OBJECTIVE OF STOP THE BUS: Be the last player with tokens remaining
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 or more players
MATERIALS: 52 card deck, three chips or tokens per player
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – A (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Hand building
AUDIENCE: Adults, Family
INTRODUCTION OF STOP THE BUS
Stop the Bus (also known as Bastard) is an English hand building game that plays much in the same way as 31 (Schwimmen) with a three card widow, but it uses the same hand ranking system as Brag.
Players begin the game with three tokens or chips. During each round, players are trying to build the best hand possible by drawing from the selection of cards in the center of the table. Once a round ends, the player or players with the lowest ranked hand loses a token. The last player to remain in the game with at least one token is the winner.
A way to make this game a little more interesting is to play for money. Each chip can represent a dollar. Lost chips are tossed in the center of the table to form the pot. The winner collects the pot at the end of the game.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Stop the Bus uses a standard 52 card deck. Begin the game by deciding who will be the first dealer. Have each player draw a single card from the deck. The lowest card deals first.
Dealer should collect the cards and shuffle thoroughly. Deal three cards to each player one at a time. Then deal three cards face up to the center of the playing space. The rest of the cards will not be used for the round.
Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer and continues in that direction around the table.
During each turn, a player must select one card from the three in the center of the table and replace it with a card from their hand. After doing so, if the player is happy with their hand, they may say “Stop the Bus”. This is the signal that each player is going to get one more turn before the round ends. If the player taking their turn is not happy with their hand, they simply end their turn, and play continues.
Play like this continues with each player choosing a card from their hand and discarding one back to the table until someone says, “Stop the Bus.”
Once a player stops the bus, everyone else at the table gets one more chance to improve their hand.
A player may stop the bus on their first turn. They do not have to draw and discard. Once the bus has been stopped, and everyone has taken their final turn, it is time for the showdown.
HAND RANKING & WINNING
In order to determine who has the lowest ranking hand, players will show their cards at the end of a round. The player with the lowest ranked hand loses a chip. In the event of a tie, both players lose a chip. The hand rankings from highest to lowest are as follows:
Three of a Kind: A-A-A is highest, 2-2-2 is lowest.
Running Flush: Three sequential cards of the same suit. Q-K-A is highest, 2-3-4 is lowest.
Run: Three sequential cards of any suit. Q-K-A is highest, 2-3-4 is lowest.
Flush: Three nonsequential cards of the same suit. For example 4-9-K of spades.
Pair: Two cards equal rank. Third card breaks ties.
High Card: A hand with no combinations. Highest card ranks the hand.