Updated: Sep 7, 2022
Fan Tan's goal is relatively simple. Distribute the cards among the players throughout the game and spend the game trying to get rid of all your cards before the other players can complete the feat.
You can get rid of cards by adding them to an existing suit, or a set of cards in a suit, which accumulates throughout the game. You can only play one card when it is your turn. You must build the cards from top to bottom in sequential order, starting with the 7 of each suit. After someone plays the 7 of a suit, the next player can legally draw the 6 or 8 of the suit. When the 6 hits the table, the next player can choose to add either the 5 or the 8. If he plays the 8 over the 7, the next player can put down the 6 or the 9, and so on.
After the first 7 is played, the next player passes if he has no 7 or if he cannot add anything to the cards on the table. You have to play when you can.
Driving and dealing
To determine who should deal first, choose someone who deals one card face up to each player until someone hits a jack; the lucky prince arrives to deal the first hand. For subsequent hands, the deal goes one place clockwise.
When playing the game for money, everyone places an initial ante - a fixed unit - before the start of the hand. (You can make the bet however you like, it only takes a small bet to get the blood flowing. As additional bets may be made, one nickel may be quite sufficient for the wager!
Once the dealer has shuffled and offered a cut to the player to his right, he deals all the cards face down and clockwise. If you are playing with four players, everyone receives the same number of cards. If you play with three, five or six players, some people get more cards than others (you cannot share 52 with 3, 5 or 6). This imbalance is corrected during a series of fans tanning because everyone avoids a hand and receives additional cards for certain hands during the game.
If you're playing the game for stakes, you can get players with fewer cards to put in an extra unit to level the start of the game with such an advantage.
Let the cards hit the fan
The player to the left of the dealer has the first opportunity to play. If he has a 7 in a suit, he must play it by placing it face up in the center of the table. If he doesn't have a 7, he folds.
When playing for money, each player who folds must put an extra unit into the pot. Fan Tan's original name, Play or Pay, was very fitting.
If you can play, you should, however tactically undesirable it may be to let go of a card you would rather hold in your hand. You often find you don't want to play a card that makes life easier for others, but that's Fan Tan's life. A player who is caught holding back in a betting match cannot win the hand in which the violation occurs.
After a few turns around the table, the cards form piles on either side of the 7s which may resemble the one shown. For example, in the suit of spades, the 8 of spades, 9 of spades and 10 of spades are embedded under the jack of spades, and the 6 of spades and 5 of spades are invisible under the 4 of spades.
Here, the next legal cards to play would be the Q or 3 of spades, 9 or 2 of hearts, 10 of diamonds or 4 of diamonds, and 9 or 6 of clubs. The player with the action can play one of these cards or pass if he cannot.
When a stack reaches the end of its natural life (when an ace or king prevents the suit from progressing further), flip the stack to indicate this.
The first person to get rid of all of their cards wins and the game ends immediately. He takes the pot (which consists of the antes plus any additional contributions made during the hand) if you play the betting game, but before him, all other players bet one unit for each card left in their hand. Click here to have fun on playing Fantan game!