To play Go Fish, you need a 52-card deck with no jokers. Each player requests cards of a certain rank from other players with the intent to make "books" consisting of four cards of the same rank. Play ends when a player has no more cards or the stock runs out.
- Shuffle and deal the cards
Go Fish is ideal for four to six players, though as few as two can play. Deal five cards to each player, or seven cards if there are only two players. The remaining cards serve as the stock.
- Begin play
The player to the left of the dealer begins play by asking another player for a card rank. If the player has any cards of that rank, she must surrender them all to the player asking. That player then asks another player for cards. In the event a player does not have the requested cards, she tells the asker to "Go fish!" At this point, the asker draws a card from the stock. If it is the rank he wanted, he shows his card and takes another turn. Otherwise, the player who said "Go fish!" goes next.
- Winning the game
Each book of four cards must be revealed and discarded face down. When the stock runs out or a player has no cards left, the players with the most books wins the game.