TJ’s Guide to Big Two

Common Rules of Big Two

There are no concrete rules for the game of Big Two. The rules vary a lot, depending on many factors such as which way the game is being played. The rules listed are the rules that are in use when I play with my friends. I will list the variation in sections where there are some. I’ll colour the variations red so you can distinguish them. Here are the rules.

Goal of the Game
Number of Players
Process of the Game
Card Rankings

Goal of the Game
The goal of Big Two is to get rid of the cards as soon as possible. The players do this by putting cards out in singles, pairs, combos and other ways. The person who plays all his/her cards out first wins the game.

Number of Players
Big Two is best suited for four players because the deck will divide evenly into 4 piles of 13 cards. Big Two can be played with three or even two players. The cards are dealt into three piles with one card left over. The card is picked up by the person who has the smallest card (diamond 3 in Chinese Way or spade 3 in Vietnamese Way). If the card left over is the smallest card, the player with the next smallest card picks it up. The reason for dealing three piles for two players is so that the opponents won’t know what cards each other has.

Process of the Game
Big Two is played with a standard deck of 52 cards without jokers. The cards are usually dealt clockwise or counterclockwise into the piles. A card is dealt to each pile until all the cards have been dealt. Some people deal the first card to the winner of the last game, but others deal the first card to whoever they feel like.

After all the cards have been dealt, the person with the lowest card (a 3) goes first. This person has to put out that card first, either as a single or with other cards. Some people play it so that the winner of the last game goes first. In this way, the starting player can put anything he/she wants.

Anyways, the next person then puts down something that has a higher value and then so on and so on. If a person does not have something capable of beating the card(s) that were put down before or doesn’t want to beat them for some other reason, he/she can pass their turn and the next player can put down cards. If all the other players pass on their turn, the player who put down the cards can put anything he/she wants on the table.

If a player only has one card left, it is customary to announce this to the other players so they are aware of the situation.

Some people play so that the game finishes when one person wins. Others play until only one loser is left. This means that the remaining three players keep playing until only one person has cards in his/her hand. That person is the loser. With this method, after a player has gotten rid of all the cards, the next person gets to put down anything unless another player wants to beat the last card(s) the winner put on the table, so that it will be his/her turn. If more than one player wanted to beat the last card(s), the player who is closer to the winner in rotation will have priority. I know this is kind of confusing so I’ll give an example. Okay, Jack, Mike, Tom and Sam are playing Big Two. Jack goes first; Mike goes second, then Tom and then Sam. If Jack wins first, and bothe Mike and Sam wants to beat Jack’s last cards, Mike will have priority because it should be his turn next.
I hope you guys understood my example.

Cards Rankings
The card that ranks highest is a 2, hence the name “Big Two.” The card that has the lowerst value is a 3. The complete ranking scheme is as followed :
(lowest) 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K-A-2(highest)
The ranking of the suits and other items are different in the two ways of Big Two that are talked about in this site. Please click the bottom row buttons to navigate to those sections.

Sometimes people keep track on scores during Big Two. Scores are calculated by how many cards are left in the losers’ hands. Each card left counts as one point. There are many ways to keep score in Big Two. I’ll just tell you people the way I know. My way is that if there are eight or nine cards left in your hand, each card counts as two points. If there are ten, eleven, or twelve cards, each card counts as three points. If the whole hand of thirteen cards is still there, each card counts for five points.
Points are used when people are playing for money. The winner, who has no cards left, receives no points. The losers pay according to their score. For example, one point can equal one dollar owed.

Other than the rules explained above, the rules of fair play also count in Big Two. This means no secret trading or trying to peek at your opponents’ cards. Play fair and be nice. You can brag a little after a miraculous win, but don’t make others feel uncomfortable. Please use the navigation menu on the left or the links below to navigate to further rules.

Chinese Way
Viet Way

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One thought to “TJ’s Guide to Big Two”

  1. Hey
    I’m in year 11 as well, doing this UNSW ‘high school kids do uni at school’ course, and we have to make a program that plays a card game, similar to Big Two. I’m not very familiar with card games, and you’re tactics have helped a lot.

    Thanks for your awesome tips mate :)

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