Three Thirteen Card Game Rules 

Three Thirteen is an 11-round variation on Rummy for two and more players. If you’re wondering how it’s played, my Three-Thirteen card game rules explain it.

Three-Thirteen, also commonly known as 313, is a simple rummy-style card game you can play anytime you have the right mood, two card decks, and at least one companion.

Unlike some complex games of this type, such as Conquian (check the Conquian rules) or Canasta (see our Canasta rules guide), Three Thirteen is straightforward to learn.

There are only a few types of card combinations to collect and plenty of wild cards to make it easier. Still, I find the game excitingly unpredictable and fun. No two rounds are the same.

This Three Thirteen card game rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is Three Thirteen?
  • What you’ll need to play Three Thirteen
  • Three Thirteen card game rules
  • How to play the Three Thirteen card game (video tutorial)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to Three Thirteen (our guides)

Read on and learn everything you want to know on how to play Three Thirteen.

What is Three Thirteen?

Three Thirteen Card Game Info Image

If you’re familiar with Rummy or its numerous variations, you will learn how to play Three Thirteen instantly. 

The game centers around creating card sets and avoiding penalty points. It’s suitable for at least two players. From my experience, however, a three or four-player game is more fun.

Number of Players: 2+ players

Ages: 8+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 20 – 60 minutes

Category: Strategic card-matching game

Similar to: Rummy, TonkLiverpool Rummy

Main Objective: Avoid penalty points by collecting sets of cards in your hand.

Why We Love It: Rummy games are delightful but sometimes a bit too complicated. Three Thirteen is accessible even to beginners and is still great fun.

What You’ll Need to Play Three Thirteen

The game of Three Thirteen requires two standard decks of 52 playing cards

Before playing, sort out the jokers and put them on the side. You will not need these cards in Three Thirteen.

Also, get a pen and a piece of paper to record scores after each round.

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Three Thirteen Card Game Rules and Gameplay

The objective of this game is to avoid collecting points, which are awarded for any free-standing cards remaining in your hand when the round ends. 

Ideally, be the one who ends the round by combining all your cards into the right sets and thus reaching zero points. Let’s get into the details of how this can be done.

Starting the Game

First, pick a player who will serve as a dealer for the first round of the game. You can choose randomly. This role will pass on to the next player on the left in each new round. 

The dealing is slightly different in every round of this game:

  • In the first round, each player gets three cards from the dealer. 
  • Then this number increases by one in each new round until players receive thirteen cards in the last (11th) round of this game.

Note that dealing also determines the wild cards for the current round: When the players get three cards, threes are wild cards. When they get five cards, fives are wild, and so on.

(Note that when 11, 12, and 13 cards are dealt, the J, Q, and K, respectively, are wild cards)

When the players have their cards, place the remaining deck face-down on the table. This will be a drawing pile. Flip over the top card to form a discard pile right next to it. 

How to Play Three Thirteen

The player to the dealer’s left takes their turn first (the gameplay proceeds clockwise then). When on a turn, a player can either:

  • draw the top card from the discard pile 
  • draw the top card from the drawing pile.

Now the player must discard one of their cards onto the discard pile because players are obliged to keep the same number of cards throughout the entire rounds in this game.

Like in all rummy-style card games, players aim to combine their cards into valid sets. However, they do not lay these sets on the table but rather collect them in hand

When the round end, all the cards in a proper set will be considered melded, and any free-standing card will be subject to penalty points.

The players take turns following the same pattern: Draw a card, add it into a set in your hand, if possible, and discard another card. 

The round ends when one of the players reaches zero penalty points in their hand (i.e., they go out). They declare a victory, and their opponents verify it by reviewing their cards.

Then, the new round begins.

Valid Card Sets

In Three Thirteen, you can collect the following card sets:

  • At least three cards of the same rank (e.g., three sevens) 
  • At least three cards of the same suit in a sequence (e.g., five, six, seven of clubs).
  • A flush of at least three cards of the same suit (e.g., eight, ten, and ace of hearts)

Remember that the same card can never be included in numerous sets. 

Wild cards can serve as a replacement for any other card in the set, but note that you can only use one wild card in each set.

Three Thirteen Scoring 

At the end of each round, count the score for each card left free-standing in the players’ hands:

  • Ace = 1 point (in some variations of this game, the ace is worth 13 to 20 points)
  • Two to ten = face value
  • J, K, Q = 10 points
  • Wild card = 15 points

Note the scores after every round. Whoever has the fewest points at the end of the 11th round becomes the winner of the game.

How to Play Three Thirteen Card Game – Video Tutorial 

Three Thirteen Card Game Frequently Asked Questions

Can you create a set of wild cards in Three Thirteen?

There are two contradicting interpretations: One says that you can only use one wild card in a set, whereas the other recognizes an exception if you create an entire set of them.

Discuss with your opponents which version you will follow.

Can more players win in the same round of Three Thirteen?

Yes, sometimes numerous players end up with zero penalty points in the same round. Just note the scores and continue playing. What is important in this game is the final scoring.

What if you go out incorrectly in Three Thirteen?

If you declare victory, but your opponents find out that you had some uncombined cards in hand, you score 20 penalty points.

Other Similar Games to Three Thirteen (Our Guides) 

If you enjoy playing this game, check our guides to the following Three Thirteen alternatives too:

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