The five most popular card games in India

India is a nation at the forefront of the technological revolution. In business and in life, this is a nation that loves its tech, and most of us will freely admit that we’d struggle to survive for a day without our cell phone to hand. Yet at the same time, India is a nation of traditions, and these are not casually thrown away but instead coexist with the wonders of the technological age.  

Card games are a perfect case in point. They have been providing entertainment for centuries, and are as popular today as they have ever been. That’s not to say, however, that we are playing exactly the same games in exactly the same way as our great grandparents. Here, we take a look at the most popular card games in India right now.  


The classic pick and discard game has long been a family favourite in India. The rules are simple to understand and it can be played between anything from two to six players. It was introduced by the British in colonial times, but the game was actually invented in America. The name comes about because the common stake was a glass of rum!  

Satte Pe Satta

Unlike rummy, this is a peculiarly Indian game, in which the object is to discard your cards before your opponents. It can get quite raucous, as it can be as much fun trying to block the other players as actually going for glory yourself. Playing with multiple decks is even better, especially when there are four or more people playing.  


It’s the world’s most famous card game, and it has a thriving professional infrastructure thanks to the work of the WSOP and coverage by the likes of ESPN. That can make the game seem a little daunting to beginners, but today, there are plenty of resources that will teach you how to play poker online. Start out with a relatively simple version like video poker and you will soon be familiar with the basics, and can advance from there.  


This trick-taking game is one of the most popular in India today. It’s more complex than most of the games in our list, but it is well worth putting the effort into learning the rules. It’s played between two teams of four and uses 32 cards. Teammates need to work together to win tricks, and as that means communicating with one another without giving anything away to the opposing team, it can often lead to unexpected and hilarious misunderstandings.  


Here’s a game that was hugely popular in the 1970s, dwindled somewhat in the 80s and then had a renaissance towards the turn of the millennium as we entered the internet age. The game has plenty going for it. As a single-player game, you can play it whenever you want, and today, there are dozens of versions you can try online. These range from the relatively simple to devilishly difficult variations like Russian solitaire.  

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