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President - card game

Alternative names Scum, Asshole, Arsehole, Kings, Warlords and Scumbags, Scumbag, Capitalism, Janitor, Landlord, Rich Man Poor Man, Hierarchy, and many others
Type Competition
Players 3-8; 9+ multiple decks
Cards 54 (2 Jokers)
Deck Anglo-American
Play Clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) Joker, Deuce (2), Ace, King etc
Playing time 5-15 min.
Related games
Dai Hin Min

President (also known as Scum, Kings, Warlords and Scumbags, Scumbag (the latter two names originating in Australia), Janitor, Kings and Assholes, Arsehole (in British English), Man of the House, Landlord, Rich Man Poor Man, Hierarchy, and many other names) is an Americanized version of Dai Hin Min, a card game for three or more in which the players race to get rid of all of the cards in their hands in order to become President in the following round. It can also be played as a drinking game.

General rules

Gameplay is similar to Dai Hin Min, in which players attempt to get rid of their cards first. It is generally played as an aces-high game, although 2s are often played as being higher than aces (so that the 3 is the lowest card).

Special titles

There may be many titles used by players during the game. Often, players move seats to sit in the order of their place, so as not to forget the order. There is generally at least a President, Vice President and Scum.

The rankings for four players are as follows:

For games with six or more players, more titles can be added. Common extra titles include the Secretary one level below VP, Citizens, Middle-men, Normals, Neutrals or Average Joes in between the high and low named ranks, and Clerk one level above Vice-Scum. Other ranking systems use the presidential line of succession. Rules regarding card passing or drinks can be changed to accommodate these two positions if desired. A large and/or odd number of players generally calls for having at least one Average Joe, but there can be as many as needed.

The President (or the Scum in some versions) deals the cards, starting with himself and proceeding in order of player hierarchy from low to high until all cards are dealt. If the Scum is the dealer, this ensures that the President begins with the fewest number of cards if the hands are uneven.

Terms

How to play this game

The rules provided are merely one of many ways known to play the game; there are many different varieties with slight twists to the rules.

Dealing

The person who is President (or the Scum in some versions) shuffles and deals the cards. All the cards are dealt as evenly as possible in clockwise rotation.

After cards are dealt, the Scum must hand over his best two cards to the President, while the Vice-Scum must hand over his best card to the Vice President. Variations with more than two top and two bottom positions sometimes require the Scum to hand over more than two cards to the President, up to the number of top positions in the game - for example, a game with a Secretary and Clerk might call for the Scum to hand over three cards to the President, the Vice-Scum to hand over two cards to the Vice President and the Clerk to hand over one card to the Secretary. In any event, the players who receive cards from the bottom positions always hand back an equal number of any "junk" cards they do not want. They are not obliged to pass back their lowest cards, but often do.

Playing

Play in President is organized into tricks, much like Spades or Bridge. However, unlike those games, each trick can involve more than one card played by each player, and players do not have to play a card in a trick. Suits are irrelevant in President.

The player on the dealer's left begins by leading any number of cards of the same rank (1-4; 5 or more are possible with wildcards, jokers or multiple decks). The player on the left may then play an equal number of matching cards with a higher face value, or may pass. (In a few variants, it is permitted to play cards with an equal value as the last cards played. Doing so may skip the player next in order.) Note that the same number of cards as the lead must be played. If the leader starts with a pair, only pairs may be played on top of it. If three-of-a-kind is led, only three-of-a-kinds can be played on top of it. (There are notable exceptions among the many, many variants in this game.) The next player may do the same, and so on. This continues until all players have had a turn (which may or may not be because the highest-value card has already been played).

Notes on game play:

End of a round

When one player runs out of cards, he/she is out of play for the rest of the round, but the other players can continue to play to figure out the titles. A few versions hold that once a player goes out, players count remaining card values to establish titles, or simply count the number of cards remaining in each player's hand, and other versions have one player left with cards at the end.

When playing by traditional rules, once titles are decided, everyone needs to get up and move. The President is the dealer (or the Scum in some versions), and the players must rearrange themselves around them so that they are seated in order of rank, clockwise. Most American variants do not rearrange the seating of the players, so everyone plays in the same order each hand (though the President still leads the first trick).

The very first round of the game normally begins with whoever has the 3 of diamonds playing it, since there is no sitting President. If playing with more than four players and more than one deck of cards, another opener will be decided by the players. The 3 of diamonds may be played with other 3's. After the first round has determined player rank, subsequent hands are opened by the President.

President's choice and trading

After the President (or whoever deals) has dealt and everyone has received their decks, the players are able to trade cards with one another. In a group of four, the President gives two cards of his choice to Scum (who responds with his two very best), and the VP gives one card of her choosing to Vice Scum, who responds with her very best card. In some variants, the President may choose to allow a Black Market, in which any player can trade with any other player. When this happens, the President usually has a poor hand and needs better cards.

Revolutions

Certain variants allow for game-changing revolutions. If a player leads out with four of a kind, the hierarchy of all the cards will be reversed. For example, if 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A,2 is the typical order of power (from left to right), after four of a kind is played it would be the reverse of that: 2,A,K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3. If another four of a kind is played, the order would switch back. Revolutions are typically utilized in the game to create better balance and avoid having the same player remain in first position indefinitely.

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