President (card game)

President can start with a 2
Alternative names El Presidente, Scum, hoop, asshole, arsehole, kings, warlords and scumbags, scumbag, capitalism, janitor, man of the house, landlord, rich man poor man, hierarchy, and many others
Type Competition
Players 3–8; 9+ with multiple decks
Cards 54 (2 jokers)
Deck Anglo-American
Play Clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) Joker, deuce (2), ace, king, etc.
Playing time 5–15 min.
Related games
Daifugō (Japan), durak (Russia)

President is a westernized version of an originally Japanese card game named daifugō or daihinmin. It is a game for three or more, in which the players race to get rid of all of the cards in their hands in order to become "president" in the following round.[1][2][3] It can also be played as a drinking game.[1][2][3][4] A commercial version of the game exists under the name The Great Dalmuti, with a non-standard deck.

The game is also known as El Presidente, scum, hoop, kings, capitalism, caps, warlords and scumbags, scumbag (the latter two names originating in Australia), janitor, asshole (with the spelling arsehole outside North America),[5] kings and assholes/arseholes, man of the house, landlord, rich man poor man, hierarchy, pimps and hoes and by many other names.

General rules

Generally, players attempt to get rid of their cards first. It is usually played as an aces-high game, although 2s are wild and the red 3 is highest, but 2s cannot be red 3s. The black 3s are the lowest cards, and 2s can be played as black 3s. The player goes first if he/she has a 3 of spades in the first round.

Special titles

There may be many titles used by players during the game.[1][4] Often, players move seats to sit in the order of their place, so as not to forget the order. There is generally at least a president, vice-president and scum.[1] However, this game is usually played with up to 6 players, and if so, more titles may be needed.

The rankings for four players are as follows:

Rules regarding card passing can be changed to accommodate these two positions if desired. A large and/or odd number of players generally calls for having at least one Average Joe, but there can be as many as needed.

The President (or the Scum in some versions) deals the cards, starting with himself and proceeding in order of player hierarchy from low to high until all cards are dealt. If the Scum is the dealer, this ensures that the President begins with the fewest number of cards if the hands are uneven.


How to play

The rules provided are merely one of many ways known to play the game; there are many different varieties with slight twists to the rules.


The person who is president (or the scum in some versions) shuffles and deals the cards. All the cards are dealt as evenly as possible in clockwise rotation.

After cards are dealt, the scum must hand over his best two cards to the president, while the vice-scum must hand over his best card to the vice-president. Variations with more than two top and two bottom positions sometimes require the scum to hand over more than two cards to the president, up to the number of top positions in the game. For example, a game with a secretary and clerk might call for the scum to hand over three cards to the president, the vice-scum to hand over two cards to the vice-president and the clerk to hand over one card to the secretary. In any event, the players who receive cards from the bottom positions always hand back an equal number of any "junk" cards they do not want. They are not obliged to pass back their lowest cards, but often do.


Play in president is organized into tricks, much like in spades or bridge. However, unlike those games, each trick can involve more than one card played by each player, and players do not have to play a card in a trick. Suits are irrelevant in the game of president.

The player on the dealer's left begins by leading any number of cards of the same rank (1–4; 5 or more are possible with wildcards, jokers or multiple decks). The player on the left may then play an equal number of matching cards with a higher face value, or may pass. (In a few variants, it is permitted to play cards with an equal value as the last cards played. Doing so may skip the player next in order.) Note that the same number of cards as the lead must be played. If the leader starts with a pair, only pairs may be played on top of it. If three-of-a-kind is led, only three-of-a-kinds can be played on top of it. (There are notable exceptions among the many, many variants in this game.) The next player may do the same, and so on. This continues until all players have had a turn (which may or may not be because the highest-value card has already been played).

Notes on game play:

One can choose to not show how many cards are in their hand.

End of a round

When one player runs out of cards, he/she is out of play for the rest of the round, but the other players can continue to play to figure out the titles. A few versions hold that once a player goes out, players count remaining card values to establish titles, or simply count the number of cards remaining in each player's hand, and other versions have one player left with cards at the end.

When playing by traditional rules, once titles are decided, everyone needs to get up and move. The President is the dealer (or the Scum in some versions), and the players must rearrange themselves around them so that they are seated in order of rank, clockwise. Most American variants do not rearrange the seating of the players, so everyone plays in the same order each hand (though the president still leads the first trick).

The very first round of the game normally begins with whoever has the 3 of diamonds playing it, since there is no sitting President. If playing with more than four players and more than one deck of cards, another opener will be decided by the players. The 3 of diamonds may be played with other 3s. After the first round has determined player rank, subsequent hands are opened by the president.

President's choice and trading

After the president (or whoever deals) has dealt and everyone has received their decks, the players are able to trade cards with one another. In a group of four, the president gives two cards of his choice to scum (who responds with his two very best), and the vice-president gives one card of her choosing to vice-scum, who responds with her very best card. In some variants, the president may choose to allow a black market, in which any player can trade with any other player. When this happens, the President usually has a poor hand and needs better cards. The president may also allow table talk, which is when two given players (usually of adjacent ranks) let each other see each other's hands.


Certain variants allow for game-changing revolutions. If a player leads out with four of a kind, the hierarchy of all the cards will be reversed. For example, if 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2 is the typical order of power (from left to right), after four of a kind is played it would be the reverse of that: 2,A,K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3. If another four of a kind is played, the order would switch back. Revolutions are typically utilized in the game to create better balance and avoid having the same player remain in first position indefinitely.

Big two president variation

A variation of president exists in which some rules from the game big two (a.k.a. deuces) have combined with those of traditional president.

See also


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