Tape Reading and the e-Mini Futures

Origins

Tape reading started in the late 1800s, where traders used a ticker machine that is very similar to the ticker you see scrolling across the bottom of major news and business channels today. Early tape reading involved watching price volume closely, trying to determine which side, the buyers or the sellers, were in control. The same is true for today’s tape readers, although most have switched over to a Time & Sales window instead of a ticker. It is the same basic idea, just shown in a different format with more information.

Basically, the tape shows how many lots were filled at a given price and whether they were filled at the bid or the ask for any given market. Now although tape reading is possible on a number of different markets, I have found the e-Mini futures contracts to be superb due to their high liquidity. Every contract on the e-Mini futures trades at a different volume, so to stay consistent, I will be talking specifically about the mini S&P 500.

The Public Vs. The Pros

Volume is the single most important factor when reading the tape. By volume, I am referring to the number of lots being filled.

Most of the public traders are entering the market with only one to two lots. Professionals who trade for a living will use anywhere from a few lots to a few hundred lots. Universities, corporations, banks, and other large institutions will trade hundreds and even thousands of lots (please keep in mind we are talking about the mini S&P 500) at a time. The public is made up of all different kinds of traders. Some take the market seriously and use a system or strategy, while a great number of others picture the market as a casino. It is common knowledge that those who trade with these enormous amounts of money are simply not gambling with the market. When they take a position, they do so for a very valid reason. Which group of traders would you trust?.

Interpreting the Tape

It is very difficult to explain the tape without viewing it live. In general, these are the things to look for:

  • Which side of the market has the most volume?

You must always pay attention to this as it is the most important aspect of tape reading. Throughout the day, keep track of where the big players (100 lots and above) are putting their money. If you look to your Time & Sales window and see nothing but traders buying the market with lots sizes like 238, 120, 120, 495, 644, 80, 310, 176, etc., while there are only a few sellers with lots sizes like 58, 100, 63, you know the short term pressure is on the buy side. The same is true, just reversed, when determining selling pressure.

  • As price approaches the high or low of the day, does a significant amount of volume enter the market?

For example, you see that price is a few ticks away from the low of the day at 1523.50. All of a sudden, you see a few 400+ lots sell the market at 1523.75, and then a 1,000+ lot sells at 1523.50 and price moves down. Many of the public traders at this point may buy the market, hoping to get a double bottom; by reading the tape, we see that the true intention of the market is to make new lows. If you see a big player buying the high of the day, expect price to make new highs.

Experience

In the end, tape reading is more of an art than a science. It is not difficult to learn, but in order to get the feel of it, you should watch it live as much as possible during the normal market hours. The more experience you gain with the tape, the more accurate your calls will be.

I wish you much success in your trading!

Real Estate Commission – A Corrupting Influence

Real estate commission is the way in which real estate agents are paid for the services they provide. They receive a percentage of the price received for the property. Effectively, the real estate agent requires the seller of a property (the vendor) to sign over to the real estate agent a part of the property being sold.

Another way of looking at it is to say that the real estate agent, through the wording of the listing contract, effectively has his name added to the title deed of the vendor’s property, so that the real estate agent becomes a part-owner of the property. When the property sells, the real estate agent receives a payment that represents his share in the vendor’s property.

Most readers will be aware of the arguments in favour of real estate sale commissions, so I won’t discuss those here. My focus is on the ways in which the sale process can be skewed against all parties involved, when the motivation to win a commission takes precedence over more important considerations.

Commission is a “winner-takes-all, loser gets nothing” situation. This increases the pressure on the real estate agent to secure a sale. Time is also a problem. If the real estate agent cannot secure a sale within a time acceptable to the vendor, the vendor may take the property off the market, or away from the real estate agent’s agency. This will result in a total loss for the real estate agent.

