Some versions may use a different card to start the game rather than the 3 of diamonds.
  4. Five Card Combinations: There are variations in five-card combinations and their rankings. Some games include a “bomb” or “rocket”, which is a four-of-a-kind plus any card and it outranks all other combinations.

Remember, the key to a successful game night is to ensure all players understand and agree upon the rules before the game starts.

Big 2: Strategies and Tips

Though Big 2 involves an element of luck, smart strategies can significantly increase your odds of winning. Here are some tips for new players:

  1. Start Small: If you start the round, it’s often wise to play your lower-ranked cards first. This allows you to maintain control of the game in the beginning while saving your powerful cards for later.
  2. Five-Card Combinations: If you have a strong five-card hand, don’t hesitate to use it early. This can give you a big advantage, especially if other players can’t match it.
  3. Count Cards: Try to remember what cards have been played. Knowing what’s left can help you make more informed decisions about when to play your higher cards.
  4. Play to Your Strengths: If you have a lot of a certain combination (like pairs or triples), try to steer the game in that direction by playing those combinations when you have control.
  5. Passing Strategically: Passing isn’t always a sign of weakness. Sometimes, it’s better to pass and let someone else take control, allowing you to come back stronger in the next round.

Remember, the best way to improve is through practice. So, keep playing, learn from each game, and develop your unique style of play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Big 2 be turned into a drinking game?

Yes, many people turn Big 2 into a drinking game. Common rules include taking a sip when you pass, or when you’re the last player left with cards.

Where does the game Big 2 originate from?

Big 2 is of Chinese origin. It’s popular across East and Southeast Asia, often played during festive seasons and family gatherings.

Can I play Big 2 online?

Yes, there are many online platforms and mobile apps where you can play Big 2 against computer opponents or other players around the world, such as

What happens if nobody can play on an opening 3 of diamonds?

In the very unlikely event this happens, the play moves to the next player who can start with any card or combination.

What if I only have high cards left?

If you only have high cards left, play them out. Your aim is to empty your hand, and high cards are hard for others to beat.


We’ve covered a lot about Big 2 – from the basics of setup and gameplay, through to strategies for winning. Don’t forget to experiment with the rules, try out different strategies, and above all, have fun!

Comment below with your experiences, favourite strategies, and unique variations of Big 2.

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