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True story. Whenever my husband and I play cards, he forgets to remove the Jokers and starts shuffling them into the deck. I guess he’s just excited to get on with the game.

But this got me thinking. Do we need to keep the Jokers? And are there any card games that use them?

Justine holding two Joker cards

After a bit of Internet sleuthing, I found out you can use Jokers as “Wild Cards” in many games. Plus, the following ten card games use Jokers in various other ways, making each game unique and unexpected.

Speaking of unexpected, here comes a spoiler alert! Is anyone else wondering what part the Joker card is going to play in the Japanese TV show “Alice in Borderland”? I reckon it’s going to be the highest-ranking card as seen in some of the card games we’ll talk about now.

Which Card Games Use Jokers & How?

1. Euchre

Euchre is a trick-taking game from the early 1800s. According to Bicycle Cards, Euchre is the reason why modern card decks were first packaged with Jokers, so it makes sense for us to include it at the top of our list.

Originally, the Jokers acted as the Right and Left “Bowers” (top trumps) in the game. Today, the “bowers” are played with the Jacks instead. And the Jokers are now the highest trump cards overall.

People usually play Euchre with a smaller deck containing the 9s, 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces in each suit with all of the 2-8 cards removed. You can play individually or in teams (the latter being the most popular way to play). The first player or team to win at least three tricks out of five wins.

The trump suit is determined by the top card of the deck with the rest of the cards in that suit becoming the most powerful for that round.

Euchre is similar to Whist, but the unique twist in Euchre is that the Jack of the trump suit is the highest-ranking card, followed by the Jack of the same colour in the non-trump suit. The order of the remaining cards is the standard Ace through 9.

Euchre also introduces a Joker and a Left Bower (the Jack of the same colour as the trump suit). The Joker, if included, is the highest-ranking card, while the Left Bower is second only to the trump suit’s Jack.

Here’s a handy video to show you how to play Euchre. However, bear in mind it doesn’t reference Joker cards for some reason. Remember: the Jokers are the highest-ranking trump cards overall.

2. Chase the Joker

Coming in at number two on our list is Chase the Joker, a game where a Joker card is the star of the show. You play with just one Joker card plus a standard 52-card deck.

Just like lots of other card games, you take turns playing cards that either match the rank or suit of the previous card played. If you can’t go, you must “chase the Joker” by picking up cards until you find a playable one.

The fun part is that the Joker can pop up at any moment during the chase (much like an Exploding Kitten card randomly appearing in that game). But this time, it’s good news because the Joker serves as a “Wild Card”.

The first player to get rid of all their cards shouts “Chase the Joker!” and wins the round.

3. Poker (Five Card Draw)

There are several variations of the popular casino game of Poker. But there’s one in particular that uses the Joker cards, which is called “Five Card Draw”.

Each player has five cards in their hand and needs to make the best hand, such as three Aces and a pair of Kings for a “Full House”.

The difference here is that the Joker cards act as “Wild Cards”, helping you get the best hand.

4. Rummy

Rummy is one of our favourite card games. Similarly to Poker, the Joker cards act as “Wild Cards”, helping you to complete your hand first.

In Rummy, each player has seven cards and declares “Rummy!” once they’re the first player to have two sets in their hand (e.g. 3 of a Kind and 4 of a Kind, or two separate runs such as 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Spades and 7, 8 and 9 of Diamonds).

BONUS: Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a variation on Rummy where you make sets in your hand. The difference with this version is that you can pick up multiple cards from the discard pile in one go and each completed set earns you points. The player with the most sets at the end of the game wins. Once again, the Jokers act as “Wild Cards”.

5. Canasta

Canasta is similar to Rummy and Gin Rummy where you need to make sets of cards.

This time, the cards have different scores associated with them with the Joker cards being some of the most powerful and highest-scoring ones. Once again, they serve as “Wild Cards” and will earn you 50 points if you make a set using them.

Other interesting cards in Canasta are:

  • Twos – also “Wild”
  • Red Threes – must be played immediately
  • Black Threes – to block the discard pile

RELATED: Can Math Really Help Us Shuffle Cards More Effectively?

6. Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is a “follow suit” kind of game and very similar to Uno. In fact, most people say Uno was based on Crazy Eights.

