Go Fish

Ready. Set. Go FISH!

How to play: Go Fish

Go Fish is a fun game that will amuse and entertain even the youngest card players. It is similar to the game Authors.

The Pack

The standard 52-card pack is used. Some cards will be dealt and the rest will form the stock pile.

Object of the Game

The goal is to win the most "books" of cards. A book is any four of a kind, such as four kings, four aces, and so on.

Rank of Cards

The cards rank from ace (high) to two (low). The suits are not important, only the card numbers are relevant, such as two 3s, two 10s, and so on.

The Deal

Any player deals one card face up to each player. The player with the lowest card is the dealer. The dealer shuffles the cards, and the player on his right cuts them.

The dealer completes the cut and deals the cards clockwise one at a time, face down, beginning with the player to his left. If two or three people are playing, each player receives seven cards. If four or five people are playing, each receives five cards. The remainder of the pack is placed face down on the table to form the stock.

The Play

The player to the left of the dealer looks directly at any opponent and says, for example, "Give me your kings," usually addressing the opponent by name and specifying the rank he wants, from ace down to two. The player who is "fishing “must have at least one card of the rank he asked for in his hand. The player who is addressed must hand over all the cards requested. If he has none, he says, "Go fish!" and the player who made the request draws the top card of the stock and places it in his hand.

If a player gets one or more cards of the named rank he asked for, he is entitled to ask the same or another player for a card. He can ask for the same card or a different one. So long as he succeeds in getting cards (makes a catch), his turn continues. When a player makes a catch, he must reveal the card so that the catch is verified. If a player gets the fourth card of a book, he shows all four cards, places them on the table face up in front of him, and plays again.

If the player goes fishing without "making a catch" (does not receive a card he asked for), the turn passes to his left.

The game ends when all thirteen books have been won. The winner is the player with the most books. During the game, if a player is left without cards, he may (when it's his turn to play), draw from the stock and then ask for cards of that rank. If there are no cards left in the stock, he is out of the game.

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  • A variation as I remember it: Players can lay down a 3 of a kind and upon drawing the fourth could close the book. If an opponent held or drew the fourth card, he could lay it down in front of himself to close the book. We also asked for the card of everyone at once. I don’t remember how we scored the 3-card books, but I would imagine the cards were scored at face value. My three 3s gave me 9 and your 3 gave you 3 if it was laid in front of yourself to close my book. 10s and face cards were 10 points and aces were maybe 11. I remember we called the game "Fish," after the the instruction to "fish" if the requested card was not available to be given.

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