Durak Guide: Mastering the Classic Card Game


Welcome to the comprehensive guide on mastering Durak, a popular and engaging card game that hails from Russia but has won hearts globally. This guide is designed to help beginners understand the gameplay, strategies, and nuances of Durak, ensuring an exciting card game experience. Whether you’re new to card games or looking to add Durak to your repertoire, this ultimate how-to guide is your go-to resource.

Understanding the Basics of Durak

Durak is typically played with a deck of 36 cards, where the objective is not to be the last player remaining with cards in hand, avoiding the title of “Durak” or “the fool.” It supports 2 to 6 players, making it a versatile game for gatherings.

The Deck and Its Hierarchy

The game uses a 36-card deck, ranking cards in each suit from high to low as follows: Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 (low). Understanding this hierarchy is crucial for gameplay.

Setting Up the Game

Setting up Durak properly is the first step to a successful game. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Shuffle the 36-card deck thoroughly.
  • Deal six cards to each player.
  • The top card of the remaining deck is placed face-up beneath the deck so that its value is visible. This card determines the trump suit for the game.
  • The rest of the deck is placed above this card, forming the talon.

Gameplay Overview

The essence of Durak lies in its attacks and defenses. Players attack and defend in turns, trying to outsmart their opponents with strategic moves.

  1. Attack: The attacking player throws a card at the defender.
  2. Defense: The defender attempts to beat the attacking card with a higher card of the same suit or any card of the trump suit.
  3. If the defender beats the card, they can throw it off. If not, they must pick it up.
  4. Players replenish their hands from the talon to maintain six cards until it’s depleted.

Winning Strategies and Tips

Success in Durak requires foresight, strategy, and a bit of cunning. Here are some tips to help you become a formidable opponent:

  • Conserve your trump cards for pivotal moments in the game, particularly for defense.
  • Pay attention to the cards that have been played and try to remember them, as it will help you predict what your opponents hold.
  • Be aggressive in your attacks if you have a good hand, but also know when to pull back and conserve your resources.


Durak is more than just a card game; it’s a test of strategy, memory, and adaptability. With this guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to start playing Durak and enjoy endless hours of fun. Remember, practice is key to mastering any game, so gather your friends, shuffle the deck, and let the games begin!

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