Go Fish

Go Fish is a fun card game designed for children and is played using a standard deck.

This is a great kids’ activity and learning game about numbers, pairs, and patterns.

In this guide we will learn how to play Go Fish game, the objective of the game, the rules, as well as whether there is a strategy that would help us play better.

Go fish rules.
Go Fish

Related: Most popular card games in New Zealand


The objective is to make books of four cards that share the same value.

To win, you have to be the player with the most books by the end of the game.

The game is easy to learn and play, and 2-5 players are required.

Go Fish uses a 52-card pack where some cards are dealt, and the rest form the stock pile.

How to play Go Fish?

The rules of the game are also straightforward, and these highlights when a player can go fishing.

To start a game, one player will deal one card face up to each player, and with Aces being highest and 2’s being lowest, the player whose card has the lowest rank becomes the dealer.

Dealing cards
The dealer will shuffle the remaining cards and deal them clockwise, face down. If 2 or 3 players are involved, each will be dealt 7 cards. However, in the case of 4 or 5 players, each will be dealt 5 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down.
The beginning of the game
The game starts when the player on the left of the dealer ‘fishes’ by requesting another player for a specific card. For example, the player could request ‘ Anna, please give me your Kings.’
Ideally, the player who is ‘fishing’ should have at least one card of the rank they are asking for. This means that if you are asking for Kings, you should be holding a King among your dealt cards. The player being addressed should hand over the cards being asked, and if they don’t have that particular card, they say ‘ Go fish!’
The player who made the request will then draw the top card from the stock pile and add it to his/her hand. If the player is lucky to get one or more cards in the requested rank, they are given a chance to ask another or the same player for a card.

Using the same example, if the player who made the request receives another King, they will be entitled to ask another player to give them either a King or another different card value.

This player’s turn continues as long as they get the cards (makes a catch) they request each round. With every catch, the player has to reveal the card for the catch to be verified.


  • When the player gets the fourth card of the same rank, he/she will place them on the table face up and play again.
  • This is called ‘a book.’ However, if he/she goes fishing and does not make a catch, the player to the left takes over.
  • The game ends when all thirteen books have been won, and the player with the most books becomes the winner.

Drawing new cards

As earlier mentioned, a player can draw a new card if the player you requested for a certain card does not have that specific card.

Other cases where you can draw a new card include;

  • When you finish all the cards in your hand. This could either because you just made a book from your last four cards or because another player asked for the last card in your hand. If you don’t have any card left, you card draw the same number of cards you had received at the start of the game.
  • If you happen to finish your cards and there are no cards left in the stock pile, you will have to wait for the game to finish to start again.


This game does not require a specific strategy to win; however, when a player asks for a particular card, it gives you an idea of which cards they have and which ones they don’t have.

You can then use this information to your advantage when it is your turn to go fishing.

If you have a good memory it is a great way to win and a good strategy.

If you know how to count cards, then that strategy can work for you, even though counting cards is actually more cheating than strategy.


Can you lie in Go Fish?

This is a game mostly made for parents and children and it is about honor and fun. But in this game you can lie about the cards in your hand, and when a player asks you there is no way for them to find out that you are lying. That’s why it’s good to play this game with people you trust and use a code of honor.

How many player can play?

Min 2 player and max 5 players!

How many cards is used?

52-card pack!