Rules to Shithead
Shithead is a card game that is best played with between two and four players. It is very popular amongst the student population of the UK and I have come across many variants of the rules. The rules I describe here are those I am most familiar with. Where I know of variations I have tried to mention them. Lets get on to the exciting bit…
The Rules to Shithead:
- The pack should be shuffeled and dealt by one of the players. This is classically done by the loser of the previous game along with having to make everyone a cup of tea.
- Dealing proceeds in a clockwise direction starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The dealer lays a card face down in front of each person until evryon has three cards, face down.
- The dealer then does the same thing but with the cards face up. Again, each palyer gets three cards.
- Finally, each players is dealt three cards to their hand. If the dealer has a ‘3′, or else the lowest card in their hand (of any suite) then they get to lay the first card.
- Everytime a player lays a card down, they must pick up one from the undealt pack. The exceptions to this rule are that a payer cannot pick up a card when there are none to pick up and cannot pick up if they have more than three cards in their hand.
- The essence of this part of the game is to keep laying cards down with an equal or higher value than the last card layed. Bear in mind that Aces are usually high.
- If a player has more than one card of a particular value, they may lay both of all of those cards down. If a player lays four cards down of the same value in one go, they burn the pack (see later).
- Another trick bit of gameplay is that If a player lays a card down and picks up one from the pack of the same value, if the next player hasn’t layed their card, the player may go again (and again).
- The bit that I love about shithead is the special cards that you can use. You should have already gathered that the name of the game is to lay down a card of equal or higher value than the card layed by the previous player. However, there are several cards with speacial properties and these are summarised below.
- The card most useful in many a sticky situation is 2. Cards with a value of 2 can go on any other card. The only time when you curse having a lot of 2s in your hand is when you need to stich-up someone.
- I have ocassionally come across people who play the 3 card as an invisible card. This is a bit of a questionable rule in my opinion but the idea is that a 3 can go on any card of any value and the next player has to play a card equal to or greater than the card below the 3!!!
- The next special card up is 8. The initial direction of play is clock-wise but if someone lays an eight, the direction changes until someone lays another 8. Obviously, with two players this doesn’t change anything and also, if someone lays an even number of 8s, the direction stays the same.
- Cards with the value of 9 are sometimes very useful for stiching-people-up. When someone lays a 9, the next player has to lay a 9 or lower. If you know someone has only cards of 10 or higher, a 9 would not be a friendly thing to lay.
- When you have dodgy cards, the stack of layed cards is building up and someone has just layed an 8 or lower, now is the time to lay a 10! When you lay down a 10, you burn the pack, which means you pick up the pack of cards that have been layed down and you put them to one side. I should state again that you can only lay a 10 on an 8 or lower.
- A very important rule that I have failed to mention so far is that if you cannot lay down a card of equal to or higher value that that layed by the previous player, you have to pick up the pack (unless they layed a 9). When I say pick up the pack, I mean you have to pick up the stack of cards that has been building up and take them into your hand.
- Basically, the game progresses until the deck runs out of cards and a player has no maore cards in their hand. At this point they can lay one (or several of the same value) from the cards that were layed on the table face up. The player continues to use this ‘face up hand’ until they pick up cards into their hand
- When a player has layer all their face up cards, they may begin to use their face down cards. This obviously is more luck than skill but it certainly can hot-up a game.
- A player wins by being the first to get rid of all their cards. They are obviously then exempt from making cups of tea and all that, that awaits to loser…