ten ace

Yaniv (card game)

An Israeli card game, especially popular among travelers.



The game's origin is often attributed to two Israeli travelers by the name of Yaniv and Assaf, hence the names called during the game (see later). There is no record for this claim. The game has traveled all the way to Fiji, where it has been played by groups as large as 16 players in the Yasawa Islands. In Fiji, the name Yaniv was replaced by Fiji, confusing even the most avid of players. Reports from the Marshall Islands suggest that Yaniv is called just Marshall, or Matityahu by Israelis playing in the Marshall Islands. The game is rapidly gaining popularity in North America, where the name is generally spelled "Yanif."



The game's objective is to have fewer than 7 in your sum of the cards. In every round one player, the round winner, is awarded by not gaining any points. The rest are all awarded points equal to the sum of the cards they hold, where face cards (jack, queen, king) count as ten, ace as one and joker as zero.

Dealing the cards

Each player is dealt 5 cards, and one face up card opens the free stack. The rest are reserved.

The game is divided into rounds, and score is kept between rounds. The object is to achieve the lowest score.

A turn

Every player in his turn must

  1. throw a card or card series and
  2. choose one:
    1. either take a card from deck OR
    2. take a card from the free stack which is included in the last thrown card series (explained later).

A player must first throw a card and only then pick up a card. A player can throw more than one card in the following cases:

  • If he has a rising series of at least three cards with identical suit, he can throw the entire series instead of just one card. A joker can be set as any card to complete a series.
  • If he has a set of two or more cards with the same face, he can throw all of them instead of just one.

(only one of these options may be taken)

In both cases, the player takes only one card - this is the way to lower the number of cards he holds. The next player can only pick up the extreme cards in a series (if a player dropped 5,6,7,8, the next player can pick up either 5 or 8). An exception is when one of the cards in a series is a joker - in this case if the next player has the exact card the joker stands for, the player can take the joker and throw that card instead.

The round progresses amongst all players clockwise, until a player calls "Yaniv". A player can only call "Yaniv" if the sum of his cards is equal to or less than 7. When "Yaniv" is called, all players reveal their hands. The player with the lowest sum is the round winner, and is awarded zero points. If there is another player with a sum equal to or lower than the sum of the cards of the player who called Yaniv, that player declares "Assaf" and he is the round winner. If more than one player can call Assaf, the player with the least sum is the round winner.


  • The round winner gets zero points.
  • The rest of the players gets the sum of the cards as their score.
  • If "Assaf" was called then the player who called "Yaniv" receives an extra 30 points in addition to his usual score. If more than one player declared "Assaf", the player who called "Yaniv" receives an extra 20 points for each player who called "Assaf".
  • If a player reaches a total score which is a multiple of 50, 50 points are reduced from his score . This rule creates a tactical opportunity for victory by trying to be caught with a high hand while another player calls "Yaniv". Another option is to call "Yaniv" yourself, anticipating an "Assaf", in order to get to a multiple of 50.


There are two variations:

  • A certain limit is set. Whenever a player crosses that limit, the game ends and the victor is the one with the smallest score.
  • A certain limit is set. Whenever a player crosses that limit, he quits the game. The victor is the last remaining player.ok

The common limit is 200.

Game variations

Because Yaniv is played by amateurs, it has no official rules and several variations exist:

  • The number of decks with which the game is played can be changed (usually one or two, depending on the number of players in game).
  • The threshold value for declaring can be altered to 5 or 10.
  • It can be set that only the top card in a series can be lifted, instead of the top and bottom cards.
  • Some play so that you can pick up the card before throwing.
  • Some play so that the score multiples that reduce your score is 100 instead of 50. Some play so that only reaching the exact limit (usually 200) reduces your score by 50.
  • Some play so that only a successful "Yaniv" makes a player receive 0 points, while calling "Assaf" still gives you your sum of cards. This might make a player with a sum complementing to a multiplication of 50 want to hold his cards and not call "Yaniv", waiting for another player to do it. Some also play so a "Yaniv" gives the sum of cards while only an "Assaf" gives 0 points.
  • Some players allow to say "Yaniv" when the sum of the cards exceeds the number determined. In that case, the player will get scores equal to the cards in his hands plus 30. A player can deliberately say "Yaniv" to reach a multiple of 50. In this case, the other players will get score equal to the sum of the cards in their hands, except those with 7 or less. This move is actually a self-"Assaf".
  • Some players give bonuses for several consecutive "Assaf"s or "Yaniv"s.
  • Some players give a bonus of 25 points to any player who has amassed 5 "Assaf"s or "Yaniv"s.
  • There is a variation of calling "Shraga" instead of "Assaf".
  • To "Stevo" someone is to intentionally drop low cards in the last round of play, so the person who picks them up can become an "Assaf" and defeat whomever called "Yaniv".
  • Since the game is meant to be played very quickly, individuals are encouraged to plan their move ahead and not stall. Stalling is known as "Tranning".
  • Another variation is that if a player picks up a card from the deck (NOT the stack of played cards) that is the same face as the card the player has just played or can be added to the beginning or end of a series the player has just played then that player can play that card immediately, so long as it is done before the next player plays their card(s). This introduces an important element of speed. The next player can play as soon as the previous player has played their card(s) and does not have to wait for the player to pick up a card from the deck.

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