How To Play Eights

Eights, also called Crazy Eights is an entertaining and exciting game for two to eight players, and is fun for all ages being a game that is easy to learn but which can provide great fun to it's participants. Although not actually a member of the Rummy family of games, this game is also sometimes called Swedish Rummy.

A standard deck of 52 cards should be used when anywhere from two to five people are playing. For six or more players, two standard decks should be used instead, shuffled together. The dealer can be determined in various ways. One common method in this game is for any player to start dealing the cards out one by one to each player. The first player to receive any spade becomes the first dealer. Once the dealer is determined, he shuffles and deals one card at a time, clockwise around the table, starting with the player at his immediate left. If two are playing each individual should receive seven cards, but if more are playing, each player should receive five. These cards should be dealt face down in front of each player. The remainder of the deck is placed face down in a squared pile in the center of all the players (called the stock pile). The dealer then flips over the top card, called the starter card. If this starter card is any eight, the dealer must bury it back into the middle of the deck and draw another to replace it.

Crazy Eights initial layout Play begins with the player to the dealers immediate left and follows in a clockwise direction around the table. This player, after examining his hand can then play one card from his hand on top of the starter card if able. In order to play a card, the card played must match the starter card in suit or rank. Thus a club could be played on any club or a five could be played on another five regardless of suit. Court cards and aces are also considered separate ranks, thus a King could be played on another King or another card of its same suit, but could not be played on a Jack of another suit. If a player cannot (or chooses not to) play a card, they must draw cards, one at a time, from the stock pile until they receive a card they can or want to play. Once the player plays a legal card to the starter pile, their turn ends and the next player continues in the same manner.

Eights can represent any other card in this gameEights: All eights are considered wild cards, and thus an eight can be played on any card, not needing to match that cards suit or rank. When a player on their proper turn plays an eight, they must then declare the suit to which the next player will play (it does not need to be the same suit as that of the actual eight played). The next player must then play a card of the named suit or another eight. If unable to, he needs to draw until able to play such a card (unless of course, the player who played the eight wins the hand, in which case that player is the winner and the hand is immediately scored).

When a player is able to play the last in his hand to the starter pile, the hand immediately ends with that player winning this hand. The player winning the hand then collects points from all the other players based on the cards remaining in their hands:

Scoring for cards remaining in the hand:
Royalty Card (King, Queen, Jack)10
Eight (8)50
All other numbered cards (3,4,9,etc)Face Value of Card

If the stock pile runs out and a player cannot play on his turn, he instead must pass. If all players pass and no player can play a legal card, the hand also ends. All the hands are scored, as above, and the player with the lowest point total is declared the winner of the hand. They receive a point value from each other player consisting of the difference between the counts of their hand and that player.

A game of Crazy Eights is usually played until one player, at the end of a hand reaches or exceeds 100 points. At this time, that player is declared the winner of the game is also awarded an additional 100 points for this accomplishment.

Variations and Optional Rules

Most variations of Crazy Eights revolve around designating special cards in the deck such that they may alter the game play in some manner. Some of the most popular of these follow. Although these variations are described using one of the more common cards to represent its special significance, other denominations of cards are sometimes used for the same purpose. For instance, sometimes a Jack is used to change the direction of play instead of a Queen. The specific card used is not too vital to the game as long as all players are clear on what cards represent what. A number of proprietarily sold games are very similar in concept and gameplay to Crazy Eights and some of its variations.

TwosTwos: In this rule variation, when any Deuce (two) is played, the next player must draw two cards from the top of the stock and miss their turn. When missing their turn, the turn passes to the player whose turn would normally follow the player drawing the cards. However, if the player who was to draw has a two of their own in their hand, they can play it, thus avoiding the penalty. In this case, the next player must either play their own two or must draw four cards and miss their turn. If this player also plays a two, the following player then must draw 6 cards and miss a turn. This will continue, as twos are played, with the first player unable to play one, forced to draw two cards for each two played in series, and also missing their turn.


Fours: This variation is identical to the optional rule for twos, above. However, instead of 2 cards needing to be drawn for each two played, four cards would be drawn when a four is played or four additional cards must be drawn for each consecutive four that is played after it.

