Golf (card game)

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Golf card game.jpg
A player's grid of cards, in six card golf
Alternative namesPolish Polka, Polish Poker, Turtle
TypeDraw and discard
CardsSingle deck of 52 or double deck of 104
Deck Anglo-American
Playing time10 minutes

Golf (also known as Polish Polka, Polish Poker, Turtle, Hara Kiri or Crazy Nines [1] ) is a card game where players try to earn the lowest number of points (as in golf, the sport) over the course of nine deals (or "holes").


The game has little in common with its solitaire cousin of the same name.


Two or three players use a standard 52-card deck. If played with four or more, a double-deck of 104 cards can be used.

Each player is dealt six cards face down from a shuffled deck. The remaining cards are placed face down to serve as the stock, from which the top card is taken and turned up to start the discard pile beside it. Players arrange their cards in two rows of three in front of them, and turn any two of these cards face up. [1] This arrangement is maintained throughout the game and players always have six cards in front of them.


The object is for players to reduce the value of the cards in front of them by swapping them for lesser value cards and trying to get the lowest score. The highest score loses the game and the lowest score wins the game.

Beginning at dealer's left, players take turns drawing single cards from either the stock or discard piles. The drawn card may either be swapped for one of that player's six cards, or discarded. If the card is swapped for one of the face down cards, the card swapped in remains face up. If the card drawn is discarded, the player can then either flip a card or choose to make no move.

The round ends when a player has six face-up cards (sometimes the other players are given one final turn following this), [1] after which scoring happens as follows: [2] [3]

During play, it is not legal for a player to pick up a card from the discard pile and return it to the discard pile without playing it, to allow another player to retrieve the card. A card picked up from the discard pile must be swapped with one of the current player's cards.

A full game is typically nine "holes" (hands), after the player with the lowest total score is designated the winner. [1] A longer game can be played to eighteen holes. [1]


There is a multitude of variants in multiplayer golf. Some common ones include:

Single-pack golf

For two to four players. Rules are the same as in double-pack golf. Sometimes, jokers are not used.

Four-card golf

Suitable for 3-7 players, in four-card Golf each player receives four cards face down in a 2×2 grid and reveal two before play begins. [4] Play proceeds similar to six-card golf. The end of a round is initiated by a player who thinks they can win `knocking', after which other players get one final turn.


Golf can be played so that instead of ending the game automatically, a player must choose to "knock" instead of taking their turn. Remaining players then have one turn to draw a card to improve their hands and then scores are totaled and recorded on a running score sheet. This rule is more common for four-card golf. [1]

Nine-card golf

One or two packs are involved, depending on the number of players. One pack is adequate for 1-3 players, two or more packs are suggested for 4+ players.[ citation needed ] To begin the game, each player is dealt nine cards, laying out the cards face down in a 3x3 grid. The method or pattern for how the players layout their 3x3 grid is arbitrary, as long as the cards remain face down.

The game is played as six-card golf. Once any grid contains only face-up cards, the game is immediately ended, there are no further turns, and all players must flip all their face-down cards to determine their scores. Scoring is the same as six-card golf, with players having to form a full three-of-a-kind column to have that column score zero. [1]

This process of game play continues for nine total games or until a player exceeds 50 points.[ citation needed ] Another option is to play to 100.

Optional rules of this version include:

Alternative scoring

There are many variants for point values of cards, including:

In some versions, making a pair or triple of cards of equal rank (sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally and sometimes diagonally) reduces those cards' scores to zero. [1]


Variants known as Cambio, Pablo or Cactus include "power cards". When a power card is drawn from the stock, it can either be used for its normal value or discarded to activate its power. (If a power card is drawn from the discards, it must be played as its number.) [1] A simple version of the game played in Malaysia has the following power cards: [1]

John McLeod of speculates that these variants are Spanish in origin, as the game is recorded as being played by students in Spain, and many of its variant names are Spanish words (cambio meaning "exchange"). [1] The game had a commercial release as Cabo in 2010 [1] and is similar to the 1996 Mensa Select winner Rat-a-Tat Cat .


"Powers" is an escalated version of Cambio where every card is given some sort of additional ability. The game can only end after knocking, and all cards stay face down unless a power dictates one should be turned up. You start the game with 6 cards, and can look at any two of them, with the rest staying hidden until you swap them or look at them with a power.

