# SCAT CARD GAME RULES

## OVERVIEW OF SCAT

Did you know that Scat is the German national card game? This fun game is fast-paced and loads of fun, so if you are looking for a quick and easy card game to play with some friends, Scat is the perfect option. In this article, we’ll go over the rules of how to play Scat and all the different variations of the game.

## SETUP FOR SCAT

Scat, also known as 31 or Blitz, shares names with other games and is not to be confused with:

In order to play Scat, you need at least one other friend, a standard deck of 52 cards, and some basic math skills. Don’t worry; you won’t need to bust out a calculator or do any calculus, just some basic addition. We recommend playing Scat with two or four players, though theoretically, up to 9 people can play.

Traditionally, in scat, each player gets three lives. You can keep track of these mentally, or you can choose items to represent lives, such as pennies or poker chips.

### DEALING

First things first, you need a dealer. As always, we recommend drawing cards and the highest card is the dealer. Then, the dealer can shuffle the cards and deal three cards to each player, starting with the player to their left.

After each player has a full hand the remaining undealt cards become the draw pile. Then flip over the top card of the deck next to the draw pile. This will start the discard pile. Discards piles are kept ‘squared up’ so that the top card is visible and free to be taken.

### VALUES

In Scat, the card values are as follows:

• Ace – 11 points
• Face cards (J,Q,K) – 10 points
• 2-10 – Face value

A hand consists of three cards and you can add up the value of the cards as long as they are of the same suit

• If you have three cards of the same suit, you can add up all three.
• If you have two cards of the same suit, add up the two cards, or take the value of the single card if it is of higher value.
• If you have three cards of different suits, you can choose the cards with the highest value.

The maximum hand value is 31. A perfect hand would be an Ace, and two face cards all in the same suit.

## HOW TO PLAY SCAT

Now you have the game setup and you understand the card values, so you’re ready to start playing! The goal in Scat is to try to get as close as you can to 31 points.

The player to the dealer’s left begins, and the play passes clockwise. A normal turn consists of:

• Drawing a card from the draw pile or discard pile.

In Scat, you can not draw the top card from the discard and then immediately discard the same card. Cards drawn from the top of the draw pile, however, may be discarded in the same turn.

### KNOCKING

If on your turn you believe your hand to be high enough to beat at least one opponent you may knock by literally knocking on the table. If you choose to knock, your turn ends and you stick with your current hand.

Each player gets one more turn to try and get a better hand. Although you as the knocker, do not get an extra turn. Once the last player has had an extra turn, everyone reveals their cards.

The player who has the lowest hand loses one life. If you knocked and you have the lowest hand, then you lose two lives. If you knock and you tie with another player(s) for the lowest hand, the other player(s) loses a life, and you are safe. In the event there is a tie for the lowest score between two players (neither of which was the knocker), they both lose a life.

### DECLARING 31

If you reach 31, then you can immediately show your cards and claim victory! You may even call 31 with the cards you were initially dealt. All the other players lose a life. Remember, in Scat, you can declare 31 even if another player has knocked.

Once you have lost your third life, you’re considered to be, “on the dole,” “on welfare,” “on the county.” You can still play another round, but if you lose again, then you are out. The play continues until all players have been eliminated from the game.

## END OF GAME

The game ends when only one player has not been eliminated. They are the winner.

## VARIATIONS OF SCAT

• Three of a Kind: Counts for 30 points.
• Straight Flush: Counts for 30 points. Except for A-K-Q, which is 31 points.
• Minimum Knock Score: Could be 17-21, for example.
• “Throw Down”: Is a common variant. Without looking at the cards, a player can call a throw down and expose their hand. Then, other players must follow suit. Treat throwdowns like knocks with respect to lives.

Looking for other super fun, kid-friendly card games? Check out our list of 20 kids card games!

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### 62 thoughts on “SCAT CARD GAME RULES”

1. Question !! if a player knocks on 30 and all the other players have 30 ,who loses, this has happen to us last night

• Hi Jerry, the knocker would be saved and the other two players would lose a life.

2. Can you draw and knock at same timed

• Hi Dorthy, you cannot knock and draw, as you have to decide to knock instead of drawing at the start of your turn. I hope this helps.

