President (card game)
|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|
|Players||3–8; 9+ with multiple decks|
|Cards||54 (2 jokers)|
|Card rank (highest to lowest)||Joker, deuce (2), ace, king, etc.|
|Playing time||5–15 min.|
|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. It can also be played as a drinking game. 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), kings and assholes/arseholes, man of the house, landlord, rich man poor man, hierarchy, pimps and hoes and by many other names.
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.
There may be many titles used by players during the game. 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. 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:
- President - the winner of the previous round, regardless of number of players.
- Vice-president ("VP") - second place, regardless of the number of players
- Upper neutral - third place, only used if there are 6 players.
- Neutral - also third place, but this only applies when there are 5 players. If the game happens to have 7 players, then this title may be used to denote the player between upper neutral and lower neutral.
- Lower neutral - fourth place, only used when there are 6 players.
- Vice-scum (or other names) - next-to-last place. (For example, in a seven-person game, vice-scum is whoever placed sixth.)
- Scum (or other names, commonly asshole, bitch, or janitor) - last place in the previous round, but this only applies to games with six or less players. If scum is last place, the scum gets to go first to start the round.
- Super scum (also called butt scum) - also last place, however, this title is only used in a game with 7 or more players, to denote that last place is lower than just scum. If Super scum is last place, the Super scum goes first to start the round.
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.
- Single – a card that is played alone
- Double (dub) – a pair of cards of the same value (ex. Two 5s are known as dub 5s)
- Triple (trips) – three cards of the same value (ex. Three 5s are known as trip 5s)
- Quadruple (quads) – four cards of the same value
- Clear/table – when someone plays a hand and everyone else passes, it "clears" or "tables" to the person who played the hand. This person may lead with whatever hand they wish. Also, if a player gets rid of all of their cards, it clears to the next person who can beat the hand, or if no one can or doesn't wish to, it clears to the player after the one who got rid of their last card. In addition, some rules have a certain card (usually a 2 or joker or suicide king) as an automatic clear card.
- Hand – any valid play (single, dub, trip, quads, etc.)
- Kicker – a single card played with a four-of-a-kind to make it a bomb (in some variants)
- Bomb – A single card that can be played on any card(s) to clear the pile of cards (often 2, 10, or 4)
- Laser – having all four 2s
- Go low - When a 7 (yes a 7) is played and the person who played the card/s says "go low" the next person has to play a card lower than 7 or they have to pass.
- Quick clear (completion)– One or more cards that are suddenly played by a player, regardless if it was their turn, which are the remaining cards that can complete the cards on the table, which also clears the deck (Example: John plays two queens, and Mary plays the other queens, even though it wasn't her turn, and clears the deck). This is only allowed in a few variants. (including 2s)
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:
- The ordering of the face values is a little different from most American card games – the deuce (2) is the highest value (besides the joker, if that card is used) and is unbeatable, though certain variants allow a single 2 to be topped by a pair of 2s. The ace is next highest, the King the next highest, etc. with the 3 being the lowest. A few variants allow a single deuce to be played on top of any other combination, but typically games require the same number of deuces to be played as were originally led. In a few variants, the 2 (and no other card) can be placed at any time, even if it is not the player's turn.
- When players pass, this does not limit them in any way from playing later, even during the same trick. This can be critical, because it is highly important to be the player who plays last on any given trick. (For instance, if Alice plays a queen, and Bob holds a king and a 2, he might not want to play either card right away. His king is likely to be taken by an ace, and his 2 would be "wasted" on a mere queen. After passing that opportunity, suppose Carol indeed plays an ace on top of that queen, and Alice passes. Bob might very well then consider it a good use of the 2 to take the trick. This leads to the removal of Carol's ace, perhaps making Bob's king a winner later on.) In some variants, however, a player actually cannot play on a trick in which he or she passed previously.
- Players can pass at any time, even if the player has cards that could be played.
- Players can continue playing even after all other players have passed until the last player decides to stop playing.
- The number of cards that can be led to begin any trick is only dependent on the cards in the player's hand and his/her strategy. In a game with two decks, it is absolutely legal to start out a trick with, say, seven 5s. (In this case, obviously, seven 5s are only possible if the owner of those seven 5s is the one who begins the trick. This adds to the necessity to "capture" tricks by being the one to play the highest card.)
- Regardless if it is his/her turn, in variants that include "quick-clear"s, a player can complete the cards on the table by playing the remaining cards of the quadruple.
- If a player plays a card, and no other player can play, that card is discarded and the player puts another card to begin with. This continues until it returns to the player who played the last card and he can't play on his own card but must discard the cards and start with another card of their choice.
- In some variants, a player cannot end on a 2 or a joker (or any card that instantly clears the deck), otherwise they immediately become scum/super scum, regardless of who actually got rid of their cards last. (For example, in game, Bob and Alice are the only people left. Bob has an ace and a 2 in his hand. He plays the ace, which Alice cannot play on. That card is discarded, however, Bob has ended on a 2, which means he immediately becomes scum/super scum, and Alice does not fall to the lowest rank.)
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.
- Durak, a similar game
- Ass*bleep*!! is a free, open-source, multi-platform implementation of the game.