How to Play Durak Online: the 5-Minute Guide for Beginners
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If you ever meet a Russian and propose that you play some card games, chances are they are going to propose you play a game of Durak together.
Durak is the most popular Russian card game, played everywhere in Russia and by Russians beyond its borders.
If you still haven't heard the Durak card game or you haven't played it yet, you can do so online.
But if you're wondering how to play Durak, there's nothing to worry about. The gameplay is simple and you can learn the rules in a couple of minutes.
Don't get too excited, though — you will need a lot of practice before you can challenge a true Russian in a game of Durak!
In this guide, you learn the Durak rules, how to play the game, where to play it, and also pick up some winning strategies.
What is Durak?
Durak is the most famous Russian card game. If you ask any Russian about it, no matter where they live, they will know what it is and be very excited about it.
This is a simple game that can be played with a minimum of two and a maximum of six players.
Thanks to the Internet, the Durak online card game is a reality as well, so you can easily play it whenever and wherever you want.
No need to get on a Dacia and get your passport ready. If you know where to look for, you can play Durak online from the comfort of your home. And to win real money, no less.
How to Play Durak? Main Durak Rules
With the right type of guidance, learning the main Durak card game rules is a breeze.
In this section, you learn the most important steps for playing the game and facing off your opponents.
There aren't too many rules to remember, which is why the existing ones are even more important.
Deck and Dealing
Durak is played with a modified version of the standard 52-card deck.
To play Durak, you should use a reduced deck of 36 cards. Cards between sixes and aces of all suits are included, whereas cards between twos and fives are removed.
However, there is also a variation of this game which can be played with all 52 cards, but it is not as common as the "six and above" version.
Each player is dealt six face-down cards, while the remaining cards serve as a draw pile, known as the talon.
The top card of the draw pile is removed and placed next to the pile, face-up, to become the trump suit. You'll understand what this means shortly.
The gameplay flows in short "attacks" in which one player is the attacker and the other is the defender.
The attacker always begins by putting down a card from their hand, which the defender needs to beat with a higher card of the same suit or any other card from the trump suit.
For example, if the attacker begins by placing a 9 of hearts and the trump suit is diamonds, the defender can play any card from the suit of hearts higher than 9 or any card from the suit of diamonds.
The defender can choose whether they want to attempt a defence or simply take the attacker's card.
If the card is defended successfully, the attacker plays another card which must be in the same rank as the two cards played before or they can choose to end the bout.
If the defender fails to defend successfully, they need to take all the cards played before and add them to their hand.
At the end of each bout, the players take cards from the talon to replenish their hands of 6 cards. When the talon is empty, the play continues without drawing cards.
Winning and Losing
According to Durak rules, the play continues until there are no more cards left in the talon.
After that, the players do all in their power to get rid of the cards in their hands.
The objective of the game is to be the first player to do so. If you are the last one with cards in your hands, you will earn the title of "durak" or "fool" for that round.
Durak Strategy: Increase Your Chances of Winning
Learning how to play Durak is not only about remembering the rules. This looks like a simple game but you need a foolproof (or should we say durakproof?) strategy to win.
The strategy in this Russian card game basically boils down to deciding when to attempt a defence and when to simply take the attacker's cards and move on.
To make this decision, you should consider:
- Which cards you have in your hand;
- Which cards your opponents might have;
- Which cards they picked up earlier;
- Which ones are left in the talon.
It is best to attack the player with the highest cards you have so they cannot defend that easily.
Also, keep the trump cards in your hands for as long as you can, as that will enable you to get rid of all of your cards quickly when the talon is depleted.
Keeping track of the cards is the easiest and most important thing when playing Durak 1 on 1.
When playing with three or more players, keeping track of the cards is much more difficult.
Where to Play Durak?
If you like what you've read about this Russian card game, you might be wondering where to play Durak.
You can play Durak at home with your family or friends, or you can go for Durak online play.
Finding Durak online is not at all difficult — you'll be able to play it at any time of day or night against the computer or against real players.
It is not one of the most popular card games online, but we recommend giving it a try because it's pretty fun to play.
Before giving it a try, though, make sure you learn all Durak rules to avoid being called "a fool".