Reading Time: 3 min

I’ve noticed that most people don’t know my favourite card game, Shithead. I was taught this game quite a few years ago by a friend of mine and have been addicted to playing it ever since. It’s the perfect card game to play when you’re with a group of friends or with your family. The game can be a bit daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it really becomes quite addictive!

If you’re looking for some more lockdown entertainment, check out how to play below:

The Players:

The game works best with at least three players, but up to six people can play if you’re using a single deck of cards.

The Rules:

  • The cards ranked high to low: *2, A, K, Q, J, *10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3.
  • *2s are the “reset cards” and may be played on any card and any card may be played on it.
  • *10s may also be played on any card and “clears the deck” (the discard pile is put to the side).
  • All players must always have three cards in their hand.

The Set-Up:

Each player is dealt nine cards in total: three cards face-down on a table (blind cards), three cards face-up on top of those, and three hand cards. The undealt cards are put to the side as the draw pile.

Before the game begins, players are allowed to swop any of the face-up cards on the table with the cards in their hand. Keep in mind that you want your face-up cards to be your strongest trio (twos, tens, royals are good options). Players are not allowed to look at their face-down cards until they are being played.

The Game:

Whoever has a three in their hand (or if no one has a three, move on to the next number) starts the game. The starting player places the card/s (if they have more than one three) face-up to create the “discard pile” then draws the same number of cards from the draw pile until they have three cards in their hand again. Continue clockwise with each player laying down a card/s equal to, or higher than, the card played previously and draws back up to three from the draw pile.

If the deck is cleared after a player has laid down a 10 or a four of a kind the person who laid the last card starts a new pile with any card/s they wish.

If a player cannot play a card, they must pick up the entire discard pile and add it to their hand; the next player then restarts with any card/s.

When the draw pile is exhausted, players have to play out their hand. Once that’s empty, players move on to their face-up cards, and finally their face-down cards. Players are not allowed to look at the face-down cards before laying it down. If the card doesn’t “fit”, the entire discard pile must be added to their hand.

The last player standing becomes the shithead.

The Goal:

The goal of the game is to lose all of your cards first, as the one to do so last is crowned a ‘shithead’.

Make the game more interesting with these optional rules:

  • Play with a jack to reverse the direction of play.
  • 8s make the next player miss a go.
  • If a 9 or a 7 is played, the next player must lay down any card lower than a nine or a seven, or pick up the pile.

And that’s all there is to it. Give yourself a few rounds to get used to the rules and once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be in for a helluva time!


Part of the Self Love Club, avid believer in Girl Power and always late, mostly because of my liquid eyeliner.

Write A Comment