How To Play Durak Card Game: Meaning, Rules, Gameplay And Strategies

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The Russian card game Durak, also sometimes referred to as the Russian War card game is a popular combination of cards and the basic concepts of chess. The literal meaning of the term in Russian‘s ‘a foolish person’ which translates into the Durak strategy. The person who cannot defend their territory, or cards in the game, is considered a foolish strategist. Of course, players shouldn’t take it to heart. It is a terminology that trickled through generations and has no bearing on the entertaining gameplay.

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How to play the Durak card game?

As per Durak rules, the Durak cards are a reduced deck of 32 wherein Ace is highest and 6 is lowest. The 5s, 4s, 3s, and 2s are discarded from the pile altogether.

The dealer shuffles the deck and distributes the cards one at a time up to 6 cards for each player. Durak card game can be played among 2-6 players. If there are more than 3 players then they can use two decks of cards.

Once the dealer has dealt the cards, they take the first card off the top of the remaining pile and lay it on the table, face-up. The remaining deck is placed on top such that the card is visible because it is the declaration of the trump suit.

The player who has the smallest trump card initiates an attack in the center of the table. The player to their left must then defend by playing a higher card of the same suit as the attack. Now, it is up to the players on either side of the defender if they want to continue the attack or end the round.

When the new round commences, the attackers draw cards from the stack to once again hold 6 Durak cards in hand. The defender gets to pick last and a new round begins.

After the stacked deck has been completely picked clean, the trump card at the bottom is also picked up. Thus begins the race to play Durak to win.The objective of the Durak card game is to finish all cards in hand before other players during the race. Therefore, players need to attack and defend with a viable Durak card game strategy in order to finish the cards in their hands quickly.

What are its rules and scoring system?

The Durak card game rules can seem a bit confusing at first but the more you play, the simpler it becomes.

  1. Each player starts with 6 cards in hand.
  2. The hierarchical ranking of the cards in play are, in descending order, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6.
  3. The trump card is the card from the top of the deck after the cards are dealt. When a player draws this card from the pile at the end of the deck, it initiates the race to win the game. That means, it marks the beginning of the end of the Russian Durak.
  4. When you play Durak online on computers, the defender will be allowed to play their turn after the designated attacker and the attack-defend gameplay will shuffle among the three consecutive players.
  5. If, when the game draws to an end, the defender has less than 6 cards remaining then the attack-defend process of the Durak card game involves the limited number of cards that the defender is holding.
  6. When a defender plays a higher card than the first attacker, the second attacker can only play a card of either the same value as the first attacker or the defender.
  7. A defender can choose not to defend in which case the attackers can play as many attack cards as they want to get rid of.
  8. An attacker can choose not to attack even if they have the required cards.
  9. In the Durak card game, if the defender does not have cards to defend their turf then they need to play all the cards from the middle of their dealt hand. In the following round, they will not be allowed to attack and the play will move to the next player.
  10. The defender can defend with a higher-ranking card or a trump card. There can only be a maximum of 6 attack-defend strategies to play in a single round.You can play the Durak card game online for fun where there is no scoring system. The only thing that counts is whether you win or lose.

Strategies to win

Your Durak card game strategy must closely comply with the Durak card game rules. The objective, especially in Durak games online is to finish the cards in your hand as quickly as possible.

  • Try to defend with the lowest value card you’re holding if the attacker uses low-ranking cards as well. Not only will it help preserve your high-ranking cards for high-ranking attacks but the net attacker can also be defended using low-ranking cards due to the Durak game rules.
  • If you have high-ranking cards in a Durak game or high-ranking trumps then don’t attack or defend as much as possible. The other players will be drawing cards from the deck and you can play your high-ranking cards to win the game quickly.
  • You can play Durak online with friends and family to familiarize yourself with the rules and improve your gameplay before you participate in Durak play online with strangers who know the game well.The Durak card game really is fun and requires a lot of strategizing. Therefore use this opportunity to sharpen your card-playing skills with a calm mind and thoroughly-planned gameplay.

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