Popular Local Card Games of New Zealand and How to Play Them

Local Card Games of New Zealand
Local Card Games of New Zealand

Local card games of New Zealand are a cherished part of the country’s culture and history. These games have been played for generations, bringing people together for fun and socializing. From fast-paced games like “Euchre” to more strategic ones like “500,” card games have been popular for Kiwis of all ages.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these card games, learn their rules and origins, and explore how they help build a sense of community among the people of New Zealand.

These local card games of New Zealand are more than entertainment; they are an integral part of the country’s cultural fabric. Join us to explore the world of these popular local card games, uncovering their rules, strategies, and their unique role in New Zealand’s gaming tradition.

1. Euchre


Euchre, known for its popularity in New Zealand, is a beloved card game and a thrilling betting game. Originating in Europe, it has found its place in the hearts of Kiwis, offering a unique blend of strategy, camaraderie, and the opportunity for friendly wagers.

How to Play?

Euchre is typically played with four players divided into two teams of two. A standard deck of 32 cards consists of each suit’s 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace cards. The objective is to win tricks and reach a target score, usually 10 points.

The game begins with a bidding process to determine the trump suit, which adds an element of strategy. Players take turns to bid or pass, with the highest bidder having the right to choose the trump suit. This decision can significantly impact the course of the game.

Once the trump suit is established, the gameplay involves players trying to win tricks by playing cards strategically. The team that wins the majority of tricks scores points based on their bid. However, if they fail to meet their bid, they lose points.

Types of Bets

In Euchre, betting typically involves points rather than monetary wagers. The most common types of bets in Euchre include:

  1. “Going Alone” Bet: A player decides to play without their partner’s help in this bet. If successful, it often results in a higher point reward.
  2. Set Point Bets: Players can agree on a predetermined point value for the game, such as 10 points. The team that reaches this target first wins the bet.
  3. Progressive Betting: In friendly settings, players may engage in progressive betting, where the stakes increase as the game progresses or based on the number of rounds won.

2. Blackjack

Blackjack game
Standard Blackjack game

The blackjack rules are straightforward, making it accessible to players of all skill levels. A standard deck of 52 cards is used, each assigned a point value. Number cards (2 through 10) are worth their face value, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are valued at 10 points each, and Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on what benefits the player’s hand.

How to Play?

Blackjack aims to beat the dealer by having a hand value of nearly 21 without exceeding it. Here’s how the game is played:

  1. Dealing: Each player and the dealer receive two cards. Players’ cards are typically dealt face up, while the dealer has one card face up (the “upcard“) and one face down (the “hole card”).
  2. Player’s Turn: Players can choose to “hit” (take another card) or “stand” (keep their current hand). They can continue to hit as many times as they like but must be cautious not to exceed 21, resulting in a “bust.”
  3. Dealer’s Turn: After all players have completed their turns, the dealer reveals their whole card. The dealer must follow the rules, usually hitting until their hand reaches a certain value (often 17 or higher) and then standing.
  4. Winning: Players win if they have a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer without busting. A “blackjack” is the best possible hand, consisting of an Ace and a 10-value card, and typically pays out more in winnings.

Learn More – 7 Tested Ways to Handle Your First Game of Blackjack

Types of Bets

In blackjack, there are various types of bets and strategies:

  1. Standard Bet: Players bet an amount before the game begins. If they win, they receive their bet back plus additional winnings.
  2. Insurance Bet: If the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, players can place an insurance bet to protect their initial bet in case the dealer has a blackjack.
  3. Double Down: Players can double their initial bet after receiving their first two cards, often used when they believe they have a strong hand.
  4. Splitting Pairs: When a player is dealt two cards of the same rank, they can split them into separate hands, each with its bet.
  5. Side Bets: Some variations of blackjack offer side bets, such as “Perfect Pairs” or “21+3,” where players can bet on specific outcomes related to their initial hand.

3. Baccarat

High limit Baccarat
High limit Baccarat

Baccarat, often associated with sophistication and elegance, is a popular betting game enjoyed by players in New Zealand and worldwide. With its simple yet captivating gameplay, baccarat offers a unique blend of chance and strategy, making it a staple in casinos and gaming enthusiasts’ hearts.

How to Play

Baccarat is typically played with multiple cards, usually 6 to 8 decks, and involves two primary hands: the “Player” and the “Banker.” Players can place bets on either hand, and the objective is to predict which hand will have a total value closest to 9.

Here’s how the game is played:

  1. Betting: Players place bets on the Player, Banker, or a Tie. After placing bets, the dealer deals two cards to each hand—the Player and the Banker.
  2. Card Values: In baccarat, card values are as follows: numbered cards (2-9) are worth their face value, 10s and face cards (King, Queen, Jack) have a value of 0, and Aces count as 1 point.
  3. Scoring: The total value of each hand is calculated by adding the values of their two cards. If the total exceeds 9, only the last digit is considered. For example, a hand with a 7 and an 8 would have a total value of 5 (7+8=15, last digit is 5).
  4. Natural Win: If the Player or the Banker is dealt an 8 or 9 (a “natural” hand), they automatically win, and no more cards are drawn.
  5. Drawing Rules: If neither hand has a natural win, additional cards may be drawn according to specific rules. For example, if the Player’s total is 0-5, they draw a third card. No more cards are drawn if the Player stands with 6-7. The Banker’s actions depend on their total and whether the Player drew a third card.
  6. Determining the Winner: The hand with a total closest to 9 wins. In case of a tie, bets on the Tie win.

Read more – What Are The Top 4 Baccarat Games To Play At Platinum Play Casino NZ?

