Concentration: Guide to Play the Famous Card Game

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Last Update Date: 28 August 2020

There are various ways to improve concentration and memory skills. One of the best ways to do so is by playing the concentration game. Read further to learn more about this fun game!

Concentration - The Famous Card Game

You must have heard about the good old fun concentration memory card game? You haven’t?

Well, you might know it simply as Pairs or Pelmanism, Shinkei-suijaku, Pexeso, Match Match, Match Up, or Memory. There are different variations of concentration (card game).

You can play it as a board game or online. If you feel rusty and forgot how to play the concentration card game, or have just gained interest in the game, or simply are looking for a more convenient online version of it, keep on reading.

Play Concentration Game Online

Hidden Object Game

Hidden Object Game

This free concentration game improves visual attention, visual scanning, and visual memory skills.

Missed Balls

Missed Balls

This concentration card game improves visual attention, sustained attention, and focusing skills.

Spot the Difference

Spot the Difference

This online concentration game improves visual attention, visual scanning, and comparison skills.

How to Play the Concentration Hand/Card Game?

If you don’t want to play concentration card game online, you can simply just use a deck of cards.

The concentration is a very popular game that has been enjoyed for many years now. It is especially favored among children for fun and among parents due to its developmental benefits.

Concentration game

The rules are easy, the concept is simple and the benefits are unnegotiable. Let’s take a deeper look at the concentration (card game).

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Basic Concept of the Concentration Card Game

As the name implies, a concentration memory game is a matching game based on memory skills. The basic concept of concentration (card game) is to find the right pair of cards with the least amount of flips.

It can be played by 2 players or on one’s own. There are many variations of this fun card game, with different difficulty levels. We will be explaining this further in the article.

First, let’s start with the basics.

What Are the Rules?

The rules and steps of the card game concentration are quite simple. The rules given apply to a standard deck of playing cards or the commercial ones that have different figures and shapes on them.

Step 1: If you aren’t including the jokers, spread the cards face down in four rows of thirteen cards each. If you are planning to play with the jokers, you can spread them out in six rows of nine cards each. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can add more sets of cards.

Step 2: Set the rules on how to match pairs. They can be of the same rank and color (e.g. eight of clubs and eight of spades, king of hearts and king of diamonds, or both jokers, if used).

If you’re looking for a simpler version, for example, to play with children, the pairs can be of two cards of the same rank, a color-match being unnecessary (e.g. three of spades and three of diamonds or jack of clubs and jack of hearts). Once you’ve decided on this, you can start flipping.

Step 3: Choose two cards and turn them face-up by taking turns. This is called a ‘flip’. If the two cards match the rules you set before, you win the pair and play again. If they are not a match, you lose your turn and the person on your left continues.

Step 4: Concentration ends when there are no cards left to match. The winner is the person with the most pairs; however, there may be a tie for the first place.

How Long Does the Concentration Card Game Last?

The goal of the card game concentration is to finish it with the least amount of flips, clear the cards in the fewest turns, or to get the lowest possible score (you can count how many wrong matches you or your opponent made with coins, poker chips or marking it on a paper).

When played with a standard deck of cards, and if you have perfect memorization and use a good strategy, the expected number of total moves in the game is approximately 40.


Can You Play the Concentration Card Game by Yourself?

Concentration isn’t only for two or more players. You can play Solitaire all by yourself as a leisure activity or as a memory and concentration booster. All the original rules still apply, you just don’t have to take turns.

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How to Win at Concentration?

As you keep playing, you, and your opponent, start to figure out where certain cards are located. If you have a strong memory and a working strategy, you will dominate the game.

It is quite common that players assume they know where pairs are and turn over the cards they are sure of first, then struggle to find its match.

A better strategy is to first flip a less certain or unknown card so if it turns out to be a wrong match or a card whose match you don’t know where to find, you won’t bother turning a more certain card over.

Keep in mind that each move you make can be seen by your opponent (if you're not playing Solitaire) and that you increase their chance of winning as they increase yours.

How Does the Concentration Card Game Help With Memory?

As mentioned before, the aim of the game is to find the matching pairs of the cards; therefore, it requires close attention and enhanced memory skill. But how does it improve memory skills?

The card game concentration uses a few minutes of short-term working memory for consecutive tasks such as picking out cards and remembering their matches. As always, practice makes perfect, and with repetition, the associations can become part of long-term memory. So go ahead and start a new game.

Variations of the Concentration Card Game

Here are the different variations of this fun game:

Any Color

This version of the card game concentration is especially good for children where they only match pairs according to their rank, not color. When playing with jokers, they count double because there are only two of them, so they’re harder to match.

One flip

One Flip

In this card game, players who find a match win the cards, but do not go again until their next turn.


In this version of concentration (card game), the ranks should match; however, the color should be the opposite. For example, a three of clubs would match a three of diamonds or hearts, but not a three of spades.

Two Decks

This is a longer and harder version of concentration. You need to shuffle two sets of 52-card decks and place them in eight rows of thirteen cards (nine rows of twelve cards if using jokers). The matching pairs must be identical (now that there are two of each); for instance, a nine of diamonds can only be paired with another nine of diamonds.

Two Decks Duel

Like Two Decks, this game is played with two sets of cards. However, it can only be played by two players. Each player shuffles a full card deck and lays it out in front of each other in four rows of thirteen. The players shouldn’t see each other's cards.

The first player flips only one card from his/her side, then player two selects one from his/her own side. The aim is to pair an identical match of the two cards each player holds. If the pair is a match, the cards are removed and, if not, they are flipped back.

Double Decker Checkerboard

This is a slightly easier version of the Two Decks game. You play it with two sets of cards, but with different backs. This makes it easier for you to position the cards in the grid and increases the chance of making pairs.


It has the same logic. The only difference is in the layout. This concentration (card game) can include circular, triangular and other layouts.


The same concentration game rules apply- only the cards are not laid out in neat rows. They are placed randomly on the floor



Usually, cards for Pexeso are designed specifically for the game and contain 64 cards (two of each image), which can have different designs (cartoon characters, photographs of historic monuments, ancient figures, etc.). They are laid out onto an 8×8 square, and you have to find the exact matching pair.