Koi Koi is a card game played with a Hanafuda deck. Players try to collect cards that make point earning combinations called Yaku. When a player makes a Yaku they can stop the game and collect the points. However, if keep going they have an opportunity to earn more points. The danger is if their opponent makes a Yaku, the opponent can stop the game and earn double the points while the other player earns nothing.
How to play
Koi Koi is played with a Hanafuda deck. The deck has twelve suits( named for the flower on the card )with four cards in a suit. In the photos below the cards called the brights are in the far left column. The next column is the animal cards followed by the Ribbon cards, and the Junk cards. Notice that some suits do not contain every type of card.
The first dealer of the game is decided in a random manner of the player’s choosing. The dealers deals 8 cards 4 at a time to each player. The dealer then puts eight cards face up on the table. The remaining cards form the draw pile.
There are two ways to win the hand instantly. If a player is dealt all four cards of a suit he or she earns six points and a new hand is dealt. If a player is dealt four pairs he or she earns six points and a new hand is dealt.
The dealer begins play.
On the player’s turn, he or she may match a card from his or her hand with one on the table of the same suit and collect them into their point pile. If the card from his or her hand does not match a card on the table, it is left face up on to the table with the other cards.
After matching or discarding a card, the player then draws one card from the draw pile and places it face up on the playing area. If the card matchs the suit of a card already on the table the player collects both cards. If the draw card can not match a card on the table, it is left face up on the table with the other cards.
If there are two cards that can be matched on the table the player may chose the card he or she wants to match. Three cards of the same suit on the table are formed in a stack and are collected when the player plays the fourth card.
At the end of a player’s turn the cards collected may have formed a point earning combination called a Yaku. After a player forms a Yaku or improves an existing Yaku he or she must call “shobu”or “koi koi”. If he or she calls shobu this ends the hand. The caller adds the value of the yaku to his or her point total. Only the player who calls shobu earns any points. The player can also choose to continue playing by calling koi koi. Calling Koi koi allows the player to collect more points but, if his or her opponent is able to call shobu before the first caller forms another Yaku or improves an existing one, the opponent gains double his or her score and the first caller earns nothing.
If a player has yaku totaling 7 or more points when the hand ends, that player earns twice that value. If a player earns 7 or more points and his opponent had called koi-koi, he gets both doubling bonuses for a total of four times his or score.
Should the players run out of cards to play without having formed a yaku on the last play, no points are awarded to either player, and the next hand begins with the same dealer.
The winner of the hand deals the next hand.
There are 12 hands to a game , but the players may agree to play for a different number of hands at the beginning of the game. The player with most points after the agreed upon rounds wins the game.