Eights charms almost everybody, while a component of strategy exists in the game, you can play it at the unassuming level of getting rid of one of your cards at every turn, without any pre-planning, and still win, with a bit of luck.


The basics

-Number of players: two or more

-Playing time: half an hour

-Cards: at least one standard 52-card deck of cards

-Ranking: ace high, then King down to deuce. Suits are equal.

-Deal: The players cut for the deal, with the person drawing the lowest card awarded the task. You deal the cards one card at a time, clockwise and face-down. Each deal progresses one place to the first dealer’s left.

Every player begins with the same number of cards. When playing with two-four players, each player gets seven cards. When playing with more than four players, each player gets five cards. When the number of players rises above six, add an additional deck.


Object of the game

The object of the game is to be the first to eliminate of all your cards. Everyone plays independently, no matter how many players participate. The first player to remove all their cards (go out) scores points according to the cards left in his opponents’ hands (see scoring section below). The first player to reach 250 points wins the game.



After all the cards are dealt to the players, the dealer puts the remainder of the deck face-down in the center of the table and reveals the top card to start the discard pile. The player to the dealer’s left is the first to proceed, and he has three distinct choices about which card to play:

– He may play a card that agrees with the suit (clubs, spades, diamonds, or hearts) or the rank (2s, jacks, and so on) of the top card.

– He may present an 8. All 8s are wild, meaning that you can play an 8 at any time, no matter what the card played beforehand was. Furthermore, when you play an 8, you can propose any suit (but not a rank), and the next player must play a card of the presented suit. They may put down another 8 and are able to repeat the process.

If he can do neither, he is obligation to retrieve a card from the stock. (If the first card which is turned over is an 8, the first player can play whatever he wants.)

– He may also pick up the top card from the stock and add it to her hand if she is reluctant or incapable to play a card. After a player acquires a card from the stock, the play passes clockwise to the next player. You may not pass, and then play a card that you pick up from the stock. Your turn ends after you pass.

It is argued by some players that you must play if you can. However it can cause problems to play a card just because you can. For example, you may not want to let go of an 8 early in the game so you can play it later in order to command what suit is played.



The game completes when one player goes out. When this occurs, the winner evaluates the damage he has caused the other players:

Each court card (aces, kings, queens, and jacks) is worth 10 points.

All other cards, except the 8s, are charged at face value.

The 8s come in at an agonizing 50 points each.

The winner collects the points from the cards which remain in his opponents’ hands. Most circles usually play that the first player to 250 points wins. When the game seems to be reaching its finale, make sure to unload your 8s as fast as you can, because the penalty for holding an 8 at the end of the game could prove disastrous.



There are two major popular variants of Eights, the first is Mau Mau, and it provides the simplicity of Eights but with a few twists thrown in. The main difference of Mau Mau, which differs from Eights, is the rule against describing or querying the rules. This makes it particularly difficult for new players to join; it requires new players to assume the rules of the game by trial and error.


Related External Links

A useful crazy eights guide can be found on the pagat website.