Finally, the vendor becomes an obstacle between the real estate agent and his commission goal. In order to receive payment for his share of the vendor’s property, the real estate agent must receive an offer to purchase within the available time, but the offer must be accepted by the vendor. If the vendor decides that the offer is not acceptable, then the real estate agent loses.

In order to win the gambling game that is real estate sales, the real estate agent may decide to tip the odds in his favour – and there are numerous ways in which this can be done.

At the listing stage the real estate agent may use improper means to win the listing contract. These include over-quoting on valuation, and offering dodgy sales figures.

During the sale process the real estate agent may be tempted to tell potential purchasers things that are untrue. I have seen many sale contracts with clauses designed to protect real estate agents against the consequences of false statements. Known as “porkies clauses”, they invariably state that the purchaser acknowledges that any information provided to the purchaser by the real estate agent is provided on the understanding that the purchaser will not be relying on it for any purpose.

When a purchaser has submitted an offer, and the purchaser cannot be convinced to increase her offer, the real estate agent may be tempted to pressure the vendor into accepting what would otherwise be unacceptable. Observations, such as “the market has softened” or “the market has spoken to us” are used by real estate agents to convince vendors that the real estate agent’s high estimation of value can no longer be relied upon, and that the vendor should now accept what the vendor believes is an unacceptably low offer.

For some years now, I have been arguing that real estate services should be provided on a fee-for-service basis.

I will explore the replacement of real estate sale commissions with a fee-for-service structure further in future articles.

Choosing The Best Merchant Services For Your Online Business

While it is agreed that merchant services are needed for your online business, you must be careful in signing up. The fact is the account you choose should be able to assist you in building your business. Figuring out the ins and outs of credit card processing may be time consuming, but you will find it is much better to be picky than to have the processor taking too many of your profits.

Online merchant services may have higher start up fees than a retail account. The first thing you will need to do is find one that is affordable. This can be difficult if you are starting a business with a large risk for chargebacks. Generally, some of the businesses that will have to pay a higher start up fee are online pharmacies, online dating sites, and online gambling sites. Be prepared to spend as much as $300 on start up fees if you are starting one of these businesses.

These types of services also have more additional processing fees than a retail account, as well. The best way to make your decision is to read carefully through the material and determine the fees and charges that will apply to your business. If you are in doubt, clarify this before signing anything. The last thing you want is a high-price surprise at the end of the month.

Last, before you even consider signing a contract, find out the type of support system they offer to their customers. In fact, test it out by giving them a call or sending them an email. How long does it take to receive a response? The worst thing that could happen is to sign up and then find out that your questions or concerns are being ignored.

Choosing the best merchant services should take you some time. While many will state they can have you up and running in just a few days, be leery of these businesses. You want your setup done complete and should not rush into anything. The only thing rushing can lead to is problems.

Las Vegas Limousines – How To Get The Best Deals

There are always tricks to get the best deals on ANYTHiNG. Limousines are no different! When visiting Las Vegas, there are three things to keep in mind about HOW to get the best deals on wheels. Are you ready? Let’s get down to the basics of it now…

Limousines are one thing. Limousines in Las Vegas are another. One of the unique things about Las Vegas is that the timing of events (many possibly totally unrelated to your event going on all at once.) A NASCAR event, rodeo, large convention, or a boxing match can affect the cost of limos. If you find yourself in the position of hitting Las Vegas on a slwo week, then is when to negotiate!

After timing, the next thing is having connections. Many of the hotel / casinos offer “house cars’ to guests who do a lot of gambling. What do we mean by a lot? Well that depends. These days, casinos give you a card to register with slot machines and other gaming so that they know you are spending QUALITY time with them. They do not care if you win or lose, but that you play the game. So that is a great way to take a limo ride compliments of the “man”.

The other thing about Las Vegas limousines is that there are SO many types! There are everything from regular “town car” style limos to Hummer limos to party buses to super-strech limos that hold many more folks. It is important to match the size of limo with the size of your party. If they are matched correctly, you are getting the maximum bang for your buck.

