5 Card Games That Develop Strategic Thinking

More than just fun, there’s also some serious quick-thinking that goes on behind every move in a card game. Card games have been proven to sharpen one’s thinking skills. USAToday.com reports that card games like bridge can exercise the mind through logic, reasoning, and concentration using part of the brain that stimulates the immune system. Ultimately, it trains your brain into thinking more strategically.

However, not all card games promote these thinking capabilities. Only certain ones are designed to make you think faster and better. Here are five card games to help you develop your strategic thinking skills:

1. Nexci Scrimish

Nexci Scrimish is perfect for those who love strategy but don’t have the time to invest in complete fantasy worlds and lore. This game can be completed in just a few minutes and can be played anywhere. The objective of the game is to locate your opponent’s Crown Card. To do this, two teams take turns flipping numeric cards. The team that manages to locate the Crown Card and destroy it wins. This game can be played with more people by buying more decks to expand the current setup. Nexci Scrimish helps you master timing and recall, as the game requires both for a win.

2. Hearthstone

Trading card games are growing popular, especially in the virtual world. A ScreenRant.com post lists Hearthstone as one of the most recommended games for more inexperienced gamers because it is very beginner-friendly. This online trading card game also caters to those who enjoy an element of fantasy in their card games, with a wide selection of characters, creatures, and Easter eggs. While the game can get tedious at times to encourage players to buy card packs, it is still fun for competitive play. One must strategize well to reduce their opponent’s health to zero, and there are many elements to master before this can be done successfully, such as character classes and special skills. It’s one of the older virtual card games, but a worthy addition to this list.

3. Poker

One of the most famous card games in the entire world requires a fair bit of strategy and mastery to win, and that is poker. Players have to assess if the combination of their hole cards and the community cards are better than their opponents’ hands. Whoever gets all the other players to fold or has the best hand wins the game. This game requires plenty of focus, psychology, and anticipation, encouraging players to think more purposefully. A list of poker tips by Poker.org outlines how the game requires lots of self-reflection and awareness. Sometimes it can even be a good thing to get bluffed as it forces players to leave their ego at the door and focus on the plays. Plus, as discussed on ForgivingMartha.com, fortifying cognitive skills can help you raise your confidence, which is extremely important for this type of game as you will need to take risks in order to win.

4. Jax Sequence

This popular card game doesn’t involve any complicated instructions, but it may require a whole lot of thinking. The objective is to play a card and put a chip on the corresponding board space; if you get five in a row, then you win. However, there are certain rules in place. Each corner of the board has a “Free” space that players can use however they like. Chips may also be placed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. It’s a great way to teach beginners simple strategies in games without having to master complex combo plays.

5. Blackjack

Similar to poker, blackjack initially involves two cards given out by the dealer. The goal is to get a combination as close to 21 as possible without actually exceeding the number. After the first two cards are dealt, players can take another card, keep the cards they have, or make other moves, such as doubling down, splitting pairs, or surrendering. The best way to play blackjack is to start with a conservative approach to finding the right way to the top. A recommended strategy is to increase the stakes only when things are going well for your hand. This way, you can approach losses with money you’ve already won. Raising every time you win is just one strategy, however. There are many other ways to approach blackjack, and that depends on which strategy suits your playing style best.