OBJECTIVE OF PRESIDENT: To play all of your cards as soon as possible. The last player with cards in their hands is the ‘scum,’ ‘asshole,’ etc.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4-7 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card deck
RANK OF CARDS: 2 (Highest), A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
THE DEAL: The player who is the president (or the scum in some versions) both shuffles and deals out the cards. All the cards are dealt out as equally as possible. Some players may have more cards than others.
TYPE OF GAME: Climbing Card Game
THE HISTORY OF PRESIDENT
Games such as President, which is considered a ‘climbing game,’ where the object is to shed as many cards as you possibly can, are relatively new to the West (gaining popularity in the 1970s). Due to the nature of the game, its origins are believed to be traceable back to China. President has several related games called: Scum, Asshole (Arsehole), Landlord, Butthead, Root Beer, Warlords and Scumbags (Australia), Capitalism, Trou du Cul (France), Einer ist immer der Arsch (Germany), and Hűbéres (Hungary).
TERMINOLOGIES ACCORDING TO RANK:
The player who won the previous round (regardless of the number of players) becomes the president. If scoring, this position receives two points.
Vice president (“VP”)
The player who came in second place in the previous round (regardless of the number of players) becomes the vice president. This position receives one point.
The player who came in third place, only used in games with 6+ players. Zero points.
Also, the player who came in third place, however, this applies only when there are 5 players. If the game has 7 players, this title is used between upper and lower neutral. Zero points.
The player who came in fourth place; this title is only used in six or seven-person games. Zero points.
Vice-scum (or other names)
The player who came in next-to-last place. (For example, in a six-person game, vice-scum is whoever came in fifth.) Negative one point.
Scum (or other names, commonly asshole or bitch)
The player who was the last player to empty their hand in the previous round. This is only used in games with 6 or fewer people. Negative two points.
Super scum (also called butt scum)
This is also last place, however, only used in games with 7 or more players. Negative two points.
GAME PLAY OF PRESIDENT
The player to the dealer’s left begins. The first player starts the game by playing a single card or a set of cards of the same rank (two aces, for example). Other players may pass or play by beating the previous play hand before them.
You can beat a single card with another single card of higher rank. Sets of cards can only be beaten by an equal number of sets of a higher rank than the cards played. You may pass at any time, and you do not have to beat a hand just because you can. Passing does not inhibit you from playing on your next turn or playing past the first round.
The game continues until a play has been made where everyone subsequently passes. All the cards that have been played are pushed aside and the player who played last starts the next round.
An Example Scenario:
Player C would start the next round. If for example, Player C had no more cards, the next player in the rotation would begin (Player D).
Need a visual aid? Check out this video!
END OF GAME
Play continues until one player has played all their cards. Whoever runs out of cards first is the winner and becomes President in the next round. Then the next person to empty their hand becomes vice president and so on and so forth.
However, the game does not end once there is a new (or first) President; the game continues until there is a single player left with cards in their hand. This player becomes the ‘scum’ in the next round. On the next hand players may move around, President at the head and Vice President to the left (and so on in order) or simply play in the order of rank from original seats.
Scum gives their highest card to the President and the President does not have to trade cards if they do not want to. Higher status players generally are entitled to abuse (in good fun!) lower status players.
If you are keeping score, set a target score to be reached that ends the game.
DRINKING GAME VERSION
Presidents and asshole card game rules can be modified to be a drinking game. To play presidents as a drinking game the rules remain the same as those described above, except each role gains a new power. The president may make any other player drink when they wish and can drink whenever they like. They also never fill their own glass. The Vice President can make everyone except the president drink. The neutrals and the vice scum may make each other drink, and the scum and super scum may not make anyone drink and must refill other players’ drinks.
- Larger sets of cards can beat smaller sets of lower rank, for example, a single 7 can be beaten by a pair of 9s
- Larger sets of cards beat smaller sets regardless of the rank of the smaller set.
- Cards of the same rank can beat other cards. For example, a pair of 8s can be beaten by another pair of 8s (or a higher ranking pair). Sometimes, variations allow that after an equal rank has been played, the next player is skipped. If there are only two players, the player who played the equal rank plays again.
- Four of a Kind Variants, when a player plays a four of a kind (four cards of the same number) the rules of the game are inverted. So, instead of trying to play cards of higher rank, you try to play cards of lower rank. If another four of a kind is played the rules switch back to normal. Another four of a kind may also be employed. If one player plays four of the same card or each player, sequentially, plays a single of the same card a revolution begins. The direction of the play and the ranks of the cards are both reversed. Under this ranking, aces are highest and lowest. An ace beats anything, but anything also beats an ace. Ranking high to low: A 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
- Jokers may be played as a high card that beats all others.
- Two is highest and lowest card, two beats everything and everything beats a two.
- Transparent threes, a three can beat all single cards and a set of threes can beat a set of an equal number of cards of any rank. The threes played then take on the rank of the card they beat. For example, if a pair of threes are used to beat a pair of Queens, the next player must beat a pair of Queens to play.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you play President without drinking?
President is traditionally played without drinking. The above rules minus the drinking section will teach you how to play basic President.
Is Ace ranked high or low in President?
It is ranked neither high nor low. it is the second-highest ranked card after the 2.
What number of cards is dealt to each player at the start of the game?
The number of cards dealt to each player changes based on the number of players in the game and where they are seated. The deck is dealt by the dealer as evenly as possible, but not all players will have the same number of cards.