On your turn, you take the top card, and put it into your deck without looking at the card with which you want to swap it, and discard. Or, you can discard the card you have drawn straight away, and instead use the power of the card instead.

The abilities are as follows:

The Powers
Card TypePower
Red KingScores -1
Black KingCancels knock if turned over from the opponent's hand or drawn from the pile
QueenNothing (Dud)
JackPeek at one of your cards
10Peek at one of your opponent's cards
9Can swap any card in your opponent's deck for the 9
8Take the next two cards from the draw pile and put either one (or the 8 if you choose) into your deck
7Swap a row/column with another one in your opponent's set (disorienting them)
6Swap any one of your cards of for one of your opponent's
5Shield (Kept off to the side face-up, and used to block an opponents attacks)
4Turn one of your opponent's cards face up/Turn one of your cards face down
3Completely shuffle your opponent's 6 cards
2Can use any combination (without repeats) of two powers from 3 - Black King
AceAdd one card to your opponent's set/remove one card from your set

The Black King is the only card which can have its power applied when in a player's set.

Knocker's penalties and bonuses

Some play Golf and its variations such that that a player who knocks (turns over all cards first) but doesn't end with the lowest score is penalized:

If the knocker's score is lowest, some play with a bonus:

Related Research Articles

500 (card game)

500 or five hundred, also called bid Euchre is a trick-taking game that is an extension of euchre with some ideas from bridge. For two to six players, it is most commonly played by four players in partnerships, but is sometimes recommended as a good three-player game. It arose in America before 1900 and was promoted by the United States Playing Card Company, which copyrighted and marketed the rules in 1904. 500 is a social card game and was highly popular in the United States until around 1920 when first auction bridge and then contract bridge drove it from favour. 500 continues to enjoy popularity in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where it has been taught through six generations community-wide, and in other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Shetland. The originator of Five Hundred, US Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, now has headquarters across the Ohio River in Erlanger, Kentucky. Five hundred is promoted by some as the national card game of Australia and America.

Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is a shedding-type card game for two to seven players. The object of the game is to be the first player to discard all of their cards. The game is similar to Switch and Mau Mau.

Spades (card game) Card game

Spades is a trick-taking card game devised in the United States in the 1930s. It can be played as either a partnership or solo/"cutthroat" game. The object is to take the number of tricks that were bid before play of the hand began. Spades is a descendant of the Whist family of card games, which also includes Bridge, Hearts, and Oh Hell. Its major difference as compared to other Whist variants is that, instead of trump being decided by the highest bidder or at random, the Spade suit always trumps, hence the name.

Joker (playing card)

The Joker is a playing card found in most modern French-suited card decks, as an addition to the standard four suits. From the second half of the 20th century, they have also been found in Spanish- and Italian-suited decks, excluding stripped decks. The Joker originated in the United States during the Civil War, and was created as a trump card for the game of Euchre. It has since been adopted into many other card games, where it often acts as a wild card, but may have other functions such as the top trump, a skip card, the lowest-ranking card or the highest-value card. By contrast, a wild card is any card that may be used to represent another card or cards; it need not be a Joker. The Joker is unique within the French pack in that it lacks an industry-wide standard appearance.

Ninety-nine is a card game for 2, 3, or 4 players. It is a trick-taking game that can use ordinary French-suited cards. Ninety-nine was created in 1967 by David Parlett; his goal was to have a good 3-player trick-taking game with simple rules yet great room for strategy.

500 rum

500 rum, also called pinochle rummy, Michigan rummy, Persian rummy, rummy 500 or 500 rummy, is a popular variant of rummy. The game of canasta and several other games are believed to have developed from this popular form of rummy. The distinctive feature of 500 rum is that each player scores the value of the sets or cards they meld. It may be played by 2 to 8 players, but it is best for 3 to 5.

Thirty-one or Trente et un is a gambling card game played by two to seven people, where players attempt to assemble a hand which totals 31. Such a goal has formed the whole or part of various games like Commerce, Cribbage, Trentuno, and Wit and Reason since the 15th century.


Rummy is a group of matching-card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build melds which consist of sets, three or four of a kind of the same rank; or runs, three or more cards in sequence, of the same suit. If a player discards a card, making a run in the discard pile, it may not be taken up without taking all cards below the top one. The Mexican game of Conquian is considered by games scholar David Parlett to be ancestral to all rummy games, which itself is derived from a Chinese game called Khanhoo. The rummy principle of drawing and discarding with a view to melding appears in Chinese card games at least in the early 19th century, and perhaps as early as the 18th century.

