Pelmanism is a card game which is a good test of memory. It is usually thought of as a children's game, but it is enjoyable for people of any age.


The game uses a standard pack of 52 playing cards, without jokers. All 52 cards are dealt face down onto the table, with no two cards touching.

Each player in rotation turns over any two cards from the layout. If the two cards match in rank, then they keep them and turn over another two. Otherwise the two cards are put back to their original positions in the layout, face down, and play passes to the next player.

Play continues in this way until the entire pack is paired off. The player with the most number of cards is the winner.


Being able to keep track of what has been uncovered before is the key to doing well at Pelmanism. At any time you must only keep track of at most one card of each rank, which is a maximum of thirteen. If you cannot keep track of so many cards, it is best to concentrate on the locations of a few.

The game can be made harder by requiring that a pairing match both rank and colour: for example, 5♥ can only be paired with 5♦ and not 5♠ or 5♣. Another challenging variation is to allow uncovered cards to be played back to a different position in the layout.

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