How To Play Golf Card Game: Golf Card Game Rules

Overview

Golf card game also goes by other names such as Polish, Polka, and Polish Poker. There are several variants of the game depending on the number of cards used for playing. There is the 4-card, the 6-card, the 8-card, the 9-card and the 10-card versions. All the versions are played in a similar way but with minor variations. A number of cards are shared to each player depending on the version being played and the players must each lay their cards in front of them in either a square or rectangular shape.

Players try to improve their score by drawing new cards and discarding unwanted ones. The game is played over 9 or 18 deals (this means 9 or 18 rounds, with new cards dealt to each player at the start of a new round) and each deal compares to a hole in the regular golf game. A regular golf game is played over 9 or 18 holes. Players in a golf card game try to get the lowest score which is exactly the case in the regular golf game too. 

Objective

Have the lowest score.

Golf Card Game Rules

Rules for playing each version have been discussed under How to Play Golf Card Game. 

Number of Players Needed

Minimum of 2 players

Equipment

Up to 3 card decks are used depending on the version being played and the number of players. 

Setting Up

Setting up for 4 Card Golf

The 4 card version is the most widely played. To play this version, a single 52 card deck is required if there are no more than 8 players. If the number of players exceeds 8, a second card deck is needed. First, a dealer is selected among the players. The dealer shuffles the card deck or decks as the case may be and deals 4 cards to each player, one card at a time. The cards are dealt in a clockwise manner. Once 4 cards are dealt to each payer, each player must then arrange their cards face down in a square shape.

The remaining undealt cards from the draw pile and are placed face down on the playing surface. The top card of the draw pile is flipped and revealed. This card becomes the first card of the game’s discard pile. Each player is allowed to take just one look at the two cards nearest to them in their square layout before the game begins and must be careful not to reveal those two cards to their opponents. Players cannot look at the cards in their layout again unless they are discarding them during play or scoring them after the game ends.

Setting up for 6 Card Golf

Similar to the set up for the four-card game. If up to 4 players are involved, only one card deck is needed, if there are more than 4 players but not more than 8, then 2 card decks are needed but a game of more than 8 players will require 3 card decks. 6 cards are dealt to each player in this case, one card at a time and in a clockwise manner. Each player then lays their cards face down in a rectangular shape.

The undealt cards from the draw pile are laid face down on the playing surface while the top card of the draw pile is flipped and revealed to form the discard pile. Players are allowed to flip any two cards in their rectangular layout face-up before play begins. They are not allowed to look at the rest of their cards unless they are being discarded or an in-game situation warrants they do so.

Setting Up for 8 Card Golf

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Similar to 6 card golf but 8 cards are dealt to each player and the cards are arranged in two rows of four cards each instead of 3 cards in the case of 6 card golf. The rest of the setup process is the same as in 6 card golf.

Setting Up for 9 Card Golf

This variant is also known as Crazy Nines or Nines and is played with at least 2 card decks. Each player is dealt 9 cards each by the dealer, one card at a time and in a clockwise fashion. The players then arrange their cards face down in three rows of 3 cards each (3 x 3). Each player is allowed to flip and face up three of their cards. The rest of the setup is as in the 6 card version.

Setting up for 10 Card Golf

At least 2 card decks are needed to play this version of the golf card game. Each player is dealt 10 cards, one at a time by the dealer. Each player then arranges their cards face down in two rows of 5 cards each (5 x 2). Each player flips and faces up any two cards they want. The rest of the setup is the same as in the 6 card version.

How to Play Golf Card Game

4 Card Golf

The game is played in a clockwise fashion and starts with the player on the left of the dealer. Each player has 3 options when it’s their turn to play and must go with any of the 3.

  1. A player can draw a card from the draw pile and use this card to replace any of the 4 cards in their square arrangement. However, the player is not allowed to view the card they are replacing so they just pick up the card and lay it face-up on the discard pile. The replacement card drawn from the draw pile takes the position of the discarded card in the player’s square arrangement. Note that a player may draw a card from the draw pile and decide to discard the drawn card immediately without using it to replace any of the cards in their square arrangement.
  2. A player can draw the top card of the discard pile. Cards in the discard pile are placed face up so once a player draws a card from the discard pile, they must use it to replace one of the cards in their square arrangement and place the replaced card in the discard pile. Once a player draws a card from the discard pile, they cannot return it to the discard pile. They must use the drawn card to replace one of the cards in their square arrangement.
  3. A player can choose to knock which is just like folding. That player’s turn is skipped and the other players take their turns till the last player takes their turn.

