3 Card Games that South African Expats Love to Play

Anyone who has been living in South Africa knows that card games have been a huge part of their lives because they are so common and popular in the whole country that almost everyone loves playing these games. In an average South African home, you will easily find a few decks of Bicycle cards plus a few other decks of cards that belong to various card games.

The popular card games in South Africa include the internationally recognized ones such as Poker and Rummy to Vissie-Vissie, a traditional South African Card Game, and everything in between. For kids that are living in South Africa, Card Games are a great way to get rid of excess boredom and at the same get involved in something beneficial for the mind.

If you are moving abroad then you can also share your love of card games with your social circles in the country that you are going to bring in something from your home to the new environment. So, the next time when you will be going out with your friends, you can introduce them to these popular card games from South Africa so they can get to know more about South African culture:

1. Go Fish

Go Fish is a South African favorite that is popular among children and families. Go Fish is a card game that was invented by an 8-year-old American Boy in 1984 but there are possibilities that this was actually developed in China many years before.

Go Fish is loved by people so much because it is an easy, fun, and short game that can be finished in a few minutes. In Go Fish, 2 to 4 players usually play the game but if more players want to enjoy the game then they are also welcome. Each player is dealt 5 cards and the remaining cards are placed face down, jumbled up in the center.

Players start in a clockwise direction and ask other players if they have certain cards so that they make pairs in their own hands as a point is awarded for every pair found. If a player has a requested card then he/she must hand it over and if the player doesn’t have the card then he/she can say “Go Fish” and the player must pick up more cards. The game ends when there are no more pairs left and the player with the most points wins.

Other Card Games such as Rummy, Poker, Solitaire , BlackJack, Spider Solitaire , etc have all been very common and popular in the country too.

2. Snap

Snap is a card matching game that is very common among growing children in South Africa and most of the children have played this game at some point in their lives. Snap is a game that is designed for 2-6 players and is not a native South African Card Game. In fact, it is a family card game that was developed by a British Company in 1866 and at that time, it seemed appealing to the family market.

Snap is usually played with a standard deck of 52 cards but if there are more players then an additional deck can also be added. Each player is given an equal number of cards and the cards are placed face down in front of every player and none of the players can see the cards. Each player must then pick a card in front of him and turn it over. If the card being flipped matches the card already played then the players call “Snap” and add the cards to their pile of cards. The player who ends up with all the cards wins the game.

3. UNO

UNO is one of those games that is very popular all over the world, not in South Africa only. In South Africa, the game has been played in households across the country for decades and is still being played. The game was developed by Merle Robbins in Ohio, CL, the USA in 1971 and since then, the game has been very popular all over the world.

UNO is a card game that is played with a UNO-specific deck consisting of 112 cards and each player is dealt 7 cards, face down on the table. When all the players receive their cards then they can turn them over and see the cards. The remaining stockpile of the cards must be placed in the center of the table and the players must try their best to get rid of the cards as soon as possible. The players who get rid of the cards first win the game while the player who isn’t able to get rid of the cards while the other players do so loses the game. For many years, South Africans have been spending countless hours, battling it over UNO for the winning and bragging rights.


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