How to Play Big 2 (Rules and Instructions)

Big 2 is a popular card climbing game driving players to compete in playing the highest-ranking cards or combinations. These detailed Big 2 rules explain how to play the game according to the traditional practice.

Big Two, Big Deuce, or Deuces – these are the most common names you can probably know this game under. Big 2 originates in China, from where it first spread to other Asian countries. Nowadays, the game is pretty popular in the English-speaking world too.

Big 2 has many variations, so the rules can vary from player to player. Nevertheless, it is always about beating your opponents by playing higher cards or combinations.

The use of traditional card combos like Straight or Full House makes Big 2 similar to poker-based games like Po-Ke-No (see full Po-Ke-No rules). But its climbing’ principle may also remind you of the Solitaire rules – just more dynamic and competitive.

Big 2 is suitable for all ages, but given its relative complexity, it will probably fit older kids and adults the most. 

This Big 2 rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is Big 2?
  • What you’ll need to play Big 2
  • Big 2 rules
  • How to play Big 2 (video tutorial)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to Big 2 (our guides)

Now let’s take a closer 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 playing them according to the provided succession pattern. The gameplay itself is simple, but if you’ve never played a card game like this before, it might take a while until you memorize the rules and ranking. 

Number of Players: 3 to 4 players (4 is ideal)

Ages: 10+

Difficulty: Medium

Length of Play: 20+ minutes

Category: Climbing/shedding card game

Similar to: Chinese Poker, Daifugo

Main Objective: Be the first to get rid of all your cards – or at least as many as possible.

Why We Love It: Big 2 looks complex, but it’s easy to pick up and reward to master. It is also one of a few games that ranks all players, not just the winner.

What You’ll Need to Play Big 2 

Big 2 is a classic card game, so all you’re going to need for it is:

If the deck includes jokers, sort them out before playing, as you won’t need them for Big 2.

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Our tip: If you’re looking for a big group game, Big 2 can also work well with more players. Just get another deck of cards, and you can play with four more players!

Big 2 Rules and Gameplay

Before you do anything else, consider how many players will play. Big 2 is ideal for four players. The game can be played by three players too, but it will require some adjustments. 

These instructions will mainly consider four-player gameplay, but I will also briefly explain the adjustment for three players where necessary. 

Let’s discuss the game preparation and card dealing first. 

Starting the Game

This game is played in an anticlockwise direction. You don’t need to appoint a dealer. Typically, whoever wins the previous game deals the cards in the next round.

Once you shuffle the cards, perform a cut that reveals who will get his cards first:

  • Cut the deck.
  • Check the card’s value and count the players beginning with the one who deals the cards. 
  • Stop when you reach the card’s value(e.g., if the card is 4, the fourth player will receive his cards first).
  • Deal the cards one by one among the players until they are all shared (13 cards for each of four players).

In some cases, you don’t even need to count the cards as certain ranks are automatically associated with the positions of the players:

  • 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.

Players can now check and sort their cards. Whoever has three of diamonds in hand starts playing first.

Alternative dealing for three players

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

Card ranking and combinations

In Big 2, all cards and suits are ranked as follows:

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

According to these rules, three of diamonds is the lowest-ranked card in the game, whereas two of spades is the highest.

In the course of the game, you can play your cards in these four combinations: 

  • single cards
  • pairs 
  • triples
  • five cards (groups)

Pairs and triples must consist of equally ranked cards. When comparing the ranking of two identical combinations, suits matter the most (for example, three of spades + three of hearts ranks higher than three of clubs + three of diamonds).

Groups of five are the hardest to beat, so they are considered the most valuable. They can consist of these possible combinations ranked from lowest to highest: 

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

How to Play Big 2

All set? This is how the gameplay proceeds:

  • Start with placing three of diamonds in the center of the table. In this game, you will try to climb from the lowest to the highest cards or card combinations, so you’re starting with the lowest first.
  • If you can pair three of diamonds with another three in your hand, consider playing double or triple. Your opponents have to beat you with another double or triple, which will make it harder for them to succeed.
  • Now the players take turns trying to beat each other with more valuable cards and combinations.
  • You are not obliged to play – you can pass if you find it advantageous.
  • You must pass if you cannot play any higher-ranking card or combination.
  • Once all players except for one pass, you begin a new round.

New round

Take the pile of cards from the previous round and put it aside. The player who won the previous round (the last one who played his cards) begins by playing any card or combination from his hand.

The game continuously follows the same rules as in round one up to the point when one player has no cards left.

Big 2 Scoring 

The player who finishes (gets rid of his cards) first is instantly designated a winner. But in this game, the remaining players are also ranked. 

For this purpose, use the following scoring scheme:

  • If the player has from 1 to 9 cards left, he scores one point per each. 
  • If the player has from 10 to 12 cards left, he scores two points per each.
  • If the player has all 13 cards left, he scores three points per each.

The lower the score, the higher the player’s final ranking (e.g., 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 

Big 2 Frequently Asked Questions

Can you play Big 2 online?

Like many other popular card games, Big 2 is now also available as a digital game on numerous gaming platforms. Nevertheless, it is always more fun with real players. 

Can two players play Big 2?

No. Since all cards from the deck are dealt among the players, playing in a pair won’t make sense since you’ll always know which cards your opponent has.

How do I get better at Big 2?

This game is all about practice. If you play Big 2 often, you will memorize the rules and rankings, 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 2:

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