3 Card Hold Em

By Kevin Fabris

February 6, 2017

5 - 10 Minutes, Big Class, EFL, ESL, Fun, Game, High School, Practice It, Small Class, Some Materials Required, Speaking, Use It, Vocabulary, Word Game, Young Learner

How To Teach Vocabulary Using Playing Cards - Easy ESL Games

3 Card Hold'em is a fun and easy way to get your class using newly learned vocabulary and target language right away! It's extremely simple to use and 3 Card Hold’em is guaranteed to be fun for your whole ESL/EFL class.

The Details About 3 Card Hold'em:

  • 3 card hold’em is vocabulary review.
  • The only materials required are some vocabulary cards.
  • I usually teach 7 cards at a time using the 2-1-0 method. You can easily play 7 rounds of this game within 2-3 minutes.

In this example we are teaching School Supplies as our topic.  And "Do you have a book?" as our Target Language.

Here's How To Play 3 Card Hold'em

  1. After pre-teaching 7 vocabulary cards using the 2-1-0 technique, secretly select 3 of cards.
  2. Place the remaining cards face down on the table so your students can’t see what it is.
  3. Fan the 3 cards out in front of you. Your students should not be able to see the images or words on the cards.
  4. Point to one card and ask, “What do I have?”.  Next, model the response you’re looking for “ Do you have a pencil? “ Do you have a ruler?
  5. When someone guesses correctly, hand them the vocabulary card and repeat the game until you’ve practice all 7 of the newly learned words.
  6. Repeat until you've practiced all of your newly learned vocabulary items.

3 Card Hold'em target language - Easy ESL Games


S1 -Do you have an eraser?

S2 - No, I don’t.

S3- Do you have a book?

S2 - No, I don’t.

When someone guesses correctly.

S1 - Do you have a computer?

S2 - Yes, I do!  

3 Card Hold'em:

  • It’s an effective and interesting vocabulary review.
  • It’s very quick.
  • It’s an easy way to bridge the gap between teaching new language and using it later on in your lesson.