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Presidents is a game that anyone can play. All you need is a standard deck of cards. This game and other related games are usually played between four to six players. Some versions use two decks as well. This game is inspired by China (the Zheng Shangyou), or Japan, where it was called Diafugo.
The game’s objective is to remove every card from your hand before anyone else, whether you are playing in the American style or the traditional Japanese or Chinese style.
Each player in the game has a particular title which depends on their performance throughout the game.
The first person who is leading the way in points is the President. The next player is the Vice president. On the other hand, the player with the lowest points is the Scum.
Let’s see how to play President card game.
History of the President card game
The genre of games like the Presidents is called a ‘climbing game’. Here, the playing cards have to shed as many cards as possible. This game is relatively new to the Western world, where it started gaining popularity during the 1970s. Given the gameplay, you can trace the roots back to China and are believed to have Chinese origin. This game has several related themes like Scum, Landlord, Root Beer, Warlords and Scumbags (Australia), Capitalism, Trou du Cul (France), and Hűbéres (Hungary).
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How to Play President Card Game
The President’s objective is to play all of your cards as soon as possible. The last player with cards in their hands is the ‘scum,’ ‘A-hole,’ etc.
Number of players: 4-7 players
Cards: standard 52-card deck
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The rank of the cards: Highest to lowest – Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3. The 2s are clear cards, and you have to clear the pile when played into the middle.
The Deal: The player who is the President (or the Scum in some versions) both shuffles and deals out the cards. They have to deal out all the cards as equally as possible. Some players may have more cards than others.
Age Group: 18 and above
Terms used in the Presidents Card Game:
There are many different terms you can familiarise yourself with to play President. This can be tough, especially when you’re simultaneously learning all the new terms.
Some of the most common titles used are:
- President or Millionaire: The winner of the previous round
- Vice president: The next person- that is, the player who came second place/ the second person
- Secretary: The person who came third
- Average Joe: The player in the middle
- Vice Scum: Next to last place
- Scum: The Last person in rank
In card games like these, some terms are not appropriate for children. In that case, you can make up your own terms.
Other terminologies include:
- Single: When you play one card by itself.
- Double: When you play a pair of cards of the same value (same rank/same number)
- Triple: When you play three cards of the same value.
- Quadruple: When you play four of a kind
- Bomb: When a single card clears the deck, the player wins the hand.
- Laser: When a player has all four cards with a value of 2.
- Quick Clear Play: When someone plays out a turn and clears the deck.
- Clear: When someone plays a hand, and every other player passes it.
- Collo Card: When a player makes a mistake or plays out of turn – at this point, they have to pick up a discarded card from the pile and miss a turn.
- Joker: A standard card that can be a Clear and a Bomb.
In the first round, the player to the dealer’s left starts by leading a single card or any set of the same rank. These single cards are put face up. In turn, each player must pass, which means not to play any cards. Or play a card, or set of cards face up, which beats the previous card or a set.
Any higher card can beat a single card. Similarly, you can beat a set of cards by a higher set containing the same number of cards.
For example, if the previous player played two sevens, you can beat this with two kings or two eights, but not with a single king and not with three eights. You can play two of them and hang onto the third one. Basically, you can beat the existing cards with a higher-ranking pair.
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Not always do you have to beat the previous play – at times, you can also pass. If you pass, the game continues in the next round because passing does not mean you have to give up the round.
The person plays as many times around the table as necessary until the player plays, which everyone else passes. All the cards that have already been played are then put face down and put to one side, and the player who finished last (and highest card) to the previous “trick” starts again by leading any card or set of equal (matching cards).
The first player who is out of cards has the highest social rank- President. The last player left with any play cards is the Scum.
The President of the round gets 2 points, while the vice president gets 1 point. The first player to score 11 points wins the game. The first player who is out of cards is awarded the highest social rank – this is President. The last player to be left with any cards is known as the Scum.
When you play President, the player who still has cards left after all the cards played is the Scum. The game ends for that round. In some versions, the Scum then has to deal with the next round and clear the cards in the middle.
Also, before the next round, the Scum gives the President their highest card, while the President will choose a card to give back to the Scum, and they continue playing.
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- When the first round is over, the next round begins with the President, who plays the first card. The deal always starts with the President’s left.
- A player can choose to pass on any turn, even if that player can play.
- A new pile starts when every player passes, and the game returns to the player who first passed the card.
- The players cannot keep 2 as their last card. If a player only has 2 left, that player automatically becomes the Scum for the next round.
These are some basic rules of the game. Let’s move on to the variations of the card game. Some games use the double-deck as well.
Variations of the Presidents Card Game
Variations in the cards used and their ranking
Aces generally rank lower, but this version uses Aces as the highest card. Hence, the cards rank from high to low, i.e., A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2.
Some versions have one or more jokers in the pack. They are a higher ranking pair than the 2s cards. If the jokers can be distinguishable, the colored joker beats the black and white card.
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You can also use jokers as wild cards, and this can represent any rank. You can create a combination using a wild card. For instance, a 7-7-7 can beat a 7-joker-joker. However, at one point, you can also make changes to the rules.
Another variation is to use the jokers only as wild cards, with no particular rank of their own, just replacing them with the missing card.
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Variations with particular cards
Two as the highest and lowest card
In this variation, you can play a single two at any time, but the play continues, and the next player can play anything. The President, as usual, gets the most points, and the vice president follows next.
Variations with Same Suit and Colours
In this variation, players can beat a single card by a higher card of the same suit. This makes it much harder to get rid of single cards. The game gets even more interesting when you involve other players.
Variations in Scoring
The President trades cards that are the Scum’s highest two cards and gives the Scum any two cards in exchange. Similarly, the Vice President and the second-last player exchange one card in the same manner.
How is the President’s Card Game Fun?
The presidents’ card game is most entertaining when you play it in groups of 4 to 6 people. If you play with more people, you will need another deck. This is an easy card game to play with friends if you can get creative with your names.
- You can make as many variations as possible because it is an easy game to play.
- Fast-paced and equally entertaining
- Easy to learn and play.
- With a considerable number of variations, you can play as many types of Presidents’ games as you like.
- Some names are not suitable for children. Always include or play with adults.
- Not the most thought-provoking game. It is not among the trick-taking games where you have to keep many things in mind.
- Best for 4-6 people only. Too many people might be confusing.
How many cards do you require in President’s card game?
Presidents is a competitive climbing card game where you use a standard deck of 52 cards with 2 Jokers. However, jokers are optional. You can play them as cards with points or as wild cards. In case of more players, use a double deck.