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14 Reasons Why Card Games Are So Addictive (Why Do We Like Them So Much?)

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

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There’s nothing quite like playing cards, whether on a phone, a computer, or a real deck. Now that we can bring our favorite games everywhere with us and play with hundreds of people from all over the world, it’s getting people hooked for good. You’ve probably heard of Uno, Poker, Magic: The Gathering, Snap, and Solitaire, and they may be the cause of your gaming addiction. Here’s why you can’t quit them.

Playing card games can be a great way to take a break and forget about the stresses of life for a few hours. They are accessible, simple to learn, and can develop and strengthen relationships.

It is easy to become addicted to card games since they are a fun activity that everyone enjoys. The psychological rewards one gets from winning are the main reasons people keep returning, but it is not the only one.

These are 14 reasons why card games are so addictive:

1. Card games are easy to learn but tough to master.

Many card games follow quite straightforward rules. Since there isn’t much mystery behind them, everyone can try their hand at them. This is why you can usually find a large group of people playing together. There are so many types of card games in the market that you’re sure to find one you like. 

Although card games may seem simple, their rules are complicated to master. Some card games rely on strategies that may not be appreciated by those playing them just for fun. However, the thrill of mastering the game is what keeps people hooked.

2. You’re constantly creating new strategies.

The complexity of games, such as Poker and Blackjack, demands a lot of attention and knowledge. As you strive to become an expert and beat all opponents, you develop strategies that can make you invincible. Studying the game and coming up with strategies to win can take hours of your day, possibly becoming a habit – if you know when to stop, great. The problem comes when you stop living a normal life in favor of it.  

3. You get immersed in the game.

Games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering create whole universes where you can cast spells and battle dragons. The game is centered around a story, and the players become part of the cast. Each player has a role and a goal. 

Becoming involved in the story behind the game is a way to distract yourself from unpleasant situations and thoughts. Sometimes, it can be more enjoyable simply staying in this magical world.

4. You can fulfill your dreams of having superpowers.

The same way some card games allow you to be a part of a parallel universe, they can also give you abilities and powers you can’t have in real life. 

Games can fill the gap in our fantasy by enabling us to escape reality and become less stressed. Several studies suggest that these games can act as a coping mechanism for stress.

5. Winning streaks.

Everyone wants to win. The feeling of success can release happy hormones such as dopamine. For some people, a seemingly small victory can significantly affect their self-esteem. You feel more confident and happier as more dopamine is released from your body. 

Unfortunately, dopamine is also the hormone responsible for addictive behaviors. The effect dopamine has on people’s minds causes them to become addicted.

6. Beating the odds.

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The difficulty of a game increases its degree of chance. You realize you’re not winning, and the cards are beating you, so you try harder. Sometimes you hit the jackpot; sometimes, you miss in an attempt to improve your odds. The excitement of the unknown can motivate some people to keep trying.

7. You’ll always be around your friends.

A lot of people just can’t get enough of their friends. They love to socialize, and card games provide an excellent setting for that. Most players say they get hooked on card games because of the community that it provides. It presents you with an excuse to meet new people and have fun.

8. The joy of collecting cards.

There is more to playing card games than just the game itself. Did you know some artists specialize in creating illustrated card decks? Each deck includes a unique image to set the tone for your game. There’s even a collective art project called Playing Arts, where graphic designers use ordinary card games to express their creativity. 

Also, collectors are generally very meticulous with their cards. They enjoy organizing, collecting, and swapping with other collectors.

9. The excitement of progression.

As an avid player, you invest more time and money in your hobby. Card games offer people the chance to up their game by getting more cards, buying booster packs, and playing with their buddies. Several card games, like Magic: The Gathering, also include your character’s progression — the character’s power increases as you cast spells that thwart your opponent.

10. There’s always a little bit of gambling.

There are a number of card games, such as Poker, that have a high gambling component. While the game requires skill, the result is mainly based on luck. Psychology says that Poker can trigger emotional highs, with your body releasing dopamine as you win. You never know when you will be rewarded, so you keep playing, never giving up in search of that feeling. 

11. Replay value.

Replay value is the ability that a game has to be played in many different ways and that it can be continued even after it’s completed. Games that feature extra decks, other characters, secret strategies, teams, and rare cards raise the desire to play. They give room for imagination and creativity through different combinations and encourage people to keep playing.

12. Rules are reliable.

As mentioned previously, card games have the advantage of being easy to understand. Additionally, these rules ensure a player’s success, so regardless of whether they have a good hand or not, they will still reap the benefits.

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13. The game’s complexity and your hunger to solve problems.

The complexity of the game can lead to hours of problem-solving and instant gratification — that ah-ha moment that makes you so pumped up. It is too hard for some players to stop the game until they find a solution, or they are convinced that there isn’t one.

14. Card games distract you from your problems.

People often play games just to relax for a few hours. It may seem harmless at first, but later on, your mind gets conditioned to believe it’s escaping from the unpleasant elements of life. It will eventually become interesting for gamers to spend a lot of time distracted and receive dopamine, the reward hormone.

All in all

Regardless of what type of game you play, addiction to gaming is real. You can enjoy a few hours of fun with friends and family without being overly cautious, but don’t get carried away by the pleasure it brings. 

It’s important to remember that card games can help you combat depression, improve cognitive skills, improve coordination, and gain general knowledge. Just make sure to play with moderation and monitor addiction signs. Having fun is the most important thing.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.