War is probably the simplest card game in the world. It is a game of pure luck and involves zero skill. The object of the game is to win all of the opponent’s cards by winning the most showdowns. The rules of the game are so simple that it’s mostly only played by children.
Deal and Game Play
War is played by two players with a standard deck of 52 cards. Each player is dealt 26 cards face down into a pile. Each player then reveals the top card on his deck. The player with the highest card collects both cards and places them at the bottom of his deck.
Any time there is a tie between card values, the players have a “war.” Each player places three cards face down on the table and a fourth card face up. The player with the highest face up card collects all the cards. In the event that the war is a tie, the players have another war until one person wins the war.
Play continues until one player runs out of cards. The player who ends up with all the cards wins the game. War is completely based on luck and there is nothing the players can do to affect the outcome. Once the cards have been shuffled and dealt, the rest is up to Lady Luck.
War is traditionally played as a two player game but it can also be played with multiple people. In multiplayer war, the dealer passes out the cards to each player, one at a time, until all the cards have been dealt. If there is an uneven number of cards, the extra cards may be discarded.
The rest of the game is basically the same except with more players. The players in War all reveal the top card of their decks at the same time. The player with the highest card takes all three cards. If two players tie for the highest card, those players have a war like normal. In some variations, all players participate in every war, regardless of who actually tied.
Many casinos have turned this classic children’s game into a real money gambling game. Casino War is one of the easiest casino games to play because the rules are basically the same as normal war. The dealer and player play against each other just as in normal war except each hand has a wager on it.
The player wins even money on his bet if he has the highest card. If the dealer has the highest card, the dealer wins the player’s bet. The house advantage in Casino War is found during ties.
In the even of a tie, the player has two options:
- Go to war – The player must place an additional bet equal in size to the original bet
- Surrender – The player loses half his bet but has no further obligation to the hand
If the player decides to go to war, the dealer will discard three cards and then deal one card face up for both the player and the dealer. If the player’s card is higher or ties, his war bet is returned with no winnings and he receives even money on the original bet. If the dealer’s card is higher, the dealer keeps both of the player’s bets.