Thirty-one is a card game played by between two and seven people inclusive. The game is usually best played with at least four players. The object of Thirty-one is to obtain a hand with a point value closer to 31 than the hands of one’s opponents. The game can also be called skedaddle or snip snap snoop.
Details of play
Thirty-one uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Aces are high, counting 11; face cards count 10; and all other cards count face value. Each player gets three cards in his or her hand. The rest of the pack is set in the middle of the table to act as the stock for the game, and the top card of the stock is turned over to begin the discard.
After the hands in the first round are dealt out, each player receives a previously-chosen number of tokens, or, most commonly, coins. For speed, four coins is usually the best number to play with. Play proceeds as in Gin rummy, with each player, starting with the player to the immediate left of the dealer and going clockwise around the table, taking the top card of either the stock or the discard and subsequently discarding a card. All players are trying to collect a hand value of 31 (or the closest to it) in the same suit. Play continues clockwise around the table until any player knocks or obtains a blitz.
When it is one player’s turn, and that player believes his or her hand is high enough to beat those of his or her opponents individually, he or she knocks on the table in lieu of drawing and discarding. All other players, going clockwise from the player who knocked, have one more turn to draw from the stock and discard, or they have the option of keeping all three cards in their hands, known as standing. The round ends when the player to the right of the player who knocked has had his or her final turn. If no one knocks by the time a player exhausts the stock, the round ends in a draw.
At the end of the round, each player shows his or her hand and totals it up, only counting cards of the same suit. For instance, if the three cards in one’s hand are all different suits, the highest value card would stand as that player’s score. The player whose hand scored the lowest is declared the loser, and must subsequently place one of his or her tokens or coins in the centre of the table.
If, at any time in the round, a player acquires a hand value of 31 the same suit, known as a blitz, he or she immediately shows it, the round immediately ends, and all other players each place one token or coin on the centre of the table.
When a player has lost all of his or her tokens or coins, he or she continues to play “on the bus” until that player loses again; at that time, he or she must leave the game. The last player to stay in the game wins all of the tokens or coins on the table.