6-Card Golf is one of the most popular variations of the golf card game. Also called Hara-Kiri, the game is usually played between two to four players with the objective of earning the lowest number of points throughout nine deals or holes. In this version of the golf card game, a pair of equal cards in a column gives a score of zero points. Therefore, the tip for winning in the 6-card golf game is to make more pairs while keeping the value of the unpaired cards as low as possible.
Here’s all you need to know to start playing the 6-card golf game with friends and family. Take a look at the fun variations of the game to spice things up when the play gets boring.
6-Card Game Rules
6-card golf is played using a standard deck of 52 cards plus two jokers when two to four players are playing the game. If more than four players are playing the game, an additional deck is used, and with more than eight players, a third pack is used.
The objective is to score the lowest points than other players by matching cards in a column and keeping the card value of unmatched cards as low as possible throughout the nine holes of the game. The players can either swap their cards for lesser value cards or pair them with equal rank cards to obtain the lowest value.
The deal and the play moves clockwise in the game. The dealer deals six face-down cards to each player, one at a time, forming a rectangular layout. The remaining cards are placed face-down at the centre of the table to form a stockpile. The top-most card of the stockpile is flipped face-up and placed beside the pile to form the discard pile.
The players arrange their cards in two rows and three and turn any two cards face-up. The other layout cards remain face-down, and the players cannot look at them until they are discarded or turned face-up during the play. This arrangement of cards is maintained throughout the game, and all players must have six cards in front of them at every point.
The play begins with the player positioned at the dealer’s left, and the turn to play passes to each player in a clockwise direction. Each player must draw a single card either from the stockpile or the discard pile during their turn. The drawn card can be used to replace any one of the six cards in the layout. If a player decides to replace a face-down card, they cannot look at the card before replacing it. The drawn card is placed face-up in the layout, and the swapped card is placed face-up in the discard pile. The turn passes on to the next player once a player draws and swaps a card.
While drawing cards, a player can decide to return the drawn card to the discard pile if that card is drawn from the stockpile. The player can simply place the drawn card face-up in the discard pile, and the turn passes on to the next player. However, if a player draws a card from the discard pile, they cannot return the same card to the discard pile and must swap it with another card.
The game ends as soon as one of the players has all their six cards turned face-up. The score is then evaluated for all the players. The game lasts for nine deals, and the player who has the lowest score wins the game.
When the game ends, each player’s cards are flipped face-up, and the scores of the cards are evaluated. Here’s how many points each card brings for the players:
- Each ace adds 1 point to the score.
- Each two reduces two points from the score.
- Each numeral card from three to ten adds points equal to the face value. For example, a 3 will add three points, 8 will add eight points, and 10 will add ten points.
- Each Queen and Jack adds 10 points to the score.
- Each King adds zero points to the points.
- A pair of same rank cards in the same column are worth zero points for that column even if the equal cards are twos. Therefore, if you have two 4s or two 2s or two 10s in the same column, they will be worth zero points.
After the total value of all the cards is calculated for every player, the player with the lowest points wins the game.
Variations of 6-Card Golf
To make the 6-card golf game more fun, you can add slight variations in the rules. Here are some of the variations in cards, scoring, and ending of the game, that you can implement while playing this game:
Depending on the number of players, you can play 6-card golf using different numbers of decks. Some players prefer using two decks when playing with three to four players, and sometimes in between two players. Adding extra decks makes a slight difference in the game, but the chances of the cards running out are minimal. Some players also include two jokers per deck, in which case, the jokers carry minus two points while the twos carry 2 points.
Turning the cards face-up at the beginning
While some players play by the rule that the two cards turned face-up in the layout must be in the same column, others play by the opposite rule that the two cards turned face-up in the layout must be from different columns. Similarly, some games require one card to be turned from the outer columns and one from the centre columns.
In some games, you can rearrange your cards after turning them face-up (without looking at the face-down cards) and place those cards in any desired position. While in other games, no cards are turned face-up at the beginning of the play; instead, each player must look at the closest row of three cards and replace them face-down.
Turning the cards face-up during the play
You can turn one of your face-down cards to face-up during your turn in some variations.
In others, if you draw a card and place it in the discard pile because you don’t need it, you must turn one of the face-down cards to face-up. If you have only one face-down card with you, you may leave that card face-down.
Ending the play
In some games, the players can end their turn by turning all their face-down cards face-up to bring the play to an end. Many players play by the rule that if the last card of a player is revealed, each player will play one more turn before the hand score is evaluated.
Also Read: Pinochle Card Game – How to Play Pinochle?
For the scoring part of the game, some players value four equal cards arranged in two columns worth minus 10 points. For instance, if you have two columns with two 6s in them, your score will be reduced by -10. For the same, some games award a higher negative score, like minus 20 points for a layout of six equal cards.
Some games give -20 points for four equal cards placed in a square block. If the same rule is applied to a game being played with a double-deck, a block of scores -40 (minus 40) points since it contains two overlapping squares.
In some games, a pair of equal cards in the layout scores zero points, and the cards don’t even have to be in the same column.
In two jokers in the deck games, the jokers can be worth 0, -2, -3, or -5 points, depending on the players. The same game values twos at 2 points instead of minus 2. Some of the joker-included games also award zero points to one-eyed jacks.
When two jokers or two twos appear in a column together, players consider their negative value ( minus four for the column if each card is 2). Other games award a higher value for four cards in two columns. For instance, when two decks are used in the game, four jokers in two columns are worth minus 20 points.
End of Play
Like in the 4-card golf game, some of the games in the 6-card golf game can be played for 18 holes rather than the traditional 9 holes.
The 6-card golf game is by far the most fun version of the golf card game, and you must try your hand at this game. The simple rules and gameplay have been laid down for you, and all you need is a deck (or more) of cards and a few friends to get started.