21 Card Game

21 Card Game

Our 6 year old loves numbers. He is always wanting me to give him sums to do. One of my brother in laws is a keen card player and after watching a game of 21, master 6 quickly wanted to be taught how to play.

We have been playing this game for a while and he really enjoys it. I am happy to play with him as it is a quick game to play and it helps work on his mental maths.



Materials needed:

Deck of cards


To work on addition skills and have fun.

How to play 21 Card Game:

There are many variations on the rules for 21 Card Game, but here is how we play:

  • We don’t bet – it is just all about the numbers!
  • We take turns in being the dealer – 5 hands each.
  • Aim of the 21 Card Game is to get 21 or as close to as possible.
  • Number cards have their face value, jacks, kings and queens are worth 10. Ace can be either 1 or 11 and the player who holds the ace gets to choose the value of the card.
  • The dealer and all other players have two cards. With the exception of the dealer the players have their cards face up. The dealer has one card up and one card face down.
  • The dealer goes to each player one at a time. The player needs to decide if they want another card (hit) or will sit on what they have. You can have as many cards as you like as long as you don’t go over 21.
  • The dealer does this with every player. Players are not competing against each other, but against the dealer.
  • The dealer then turns over their other card and needs to decide what to do. If the dealer has 16 or under then they must take another card.
  • If the dealer has 21 (Ace and a ten value card) the dealer wins.
  • If the dealer goes bust then everyone else wins.
  • We reshuffle the deck of cards after every game.

Opportunities for learning:

21 card game
The 21 Card Game provides many mathematical learning opportunities:

  • Addition and subtraction
  • Greater than / less than
  • Chance – likelihood of an Ace turing up or for example a card lower than 5.

And non-mathematical skills like decision making – do I sit or take another card.

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