How to Play Sevens or Knock! Knock!
Sevens, also called Knock! Knock!, is a fun family card game. I first learned to play the game as a young child when my father grew tired of playing back-to-back games of Snap! Sevens can be played with two or more people, though you may want to use two packs of cards if playing with more than six or seven players.
I’m not sure where Sevens originated, as the rules and ‘How to Play’ were taught to me by my father or who may have created it. Sevens is fun, requires the use of a standard pack of 52 playing cards (without jokers), and is really easy to learn. I have spent endless hours on school holidays playing Sevens with my father. It may be a variation or combination of card games such as Knock Rummy.
What You Will Need to Play Sevens
- Two players or more
- At least one pack of 52 standard playing cards (minus the Jokers)
- Pen and paper if you are scoring
- Choose a dealer. As you can play this game multiple times, the dealer can change with each game.
- Decide which way you will play, clockwise or counterclockwise. If you are playing more than one game and keeping a tally of each win, you may want to change the direction of play once everyone has had a chance to deal so that there are no unfair advantages or favoritisms.
- Remove any Jokers from the pack of cards, as they are not required in this game.
- Shuffle the cards very, very well. This card game relies on chance just as much as strategy.
- The dealer deals each player seven cards face down. The seven cards become the player’s opening hand.
- The dealer places the remaining cards in the middle of the table face down (the pack).
- The dealer turns the top card face up next to the pack. This becomes the discard pile.
- The card that the dealer has turned face up determines the playing suit. If it is a club, then clubs are the playing suit; if it is a diamond, then a diamond is the playing suit.
- Moving in the chosen direction of play, each player discards one card at a time, placing it on top of the playing suit. The discarded card must either match the playing suit or card number that was last on top, or it must be a pick-up card.
- When all of the cards in the pack have been picked from the middle, the dealer can reshuffle the discarded cards and create a new pack from which players can pick up.
- The dealer should separate the top discarded card (representing the playing suit) before the cards are reshuffled so players can continue to follow the suit.
How to Change the Playing Suit
The playing suit can be changed by either:
- discarding a card of the same number but a different suit; e.g., if a three of diamonds was the last card played, the next player can change the suit to hearts by discarding a three of hearts; or
- discarding a pick-up card.
Pick-up cards include any ace, any two and the five of diamonds. When playing aces, twos, and the five of diamonds, it doesn’t matter which suit is played, and it doesn’t matter what suit is on the top in the middle of the table. A player can use the pick-up card to change the playing suit to any suit that the player calls out while discarding the card. The player whose turn would have been next misses a turn and is made to pick up either one card if an ace was played or two cards if a two was played. If the five of diamonds was played, the next player must pick up five cards.
Missing a Turn
A player misses a turn when the player before them has played a pick-up card.
A player may also miss a turn if they are unable to discard. This occurs when the player does not have a card that matches the playing suit, does not have a card that matches the playing card’s number, and does not have a pick-up card to play. If a player misses a turn because they are unable to discard, they must pick up one card.
If a player chooses not to discard but has in their hand a matching suit, a matching card number or a pick-up card, there is no penalty. They must still pick up one card as if they are unable to discard.
When Do You Knock?
When a player is having their turn and discarding their third-to-last card, they are required to knock, that is, to knock on the table with their knuckles as if knocking on a door. If the player who is discarding their third card fails to knock, and another player notices and yells out ‘Knock! Knock!’ before the next player has taken their turn, the player who failed to knock must retrieve their discarded card from the table, pick up seven new cards, and miss their turn.
If the player knocks as they are putting their third card down. they are considered ‘safe’.
If the next player has taken their turn and has already discarded their card onto the pack or picked up a new card from the middle for missing a turn, then the player who failed to knock is safe, and the game continues.
If a player calls out ‘Knock! Knock!’ and challenges another player, and if the player who was taking the turn has knocked, or is not discarding their third-to-last card, then the challenger must pick up seven cards as a penalty for calling ‘Knock! Knock!’ in error.
Ending the Game
When a player has discarded all cards from their hands, the game is ended, and the person with no cards left is declared the winner. You can choose to play another game electing a new dealer.
Scoring (Game Addition)
If you are playing multiple games, you may want to keep score. Keep a tally of who wins each game. The player with the most games won is the overall winner.
If you are playing with older children or adults, you may prefer to use an advanced scoring method. The winner receives 0 points.
Players with pick-up cards earn the following points:
- Ace: two points
- Two: three points
- Five of Diamonds: five points
Players with non-pick-up cards left in their hand earn one point per card. Once you have finished playing as many hands as you can enjoy, the scores for each game are added up. The overall winner will have scored the lowest points.
joaniebaby on May 15, 2012:
Thanks for sharing instructions for this fun game. It reminds me of a game I have played, but cannot remember
the name of. Will have to try “Knock,Knock.”
Annie from NewYork on January 08, 2011:
It a nice card game, especially on a rainy day
it bring the family together.
Tina Dubinsky (author) from Brisbane, Australia on November 26, 2010:
Glad to here you’re enjoying it!
Denise Handlon from Michigan on November 24, 2010: