Card games have always been a part of my childhood so I learned from a young age various ways to entertain yourself with a deck of cards. Typically, I keep a deck in my purse so I can pull it out whenever I’m bored. My friends can always count on me to have a deck on hand with a list of suggestions of games to play. But sometimes no one else is around and I use these ways to entertain yourself with a deck of cards to pass the time.
1. Card House
Building a card house is a great way to entertain yourself with a deck of cards. I enjoy it because it brings your awareness to the moment and harnesses your energy into building a house that won’t fall over. Plus, it’s cool to see how they turn out! I’ve never gotten higher than a three-story card house but who knows, next time might be the one. Card houses help you focus on a task without realizing how the time passes.
My uncle taught me the card game Elevens when I was a little kid and to this day, it’s my go-to way to entertain myself with a deck of cards. The goal is to find matches that total the number 11, disregarding the suits. For example, 5 and 6 or 2 and 9. Js, Qs, and Ks go together while 10 is paired with A. You begin by placing a card down in a three-by-three square. If you see a set of 11 before you finish putting all the cards in that three-by-three square, then you place one card from the deck on each of the two cards that equal 11. The goal is to match up all the cards so that the final visible cards are pairs of 11. If you get stuck with no pairs and the three-by-three square is already complete, then you lose and need to start again.
There are various different kinds of Solitaire games to play, so find whichever one works for you. Normal Solitaire requires you to get a run of cards from K to 2 alternating between black and red cards. Beehive Solitaire searches for four of kind as the “bees” fly to the “flower garden.” You could also try Golf Solitaire, FreeCell Solitaire or whatever kind you fancy. This is a pretty basic game to play by yourself when all you have is a deck of cards to entertain yourself.
Though this is typically a two-person game, you can play it by yourself. Start by making two rows of five cards in front of you, making sure the cards are face-down. Draw a card from the deck and replace its numerical location in front of you. For example, if you draw a 6 place it in the six spot and take the card that is there, which may be an 8 and place it in the eight spot. If you pick up a card that has already been placed, for example a second 6, then you discard it and draw another from the deck. Once you have completed finding all ten cards, you shuffle and put down nine cards, playing in the same way you did before as you search for nine cards, not ten.
To set up for this game, place four cards in a pile at each point in the clock shape from 1:00 to 12:00 with four cards in the middle. Each spot on the clock correlates to a number. A:1:00. 2: 2:00 and so on. J: 11:00. Q: 12:00. K: goes in the middle. Start by flipping over the top card in the middle pile and placing it at the bottom of the stack it correlates to. For example, if you flip over a five, then place it under the pile at 5:00 and flip over the top card and place it where it belongs. The goal is to get each pile stacked with sets of four that correlate to that location before getting all the kings in the center. If you get the kings there before you get all the other cards in their places, then you lose.
6. Four Corners
Four Corners is a solitary card game. Place the four As in the four corners of your playing space. Surround each of those four As with a card face-up in each of its corners. The goal is to stack those cards starting from A to K in numerical order for each respective suit. Play as many cards as you can before you run out of places to play with the face-up cards. Then, replace all the empty corners with a card from the deck and start again. The way you win the game is by getting all the cards stacked in each corner.
Spit is typically a two-person card game but you can play it by yourself. Basically you play the game Spit and instead of focusing on beating your opponent, you focus on trying to play all your cards against the clock. Time yourself to see what your fastest time is. If you want to play a more light-hearted game, don’t stress about the time and just pay attention to playing cards above and below the card in the pile. I love the thrill that comes with using all my cards.