There’s a simple joy to playing classic games, and this doesn’t just mean the console games of yesteryear that we grew up with. There are games much older than those, and those that require nothing more than a pack of cards are some of the most timeless and enduring among them. Here, we’re going to look at some of the best of the bunch that you can play on the go, whether it’s on your laptop or smartphone, and what makes them so addictive.


One of the most truly traditional single-player card games. Solitaire is a test of pattern recognition, as well as some strategy and luck, as players look to create rows of varying color cards in temporary sequences, all in an effort to eventually complete each suit from ace all the way up to King. There’s a real zen quality to playing Solitaire, and it’s fun to use digital versions that allow you to undo moves, so you can more easily see where you made a fatal mistake that cost you the game.


One of the simplest, and yet the most fun casino games there is. The rules of Blackjack are simple, you’re given two cards, and you can choose to add a card with ‘hit’ or ‘hold’, with your opponents, usually the house/dealer, doing the same. Whoever gets closest to 21 wins, and if you go over 21, it’s a bust and you lose. Free versions like Christmas Blackjack make it easy to enjoy the fast-paced life and death of every hand, using digital money to track a high score, instead of losing real money to leave you depressed. A lot easier to enjoy without real losses.


A game of luck, strategy, and being able to read other people. Poker might not offer the same person-to-person engagement when played online, but that hasn’t stopped digital poker from being massively popular. As with Blackjack, there are plenty of free versions to play, as well, so you don’t have to worry about real stakes in your games. Practicing on your phone can be an excellent way to get ready for a real game you might be playing with friends in the future, as well.

Magic: The Gathering

It might be a little different from those mentioned above, given that it’s a collectible card game, and doesn’t use a traditional pack of playing cards, but there’s no denying that Magic: The Gathering is very enthralling once you start getting into it. What’s more, now that it can be played on a smartphone with apps like Magic: The Gathering Arena, it’s super easy to find and jump into a game, wherever you are. Of course, it has also inspired countless online card games, from Hearthstone to Marvel Snap, so there are plenty of options.

The next time you find yourself on a commute or listening to a podcast or the like while wanting to keep your hands busy, the suggestions above can help you find the right timewasters to get through it.