With that said, the REAL value comes from having fun, so once you decide on the size of the limousine, go out and have a good time. Thats what it is there for.

Trading Options – Good Or Evil?

You have probably heard people refer to options as a risky enterprise, akin to gambling. And it is true that options trading can be very risky, especially when engaged in with minimal knowledge and preparation. The average stockbroker or financial planner does not have sufficient options knowledge to guide you in the use of options in your portfolio. But that doesn’t mean options cannot play a role in a conservative portfolio of stocks.

The majority of today’s options trading volume derives from institutional money managers who use options to protect their clients’ stock portfolios. They are using options as insurance. Options may also be used to boost the income that may be derived from a conservative stock portfolio.

Options written on stocks are referred to as equity options and come in two forms: calls and puts. A call option gives the holder of the option the right to buy the underlying stock at the strike price of the option at any time before expiration. A call option is similar to a grocery store coupon for a five pound bag of flour at an attractive price; but the coupon is only good for 30 days and is limited to the purchase of one five pound bag. Similarly, a call option gives you the right to buy 100 shares of stock at a specific price and it is only good for a particular period of time.

Put options are opposite in character to calls and are more like insurance; a put option gives the owner the right to sell the underlying stock at the strike price of the option any time before expiration. Put options are often purchased when one expects a stock to decline in price, or it could be used as a form of insurance if I already own the stock; if my stock declines in price, my put option appreciates and compensates for a portion or all of that loss. An excellent analogy is house insurance; if I pay my insurance premium January 1 and nothing happens to damage my house this year, my insurance expires worthless, just as my put option will expire worthless if my stock just continues to appreciate. But if a hurricane damages my house during the year, my insurance pays for some or all of the repairs. Similarly, if my stock declines in price, my put option will increase in value, replacing some or all of the loss in my portfolio.

Equity options expire on the Saturday following the third Friday of each month. It is common to hear or read that equity options expire on that third Friday. While that isn’t technically correct, it is true that Friday is the last opportunity to trade those options. Saturday expiration was established to give the Options Clearing Corporation and the brokerages time to settle their customers’ accounts before the options technically (legally) lose their value.

Consider the hypothetical company, XYZ, as an example. XYZ closed May 28, 2009 at $34.70; the June $35 call option was quoted at $1.00 at the close. In the options quotations on a site like Yahoo Finance, you will see bid and ask prices posted. The Ask price is the price quoted if I wish to buy the option, while the bid price is what I would have to pay to sell my option. Options are quoted per share of the underlying stock, but are sold as contracts that cover 100 share lots of stock. The XYZ June $35 calls are quoted at an ask price of $1.00. Each contract is priced at $1.00 per share of the underlying stock; since each contract covers 100 shares of stock, the contract costs $100 and five contracts would cost $500. I have the right to exercise my options anytime before they cease trading on Friday, June 19, and buy 500 shares of XYZ stock at $35 per share or $10,500. Or I could simply sell my call options at the bid price anytime before expiration.

Options can be used in several very conservative ways in a stock portfolio. For example, if I own 300 shares of XYZ, but I am concerned this market is softening and may take another dive downward, I could buy three contracts of the June $35 puts at $1.40 to protect my position. This put position would cost me $420 and protect me through June 19. As XYZ drops in price, the puts will increase in price, compensating for some or all of my loss on the stock. This is called a “married put” position. However, there is no free lunch in the market; if XYZ trades sideways or upward, I will lose my $420 of “insurance premium”.

Another conservative use of options is the “covered call” strategy. If we continue with our example of XYZ and I think the stock is going to trade sideways or slightly up over the next few weeks, I could sell three contracts of the June $35 calls for $1.00, bringing $300 into my account. If XYZ is trading unchanged at $34.70 on June 19, the $35 call options will expire worthless, and I will have gained $300 or 2.9%. But if XYZ trades upward of $35, my maximum gain is capped at $330, or 3.7%.

