The game set up.

The post-primary students at OLHS wanted to share their favourite card game. We often finish off a classroom session with a card game. We believe that they are great for helping our students socialise in an environment that can be quite isolating. We always keep a stock of playing cards that our students can bring back to the ward.

Card games have been shown to be great for mental well-being and all sorts of mental benefits.

So here is how to play Karma!

How to deal the cards

  1. Shuffle.
  2. Deal 3 cards face down in front of each player (Blind Cards)
  3. Deal 3 cards face up on top of the cards you have just dealt
  4. Deal out 3 cards for each player’s hand
  5. Put the remaining cards in a pile in the middle

How to decide who starts

The player who gets to start is the first person who says they have a card of the value 3 in their hand. If no player has a 3, it is the person who has a 4, if no 4 then the player who has a 5, and so on.

If more than 1 player has a 3, then go with the person nearest to the left of the dealer.


The first person must start a pile of cards face up in the centre. They must play a card from their hand (or any number of cards of the same value in the centre).

Once they have played a card they must pick up another card from the face-down pile in the centre, so that they always have a minimum of 3 cards in their hand. If they hold more then 3 then they do not have to pick up a card.

The next player to the left must play a card that beats (has a higher value than) the previous card in the centre. If they cannot beat the card in the centre they must pick up the face-up pile of cards, and it is then the turn of the next person to the left.

The basic rule is that you must play cards of the same value, or higher than the player before you.

For example, if the player before you plays a 6, you must play 6’s or higher. If you have more than one card of the same value you can play them together.

 Aces are high. 

Suits do not matter.

There are also some special cards.


burns the pack – this means that you can play a 10 on anything, and all the cards in the pile in the centre are removed from the game to a discard pile.


can be played on anything.

4 of a kind

Playing burns the pack – if someone plays 4 cards of the same value all the cards in the pile in the centre are removed from the game. 

Also if a player plays two 6s and then the following player plays two more 6s, this counts as four of a kind.

How to win the game

Once the pack of cards in the centre is gone, and a player has no more cards in their hand, they can then start to play the from the 3 face-up cards that were dealt to them at the beginning. If they do not beat the card in the centre, the played card and the deck in the middle must be picked up.

Only once the 3 face-up cards have all been successfully played, can the 3 face-down cards be played.

These must be played blind, and if they do not beat the card in the centre, the deck in the middle must be picked up.

The winner is the first person to have no cards left.