Note that if a player peeps at one or more of their cards when they are not supposed to, the card(s) peeped at must be discarded immediately and replaced with a card(s) from the draw pile. 

Play ends once the last player has had their turn after which players are scored. All the players must flip their cards and face them up for scoring. The scoring system is presented below:

King = 0 points

Ace = 1 point

Number cards fetch points equal to their face value, a 2 card = 2 points, a 3 card = 3 points and so on.

Jack and Queen = 10 points each

Players earn scores after each play with the player with the least scores after 9 or 18 players declared the winner. Each gameplay is assumed to represent a hole in a regular golf game and 9 or 18 holes are required to complete a golf course.  

6 Card Golf

The game is played in a slightly different way to the 4 card version. The objective here is to form as many card pairs as possible while ensuring that unpaired cards are of low denominations.  Note that card pairs in a column will fetch 0 points. Play starts with the player on the left of the dealer and continues in a clockwise manner. On their turn, a player is allowed to draw a card from either the draw pile or the discard pile. The drawn card may be used to replace any of the 6 cards in the player’s layout. Remember that initially, 2 of the 6 cards are faced-up while the remaining 4 are faced-down. If a player chooses to replace any of the 4 cards that are faced-down, the player is not allowed to look at the face-down card before replacing it.

The new card used to replace one of the face-down cards is placed face up and not face down. The replaced card is placed face-up on the discard pile. A card drawn from the face-down draw pile may be discarded immediately without being used to replace another card in a player’s layout but a card drawn from the face-up discard pile must be used to replace a card in the player’s layout and cannot be discarded without being used. Play continues until one player has all their 6 cards face up. After this, players that still have cards faced-down must flip them and face them up so that scoring can begin. The scoring system used for 6 card golf is presented below:

A 2 card = -2 points (minus two points)

King = 0 points

A pair of cards in the same column = 0 points (including a pair of 2’s)

Ace = 1 point

Number cards from 3 to 10 fetch points equal to the face value of each card, a 3 card = 3 points……. a 10 card = 10 points

Jack and Queen = 10 points each

After each play, the scores are recorded and the player with the least total score after 9 or 18 deals wins.

8 Card Golf

This is played in a similar way to the 6 card version but the cards are arranged differently. Players also attempt to form card pairs while keeping the unpaired cards to lower denominations. Here, 8 cards are used and the cards are arranged in 2 rows of 4 cards each as opposed to 2 rows of 3 cards each in the 6 card version. Each player begins their turn by flipping and facing up 2 cards in one column, leaving the remaining 6 cards face-down. The player who is taking their turn then draws a card from either the draw pile or discard pile, taking one of three available options after.

  1. If the drawn card is from the draw pile, it may be used to replace either a face-up card or a face-down card. If the player chooses to use the card to replace a face-down card, then the player must not look at the card to be replaced before doing so.
  2. If the card is from the draw pile, the player may choose to discard it immediately using it to replace any of the cards in their layout. Once this card is discarded, the player is allowed to flip and face-up one of the cards in their layout.
  3. If the drawn card is from the discard pile, it must be used to replace one of the cards in the player’s layout.

After each player has had their first turn, players are allowed to flip and face-up 2 or 3 of the card in their layout. After this, play continues in the same direction until one player can face-up all the cards in their layout. Play continues until each player has had their turn in that round of play after which cards of the other players that are still faced-down are flipped and faced-up for scoring. The scoring system used for the 8 card golf game is as follow:

Jokers = -5 points (minus five points)

Kings = 0 point

Pair in a column = 0 points

Aces = 1 point

Number cards 2 to 10 fetch points equal to the face value of each card; a 2 card = 2 points, a 3 card = 3 points…. a 10 card = 10 points

Jacks and Queens = 10 points each

2 pairs in 2 columns = 10 points

9 Card Golf

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The game is played and scored just like the 6 card version just that in this case, matching card pairs in a column do not fetch 0 points but three matching cards in a column does. If there are two intersecting rows of equal cards, how this will be scored must be determined by the players before the game starts. Usually, this line of equal cards is removed.

10 Card Golf

The game is played and scored just like the 6 card version only that any two cards may be faced up by each player in their layout.

Winning The Game

The player with the least total score after 9 or 18 deals wins the game.

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