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President

A simple but tactical game where the aim is to be rid of your cards as quickly as possible.

Tried and tested by Friday Afternoons
2-13 players (ideally 4-8)
10 minutes
Requirements
  • 1 deck of cards
Important

If playing with only two players be sure to check the "Blind President" section under "Variations", as the standard rules require three or more players.

Objective

The aim in President is to get rid of all the cards in your hand as quickly as possible. The first player to do so is the winner and receives an advantage in the next game.

Set-up

In each game, the dealer shifts to the left by one player. The dealer deals the entire deck of cards to the players, including the Joker cards if playing with them (see "Variations"). Cards are then swapped as detailed in the "Ranking" section and play begins.

Play

In the first game, the player to left of the dealer starts the first round. In future games, the Idiot (see "Ranking") starts the first round.

Rounds

A round consists of players taking it in turns to add a card (or cards if playing a double, triple or quadruple) from their hand to a face-up pile in the centre of the table. The player who starts the round may play any card in their hand as the first card in the pile. Play then moves to the left and it becomes the next player's turn to place one of their cards on the pile, but the card they choose must be of higher value than the card at the top of the pile (see "Values"). If a player cannot play using the cards in their hand, or chooses not to play a card, play continues to the next player. When play returns to the player who last placed a card because no other players have added to the pile since, that player has won the round and gets to start the next round. At this point, the pile is turned over and moved to a separate discard pile.

Tip

Nothing can beat a 2, so if a player uses one they win the round immediately.

Values

Cards are valued in the following order from lowest to highest:

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, 2, Joker (if used)

Suits have no bearing on value in President.

Doubles, triples and quadruples

If a player has two, three or four cards in their hand of the same value, they may play them at the same time, provided that their value is still higher than that of the card at the top of the pile. This is known as a double (two cards), triple (three cards) or quadruple (four cards).

Once a double, triple or quadruple (DTQ) has been played, that number of cards must be met or exceeded by all players for the remainder of the round. For example, if a double 6 is played onto a single 5, the next player must play a double, triple or quadruple with a vaue of 7 or higher. If a triple 9 is played onto the double 6, the next player must play a triple or quadruple with a value of 10 or higher. However, a single 2 may be played onto any DTQ up to the value of Ace.

Playing your last card

When a player plays the last card in their hand they are out of the game, but the round doesn't end immediately. Play continues to their left with the top card as normal. If no other players choose to play onto the top card, the round is over and the player to the left of the player who went out gets to start the next round.

Ranking

The first player to be out of a game is the winner and is labelled the "President". The second player out is called the "Vice President". The player who finishes second to last is called the "Vice Idiot", and the last player holding cards at the end of the game is the "Idiot".

At the start of a game, the Idiot must give the two highest-value cards they were dealt to the President, who in return must give any two cards they were dealt to the Idiot. The same exchange takes place between the Vice Idiot and the Vice President, but only one card is swapped instead of two.

Strategies

Below are some tips to help new players gain an idea of when to play certain cards.

  • Go low
    Generally speaking, it's best to play the lowest card that you can so you don't waste a card that you might need later.
  • ...except when it's time to go high
    Sometimes, usually later in the game after the President has already won, winning a round and preventing others from losing cards is more important than getting rid of a low card you have. It's a gamble, because if someone can play on top of your high card you might get stuck with the low one, but if all goes well you'll win the round and get to play your low card next anyway.
  • Pass
    Don't feel pressured into playing a card just because you can - sometimes it can work out in your favour to bide your time and let everybody else get rid of their high cards.
  • Count the 2s
    DTQs are great, but keep in mind that a single 2 can beat them. You have a much higher chance of winning a round with them once all the 2s have been used.
  • Split your Aces
    Just because you have a double Ace, doesn't mean you have to play a double Ace. Playing them separately as singles can give you two chances to win later rounds rather than one.
  • Consider who will win the round
    If a player to your right is likely to win the round, it might be a waste of one of your high cards to play on top of theirs. If they start the next round with a low card, chances are you'll be able to go on top of it with one of your lower ones. Conversely, if you have the chance to stop the player to your left from winning the round it's usually best to take it.
  • Lure the 2s out
    If you have no 2s, then playing low DTQs early is a great way to lure them (and the high DTQs) out, allowing you to win rounds with your Aces and higher DTQs. Just keep in mind that...
  • People don't like playing 2s in the first round
    There's a good chance that you can win the first round using an Ace or a high DTQ. It can often backfire though, especially against 2-happy new players, so make sure you know how your opponents like to play.
  • You didn't seriously just play a double 2?
    The ONLY time you should play a double, triple or quadruple 2 is when the card you play next is your last. And even then, you should be questioning why your 2s ended up outnumbering your non-2s.
  • Don't split your doubles, Mr President
    If you're the President or Vice President and choosing the cards that you're going to give away, it's usually better to keep all your DTQs intact, even if it means giving away a higher-value card. Don't forget, every double you're dealt is effectively one less card in your hand to get rid of.

Variations

Blind President (2-4 players)

When playing President with only two players, a lot of the fun is lost since each player can easily work out what the other player is holding. Blind Pesident is a variation designed to address that.

The whole deck is still dealt to all players, but into face-down piles that the players are not allowed to look at. Before the game starts, each player takes the top seven cards from their pile to form their hand. At the end of each round, players top up their hands to seven cards using cards from the top of their pile.

If a player runs out of cards in their hand during a round, they may take one card from the top of their pile and play it if it can be played.

Jokers

President can also be played with the two Jokers. Jokers are the only cards with a higher value than a 2, meaning that playing a 2 is no longer a guaranteed way to win the round. Single Jokers also share the 2s' property of being able to beat any lower-value DTQ, so there are now six cards that can beat a DTQ instead of four.

Revolution

Revolution is an optional rule that can change the fortunes of players struggling to get out of the Idiot and Vice Idiot positions. If the game is played with this rule, then any time a quadruple is played the value of all cards (except Jokers) is immediately reversed. This change remains in place until the end of the game, or until another quadruple is played. When reversed, the values of cards is as follows:

2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, Joker (if used)

While values are reversed, single 3s gain the ability to beat any DTQ.

Don't be an idiot