KingsKings: When a player plays a King, the next player in turn is skipped (misses this turn). The following player after the individual who was forced to skip their turn may play as normal, even playing their own King to force the next player in sequence to miss their turn. Often when playing this variation, a rule is set that a player may avoid missing his turn, if he can play his own King on the King just played. In this case the following player will miss their turn unless they can play a King from their own hand.

QueensQueens: In this variation, when a player, on his turn plays any Queen, this reverses the current direction of play. Thus, when the first Queen is played in a game, the direction will switch from counterclockwise to counterclockwise. Each succeeding Queen will cause the direction to reverse again. Therefore, the player who played the card immediately preceding the play of the Queen will then have another turn as the rotation of play has changed direction. As in any other card, a player on his turn can play a Queen on another Queen, thus immediately reversing the direction again.

There are also other variations of Crazy Eights that are often played:

Limited Draw: In this variation, a player need only draw one card if he cannot play to the current up-card. If he still cannot play after drawing the additional card, he must then skip his turn, with the turn advancing to the next player.

Forced Play: Here, if a player has a card in their hand that they can play, they cannot draw and instead must play a legal card on their turn, if able. Most play this variation with the following exception to this rule: A player is NOT required to play an eight. Even if this eight is the only card a player would be able to play, he need not play it and may draw from the stock instead if he does not choose to play this card.

Crazy Cat Eights Signalling: In this variation, when a player plays his second to last card, he must signal in some, predetermined way that he has only one card remaining. If a player forgets to announce this, the player cannot play his last card on this turn and, depending on the variation, is usually penalized in some manner. Usually this penalty consists of the player being required to immediately draw one or more additional card from the stock to add to their hand.

Reshuffle: Using this rule, when the stock is exhausted the discard pile is immediately turned face down, shuffled and used to start a new stock pile which players will continue to draw from when unable to play on their turn.

Hollywood Scoring: This is a variation of Crazy Eights for two players which uses a similar scoring system to Hollywood Gin. The game itself is played identically to the standard game, however where this version differs is in the way the score sheet and scoring is accomplished. At the end of a hand, the total scores for the players will be entered in up to three columns (representing three individual "games") on the score sheet. When a player wins his first hand, his total scored points are entered into the first game column. When he wins his second game, the total score for the hand is entered into the first and second game columns. On the third and subsequent hands he wins, the total score is entered into each column. When one player first scores 100 or more points in any column at the end of a hand, he is considered the winner of that "game". No more scoring from any player is entered into that game column. The game session is complete, when all three "games" have been won. In some versions, when one game is won, another game column can be added to the score sheet, up to any number of maximum game columns so being added. The scoring values for the individual cards is also different from the standard game: Each eight is 20, each Ace is 15, Picture cards (King, Queen and Jack) are 10 each and the point value for the remainder of the cards is the rank value listed on the card. When played this way, this game if sometimes called Hollywood Eights.

Crazy Aces: This game is a Cats Exclusive and has been enjoyed by the Cats for quite some time.
The rules of Crazy Aces are identical to Crazy Eights with a few important differences. Crazy Aces uses the standard 52 card deck with the addition of two Jokers to the deck when played by up to 6 participants. If 7 to 10 are playing, two standard 52 card decks are used with 4 jokers. The standard Crazy Eights rules are used, however, a few of the cards have differing affects for the player of the card.

Eights: In this game, the eights are not considered wild, and are treated as any other numeric card in the deck. Each eight is worth 8 points when calculating points at the end of the hand.

An Ace can be played on any other, also setting the required suit Aces: On his turn a player may always play an ace to the center pile. It does not matter what the current suit or rank of card is currently at the top of the pile, as an Ace is always a legal play. After playing an ace the next player in turn must play a card of the same suit as the suit marked on the ace played or a wild card of their own. If the player is unable to play such a card (or chooses not to), they must draw from the deck similar to any other play where they did not have a card of the correct suit or rank. An Ace or Joker may also be played to the center pile by this next player. Each Ace is worth 25 points when adding cards for scoring purposes at the completion of the hand.

Jokers: In Crazy Aces Jokers serve the same purpose as do the Eights in the standard game. A player, at his turn may always play a Joker, and when doing so must state what suit the next card must be that is played to the center pile. Of course the next player may also play an Ace or another Joker if they have such a card and choose to play it. At the end of the hand, the Jokers are worth 50 points each when discovered, unplayed in a player's hand.