3. We’ve always played that the “knocker” must have the HIGHEST hand at the end, and if they are tied, they lose a life, while the person tied with the knocker is “safe.”

• Hi Frank, that sounds like a fun variation, thank you for sharing! Happy Gaming!

4. Here is a variation of 31 I’ve never heard of. Do people every play Scat where Ace of Hearts, plus (King, or Queen or Jack of Hearts) plus the 10 of Hearts is not considered Scat, but only 31. They do not considered the 10 of Hearts part of Scat. Only Face cards combined with an Ace can be Scat.

• Hi Phil, I haven’t heard of this variation, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!

5. I played with a friend that says “I have the A ,K of hearts and someone other than the player tp my right throws down the O ,J or 10 of hearts he can throw his hand down and claim SCAT ! Has anyone heard of this rule ?

• Hi Dan, I have never heard of this variation. I would love to hear more though, or if anyone else has heard of this varient. Thanks for sharing.

6. If there is two players and one knocks and has 28 and the other player has 28 also, who wins?

• Hi Dorothy. In a 2-player game, if both the knocker and other player tie, the knocker is saved and the other player loses a life. I hope this helps!

7. 3 people playing, I, player one, knock at 29. Player 2 has 19 and player 3 has 24. Who pays?

• Hi Lisa, player 2 has the lowest hand so they would pay. I hope this helps.

8. Someone knocks and we get one more turn. The next player gets 31 scat. Who wins. Or who pays.

• The player who declares 31 always wins even if another player knocks. All other players will pay except the player who declares 31.

9. Question: Our group played Scat tonight. – About 8 of us. One player had scat and didn’t put down until the next round.(she didn”t realize she had Scat.) Who pays.?
We all thought that once you get the card that gave you 31 you have to put down right away.

• Hi Jackie, the player should have declared their 31 and victory. Since this player did not declare I would say you should resolve it as a standard round, with the lowest score player losing a life. However, this is not an official ruling, and would ultimately be up to the playgroup. I hope this helps.

10. If i knocked at Ace , King and 9 and another opponent has the same exact is the knocker safe

• Hi Mike, as long as you both do not have the lowest scores, then yes the knocker is safe.

11. Hi,What are the rules for having 3 aces in your hand, Thank you

• Hi Corinne, if you have 3 aces, that is a 3 of a kind. This is worth 30 points. I hope this helps!

12. If someone got three of a kind can they hold them in their hand and wait for someone to knock.

• Hi Sharon, you can absolutely do this. You would just need to draw from the top of the draw pile and discard that card each turn. You could also knock at the end of your turn if you wish to. This might be a good strategy as it prevents other players from having the time to get 31!

13. My question is: do you have to have all three cards of the same suit in order to knock? Suppose you have A, K of hearts and 6 of spades, can you knock or do you have to wait for another heart before you can knock?

• Hi Anita, you can knock at any time. For scoring, you just choose the suit you want to score. For your example, you would choose hearts and get to score the Ace and King together.

14. I just recently started playing SCAT. The rules that we followed differ slightly. !. If the player draws a card, they can not discard that same card. 2. Only the lowest scoring hand looses a life. And, if the knocker has the lowest score, they loose 2.

• Hi Jim, the rules you mentioned in your comment are both in the rules on the site. Maybe I did not understand your comment correctly. Do you play with different rules than the ones listed? if so I would love to hear about them!

15. If someone knocks with a SCAT in their hand and doesn’t realize they have a SCAT – when cards are relieved don’t you think that SCAT should be voided and the player with the lower hand looses? Since the player that knocked didn’t take advantage of SCAT.

• Hi Lindsay, yes in Scat when a player knocks instead of declaring 31 (or scat) the round resolves as a standard round with the lowest total player losing a life. Only when a player declares a 31 (or scat) does the round resolve with all other players losing a life. I hope this helps.

16. CAN YOU PLAY WITH 3 JACKS IN YOUR HAND…AND WIN

• Hi Audrey, there is an optional variation that allows for three of a kind. 3 of a kind score 30 points, but your playgroup must decide before the start of the game to use this variation. I hope this helps.

