Big 2 Rules and How to Play

Big 2 is an increasingly popular card game where players compete in playing the highest cards or combinations. These Big 2 rules explain how it’s played.

Big 2, also known as Big Two, Big Deuce, or Deuces, originates in China. Its rules are relatively complex, but the goal is simple: get rid of your cards before your opponents.

The use of card combos like Straight or Full House resembles poker hands in games like Follow the Queen (see Follow the Queen Poker rules) or Po-Ke-No (see Po-Ke-No rules).

Key highlights of this Big 2 rules guide:

  • What is Big 2?
  • Big 2 rules
  • Big 2 rules in pictures 
  • Big 2 scoring 
  • How to Play Big 2 (Video tutorial)

Let’s look at the instructions and learn how to play Big 2.

What is Big 2?

Big 2 Card Game Info Image

In Big 2, the players aim to get rid of their cards by following the provided succession pattern. The fastest one becomes the winner.

The game’s dynamic is the best when played with four players.

Number of Players: 3 – 4

Ages: 10+

Difficulty: Medium

Length of Play: 20+ minutes

Type of Game: Climbing/shedding type card game

Similar to: Follow the QueenPo-Ke-No, Chinese Poker, Daifugo

Main Objective: Be the first to get rid of all your cards and become a winner.

Our Take: Big Two looks complex, but it is easy to learn. It is also one of a few games that ranks all players, not just the winner.

What You’ll Need to Play Big 2 

If you want to play Big 2, make sure you have the following cards:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Big 2 Rules

These instructions will, in larger part, consider a four-player gameplay, but I will also briefly explain the adjustment for a three-player Big Two game where necessary. 

Let’s start with the initial preparation. 

Starting the Game

This game is played in an anticlockwise direction. Appoint a dealer for the first round. Later, the winner of the previous game deals the cards in the next round.

Once you shuffle the cards, reveal who will get their cards first:

  • Cut the deck.
  • Check the card’s value and count the players beginning with the dealer. 
  • Stop when you reach the card’s value.

Example: If the card is 4, the fourth player will receive their cards first.

  • Deal all the cards among the players (13 cards for each of the four players).

Tip: Sometimes, you don’t even need to count the cards, as certain ranks are automatically associated with the players’ positions. It goes as follows:

  • Ace/5/9 = the dealer deals himself first.
  • 2/6/10 = the player to the right of the dealer gets cards first.
  • 3/7/Jack = the player opposite to the dealer gets cards first.
  • 4/8/Queen = the player to the right of the dealer gets cards first.

Whoever has the 3 of diamonds in hand starts first.

Alternative dealing for three players

  • For three players (= odd number), each player gets 17 cards. 
  • The last card is placed face-up to the center. 
  • Whoever has the 3 of diamonds takes this card. If the card itself is the 3 of diamonds, whoever has the 3 of spades takes it.

Cards & Card Combinations

The 3 of diamonds is the lowest card in the game, whereas the 2 of spades is the highest (see the scoring section below for the entire card ranks).

In the course of the game, you can play your cards as: 

  • single cards
  • pairs 
  • triples
  • five-card groups

Pairs and triples must consist of equally ranked cards. When comparing the ranking of two identical combinations, suits matter more than the number on cards. 

Example: The 3 of spades + the 3 of hearts ranks higher than the 3 of clubs + the 3 of diamonds.

Groups of five are the hardest to beat, so they are considered the most valuable. See their ranking and the allowed combinations in the scoring section.

How to Play Big 2

All set? This is how the gameplay proceeds:

  • Start with placing the 3 of diamonds in the center of the table.
  • If you can pair the 3 of diamonds with another 3 in your hand, consider playing double or triple. Your opponents then have to beat you with another double or triple.
  • The players try to beat each other with more valuable cards and combinations.
  • You are not obliged to play – you can pass if it is advantageous.
  • You must pass if you can’t play a higher card or combination from your hands.
  • Once all players except for one pass, you begin a new round of Big Two.

New round

Take the pile of cards from the previous round and put it aside.

The previous round’s winner (the last one who played without passing) begins by playing any card or combination from their hand.

The game follows the same rules as in round one until one player plays all their cards (there are no cards remaining in their hands), becoming this round’s winner.

Big 2 Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Big 2 is best when played with 4 players. Deal 13 cards to each one of them.

Big 2 rules 1 image

Step 2

Whoever has the game’s lowest card, the 3 of diamonds, starts first.

Big 2 rules 2 image

Step 3

You can play cards as singles, pairs, triples, or groups of five with combinations similar to poker.

Big 2 rules 3 image

Step 4

Players compete in playing higher-ranking cards. If they don’t have suitable cards, they pass their turn.

Big 2 rules 4 image

Step 5

If you play a combination (e.g., a pair of 3’s), the next player must play by rule a higher-ranking combination (e.g., a pair of 4’s, a pair of 6’s, etc.). 

Big 2 rules 5 image

Step 6

When all the players pass, the last one who played their cards puts the entire pile aside and starts a new round with any card/combination.

Big 2 rules 6 image

Step 7

The first player who plays all their cards becomes the winner of the game. The remaining players are ranked based on the number of cards they have left.

Big 2 rules 7 image

Big 2 Scoring 

During the main part of the game, players don’t collect points. What matters here is the card ranking.

Card and Suits Ranking

The cards and suits are ranked as follows:

  • Card ranks high to low: 2 – Ace – King – Queen – Jack – 10…3 
  • Suit ranks high to low: spades – hearts – clubs – diamonds

The 5-card groups include the following combinations ranked from the lowest to highest

  • Straight (5 successive cards of any suits)
  • 4 + 1 (4 cards of equal value + 1 random additional card)
  • Flush (5 cards of the same suit; when comparing two flushes, a higher suit wins)
  • Full House (1 double + 1 triple; higher triple ranks first)
  • Straight Flush (5 successive cards of the same suit; in this case, 2 ranks lower than 3, and Aces can be both high and low)

Winning the Game

The player who gets rid of their cards first is the winner

The remaining players are ranked based on how many cards they have left. Here’s where the scoring takes place:

  • 1 to 9 cards = 1 point per each
  • 10 to 12 cards = 2 points per each
  • All 13 cards = 3 points for each

The fewer points, the higher the player’s final ranking.

Example: A player with 5 points ranks 2nd; a player with 20 points ranks 3rd; a player with 39 points ranks last

How to Play Big 2 – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does 2 beat all the other card types in Big 2?

Yes, no other card can beat 2. As the Big 2’s name suggests, card number 2 is the highest card in this game. 

Can two players play Big 2?

No, 2 players cannot play Big Two. All the cards from the deck are dealt among the players, so if you play in a pair, you’ll always know your opponent’s cards.

How do I get better at Big 2?

Getting better at Big 2 takes practice. If you play Big 2 often, you will memorize every rule and ranking round after round, allowing you to focus on your tactics and strategies.

Other Similar Games to Big 2 (Our Guides) 

Here are some of our guides to other games you might like if you’re a fan of Big Two:

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