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Cheat - game

Alternative names Bullshit, I Doubt It
Type Shedding-type
Players 3-8
Skills required lying, card skills
Age range any
Cards depends on number of players
Deck Standard 52-card deck
Play Clockwise
Related games
Valepaska, Verish' Ne Verish', Poker Bull

Cheat (also known as Bullshit and I Doubt It) is a card game where the players aim to get rid of all of their cards. Normally played with at least three players, it is often classed as a party game, and is a game of deception. A challenge is usually made by players calling out the name of the game, and the loser of a challenge has to pick up all the cards in the middle.

As with many card games, cheat has an oral tradition and so people are taught the game under different names. The game is called "I Doubt It" by Hoyle and is sometimes known as "Bullshit" or "Bologna" in the USA.


Normally, a pack of 52 playing cards is used, but the game can accommodate more players by shuffling together multiple packs of cards and often includes the jokers as wild cards. A dealer is chosen and the cards are shuffled and dealt (normally using a Western deal) until all the cards are dealt. The first player is either the first player dealt to or sometimes in variants the first person with a specified card (usually the Ace of Spades). Play proceeds in the order of the deal. The objective of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all their cards.

A turn consists of a player placing a specific number of face-down cards into the middle of the table, from their hand, and making a claim as to what those cards' rank is (e.g. "two sevens"). They are permitted to lie about the rank of these cards, and the claim may have to be a lie if the player has no cards of the required ranks. The first play of the game must call aces; subsequent calls must be exactly one rank higher, with kings being followed by aces and continuing again.

Once a player has made a claim, every other player has until the next player places their cards down to call "cheat" (or a similar phrase) if they think the player was lying. If a claim is challenged in this way, the cards played by the challenged player are revealed. If the challenge was correct and the player was lying, the lying player must take the entire stack of cards as a punishment. If the challenger was wrong, however, they must take the stack. Play continues in normal rotation as the next player starts a new pile.

The first player to empty their hand (and not lose a challenge on the final play) is the winner. The game may be continued to determine second and subsequent places, and in some versions the game continues until a loser has been established.


National variants

Verish' Ne Verish'

The Russian game Verish' Ne Verish' ("Trust, don't trust") is similar to Cheat, and is known as Russian Bluff, Chinese Bluff or simply as Cheat.

The dealer deals out all the cards to all players, as evenly as possible. The first player to go chooses any rank to start with, and places one, two or three of cards of that rank face-down, and calling out what they claim to have played. A player's claim need not be truthful.

The next player may either call the previous player's bluff by saying "ne veryu" ("I don't trust") or simply turning over the played cards, or accept their play, either by saying "veryu" ("I trust") or taking their own turn without comment.

If a bluff is called, the played cards are revealed to see whether they match the previous player's claim - if the challenger is right, the previous person picks up all the cards and the challenger starts a new round. If the challenge is wrong, the challenger picks up all the cards and the next person (in some variants, the previous person gets the right to start a new round) starts a new round with the rank of his choice. Whenever players pick up cards in this way, they may - if they wish - reveal four of the same rank from their hand, and discard them.

If player accepts the previous player's call, they themselves must then play (or pretend to play) between one and three of cards of the same rank as the previous player. In some variants, if the player does not have any of the rank in their hand, they may call "skip" or "pass" and the next player takes their turn. If every player passes, the cards on the table are removed from the game, and the last player to play a card starts the next round.

There is a variant rule where, upon a call of "I don't trust", the caller reveals one of the cards played at random. If the card is of the declared rank, the caller picks up the cards; if it is not, the previous person picks up all the cards and a new round begins.

Canadian/Spanish Bluff

Similar to Russian Bluff, it is a version used by at least some in Canada and known in Spain. The rules are rather strict and, while a variation, is not open to much variation. It is also known in English as Fourshit (single deck) and Eightshit (double deck), the game involves a few important changes to the general rules mentioned above. Usually two decks are used instead of one so that there are 8 of every card as well as four jokers (though Jokers are optional), though one deck may be used if desired. Not all ranks are used, the players can arbitrarily chose which ranks to use in the deck and if using two decks, should use one card for each player plus two or three more. Four players may choose to use 6,8,10,J,Q,K,A or may just as easily choose 2,4,5,6,7,9,J,K, or any other cards. This can be a useful way to make use of decks with missing cards as those ranks can be removed. The four jokers are considered wild and may represent any card in the game.

All cards are dealt, some players may get more cards than others.

The first player can be chosen by any means. Spanish variation calls for a bidding war to see who has the most of the highest card. The winner of the challenge is the first player. In Canada, a version is the first player to be dealt a Jack face up, and then the cards are re dealt face down.

The first player will make a "claim" of any rank of cards and an amount of their choice. In this version each player in turn must play as many cards as they wish of the same rank. The rank played never goes up, down nor changes in any way. If the first player plays kings, all subsequent players must also play kings for that round (it is non incremental). Jokers represent the card of the rank being played in each round (if the first player played Kings, then a Joker represents a King, meaning there are 12 possible Kings to be played in that round. A player may place whatever they like face down on the table (the first player may choose Jacks, but he or she is not obliged to play any jacks), though it is important that if a challenge is made, the exact cards played can be identified. A player may also play more cards than they claim to play though hiding cards under the table or up the sleeve is not allowed. This is also penalised if the claim is challenged.

At any moment any player can challenge the last player to play cards on the table by saying "bullshit" and turning the cards around. If the cards played were correctly called, the challenger picks up all cards on the table, if the challenger was correct and the cards don't match the claim, the player who made the claim has to pick up all the cards. Whoever won the challenge (did not pick up cards) begins a new round by making a claim of any amount of any card rank.

If at any point a player picks up cards and has all eight natural cards of a certain rank, he declares this out loud when realised (players should always be checking for this) and removes them from the game (placed somehow to the side). If it is realised that a player had had all eight cards and leads a round with this card, he or she automatically loses the game and is severely penalised (i.e. will have to do something embarrassing, drink lots of alcohol or say something ridiculous to a common friend the next day).

With jokers included, a player may claim to have up to 11 of one card (seven natural ones and four jokers).

Once a player has played all his or her cards, he or she is out of that particular hand. Play continues until there are only two players (at which point some cards have probably been removed from the game). The players continue playing until there is a loser.

The object of the game is not so much to win, but not be the loser. The loser is usually penalised by the winners either in having the dishonour of losing, or having to perform a forfeit.


In the Fujian province, a version of the game known as 吹牛 ("bragging") or 说谎 ("lying") is played with no restriction on the rank that may be called each turn, and simply requiring that each set is claimed to be of the same number. This makes it possible for a player to play out their entire hand without lying.

This version is usually played with several decks shuffled together, allowing players to play (or claim to play) large numbers of cards of the same rank.

Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy