Go Fish Rules


Go Fish is a popular card game that can be enjoyed by two or more players using a standard 52-card deck. In this guide, we’ll go over the game’s basic rules, as well as some tips for strategy and alternative ways to play.

Game rules

Here we will present the basic rules of the game.

To start the game

To start the game, with two or three players, the dealer deals seven cards to each participant. If you play with over three players, each player is dealt five cards. The remaining cards are placed face-down in the center of the table; this is what’s referred to as “the pool.”

How to take turns

The game proceeds clockwise, with each player taking turns asking another player if they have a specific card rank. For instance, Player A might ask if Player B has any 9s in their hand. If Player B has any 9s, they must pass all these to Player A. If they don’t have any, they say, “go fish.”

When a player says, “go fish,” the player who asked can then draw any card from the pool in the center. If the player asking for a card is lucky enough to either get it from the person they asked or pick it up from the pool, they get another turn and can now ask for a new card from any of the other players (including the player they already asked!).

As soon as one player collects all four suits of the same rank, they can place the cards face up in front of them and take another turn, yet again.

Winning the Game

The game ends when a player runs out of cards, and no more cards are left in the pool. The winner is thus determined by who has the most sets of cards in front of them.


Here are a few tips for developing a winning strategy for Go Fish:

  • First, try to keep track of what cards the other players have and want.
  • If you pick up a card from the pool that you didn’t have on your hand already, it can be an excellent strategy to ask for that rank on your next turn.
  • At the start of the game, it’s best to aim for “go fish” often to increase your chances of getting more matches later.

Alternative ways to play Go Fish

If you’re looking for a new challenge or want to mix things up, try these alternative ways to play:

  • Play until all the cards are gone. Once the pool is depleted, players can no longer “go fish” and must take turns asking the other players instead.
  • Try to collect pairs of cards instead of sets of four.
  • Players can ask for a specific card rather than just a rank, such as nine Spades instead of any 9s.
  • Deduct a point for each card a player still holds at the game’s end. This will force players to balance between wanting more cards for matches and getting rid of their cards before the game ends.
  • Play with two decks and deal out more cards to each player.

Following these rules and strategies, you can have a lot of fun with the game Go Fish with your friends and family.