Fan Tan is a traditional Chinese card game that many Americans might not be familiar with or have never heard of.
Being an extensive traveler with diverse knowledge of multicultural games, I was eager to learn more when I discovered that Fan Tan was one of the most popular Chinese games in casinos and has been played for over 1000 years.
Although Fan Tan has grown in popularity in China, it still has yet to make it big in the rest of the world.
While this game is usually played in gambling houses, using complicated strategies, in this guide, we will discuss a version that can be played at home with a standard deck of cards that doesn’t encourage betting.
I want to change that by teaching people a simple way to learn this exciting game in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide.
So, that’s just what we’re going to do.
Fan Tan Card Game – An Overview
Fan Tan, often called Sevens, is a card-shedding game played between three and eight players. However, it works best with four to six people playing the game.
The game’s main objective is to eliminate your cards before your opponents.
Sounds easy, right?
All you will need to play the game is a deck of 52 cards, which you can pick up online if you still need to get it at the back of your games cabinet. I recently purchased these Game of Thrones-themed playing cards, and they’ve gone down a storm on game nights and been a great conversation starter.
You will also need something to use as chips. You can use makeshift ones or purchase a set like these Composite Striped Poker Chips. I’ve found these to be long-lasting, and they can be used for hundreds of different games, so you get your money’s worth.
You’re good to go if you’ve got your cards and gathered your people.
Starting Fan Tan Card Game
To begin with, you will need to select one player to be the dealer. It can be done however you like. You could pick the person who has a birthday coming up next, or you could all draw cards and see who has the highest.
After this, players take turns being the dealer, working their way around the table clockwise.
The dealer starts by shuffling the deck. You can do this by hand or use an automatic card shuffler if you aren’t skilled in this department.
Now, the dealer hands out the cards to each player, one at a time, until the entire deck has been dealt. There is no stockpile for this game.
Don’t worry if some players have more cards than others; that’s perfectly fine and won’t put you at a disadvantage.
The chips will need to be given out to each player. It depends on how many players there are, but three is a good amount as a general rule of thumb.
Each time you can’t make a move, a chip goes into the pot, and the person to lose all their chips first, is out of the game.
Whoever wins the round takes the pot.
The rules regarding chips do differ depending on the variation of the game. It’s just the one I am most familiar with.
The players with more cards take their turn first.
Fan Tan Gameplay
Ultimately, cards will be laid out in a face-up arrangement on the table which each of the four suits will structure.
The first player must possess a seven in their hand to make the first move. Now the game moves clockwise.
After the first seven have been played, you may either start a new pile with a new seven or continue from another seven with a card of the same suit. For example, if the seven is of hearts, you may play any card of hearts. However, this card must be only one rank above or below.
So, you would have to play a 6 or an 8 of hearts, and so on.
During your turn, you must play a card whenever possible. You must take turns if you have cards to play. You’ll have to put a chip in the pot if you can’t move. If you run out of chips, you forfeit the game.
Have you got the hang of it?
All you need to do now is keep going this way until the first player gets rid of all their cards, making them the winner.
You see, it’s much simpler than people initially think. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the layout of the cards on the table, it’s a very straightforward game that everyone can get involved with.
Fan Tan Handy Tips And Tactics
Although the Fan Tan card game seems like a contest of luck, there are some strategies you can use to up your chances of beating your opponents.
- Pay attention to the starting card; this determines the rank to begin the game and is what you need to match to enable you to make a move.
- Keep a close eye on the cards played by other players. It can keep you one step ahead of the game when taking your turn. It will also indicate what cards the other players don’t have so you can push the game in your favor.
- Don’t worry if you must pass your turn; this only gives you more time to plan your next move.
- Face cards and aces can be hard to place in Fan Tan, so as soon as you see an opportunity to do so, get rid of them.
Finally, Fan Tan is a fascinating and demanding card game requiring strategy chance, and attention to detail.
By following this guide’s tips and tactics section, you can enhance your chances of winning and become a more proficient player.
Fan Tan will keep you entertained and excited for hours, whether playing with friends or family.
So, gather your players, grab your chips, take your deck, shuffle it, and get ready to play!