How to play 51

51 is a popular Turkish card game played with 2 standard decks plus 2 jokers(106 cards total) and with 4 players in pairs or individually. It is a card game with a pair system and requires a minimum count threshold.

The goal of the game is to lay down the cards by making pairs, taking into account a certain minimum count, and then melding the remaining cards by adding the cards on the laid pairs or by making a pair again. Another way is; the cards in the hand can be finished by melding all cards at once by making them all pairs without taking into account the minimum count threshold. The player, who is the first to get rid of all cards, finishes the hand. A total of 11 hands are played and the player or the partners who have the minimum score win the game. 

Pair: It is the lining of at least 3 cards with the same number value and different suits next to each other or at least 3 consecutive numbers of the same suit. This can be more than 3 cards.
Example: 7 of Hearts, 7 of Spades, 7 of Diamonds or 5 of Hearts, 6 of Hearts, 7 of Hearts …

Double: Two cards of the same number value and same suit. For example, Two of 7 of clubs are a double. must be the same value of number and the same suit. So 8 of hearts and 8 of clubs are not a double.

General rules of the game

*There are 3 different thresholds (minimum count requirements) in the game; 51, 81, and 101. Which one will be chosen is determined before the game starts. The total number of pairs to be laid down must exceed this threshold. The game is played anti-clockwise.

*If the next player takes the discarded card, he must lay down his cards taking the threshold into account. Otherwise, he will not be able to take the discarded card. ( The only exception is the player who makes doubles)

*If the player wishes, when the number of pairs in his hand exceeds the threshold, he can lay down enough cards and try to finish his remaining cards by making more Pairs or adding the cards on his or other players’ laid down pairs. If he wishes, he tries to pair all his cards without laying down and finish at once to get double penalty points on the other players.

*If the player wishes, he can also make doubles. The player, who makes doubles, needs to lay down at least 4 doubles instead of taking the threshold into account.

*The players who laid down their cards can add cards on their and other players’ pairs to reduce the number of cards in their hands.

*51 card game can be played individually or in pairs. A total of 11 hands are played and the player with the least penalty points at the end of the game wins.  51 represents the threshold (minimum count) in the game.

*Card Values: Aces are 11 points (only 11 points in the penalty, 1 or 11 points in pairs depending on where it is added), K, Q, and J are calculated as 10 points, other cards are calculated by the value written on them, for example, 7 of clubs(hearts, spades, diamonds) is 7 points.

Starting the game

  1. The dealer is chosen at random and changes to the right anti-clockwise in each hand. A hand is defined as one player discards all cards in his hand.
  2. After the dealer shuffles the deck, the player to the left cuts the deck by lifting off part of it on the top, and the dealer deals 14 cards to each player in packs of 2 cards face down anti-clockwise. He opens the top of the remaining deck and puts it on the center of the table and sets the rest of the deck aside for the players to draw. (Or the first player is given 15 cards and starts the game by playing without drawing cards.
  3. After the cards are dealt (if the first player is given 14 cards), the first player to the right of the dealer can only take it if the card opened in the first hand is useful, or if it is not, he draws one card from the deck and plays a card. The game progresses in this way from the right.
  4. As in the sortie game, cards cannot be taken from the table all the time. To get cards from the table in 51 game, one has to have above the minimum count of 51 threshold and lay down the cards on the table or declare “double”. The player who declared double is free to take played cards from the table (only top card), and he does not have to lay down his doubles on the table. However, if he is going to make doubles, he must state it by saying “double” if he will not lay down the cards after taking the card at the latest.
  5. The player who has enough points above the minimum count of 51 threshold in his hand, can lay down cards with or without taking any cards from the table and discard all cards by adding them to laid down pairs or making other pairs or can keep them in hand till all of them are paired to lay down and finish at once.
  6. If one of the players laid down cards on the table by passing 51, then the threshold is accepted as the number opened by that player. For example, a player melded 91 points on the table. So, in order to lay down cards, it is necessary to meld 92 points at least. For example, the second player melds 92 points, this time the other two players must reach at least 93 points or meld all cards at once. So the minimum count is determined each time a player lays down cards on the table. If it is not possible to exceed the threshold, then the player must need to make all cards paired in order to lay down cards at once.  If so, then the threshold is not taken into account.
  7. If the player is making doubles, then the threshold is not taken into consideration, he needs to meld 4 doubles at least. Then he needs to continue to make doubles until all cards are melded. (total 7 doubles). If there is another player who makes doubles, he needs to meld a minimum of 5 doubles since now the double threshold is 4 doubles and he must exceed it. 
  8. Adding cards can be done only to laid down pairs, no matter which player laid down. 
  9. If a player did not lay down any cards on the table then he can not add cards on the laid down pairs. To add cards, you must lay down cards.
  10. If there is a joker in a pair that laid down on the table, a player can take it if he has the card replaced with a joker. For example, there is a pair of 3 kings consisting of spades, clubs, and diamonds, then a player who adds the king of hearts can take the joker. If the pair is made by king of spades, king of diamonds  and a joker, in order to take the joker, a player must add two missing kings. (hearts, clubs). If a pair consists of 7 of clubs, joker, 9 of clubs, then you must add 8 of clubs in order to take the joker out.
  11. Joker can replace any card in the game. The only exception that joker can not be added on a pair is a fulfilled pair. For example; if a pair consists of  4 7s (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs), then a joker can not be added to this pair.
  12. A hand is finished when a player discards all cards in his hand.
  13. 11 hands are played in total and the player or the partners win with minimum score.


  1. When a player has melded all cards, the remaining cards of the other players is calculated as a punishment score.
  2. If a player discards an addable card which can be added on the laid down pairs on the table, he gets a punishment score of 50 points each time if he did not meld any cards in the hand.
  3. The scores are calculated as follows;

*The number on the cards are calculated with same value (For example, 7 of clubs is calculated as 7), Jacks, Queens, and kings are calculated as 10 points, If there is joker remaining, it is calculated as 50 points.

*If a player melds all cards at once and the other players have not laid down any cards get 200 points punishment score. If he did not meld all cards at once, then the punishment score is 100 points. Other players who have melded get the punishment score as told in the previous statement.

*If a player melds all cards by making doubles, then the punishment score is multiplied by 2. If he looses the hand, his punishment score is also doubled.

*If a player melds all cards and discards a joker as a last card, then the punishment score is multiplied by 2. For example; If a player made doubles and melded all cards at once, the punishment score of the players who are not melded any cards is : 200x2x2=800. 800 is the maximum punishment score can be reached in a hand during the game.

After 11 hands are played and scores are calculated, the player or the partners win who have the minimum score.

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