PRESIDENT


president rules title

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 to 7 players

MATERIALS OF PRESIDENT: Standard 52-card deck

TYPE OF GAME: Card game

AUDIENCE: All ages



OVERVIEW OF PRESIDENT

President is a slightly complicated card game, but it is extremely fun to play once you get the hang of it, and the best part is that you can move to different ranks quite quickly. This means you can be winning one moment and losing the next. This game is known by many names, including 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).

In this article, we’ll go over all the intricacies and rules of the President or Scum card game so you can bust it out on your next game night. There is also a drinking game variation of the game will will cover below. 

SET UP FOR PRESIDENT

president

You can play President with four to seven people. If you wish to play with more than seven, you’ll need to add a second deck.

DEALING

First, you need to choose a dealer. There are many ways to do so. We recommend drawing cards, and the one who draws the highest or lowest is the dealer.

Next, the dealer distributes all the cards among the players. Some players may have more than others, but that is okay—life isn’t fair!

The rank for the cards in President is as follows:

  • 2 (High)
  • A
  • K
  • Q
  • J
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3 (Low)

HOW TO PLAY PRESIDENT CARD GAME

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) and putting their cards in the center of the table. The next player can either:

  • Play a card higher than the card on the table.
  • Pass

PLAYING

If you choose to play, you must play a card that is higher than the last card played. For example, if you play a four, the next card must be a five or higher. If you play a “set” of cards, for example, three fours, then the next players must also play a set of three cards, also of a higher rank. 

PASSING

You may pass anytime, just because you can beat a hand doesn’t mean you have to. You can choose to keep cards for playing later in the game. Passing does not skip your next turn. It just means you don’t want to or can’t play on this turn.

NEW HAND

If you play a card and everyone else passes, then you take all the cards that have been played from the center of the table, flip them facedown, and discard them to the side. You can now play another card or set of cards, starting the next hand. Here is an example of gameplay:

PRESIDENTS GAME EXAMPLE

Player C would start the next hand. If, for example, Player C had no more cards, the next player in the rotation would begin (Player D).

ENDING THE ROUND

One of the most fun parts about the President card game is the ranking system. If you are the first person to finish all the cards in your hand, then you are out of the game until the round is over. Keep track of each player who finishes their hand in order. Keep playing until only one person has cards left in their hand. This ends the round, and now you must change seats according to rank and start taking scores. The highest ranking player or the “President” can choose their favorite seat, this can be the most comfortable chair or at the head of the table.

RANK

president rank
  • President – The player who finished their hand first (regardless of the number of players) becomes the president. This position receives two points.
  • Vice president (“VP”) – The player who finished their hand second in the previous round (regardless of the number of players) becomes the vice president. This position receives one point.
  • Upper neutral – The player who came in third place is only used in games with 6+ players. Zero points.
  • Neutral – Also, the player who came in third place. However, this applies only when there are five players. If the game has seven players, this title is used between upper and lower neutral. Zero points.
  • Lower neutral – 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 six or fewer people. Negative two points.
  • Super scum (also called butt scum) – This is also last place. However, it is only used in games with seven or more players. Negative two points.

STARTING A NEW ROUND

The reason the rank is important is that it will dictate how the next round starts. First, everyone must switch seats. Starting with the president, the vice president to their right, and so on. The Scum should always be on the president’s right.

Once everyone is sat in their respective seats, the Scum has to do some work. They are responsible for dealing the cards and moving the discard pile after a hand. Higher-status players are generally entitled to abuse (in good fun!) lower-status players. 

The Scum can now deal the cards, starting with the President. Then the Scum has to choose their best card and give it to the president. The President can choose any card in their hand to give to the Scum. The gameplay begins with the president and moves clockwise.

END OF GAME

The game is over when one player reaches 11 points or any other predetermined score. They are the winner.

PRESIDENT DRINKING GAME

Drinking games without cards

The President 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.
  • The scum and super scum may not make anyone drink and must refill all other players’ drinks.

Looking for other fun drinking card games to play? Check out Ride the Bus and Ring of Fire!

VARIATIONS OF PRESIDENT CARD GAME

The best part about the President Card Game is that there are endless variations to the game that you can add to make it more fun and interesting. Let’s go over a few of our favorites.

LARGER SETS BEAT SMALLER SETS

In this variation of President, you can make a larger set of cards beat a smaller set, regardless of the rank. For example, a set of three sixes can beat a set of two kings.

FOUR-OF-A-KIND VARIANTS

For this variation, when a player plays a four-of-a-kind (four cards of the same rank), 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. 

JOKERS IN PRESIDENT

 If you choose to play with the jokes in the game, they are the highest rank and can beat anything.

TRANSPARENT THREES 

For this Variation, a single 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 is 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 Card Game without drinking?

President is traditionally played without drinking. The above rules, minus the drinking section, will teach you to play basic President.

Is Ace ranked high or low in President Card Game?

An Ace 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 President Card 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.

Alan Lemus
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