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What card games do people like to play in Nigeria? 

If you haven’t been to Nigeria or encountered a Nigerian person in a competitive game, you are missing out! Nigeria has a rich history when it comes to playing competitive games, including card games.

Card games have been popular in Nigeria long before many other countries, but unlike many other countries, they have a melting-pot mix of new and traditional games.

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What are some Nigerian card games?

Nigeria has national and regional card games and games you’d find across the globe. You are just as likely to find poker hands being dealt as you are a game of Thuni in progress.

Traditional Nigerian card games include:

Other games you’ll find in Nigeria:

  • Poker
  • Blackjack

What is Thuni?

Thuni or Thunee is one of the oldest card games in Nigeria and is played across other parts of Africa too. However, the Nigerian version of Thuni is arguably the most popular, and you will often find it played in Jos, Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan.

The aim of Thuni is to get more tricks than your opponent – which sounds easy enough but isn’t! Using a 32-card deck, cards get ranked from highest to lowest, which looks like this:

Jack 9 Ace 10 King Queen 8 7

Thunee is considered a trick-taking game and is played by four people (split into two teams). The aim is to get 105 points in a round.

Each round is made of 6 hands and is played by each player. Once the round starts, each team will need to decide if they want to chase the 105 points or block the other team from getting it. Usually, a balance of both is required since it is a highly strategic game.

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One thing to keep in mind is that if a player doesn’t have a suit card (you should follow suit), they can play any card in their hand.

The team will not be sitting next to each other; instead, if you were at a square table, the opponent team would face each other, and you will face your partner. The Trumpman will sit to the right, and the dealer’s partner will be the first person to play. The game is played anticlockwise.

Trumpman will select a Trump from the first four cards dealt, and the opponents can call trump. If there is no trump, then the dealer will deal with the balance of two cards. As soon as all players have six cards, the play starts.

How do you play WHOT!?

WHOT! It is known as the National Card Game and is played with a WHOT pack of cards. They have different numbers, symbols and shapes – crosses, triangles, squares, stars and circles.

Cards are shuffled and shared between however many players there are. Some of the cards have a special action attached, so it is best to make sure you brush up on the basics ahead of sitting down to play!

Once each of the players has the same amount of cards, the remainder of the pack will have one card face up in the middle. Players then take turns to match their cards to the card down – or match by the symbol. When a player can’t match a symbol or a card, they have to pick up another card.

The winner of this game is the first person who has no cards left. When a player gets down to their last two cards, they have to let the other players at the table know, and if they forget that very important rule, they will need to pick up two more cards.

The play goes on until the last person is left holding cards.

How do you play Eléwénjewé?

With a standard 52-card pack, Eléwénjewé is played. The full name for this game is actually Eléwénjewénómbàjenómbà – and it is a fishing game, so if you’re a fan of Go Fish! You’ll enjoy this one.

Two jokers can be added into the pack when playing Eléwénjewénómbàjenómbà, and your goal as a player is to scoop the cards from the palette or table. A card can be taken by another card of the same value, and many cards can be captured simultaneously by a card of a higher value.

Professional players have some different rules added to their game, while people who play for fun will stick to the basic rules instead. And the Yorùbá rules are stricter than the normal rules.

The Ace value is one, and 2-10 have their face values, and Jacks, Kings, and Queens have no number value attached. The latter can only be captured by a card of the same rank. Jokers can capture all cards on the table for normal rules, but in a professional game, no jokers are added.

The game can be played clockwise or anticlockwise, whatever the players prefer. King, Queen, Jack and a 9 of diamonds get removed from the pack and are placed on the table face up.

Once each player has four cards, the dealer will give them a further four cards, but the table won’t get any more placed on it. Players will then use their cards to scoop the cards from the table.

When a player matches any card on the table, they can scoop the matched card, and when a player has a number card that is equal to or higher than the cards on the table, they can scoop those.

Those are just the basics of those card games, though; it is definitely worth checking out the rules and learning how to play properly! If you’re more of a fan of modern technology and prefer to play games on mobile apps, here are some devices worth checking out: 7 Best Vivo Mobile Phones in Nigeria and their Prices.



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Ifiokobong Ibanga

Ifiokobong Ibanga is the founder of InfoGuideNIgeria.com. You can get in touch with him on Instagram @ifiokobong. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly send a message. Much Love!

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