Big Two is a popular card game of the shedding family for 3 to 6 players. It is popular worldwide, especially in Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, and it has become popular in other countries with significant Asian communities, such as Australia and the United States. That is why it has a few different names, including Deuces, Dai Hinh, and Da Lao Er, but there are many more.
This is a shedding game, so the objective is to be the first player to get rid of all your hand cards. This happens by playing certain combinations of cards, sometimes called melds.
But before you can shed cards, you need to get them: The dealer shuffles and deals the entire deck of 52 playing cards (most often French-suited) face down to the players, so each player has an equal number of cards. You might have to put one or more cards aside, depending on the number of players.
Time to start the game: The player with the Three of Diamonds in hand starts by playing any meld of cards. Then, the next player must play a higher meld of the same type. If a player cannot or chooses not to play a higher meld, they must pass their turn.
When all players pass, the next player gets to play any meld again, and the following player must follow up with higher melds of the same type again. The game continues in this pattern until one player gets rid of all their hand cards. That player is the round’s winner!
The melds you can play in Big Two come in eight types:
- Single card
- Pair: two cards of the same rank (e.g., two Eights)
- Triplet: three cards of the same rank
- Four of a Kind: four cards of the same rank
- Straight: five cards of any suit in consecutive ranks (e.g., Six of Hearts, Five of Diamonds, Four of Hearts, Three of Clubs, Two of Hearts).
- Flush: five cards of the same suit, not in consecutive ranks.
- Straight Flush: five cards of the same suit in consecutive ranks (e.g., Six, Five, Four, Three, and Two of Hearts).
- Full House: three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank (e.g., three Twos and two Fours).
Within each of these meld types, melds with higher-ranking cards are always stronger than melds with lower-ranking cards. The lowest rank is always the Two, followed by all numbers up until 10, then Jack, Queen, King, and finally Ace as the strongest rank.
That is all you need to know to play Big Two! If you enjoy shedding games, feel free to have a look at our games at the Rummy Palace or the Canasta Palace to play online!