17. When you are playing with the last two people and you knock, and you have the lowest score, do you get 2 strikes?

• Hi Laura, yes a player that knocks and has the lowest score of the remaining players will take two strikes.

18. If it’s the last two people and they are head to head, and they tie…who looses? Or is it a draw and you replay the hand?

• Hi Laura, when there is a tie between two players for lowest score, then the knocker si saved and takes no strikes. The other player takes 1 strike.

19. Hi this happen at our last game
Player 1 knocks has18 player 2 has 18 player 3 has20
Who pays

• Hi Kevin, when the knocker and another player tie for lowest the knocker is saved and the other player loses a life or pays out. So, for your example, player 2 would pay. I hope this helps.

20. In the version of Scat that I grew up with, the ace is only worth one point. Therefore it was always a risk to keep an ace in your hand for your total score. However the only way to make everyone pay was to have the ace and two face cards all of the same suit.

• Hi Barbara, thank you for sharing! I’ll have to see if I can find this variation anywhere!

21. If the 3 of a kind variant is chosen, can any 3 cards or a kind be used?

• Hi Alex, yes any three of a kind is worth 30 points.

22. If you have three kings and it equals 30 and another player has three threes and it equals 30 who wins

• Hi Ted, The player who has the lowest hand loses a life. If the knocker ties with another player(s) for the lowest hand, the other player(s) loses a life and the knocker is saved. However, if the knocker has the lowest score they lose two lives. In the event there is a tie for the lowest score between two players (neither of which were the knocker), they both lose a life. I hope this helps!

23. We play a version where scat consists of the ace, the ten and a face card. Without the ten, it’s a 31 but not scat. Also, you have to have 2 of a kind to have a score.

• Hi Helen, that sounds like a fun variation! Thanks for sharing!

24. Years ago we used to play with 8 or more people and we played with 3 dollar bills. We are starting a new group and freshening up on Scat rules. I know you have to knock with all the same suit but does Scat have to be the same suit also and, should there only be 3 cards in your hand at all times?

• Hi Valerie, I am so happy to hear you are getting back into the game! For your first question yes, scat does have to be all of the same suit to count. For your second question, you may only have 4 cards in hand on your turn before you discard, you will always start and end your turn with 3 cards. I hope this helps and if you have any other questions just let me know!

25. When my friends at my campground play Scat, 3 of a Kind is added as 30 1/2 to avoid the tie with K, Q, J…etc.
Then we also play with a ghost round after we lose all our money. We call it “On my Face”…which just gives the player one extra turn to win. It makes it a little more exciting as you can win while having no money!!

• That sounds like a very exciting variation! Thank you for sharing.

26. four people are playing, they all have 1 chip left, and one person gets scat, do all three of them loose or is there a second place for the three losers?

• Hello Carol, there is not typically a second place in scat. The last player remaining with a chip is the winner. However, your group can always choose to keep playing for a second place.

27. if a player knocks with QK6 and oppent has AK6 who is the winner

• The player who has the higher total wins so KQ6 is 26 points but the other player has AK6 which is 27 points. the player with 27 wins. If these are the only two players left the player who knocked and had the lowest total actually loses 2 lives instead of 1. I hope this helps.

28. If a player is dealt 31, should he immediately declare it or should he wait for his turn.

• Once a player has 31 they should immediately declare it, at any point of the game.

29. If a player knocks, the next player pulls a card off the deck and declares Scat.
Does the person who knocked lose two lives?
Thank you.

• The player who knocked would only lose two lives if they were the lowest scored hand. Otherwise no lives would be lost by the knocker. I hope this helps.

30. If you are dealt 31, do you lay it down immediately or do you have to wait til your turn, and someone else could draw it before you?

• Hi Raynee, if you have 31 at any point you announce it immediately.

31. If I have two aces and a 10-count card in my hand how many points do I have? Assume 22 as the second ace would only count as one otherwise I’d have 32 points which I don’t think is possible. Thanks for clarification.

• Hello David, You can only score one suit. SO you can only score 1 ace at a time. If one of your aces and your 10-point card are of the same suit, that would get you a score of 21, otherwise your score options are 11 points from one of your aces, or 10.

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