Options trading can be very risky when used in a speculative manner, but options may also be used in conservative fashion with a stock portfolio, both protecting the downside and also increasing the income from the portfolio.

The History and Principles of Insurance

Insurance as we know it today could be traced to the Great Fire of London, that in 1666 devoured 13,200 houses. After this disaster Nicholas Barbon opened an office to insure buildings. In 1680 he established England’s 1st fire insurance company, “The Fire Office”, to insure brick and frame homes. The first insurance firm in the United States provided fire insurance was formed in Charles Town (modern day Charleston), South Carolina, in 1732.

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin founded the Philadelphia Aid for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. It refused to insure some buildings in which the risk of fire was too great, like 100% wooden buildings.

The Principles of Insurance:

The exact time or occurrence of the loss need to be uncertain. The value of losses ought to be relatively unsurprising. In order to determine premiums or in other words to calculate price levels, insurers must be able to estimate them. Insurers require to know the price it would be called upon to pay once the insured event occurs. Most types of insurance have maximal levels of payouts, with several exceptions such as health insurance.

The loss should be significant: The legal principle of De minimis (From Latin:about minimal things) dictates that negligible matters are not covered.The payment paid by the insured to the insurer for assuming the risk is known as the ‘premium’.

Potential causes of chance that may give rise to insurance claims are named “perils”. Examples of perils might be fire, theft, earthquake, hurricane and numbers of additional possible risks. An insurance policy will set out in details which perils are covered by the policy and which are not. The damage must not be a catastrophic in scale, If the insurer is insolvent, it will be unable to pay the insured. In the United States, there are Guaranty Funds to reimburse insured victims whose insurance companies are bankrupt. This program is managed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Indemnification (compensation)

Anyone wishing to transport risk (an individual, corporation, or organization of any type) becomes the ‘insured’ party once risk is assumed by an ‘insurer’, the insuring party, by means of a contract, defined as an insurance ‘policy’. This legal agreement sets out terms specifying the total of coverage (reimbursement) to be rendered to the insured, by the insurer upon assumption of risk, in the event of a loss, and 100% the specific perils covered against (indemnified), for the duration of the contract.

When insured parties experience a loss, for a specified peril, the coverage allows the policyholder to produce a ‘claim’ against the insurer for the amount of damage when specified by the policy contract.

Financial viability of insurance companies

Financial stability and posture of the insurance company need to be a major factor When purchasing an insurance contract. An insurance premium paid currently provides coverage for damges which can arise few years in the future. Due to that, the financial strength of the insurance carrier is most significant. In the past few years, a few of insurance companies became unable to pay, neglecting their policyholders with out coverage (or coverage merely from a government backed insurance pool with less the Priciples and History of InsuranceS-favorable payouts for losses). A number of independent rating agencies, like Best’s, provide facts and rate the financial strength of insurance firms.

Risks Assessment

The insurer uses actuarial science to quantify the risk they are prepared to consider. Information is gathered to approximate future insurance claims, ordinarily with reasonable accuracy. Actuarial science employs statistics and probability to analyze the risks associated with the range of perils covered, and these scientific principles are utilized by insurers, in combination with other factors, to decide rate composition.

The Gambling Analogy

Certain people erroneously assume insurance a type of wager (particularly as associated with moral hazard) which executes over the policy period of time. The insurance company bets that you or your property will not suffer a damage while you put money on the opposite outcome. Virtually all house owner’s insurance does not cover floods. Using insurance, you are managing risk that you may not otherwise prevent, and that does not lend itself the chance of benefit (pure risk). In other words, gambling isn’t an insurable risk.

