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How to Play the Ninety-nine card game

The Ninety-Nine is a family-friendly card game that you can play with three people. The game’s objective is to bring the deck as close to that particular value. All cards here have unique rules and points. You can learn this game quickly because it is not a trick-based game. This is like one of those games where the tension starts building as the game progresses. These types of card games gradually pick up pace and strategy.

What is a Ninety Nine card game?

When you and your opponents place cards in the middle, keep counting as you add. Go over 99 and lose a token, and then the round is over. When only one player has a token remaining, the game ends.

What do you need?

  • A standard deck of cards without Jokers.
  • Mandatory three tokens for each player (can be anything from pennies, spoons, poker chips)
  • three or more players


Players need to sit in a circle. Everyone must draw a card from the shuffled deck before the game starts. The player who gets the highest card becomes the first dealer. The players need to redraw the cards to break a tie. The dealer then shuffles the deck and passes three cards to each player. The remaining deck becomes the stock in the center of the table or the gaming area.

Card Values 

The following are the card values in the game Ninety-Nine:

  • A combination of twos and threes (2s-3s), along with fives and eights (5s-8s), have their face value
  • Queens and Jacks are 10 points
  • 10s get negative 10 points
  • Aces either have 1 or 11 points. The decision is on the player
  • Kings bring the discard pile up to 99

How to Play Ninety Nine?

Players keep all their three tokens in front of them on the table, and the dealer gives out three cards.

As the game continues circularly, each player puts down one card. The total point value starts a zero, and each card adds its face value in points. Some cards, however, have special values and meanings.

  • A 4 card reverses the play. It does not add or change points.
  • A 9 becomes a pass card. It does not add or change points.
  • A 10 subtracts 10 points from the total value.
  • A King takes the total point value to 99 or maintains the score if it is already 99
  • An Ace adds 1 or 11 points, which the player decides.

After the players play each card, the player announces the total and draws a replacement card.

Players place their three tokens in front of them on the table and receive three cards from the dealer. Each player has to play a card without sending the total number of points higher than 99. If a player fails to keep the score under it, they will lose a token, and the round ends. The cards are reshuffled and re-dealt, and ninety-nine game continues.

How to Keep Score?

The player who still has a token remaining wins the game. Players who lose their third token are eliminated from the competition.


Like many other card games, ninety-nine also has many variations. Some of them have minor changes, and others are much more drastic. Such variations always bring twists and challenges to the game. Some of the popular variations are below.

Iceland Variation

The Icelandic Variation follows standard rules with these changes:

  • Ace: value is either 1 or 14.
  • 5: Face value is five, and the next player has to skip
  • In the standard rules, 3 plays this role
  • 7: Face value is seven, and it reverses the order of play
  • 9: Value is 99 regardless of the previous deck value. It plays the role of a King in a standard game
  • Jack: The value is 11.
  • Queen: The value is 0, and the next player cannot pick up unless they also play the Queen card.
  • If two Queens are in succession, the next player has to play two cards.
  • If they play three Queens in succession, the next player must play three cards.
  • If they play four Queens in succession, the next player must play four cards!
  • King: The value in this version is 0.

Taiwan Variation

Taiwan variation has the standard rules with these differences:

At the start of the game, each player deals with five cards.

  • Ace of Spades: set value to 0.
  • 5: The participants who have a five-card choose a player to play the next turn.
  • 9:  The value is 9.
  • Jack: pass.
  • Queen: The value is positive 20 or negative 20.
  • King: The set value is 99.

Michigan Variation

When a player gets three of a kind, he can lay it down, call out, and all the other players have to fold a corner of the bill. The hand ends, and the next hand is dealt. When one player loses because the score is 99, they are eliminated, and ninety-nine continues with the rest. If a player is entirely out of playing cards because of not drawing, they lose the hand in the next round.

Chicago variation

The Chicago Variation follows standard rules with these changes:

  • 9: The value is 0, and the next player has to skip
  • 10: The value is negative 10
  • King: value is 99 irrespective of the previous deck value.

Hawaii variation

The Hawaii Variation follows standard rules with these changes:

  • 10: The value is negative 10 points.
  • 5: The value is negative 5
  • Jack: The value is 99 no matter the previous deck value.

Joker rule Variation

This game, unlike the other variations, uses the Joker card. With this, players both the Joker cards in the deck. The Jokers commonly have the role of Wild Cards. This means that they can be used as replacements for any other card. Extremely valuable when you play a card.


What are the special cards in Ninety-nine?

Ninety-nine is a classic card game that you can play with your whole family. Certain cards have special values, while some cards have face value. The 10 takes a negative 10 points, whereas Jack and Queen add 1o. The King takes it straight to 99 while the Ace can add either 1 or 11 points, depending on the player.

How many players can play ninety-nine?

The game play of ninety-nine is easy to grasp, and they have simple rules. Typically, you can play it between three players. Sometimes, there are more players too.

Madhuboni Banerjee
A graduate in engineering who later completed her post-graduate degree in Mass Media. Writing has always fascinated her, and she wishes to pursue her interest in the same. She wants to discover and write about new themes and topics. She always likes to venture in various writing forms and continues exploring her interest there.


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