Just like in Uno, you have action cards that make players skip their turn, draw two cards and reverse the order of play. The 8s are “Wild Cards” (hence the name of the game), allowing you to declare a new suit for everyone to follow. But you can also use Jokers as extra “Wild Cards”.

The first player to get rid of all their cards is the winner!

BONUS: Uno

If you play a version of Uno with regular playing cards, you can use the Jokers. While we don’t use this rule ourselves, some people use Jokers as the “Wild Swap Hands” card that comes in newer packs of Uno. As the name suggests, it enables you to swap cards with a player of your choice and declare which suit the next player must follow.

RELATED: How To Play Uno With Regular Playing Cards (+ Printable Cheat Sheets)

7. War

War is another of our favourite card games as you play “blind”, which makes it super exciting! To win at War, you must win all or the majority of the cards by the end of the game.

You do this by beating the other players across several rounds by having higher-ranked cards. Of course, because your cards are facedown, you won’t know what’s going to come up.

If you want to play the Joker variation of War, then these cards are ranked as the highest card. Yep, even higher than Aces.

8. Mighty

Just like Euchre, Mighty is another fun trick-taking game, where you win the game by winning the most tricks and amassing the most points based on the cards played.

As you might expect, the highest-ranking cards such as Aces, Kings and Queens earn the most points, while 2s, 3s, 4s, etc earn the fewest points. As for the Joker cards, these are the “Mighty” cards, which have a rank higher than any other card in the trump suit.

Once again, you follow suit aka the trump suit, which is declared by whoever wins the initial bidding round (i.e. you “bet” that you’ll win the most tricks in this round).

If you meet or exceed the number of tricks you “bid” then you’ll earn points (again, based on the cards played), while those falling short lose points.

FAQs About Joker Cards

If you’re still wondering which card games use Jokers and in what ways, then here are our responses to some frequently asked questions about them.

Why are Jokers not used in many card games?

Jokers were only introduced to card decks in the early 1800s (thanks to the game Euchre). But many traditional card games are older than that, so the Joker cards aren’t included in the original rules. However, you can easily change games that thrive on luck and unpredictability to include Jokers as “Wild Cards”.

What do you use Jokers for?

Some card games, such as Chase the Joker, Poker Five Card Draw, Rummy and Crazy Eights allow you to use Jokers as “Wild Cards”. While other games, such as Euchre, War and Mighty specify the Joker cards are the highest-ranking cards (above Aces).

What card game has Jokers wild?

There are lots of card games where you can use Jokers as “Wild Cards”. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Chase the Joker
  • Poker (Five Card Draw)
  • Rummy
  • Gin Rummy
  • Crazy Eights
  • Canasta
  • Go Fish
  • Daifugō

Why are there two Joker cards in a deck?

Standard decks of cards have two Jokers because of the game Euchre (where Jokers were first introduced). In the original version of the game, the Jokers served as the Right and Left “Bowers” (top trumps).

What is the card game with one Joker?

There are several card games where you play with just one Joker. The most popular one is called Chase the Joker where the player who finds the elusive Joker card can use it as a “Wild Card” to help them get rid of their cards faster than the other players.

Do any Poker games use Jokers?

Yes, you can use Jokers in a game of Poker. The most common variation is called “Five Card Draw” where the Joker cards act as “Wild Cards” to help you create “sets” in your hand.

Do any casino games use Jokers?

While there are lots of casino games you can play casually at home or during a friend’s game night, casinos themselves don’t typically play with the Joker cards as they rely on traditional decks to maintain fairness and consistency.

Do you use Jokers in Hearts?

Traditionally, you don’t use the Jokers in a game of Hearts. That said, Euchre is a relatively similar game to Hearts, which does use the Joker cards. They’re considered the highest trump cards in the game.

Do you play Spades with Jokers?

Just like with Hearts, you don’t typically play Spades with Jokers. You might enjoy Euchre, which is a relatively similar game, but that one uses Jokers as the highest trump cards.

I hope you found this blog post helpful for understanding what card games use Jokers. Which game or games are you most excited to play first? And are there any games you play with Joker cards that we’ve not mentioned yet? We’re always after “new-to-us” game ideas, so drop us a line in the comments below…


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