Shanghai rum

Shanghai rum is a Rummy card game, based on gin rummy and a variation of Contract rummy played by 3 to 8 players. It is also known as California rummy.

Tonk, or tunk, is a matching card game, which combines features of knock rummy and conquian. Tonk is a relatively fast-paced game that can be played by 2-4 players. It was popular with blues and jazz musicians in southern Louisiana in the 1930s, including Duke Ellington's orchestra, and was played during breaks in the back rooms of bars and saloons. It has been played in military barracks to the battlefield and In many other places it has become a popular pastime for workers while on their lunch breaks. It can be played for just points or for money wagered.

Liverpool rummy Card game

Liverpool rummy is a multi-player, multi-round card game similar to other variants of rummy that adds features like buying and going out. It is played the same as Contract Rummy, except that if a player manages to cut the exact number of cards required to deal the hand and leave a face-up card, then the cutting player's score is reduced by 50 points.

Yaniv, also known as "Jonny" "Dhumbal", "Jhyap", “Jafar”, "Staki", in Québec or "quién va?" in Mexico and “Caramba” in Australia, is a Nepalese card game popular in Israel. It is similar to Blackjack, with several notable differences: one variation of the game involves five players, rather than the two-player standard of traditional Blackjack. the game is considered a backpackers game in Israel, and it's popular among soldiers and young adults returning from long backpacking trips.

Rat-a-Tat Cat is a memory card game designed by Monty and Ann Stambler and published by Gamewright. It won a Mensa Select award in 1996. The Washington Post described it as "like poker for kids".

Continental Rummy

Continental Rummy is a progressive partnership Rummy card game related to Rumino. It is considered the forerunner of the whole family of rummy games using two packs of cards as one. Its name derives from the fact that it is played throughout the continental Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada, and also in South America. According to Albert Morehead, it was "at one time the most popular form of Rummy in women's afternoon games, until in 1950 it lost out to Canasta."

Carioca (card game) A Latinoamerican card game similar to Rummy.

Carioca is a Chilean card game similar to Rummy style card games with many variations. The variation described below is Perla's Cariocas.

The rules here are based on those of the American Cribbage Congress and apply to two-, three- or four-player games, with details of variations being listed below.


Khanhoo or Kanhu is a non-partnership Chinese card game of the draw-and-discard structure. It was first recorded during the late Ming dynasty as a multi-trick taking game, a type of game that may be as old as T'ienkiu, revised in its rules and published in an authorized edition by Emperor Kao Tsung in 1130 AD for the information of his subjects. Meaning "watch the pot", it is very possibly the ancestor of all rummy games.

Indian Cherokee Rummy is a card game in India with little variation from original rummy. It may be considered a cross between Rummy 500 and gin rummy. Indian Rummy is a variant of the rummy game popular in India that involves making valid sets out of 13 cards that are distributed among every player on the table. Each player is dealt 13 cards initially; if the number of players is 2, then a 52 cards deck is chosen for the game and if there are 6 players, two decks of 52 cards each is combined for the game. Each player has to draw and discard cards by turns till one player melds his/her cards with valid sets that meet the Rummy validation rules. It could be that Indian Rummy evolved from a version of Rummy in South Asia, Celebes Rummy, also called Rhuk.


Kalooki or Kaluki, is a version of Contract Rummy popular in Jamaica, and it has become known as Jamaican Rummy. A version called "Super Kalooki" is played in tournaments while a version called "Baby Kalooki" is often played with children or for purposes of teaching the game. There are a few variations of the game described in books and on the internet. A similar game is sometimes referred to as "Kalooki 40".

Cabo is a 2010 card game by Melissa Limes that involves memory and manipulation. The game uses a dedicated deck of cards with each suit numbered from 1 to 13, and certain numbers being marked as "Peek", "Spy" or "Swap". The objective of the game is for each player to minimize the sum of his or her cards, four of which are played face-down to the table at the start of a round. Face-down cards may be revealed and swapped by card effects.


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  2. Six Card Golf, Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  3. Six Card Golf, Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  4. "Golf" (p.51) in Card & Dice Games by N.A.C. Bathe, Robert Frederick Ltd, 2004. ISBN   1-889752-06-1
  5. Kiley, Oliver. "9 Cards of Golf - Rules". 9 Cards of Golf. Retrieved 25 February 2021.