The “insurance” of Social Solidarity

A few of religious groups among them the Amish and Muslims refrain from insurance and instead depend on support provided by their society when disasters strike. This could be thought of as “social insurance”, as the risk of any given person is assumed collectively by the community who will completely bear the cost of reconstruction. In closed, mutual help communities in which other people might actually step in to rebuild total lost property, this arrangement could function. The majority of societies could not effectively support this type of models and it will not function for catastrophic risks.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurance).

Filing Online Income Tax Return

Are you thinking about filing an online income tax return? If so, then here’s a quick preview of what to expect.

You’ll be asked a series of questions

These questions are divided into three main groups. The first set of questions will be asking you about your income tax filing status. You’ll be asked for your name, address, birth date, social security number, marital status, spouse, dependents and your occupation.

The next step in the process of filing an online income tax return will be to answer a set of questions about the income you earned. If you have income from more than one source, you’ll be glad to know there’s an easy method of entering your other income sources.

Here’s list of income sources you’ll be asked about: Wages, salary, W-2 form, 1099 form, investments, interest, dividends, stocks, mutual funds, contracts, capital gains, business income, social security, IRA, tax refunds, government payments, rental property, partnerships and other income such as gambling winnings.

Once you’re done with the income section of your online tax return you’ll move on to the deductions and credits section. This is where you get to minimize your taxes. I’ll just cover the basic categories here, but their are over 350 tax deductions and credits that may be available to you.

Here are the main deduction and credit categories: Your home, you and your family, cars and other things you own, education, charitable donations, medical, taxes paid, retirement, investments, employment expenses, other tax deductions and credits.

Once you have entered all of your tax return filing information, calculations will automatically be made to figure your tax refund or tax you owe. Filing your online income tax return is the next step and then you’re done. Just follow the prompts you’ll be given for filing your tax return online and you should have your tax refund back in no time.

Trading in Gold and Silver Commodities

Trading in gold and silver is speculative in nature which means it involves a higher probability of risk but a substantial profit opportunity as well at the same time. Gold and Silver trading becomes viable when there is an economy crisis or downfall in share market. Though trading in commodities is relatively easy but it is kind of riskier trading and you may lose all your hard-earned money if do not trade with strategy and planning.

Majority of people think that investing in commodities, like Gold and silver, is a form of gambling due to its speculative nature. But speculation should not be considered a pure form of gambling as speculation too need a proper strategy to execute a plan and making a decision. Therefore bullion trading can be categorized as hedge trading with speculative nature which is adopted as an alternative to stock trading as a strategy of hedging against inflation and economy crisis.

Commodity trading is based on futures trading so there is no need of exchange and delivery of physical commodities. It also gives you an extra option of margin payment in which you pay only a fraction of whole payment of the contract. Hence trading in commodities like Gold and silver becomes viable to improve your portfolio. This is why more and more retail investors are now turning gold and silver as an investment option.

Though trading in gold and silver provides an opportunity to earn a lot from this market but lack of knowledge and volatility of price movement may result in a loss of wealth at the same time. These precious metals are traded with high volumes as big investors plays the real big role here and as a results, the swings becomes more volatile and unpredictable. So small and retail investors should be careful while investing in precious metals. Remember the lesser you are good at knowledge and experience, the more are the chances of loss. Trading in a commodity market is influenced by supply and demand cycle and inventory. This is also one of the major obstacle to track the direction of the market as availability of this demand and supply information is not as robust as equity market. Therefore keeping an eye on these factors to predict the future price becomes necessary to avoid unnecessary losses.

How to Keep Yourself Updated-

Keep an eye on the global commodity market. Stay connected with news websites providing latest updates and data for the commodity market. Many research advisory firms are there which provides daily research reports for the data of demand and supply along with the market prediction. They also generate commodity trading tips after conducting detailed study and research on these commodities. And these tips are provided to their clients through various mediums like SMS or email.

Conclusion-

Although trading in gold and silver commodities throws up an opportunity to earn significant profit but this involves substantial risk also. Experts with adequate knowledge suits this market the best. So make yourself fully prepared before entering into this risky trading segment.

