Go Fish


Playing “Go fish” exposes children to the atmosphere of learning statistics that would help them academically and in the future.

However, you need to understand what Go fish is, in a simple term, for the sake of those that are new to the game?

Go fish is a typical kiddies card game that can be played on any standard deck of cards. It is an educative game full of fun activities as it helps children learn about patterns, pairs, and numbers.

Whether you’re new to this game or new to card games generally, this article is going to be beneficial for you. Also note that while go fish is specifically designed for children, people of all ages can also play it.

This guide entails everything you need to know about Go fish; how the game is played, its rules, objectives, and the strategies used by the champions. Sit back as we dive in…

The objective of the game

The objective of the game is to win as many “books” of cards as possible.

Four of any kind is called a book and such four can be Kings, Aces, Queens, and so on.

Learning and playing the game is easy, and playing requires 2-6 players.

How to play Go Fish

The game has simple, straightforward rules which show the right fishing time for players. Who goes first can be challenging, but there are several ways to determine that.

You may roll a die, flip a coin, or use any strategy to randomly choose who goes first.

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Starting the game, a player deals with one card facing up and visible to all players, plus Aces (highest) and 2’s (lowest). Then the player with the lowest card rank deals first.

1. Dealing cards

The dealer shuffles the leftover cards and deals them facing down in the clockwise direction. With just two players in the card game, each player deals with seven cards.

But when 3-6 players are involved, each player deals with five cards. The remaining cards serve as stock or draw pile and are placed facing down.

2. Starting the game

The player at the left of the dealer starts the game. In turn, each player asks another if they have a certain card rank.

For example, “Mary, do you have Queens?” “John, kindly give me your nines,” and so on.

3. The asking stage

Normally, the player who is asking should have a minimum of one card rank his hand when requesting. Meaning, when a Queen is requested, the asker should have it.

If a player has the requested card rank, he must hand over all of them. Then the asker gets another turn but if the player doesn’t have the card rank asked for, the asker says, “Go fish.”

4. The fishing stage

Then the asker draws a card from the top of the stockpile. If it’s the type he’s asking for, he shows it to the group as evidence and takes another turn.

Following the above playing process, if the asker gets the card rank he asks for, he will have the opportunity to ask another player for Queen or a different card type.

The player keeps asking as long as he’s getting a match card. The player must show the catch card to other players to verify.

Game scoring

This occurs when:

  • The asking player gets the 4th card rank, he/she places them facing up on the table and plays again.
  • The fourth card rank is a “book,” as mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, if he/she doesn’t make a catch in the next fishing, the left player continues.
  • There’s a total of thirteen books to be won, which ends the game. The player that wins most books is crowned the winner.

How to draw new cards

You have been shown the situation where a player draws a new card. A player draws a new card only when he/she doesn’t have the specific card the asker requested. You can also draw a new card in the following instances:

  • When you have finished playing all the cards in your hands. Two things can cause this: either a player requested your last card or you made a book with the four cards left in your hands. Once there are no more cards in your hands, you can draw the exact number of cards you received at the beginning of the game.
  • If you played all cards and the stockpile is also empty, then you’ll have to wait and start again when the game is finished.

Winning strategies

Ideally, there are no specific tips to win this game.

However, you can guess which cards a player has and the cards they don’t have from what they ask for.

Your opponent(s) information is an advantage when it’s your turn to go fishing.

If your retentive memory is good, that information becomes a great winning strategy for you.

Moreover, if you can count cards well, you’ll make good use of that strategy.

Better still, counting cards is cheating on its own than using strategy.

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