All other rules for Crazy Aces are the same as in the parent game.

Crazy Jacks: A common change often made to the standard game is the designation of the wild card used during play. Any denomination card could be so designated without affecting the game play too much. One of the most common card denominations that is set as this wild card (other than Eight) is the Jack. When Jacks are thus set as the Wild Cards instead of the Eights, the game is often called Crazy Jacks. Thus, the only differences between Crazy Jacks and Crazy Eights is the designation of the Wild Card to be eights and the scoring values of some of the cards used in play. When this change is adopted, the Eight being now a normal card, is worth 8 points and the card value of he Jack is increased to 50.

Mao: Mao, sometimes played as Mau Mau, is another hilarious variation of Crazy Eights with intentionally confusing or silly rules. It can be played by from two to twelve players, often with the more players the more hilarious the game becomes. If the game is to be played by more than 5 players, a double deck should be used consisting of two standard decks shuffled together.

The preliminaries are similar to standard Eights with each player receiving 5 cards face down, the remainder of the pack set down as a stock and the top card turned over to start the Play pile. In addition to dealing the first hand, the dealer is also assigned the special role of "Mao Master" also sometimes called the Chairwoman or Chairman. Whoever wins each hand becomes the dealer and Mao Master for the next hand. While Mao Master, a player can modify the rules as they prefer but, of course, must abide by their own rules once made.

The basic rules which often get augmented or changed by the Mao Master are as follows:

As in standard Eights, the object of play is to rid your hand of the last card, the first to do so being declared the winner. On a players turn they may play a card that matches either the suit or rank of the top card of the play pile. A player unable to (or opting not to) play a card must draw a card form the stock. If this is a card he can legally play he may do so, but otherwise he adds the card to his hand and the turn advances to the next player in rotation as normal. When the stock runs out, the Play pile is turned over (except for the top card) and reshuffled to make a new stock pile. By default, eights are not considered wild cards in Mao although they could certainly be set that way by the Mao Master.

One detail which is never modified and which is the first and foremost rule of Mao is that no player may speak of or state the rules of the game. If someone asks about the rules, the only information that is provided is something such as "The only rule I can explain is this one". In fact, almost every group has their own house rules for Mao, and the rules often change or get extended as the game progresses. To break the rules is to incur a penalty which usually consists of being forced to immediately draw a card into the hand (this rule too can be modified by the Mao Master as he sees fit). Generally, this occurs when another player points out the player's mistake and states the rule but does not explain the rule. The offending player would normally then draw one card.

There are a large number of custom rules commonly used in the game or added during the game by the current Mao Master, some of which are as follows: There are many custom rules in Mao
Violating any of the custom rules results in an appropriate penalty, usually drawing of one card from the stock.

Mao Meow: This is the cats own variation of Mao with a few changes to fit the cats:

When a player wins the hand and becomes the "Meow Master" he must add or change one current rule of the game. To add even more confusion, in most versions, the Meow Master does not state the rule and the other players must try to figure it out through play of the hand. When a player plays their last card they must say "Meow".

After a certain number of hands or at the beginning of a new game session, the game is usually reset to the basic rules with all the custom rules being removed as if the game was starting from the beginning.

Creights: Creights is an exciting, newer addition to the Eights family of games. The name of the game itself is a sort of acronym for it's parent game, Crazy eights. Creigts is designed for three or more players using the standard 52 card deck. This game is also sometimes spelled Craits or Crates.

The selection of dealer and seating positions is the same as in standard Eights. As in that game, the object is to be the first player to empty your hand of cards during the hand. All other player with cards remaining in their hands must add to their score values based on their unplayed cards. At the end of a series of 15 hands, the player with the lowest score is identified as the winner of the game.

For the first hand, the designated dealer deals out 8 face-down cards to each player in a clockwise rotation. He then places the remainder of the deck face down in the center of the table and flips up the top card from the stock face-up next to the stock pile to start the play pile. This card is treated as if it was played by the dealer, so any affects of the card must be followed as if so played. Barring any special affects or change of direction by this first card, the player to the dealers immediate left would then play their own card to the play pile as able. As in Crazy Eights, a player may play a card to the play pile if they have a card matching either the suit or rank of the piles top card. If a player on his turn, does have at least one valid play, he must make a play. If a player cannot play a card on his turn, he must draw one card and the turn passes to the next player.