Different Types of Card Games

There are limitless types of card games to be played. People think because two games use the same deck of 52-cards that they are similar games, but nothing could be more different than Barbu and Speed, or Pai Gow and Pinochle.

Here’s a list of twenty different kinds of card games, and some facts about them.

1.Bridge

Bridge is a popular contract bidding game. Bridge has a culture — there are websites, newspaper columns, and even radio shows devoted to bridge strategy. There is a world-wide obsession with bridge, even though it has been called the hardest card game in the world. With a complicated strategy and steep learning curve, to many bridge is not just a game, it is a lifestyle. I wish I were exaggerating.

2. Whist

Whist could be called “Bridge, Jr” — and though it is not as big a game as it once was, and is dwarfed in popularity by big-brother Bridge, Whist has never really died out. Card gamers love trick-taking games — beating out your opponent in such a visual way is one of the more exciting part of any card game. Whist has some of the complexity of Bridge without any bidding.

3. Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is something of a legend — a poker variation with a story as rich as a Spaghetti western. This version of poker, a drawing and betting game, was invented and then made popular by old time poker sharks in Texas, hence the name. This is easily the most popular poker variant right now, and is bringing more new people to card gaming than any other game.

4. Hearts

It is said that most of the professional poker tour players are hardcore Hearts players and that they bet big money on cutthroat games of Hearts in dark mysterious rooms during tournaments. Romantic as that may sound, it would make sense for these card sharks to love the game of Hearts – an otherwise childlike game of matching cards (and no bidding) usually turns into a competitive nightmare. Because of the game play, there are lots of ways to screw your opponents in Hearts. Trick-winning and passing card are big elements of Hearts.

5. Spades

People don’t realize it, but spades is a variation of bridge that simplifies the game even more than Whist and changes the outcome of the game as well. Spades is really popular in large groups, on college campuses, and in tournaments around the world. There may be as many variations of Spades as there are groups playing it — thanks to “jailhouse rules” which penalize tactics like point sandbagging and the existence of multiple versions of “house rules”. A strategic game you can play without paying much attention if you want.

6. Go-fish

This is the simple children’s card matching game we all remember from our childhood. You can play Go-fish with as many players as you have cards. Some people claim Go-Fish is a variation of Rummy but the simplicity of the game and the children’s game gimmick make it likely just some toy company’s creation. Strangely enough, Go-fish is known as Literature in some parts of the world. Write in if you understand that one.

7. War

Another children’s game (or time-killing game) War is a straight luck based game. Depending on the flop of the card, you either win or lose a war. Most people under the age of 30 learned War before they learned any other card game. You’ll see War played a lot in lines at airports.

8. Oh Hell!

Substitute your own dirty word for “Hell!” and you know this party game. Most of the fun is the fact that you get to cuss a lot and people laugh at you. What keeps this game popular is that it is a strict betting game. The object of Oh Hell! is to bid the precise number of tricks you will win. You have to take only the number that you bid, no more and no less. Play is precise, and because of the structure of the game, one player always blows it big time. There. That’s what’s fun. Screwing your opponent.

9. Blackjack

A skill game that in some casinos is the best bet you can make, if you can play a perfect hand. This is one of the most popular casino card game, and has a place in popular culture as THE “Vegas” game. The point is to build a hand that adds up to a total of 21 points without going over, and ending up with a higher number than the dealer. Players compete against the House directly, adding to the fun. Little known fact — there exists somewhere in this world a blackjack player’s hall of fame. Safe to say that this game’s got a cult following

10. Baccarat

James Bond’s favorite game (don’t believe the hype — it wasn’t poker or blackjack — read the books) Baccarat is a basic betting game. Players bet on who will win a given hand – the player, the banker, or if there will be a tie. Sure it looks easy, but Baccarat is a skill game. A small sidenote about Baccarat — the name comes from the name of the worst possible hand. This would be like calling your video poker machine “High Card Poker”. Just doesn’t have the same ring as “Royal Flush”.

