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Daifugō (大富豪?, Grand Millionaire) or Daihinmin (大貧民?, Extreme Needy) is a Japanese card game for three or more players played with a standard 52-card pack. The objective of the game is to get rid of all the cards one has as fast as possible by playing progressively stronger cards than those of the previous player. The winner is called the daifugō (the grand millionaire) earning various advantages in the next round, and the last person is called the daihinmin (the extreme needy). In that following round, winners can exchange their one or more unnecessary cards for advantageous ones that losers have.

The game is very similar to the Chinese climbing card games Big Two and Zheng Shangyou, to the Vietnamese game Tien Len, and to Western card games like President, also known as Capitalism and Asshole, and The Great Dalmuti. Like those other games, there are many variations and rules.

Basic rules

The rules described here are based on rules made popular in the U.S. by Tokyopop, in volume two of the manga Fruits Basket. They are fairly basic and attempt to condense the game to its core elements. Since card games like this are taught and evolve by word of mouth, the game play varies according to state of origin.

Special Titles

There are five special titles for players during the game, along with popular North American and European equivalents:

Some notes:


The daihinmin shuffles and deals the cards. All the cards are dealt, until none are left, in clockwise rotation. Jokers, other wilds or extra 2s from another deck are used to ensure the cards can be dealt evenly. Alternately, the deal starts at the point which will allow the richest players to have the fewest cards (e.g. deal starts on the heimin for five players) and therefore be more likely to maintain their domination.

After cards are dealt, the daihinmin must hand over their two strongest cards to the daifugō, while the hinmin must hand over their one strongest card to the fugō. The daifugō and fugō then hand back an equal number of any "junk" cards they do not want. This process is known as zeikin (taxation).


Play in Daifugō 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.

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 wilds). 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 variants; see below) The next player may do the same, and so on. This continues until all players pass, or until one or more 2s are played; as the 2 is the highest value, nothing can beat it. The last person to play a card leads the next trick.

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.

When playing by traditional rules, once titles are decided, everyone needs to get up and move. The daihinmin is the dealer, 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 daifugō still leads the first trick).

Winning the game

The winner is usually the player who is daifugō at the end of the game, but a point system can also be used, where the fugō and daifugō earn 1 and 2 points, respectively, every round.

Basic strategy

The basic strategy of Daifugō is very simple; players attempt to get rid of weaker cards first so that only stronger cards are left in the players' hands near the end of a game. If a player is stuck with a low card, it will be very hard to get to play it and empty a hand. However, as winning a trick lets the player lead any card to start the next trick, one weak card can be kept to be played last.

However, when trying to prevent a player who is low on cards from emptying their hand, the player preceding him/her can elect to try to block the next player by playing a high value card or combination even if a lower value combination is available, and thus hopefully prevent the next player from playing as they are unable to top it. Additional elements of strategy can be introduced with optional rules (see below) such as skips and clears, which afford the other players more options in attempting to prevent play by a person about to empty their hand.

Optional rules

One or more 'house' rules are usually observed when playing a game of Daifugō. Here are a few examples:

Social aspects

Often the titles used in the game can be extended to social interactions. The daihinmin may be required to get up and fetch everyone's snacks and drinks (often this task is given to the hinmin so the daihinmin can shuffle and deal). Also the daifugō may be able to give an order after each round that must be followed, like "all heimin must bark like dogs", or "the hinmin must give me a backrub".

The daifugō - can also add rules related to the game itself, such as the rules in the list above, or any rule that suits him. It is often a good idea to impose limitations on such rule-making before the game starts, such as a maximum number of additional rules (requiring rules to be repealed when new ones are added), and allowing other players to override a new rule by unanimous vote (or a sufficiently large percentage).

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