In this game there are a large number of special cards in the deck which may have special affects when played. The following chart lists the cards used in this game, their scoring value and any special affects the card may have on gameplay:

CardSpecial AffectScore when left in Hand
AceNothing during normal play, however during a "Two Series" an Ace adds one to the required draw total (see Two Series below).1
2Starts a Two Series (see Two Series below) or adds Two to the required draw total of the current series.20
3No special affect in play but can be used as a nullifier at the end of the hand.3 - See Below
4Skips the turn of the next player.15
5Every other player must draw one card from the stock. This draw occurs in current play order starting with the next player in turn.30
6Same player plays again. If this player still retains cards but does not have a valid play, he must draw a card and pass the turn as normal.30
7All other players except the player of the 7 and the next player after must draw one card from stock. This draw should occur in rotation in the current play direction.20
8Played on any card, the player then calls the suit to be played by the next player.50
9May play on any card, suit changes to the opposite suit of same color as the last suit.30
10Reverses current direction of play.25
Jack, Queen, KingNo special affect.10

When any player legally plays a 2 to the play pile, this begins what is known as a Two Series. When a Two Series is enacted in this way, the standard rules of the game are temporarily put on hold, with special rules being followed during the duration of the "Two Series". After the first player starts the Two Series, each player in normal turn must either play an Ace or Two of any suit to the play pile. The first player in turn who cannot do so must draw cards from the stock pile. The number of cards to be drawn is calculated based on the cards played during the Two Series. For each card of denomination two played during the two series, the player would draw two cards, and for each Ace, they would draw one. Once a player draws the requisite number of cards, the next player in turn would take their turn as normal. If a player runs out of cards during the Two Series, but ends up drawing cards later in the same Two Series, they must continue play with the cards drawn.

Threes nullify other penalty scoring cards Another unique feature of this game is the Shuffle Pressure feature. A Shuffle Pressure occurs when a player is required, through game play, to draw one or more cards from the stock, but the stock pile contains no more cards. This player is then said to be under Shuffle Pressure. He must then immediately take all but the top card of the play pile and shuffle it together to make a new stock pile. In addition, this player must add five points to their current score. If the player has already been subject to a shuffle pressure during the current game, each additional shuffle pressure doubles the penalty for that player. Thus, a player must add 10 points on the second shuffle pressure and 20 on the third. If for any reason, when a player receives a shuffle pressure, the play pile is also empty, the player still must take the shuffle pressure penalty, but that round ends immediately with all players scoring their hand.

When a player plays a card, leaving himself with only one card remaining in his hand, he must clearly state "One Card". Failure to do this requires that player to draw two cards at the start of his next turn. When a player legally plays his last card the hand concludes with all other players with cards remaining in their hand summing up their totals based on the scoring value of each card (as given in the chart above). However, any threes retained by a player in their hand at this point, have special rules governing their scoring values. If a player has one or more threes in their hand and no cards of any other denomination, that player is entitled to subtract 50 points for each such three in their hand. If the player has other cards of other denominations as well, each three adds three points to his score. However, a player may use a three to nullify any other point scoring cards except an eight. Thus, the player would score three points for the 3, but would score zero for the nullified card. Each three can therefore be used to nullify one other point scoring card (except an eight).

The game consists of exactly 15 rounds, with a different number of cards dealt to each player on each round. The following table summarizes the number of cards dealt to each player per round:
RoundCards per Player  RoundCards per Player
18 92
27 103
36 114
45 125
54 136
63 147
72 158
After the completion of the 15th hand, the player with the lowest total score is considered the winner of the game.

In order to allow for additional players (five or more) Creights is sometimes played with multiple decks. When this is done, there are a few extra rules which should be followed in order to retain the games flavor:

Switch: This variation, also commonly called Two-Four-Jack is where several of the above described variations are combined with the general rules. The variations usually added are those for the Twos (drawing of two extra cards), Fours (drawing of four extra cards), Queens (direction switch) and Reshuffle (reuse the expended stock pile) as detailed above. Visit the How to Play Switch page for the complete rules for playing Switch and it's variations.
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