11. Solitaire

The most varied card game in the world. In England, they call this game Patience, and for good reason. Solitaire requires little set up beyond putting cards in specific places, and is usually played by yourself. Solitaire is another popular airport line waiting game.

12. Rummy and variations

There are lots of different kinds of Rummy, more than are probably written down on any list. I’ve written for a website that had me list 500 variations or other names for Rummy, so I’ll spare you the reading and just say there’s lots of kinds of Rummy. The more popular versions are called Gin Rummy, Liverpool Rummy, and Contract Rummy. The feature that makes a game a Rummy is a player matching identical cards into pairs and other groups. Some experts believe the Chinese game of Mahjong is part of the Rummy family, though I’d bet the Chinese are just fine with Mahjong as it is.

13. Pai Gow

This is an old Chinese domino game that has been passed down through the years as a poker variation. You’ll see Pai Gow at casinos in both as a poker and a domino game — it is probably the casino game that the least number of people understand. This is a game of fast bets, player versus dealer. Pai Gow strategy is just as rich as any other poker betting game, and the culture of Pai Gow is similar to the Blackjack culture — super-fast bets and edgy behavior at the margins.

14. Spoons

A silly card game probably invented to keep kids out of trouble, Spoons is a bluffing game (with some elements of matching) that uses simple kitchen utensils as an added play element. The first player in the group to draw a poker style four of a kind reaches to a pile of spoons in the middle of the table, signalling the other players to grab for one. Since there’s one less spoon than players, one player will be left out every time. So its a social interaction game, and not a game chock full of card strategy. its still fun. Great date night game.

15. Speed

Speed (sometimes called Spit) is a matching game that is unique because both players play simultaneously and as fast as they can. In Speed, a player tries to ‘get rid’ of his or her cards by matching them to cards placed face-up on the table. This is a face to face game, though there’s actually little interaction between the two opponents. The last few moments of any game of Speed reminds me of solitaire on fast-forward, with hands and cards flying around and rows forming and draining like water pipes. Strange game, Speed.

16. Crazy 8s

This is another children’s matching game, you could say it is cousin to the popular game Uno. The 8s in the deck of standard cards are considered “crazy” not because they need to be medicated but to indicate they are wild cards. In some variations of Crazy 8s, not just Wild Cards but other “rule cards” exist, making the game more complex for older players.

17. Slapjack

If you want to teach more complex card games to younger kids, Slapjack is the perfect vehicle. The object of Slapjack is to acquire the whole deck of cards by matching and slapping pairs. Kids like to slap stuff, and the game can be played over and over again.

18. Old Maid

You don’t need an “Old Maid” deck to play this kid’s card game — any standard 52 card deck will do. Just remove one of the Queens. Old Maid is a matching game where players find pairs You trade cards with your opponent until that player is left with the unmatched Queen. Matching games are popular, and the novelty “Old Maid” packs are fun for kids.

19. Cribbage

This is a hybrid board and card game with complicated rules that generally intimidates people, even hardcore card gamers. You play cribbage by forming groups of cards that are worth different point values, and moving a peg on a board that represents your progress accordingly. Requiring a specific board (or a quick hand with a pen and paper) cribbage isn’t the best travel game, but as fans of cribbage will tell you, no two games are alike. There are solitaire versions of cribbage, and other varieties of cribbage game play to choose from if you’re bored with the standard version.

20. Pinochle

Pinochle is popular because it is a trick-taking game that you play with a 48 card deck. In Pinochle, you try to make melds or tricks, much like in Gin, but there’s a really complex scoring system making the game fun to learn and to master. To be good at pinochle, you have to play for a number of years, and lose plenty of hands. Though it is less popular year after year, Pinochle is one of those “heritage games”.