One and Thirty

Players: 2 to 8

One of the simplest traditional card games, which is still played in various forms today, appears in literature as early as 1440. A precursor to the modern blackjack, the game is quite simple to play. In this game, face cards count as 10, number cards the number on the card, with the Ace taking the place of the number 1 card and worth 1 point. Though this game is similar to modern versions known as “Thirty One”, “Skat” and “Blitz”, the medieval version differs in that players are allotted one turn and must keep all cards dealt to them, and the cards need not be of the same suit.


  • Each player antes into the pot.
  • The cards are shuffled and cut, with the lowest card dealing.
  • Three cards are dealt to each player.
  • Play continues clockwise starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
  • Each player in turn may ask for additional cards.
  • When all players have played, the cards are revealed.

Winning the game

  • A player with exactly 31 wins [double] the pot.
  • If no player has 31, the player with the highest hand under 31 wins the pot.
  • In the event of a tie, the eldest player (the one closest to the dealers left) wins the pot.


Singman, J. L., & McLean, W. (1995). Daily Life in Chaucer’s England. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

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