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Go Fish Rules: How Do You Play Go Fish?

Go Fish Rules: 

Go Fish is a classic children’s card game that can be played with any deck of cards. While there are decks of cards specifically designed to play Go Fish – often with fewer cards and numbers than a standard deck of cards – specialized card decks are not necessary to play this game. For the purpose of this article, the Go Fish rules will be explained based on a standard 52-card deck. The goal of the game is to collect the most sets of four.

Game Play

Go Fish can be played with anywhere from 2-6 players. Each player is dealt 5 cards (if only 2 players are playing, deal 7 cards each). The remaining cards should be placed face down. This creates a draw pile.

There are a variety of ways to determine who goes first. When playing with children, you may want to have the youngest child go first. You may also flip a coin, roll a die, or use any other method to randomly chose who will go first.

Each turn consists of 3 main steps:

1) Asking your opponent for a card

Pick a card number from the ones you hold in your hand. Then, choose another player and ask if they have the  given card number. For example: “Do you have any 3’s?”

If that person has one or more of the called card, they are given to you and become part of your hand. Anytime you get cards from another player, you may repeat this process.

It is not necessary to ask the same player – each time you receive cards, you may chose any of the denomination of cards you hold in your hand and pick any player to ask for matches.

2) Go Fish

If your opponent does not have the card number you asked for, they will say “Go Fish”. At this point, you draw a card from the draw pile.

If the card you draw matches the card number you asked your opponent for, show the card to your opponents, put it in your hand, and continue playing your turn.

If the card does not match the card number you asked for, the card becomes part of your hand, and it is your opponent’s turn.

3) Creating sets of four
As soon as you have a set of 4 cards of the same number in your hand (one of each suit), you immediately place these cards face up on the table.

Winning the Game

The game ends when one person lays all their cards on the table, or the draw pile is empty, whichever comes first. The person with the most sets of four wins the game.

The Go Fish rules are very simple, but the game is very fun. House rules can make variations on game play, such as making the draw pile a pool of cards, requiring players to request a specific card (i.e., ‘the 5 of diamonds’ instead of just asking for a card number like ‘5’), and more.

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