Types of Bets

In baccarat, players have various betting options:

  1. Player Bet: Betting on the Player’s hand to win. If successful, it pays even money (1:1).
  2. Banker Bet: Betting on the Banker’s hand to win. While it also pays 1:1, a small commission is typically charged on Banker wins due to their slightly higher odds.
  3. Tie Bet: Betting that both hands will have the same total. This bet offers higher payouts (often 8:1 or 9:1) but is less likely to win.
  4. Side Bets: Some baccarat variations offer side bets like “Player Pair” and “Banker Pair,” where players can bet on the first two cards of each hand, forming a pair.

4. Omaha

omaha card game
Omaha card game

Omaha, a Texas Hold ’em close relative, has emerged as a popular betting game in New Zealand’s vibrant gaming scene. Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em but distinguishes itself with a few key rules. It is typically played with a standard deck of 52 cards and can accommodate 2 to 10 players.

How to Play?

The game follows a structured betting format with several rounds:

  1. Dealing: Each player is dealt four private “hole” cards, and five community cards are placed face-up in the centre of the table.
  2. Betting Rounds: Omaha consists of four betting rounds—the “pre-flop,” “flop,” “turn,” and “river.” Players can check, bet, call, raise, or fold each round.
  3. Hand Formation: Players must use exactly two of their hole cards and three of the community cards to create the best possible hand. This rule, where players must use two-hole cards, sets Omaha apart from Texas Hold’em and adds an extra layer of strategy.
  4. Showdown: After the final betting round, if two or more players remain, they reveal their hands, and the player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

Types of Bets

In Omaha, players can engage in various types of bets, including:

  1. Pot-Limit Betting: Omaha is often played in a pot-limit format, where bets and raises cannot exceed the current size of the pot. This style of betting adds an element of calculated risk to each hand.
  2. No-Limit Betting: No-limit Omaha has no maximum bet restrictions, allowing for larger bets and more intense action. This format requires players to manage their chip stacks carefully.
  3. Fixed-Limit Betting: Some Omaha games use fixed-limit betting, limiting how much players can bet or raise during each round. This format provides a more structured betting experience.
  4. Side Pot Betting: When some players have more chips than others, side pots may be created to accommodate the varying bet sizes.

Suggested Read – Popular Casino Games Among Kiwis Beyond Pokies

5. 500

500 card game
500 card game

500, a trick-taking card game, has firmly established itself as a popular betting game in New Zealand. Known for its strategic depth and exciting gameplay, 500 offers players an engaging mix of skill and chance, making it a cherished pastime among Kiwis.

How to Play?

500 is typically played by four players, divided into two teams of two. It employs a standard deck of 52 cards with the Jokers removed. The game revolves around players bidding on how many tricks their team can win in a round, and it proceeds as follows:

  1. Dealing: A dealer is chosen, and the cards are shuffled and dealt to each player in batches of 3 or 4 cards. The remainder of the deck forms the “kitty.”
  2. Bidding: Players take turns bidding on the number of tricks their team can win in the round. Bids are based on a scale, with 6 being the lowest and 10 the highest. The highest bidder becomes the “declarer” and chooses the trump suit.
  3. Trump Suit: The declarer selects one of the four suits as the trump suit, which outranks all other suits for the current round.
  4. Gameplay: The player to the dealer’s left leads the first trick, and subsequent tricks are won by playing higher-ranking or trump cards. Players must follow suit if possible, but they can play any card if they can’t.
  5. Scoring: Points are awarded based on the success of the bid. If the declarer’s team fulfils their bid, they earn points equal to the bid, but if they fall short, points are deducted. The opposing team scores points based on the number of tricks they prevent the declarer from winning.

Types of Bets

In 500, betting primarily involves points rather than monetary wagers. The common types of bets include:

  1. Set Point Bets: Players agree on a target score (e.g., 500 points) to determine the winner. The first team to reach or exceed this score wins the bet.
  2. Progressive Betting: In friendly games, players might engage in progressive betting, where the stakes increase as the game progresses or based on the number of tricks won.
  3. Doubling and Redoubling: Players can double or redouble the point values in some variations to increase their potential winnings.


Q. What are some of the most popular local card games in New Zealand?

Ans – Some of the popular local card games of New Zealand include

Five hundred
Crazy eights

Q. What is the history of Local Card games of New Zealand?

Ans – Many of the most popular local card games in New Zealand were introduced by European settlers in the 19th century. However, these games have evolved and developed their own unique rules and traditions over time. For example, the game of Five Hundred is thought to have originated in New Zealand in the early 20th century.

Q. What are some different strategies that can be used in these games?

Ans – Many strategies can be used in local New Zealand card games. The best strategy will vary depending on the game, the number of players, and the hands dealt. However, some general tips include:

Be aware of the cards played and those still in the deck.
Try to predict what your opponents are likely to play.
Be flexible and adaptable in your strategy.
Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Q. Can I find local card game clubs or meetups in New Zealand?

Ans – Yes, many cities in New Zealand have card game clubs and meetups where enthusiasts gather to play and socialize.

Q. Are there online platforms in New Zealand for playing local card games with others?

Ans – Yes, there are online gaming platforms where you can play popular local card games against players from New Zealand and around the world.


Local card games of New Zealand hold a special place in gaming culture, offering a unique blend of entertainment, strategy, and camaraderie. From the beloved classics like Bridge and Euchre to the thrilling trick-taking game of 500, these card games have woven themselves into the fabric of Kiwi leisure.

Whether played casually among friends and family or in competitive settings, these games bring people together, fostering lasting memories and moments of excitement.

So, the next time you find yourself in New Zealand, don’t miss the opportunity to join in the fun and discover the rich tradition of local card games that continue to captivate players of all ages and backgrounds.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.