How to Play Go Fish

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Go Fish Rules & Instructions

go fish


Number of Players

  • 2+

Supplies Needed

  • Full deck of 52 standard playing cards

Card Rank

  • Card rank isn’t relevant in Go Fish


  • Four cards of the same rank are called a book (i.e. four Queens)
  • The most books out of 13 at the end of the game wins


The goal of Go Fish is to collect the most books (four cards of the same rank). You do this by either swapping cards with the other players or by drawing from the community deck – the “widow”.


To determine the deal, pass out one face up card to each player. The player with the lowest card is the dealer. Once they shuffle and cut the deck, they distribute the cards one at a time clockwise around the table until each player has seven. If you are playing with more than four players, each player should get five.

To start your turn, you address a specific player and ask them for a particular card rank.

Example: “Sarah, do you have any threes?”.

If Sarah has any threes in her hand, she must turn them over to you. If she doesn’t have any threes, she will tell you to “Go Fish!”. To fish, you simply draw a card from the community deck and your turn is over. If you do receive cards from Sarah, then you can ask her or another player at the table for one card rank. You do this as many times in a row until you have to go fishing.

Once you collect all four cards of a book, you must turn the cards face up to show everyone that they are no longer in play.

Play continues until all thirteen books have been collected. The player with the most books, wins!

Additional Notes & Tips

  • If a player is out of cards, they can draw to start their turn and then ask other players for a particular card. If there are no cards left in the community deck, then the player is eliminated from the game.
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