6 Best Trick-Taking Games for Endless Fun!

By Neal Taparia - 2/22/2024

Nothing brings family and friends together better than a fun trick-taking card game! We’re here to share the top 6 most popular trick-taking games for your next gathering. From Hearts to Spades, stick around to learn what makes these games fun and how to play to win.


Game Variations: Auction Hearts, Black Jack, Black Lady, Black Maria, and Cancellation Hearts.

Hearts is our number one game for more reasons than one. Its objective is to avoid collecting points; more specifically, when a player reaches or exceeds a predetermined point threshold (commonly 100), the player with the fewest points wins.

How to Play Hearts

  • Use a standard 52-card deck to play.
  • Number of players: 4
  • Each player is dealt 13 cards.

Before each hand, players select three cards to pass to another player. The direction of passing alternates with each hand—whether clockwise or counter-clockwise. In the fourth round, however, no cards are passed.

Additionally, the player with the 2 of clubs leads the first trick, and players follow suit. Whoever plays the highest card of the leading suit wins the trick, unless a heart is ‘broken’.

2. Spades

Game Variations: Dummy Hand Spades, Evil Spades, High/Low Spades, and Hurricane Spades.

Spades is all about strategy and bidding. The goal of this game is to accurately predict the number of tricks you’ll take (and actually take them!) while preventing your opponents from reaching their predicted number.

How to Play Spades

  • Use a 52-card deck.
  • Number of players: 4, split into 2 partnerships sat across each other.
  • Deal 13 cards to each player.

Spades starts with everyone putting down their bids, which must be between 0 and 13. The player to the dealer’s left is the first one to lead. Others follow suit, and the highest card, or highest Spade, wins.

Once all 13 tricks are played, the score is then tallied. If a player’s bid is met or exceeded, they score 10 points for each trick bid plus one additional point for each trick taken. Alternatively, if the bid isn’t met, they lose 10 points for each trick instead.

3. Euchre

Game Variations: North American Euchre, British Euchre, Canadian Loner, Stick the Dealer, and 32-card Euchre.

Euchre is a classic. The goal is to play the highest card during each round and reach the predetermined score before anyone else.

How to Play Euchre

  • Use cards from 9 to Ace in each suit (a total of 24 cards).
  • Number of players: 4, split into 2 teams sitting across each other.
  • Determine the trump suit beforehand (by drawing cards, dealing, flipping, or bidding).

After shuffling the deck, the dealer deals five cards to each player in clockwise order and then places the next card face-up. Usually, that card determines the trump suit, but players can decide not to.

The player to the dealer’s left leads the first trick. Players follow suit if possible; otherwise, they play any card. The winner is whoever plays the highest card in the leading suit. Fun fact: If a team declares a certain trump suit, they must win at least 3 tricks first before scoring points.

4. Bridge

Game Variations: Rubber Bridge, Chicago Bridge, Whist, Rook, and Duplicate Bridge.

Bridge is yet another classic and beloved trick-taking card game. The primary goal is to win tricks containing valuable cards, called ‘honors’, and to accurately bid and fulfill a contract, which accurately specifies the number of tricks a team plans to take.

How to Play Bridge

  • Use a standard 52-card deck.
  • Number of players: 4, split into 2 teams sitting across each other.
  • Each player receives 13 cards.

Starting with the dealer and proceeding clockwise, players bid the number of tricks they believe their team can take, along with a suit or the ‘no-trump’ option (for example: ‘two, hearts’ or ‘three, no-trump’).

Bidding continues, and the player who bids the final contract becomes the declarer with their partner becoming the dummy. The player to the left of the declarer is the one who leads the first trick. Similar to Spades, the scoring is then decided based on the contracts or bids fulfilled.

5. Pitch

Game Variations: Partnership Pitch, Auction Pitch, and Joker Pitch.

Also known as ‘Setback’ or ‘High-Low Jack’, Pitch is all about winning points by capturing specific cards in tricks and fulfilling a bidding-based contract. The team that first reaches a predetermined score, often 11 points, wins!

How to Play Pitch

  • Play with the standard 52-card deck.
  • Number of players: 4, split into two teams.
  • Each player is dealt 6 cards in batches of 3 or 4 cards at a time, depending on house rules.

Pitch begins from the player to the dealer’s left. Each one gets a chance to bid or pass. Possible bids are based on the number of points a player believes their team can score (i.e. High, Low, Jack, or Game). All bids are worth one point each when successful.

6. Pinochle

Game Variations: Renege and Cutthroat

For an interesting take on trick-taking card games, try your hand at Pinochle. Teams can score points by forming melds (specific combinations of cards) and winning tricks in the card game.

How to Play Pinochle

  • Use a special deck of 48 cards (2 sets of cards from 9 to Ace in each suit).
  • Number of players: 4, divided into 2 teams.
  • Each player is dealt 12 cards in packets of 3 or 4 cards at a time.

Before leading and winning tricks, players declare melds beforehand. Common melds can include:

  • Aces around: All four Aces in different suits (= 100 points).
  • Pinochle: The Q♠ and the J♦ (= 40 points).
  • Runs: Sequential cards in the same suit.

Points are then scored based on the cards captured in tricks and the melds declared.

Top 6 Trick-Taking Games: Wrap Up

That’s all folks! Now you know our 6 best trick-taking games. The best part? Each card game on our list has its own unique twists and strategies that make it stand out from the rest.

Looking for a quick, friendly game with loved ones? Then Hearts, Euchre, and Pitch are your best shots. Looking for challenging gameplay? Opt for Bridge, Spades, and Pinochle instead.