How To Play Presidents Card Game

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Presidents Card Game Instructions

The Deal

Divide up the deck by dealing one card at a time face down to each player until all cards have been dealt The dealer elects someone to go first and chooses the direction (clockwise or counter clockwise).

How To Play

How To Win

The point of the game is to play all of your cards as quickly as possible. If you get rid of your cards first, you’re the President – more on that below.


All players look at their own hands.
Whoever starts plays any card (ex. a single Couch Potato) or set of cards of equal rank (ex. 2 Turds). This determines how many cards must be played each turn. If someone starts by playing Doubles, then only Doubles can be played (not Singles, Triples, or Quadruples).
Players continue one-by-one playing cards equal or higher than the card or cards played until they run out.
Players may pass at any time, even if they have cards they could play.

Resetting The Pile

If someone plays a card or set of cards which every other player passes (or is skipped), the pile is reset. This allows that player to play any card or set of cards of the same rank. Strategically, players often play their lowest cards when the pile is reset since these are more difficult to get rid of.
Additionally, the Bomb card (#0) resets the pile. After playing the Bomb card, the player may play any card or set of cards of the same rank. You are allowed to play multiple Bombs in a row.
If a player’s final card is passed by all players, it is a clean slate to the player who is next. The same is true if someone’s final card is a Bomb

Skipping With Same Card

If someone plays the same card (or cards) as the previous card(s) played, it skips the next person. For example, if Player 1 plays a Police card, then Player 2 plays a Police card, it skips Player 3. If Player 4 also plays a Police card, it skips Player 5. Although rare, someone can play the same set of doubles or triples which also skips the next player.


Gameplay continues until all players have played all of their cards. The player who gets rid of all their cards first is the President. Second place is the Vice President. The player in last place is the Turd. Second to last place is the Couch Potato.
Players who get 3rd may call themselves “Speaker of the House,” etc., but there is no additional benefit. Smack talk is highly encouraged and players should refer to the President as “Mr. President” or “Mrs. President” until they are dethroned.

Ranking and Reward

Presidents is the game that “Rewards You For Winning and Punishes You For Losing.”
The President of the round takes 2 of the “best” cards from the last-place player (Turd) the next round. In exchange, they give the last-place player 2 cards of any choice (typically their 2 worst cards).
The Vice President of the round takes 1 of the “best” cards from the 2nd to last place player (Couch Potato) the next round. In exchange, they give the 2nd to last place player 1 card of any choice (typically their worst card).

Stealing Based on Ranking

The President and Vice President may either ask for “high” cards or “low” cards. This is based on the # on the card.
The order for the highest cards is President (12), Vice President (11), Speaker of the House (10), etc.
The order for the lowest cards is Bomb (0), Turd (1), Couch Potato (2), etc.
If the President or Vice President requests a low card, they may get a Bomb card, but risk getting a bad card. Requesting a high card is safer, but (arguably) less valuable than a Bomb card.
The President may ask for 2 low cards, 2 high cards, or one of each.
The President and Vice President may look at what cards they received before they give back cards, but may not give back the same cards they received.
The players being stolen from may not lie about their highest or lowest cards.

Starting The Next Round

After cards have been stolen/exchanged, the President goes first and the Vice President chooses the direction (clockwise or counter clockwise).
Like usual, the President may play any card or set of cards of the same rank.

Additional Rules

Players Leaving/Entering Between Rounds

If a player leaves between rounds, the remaining players would shift up one or down one depending on their rank. If the President leaves, then the Vice President becomes President and whoever was 3rd becomes Vice President. The same is true for the Turd (last place) and Could Potato (2nd to last place).
If someone enters between rounds, they enter as a “citizen” with no benefits or punishment.

Table Talk

Coordination of cards played in the attempt to skip someone is not allowed. For example, telling a player to play a certain card so that you can skip someone who is about to win is not allowed.

Uneven Amount of Cards

Most of the time, some piles will have an additional card. This will not affect game play since the additional card may be a card that helps someone win.

Playing With More Than 10 People

It’s recommended that you combine 2 decks together when playing with more than 10 people. Make sure everyone is paying attention, otherwise games with large groups can get long.

Skipping with Final 2

If someone in the final 2 plays the same card that was previously played, it skips the other remaining player and resets the pile like usual.

House Rules

There are many variations of the game and optional rules.

Some of them include:
-You may rearrange seating in the order players finish
-You may decide to not show how many cards you have left
-You may have punishments outside of stealing cards for last place (or 2nd to last place)
-There are many other variations of this game, but I (True) have found the rules laid out in this rulebook to be the most fun.

Cards Overview


The Doppelgänger card duplicates any card. If someone lays Triple Governors (#7) and you have Double Vice Presidents (#11), you may add a Doppelgänger to duplicate a Vice President to make it Triple Vice Presidents.
If you are unable to play the Doppelgänger with another card, it counts as the lowest value (even lower than a Turd) and can therefore only be played on a clean slate.


The Bomb card resets the pile. The player who played the Bomb card may play any card or set of cards of the same rank. You can “Bomb” a “Bomb” – meaning, multiple Bomb cards may be played at a time. Like any other card, Bombs can only be played on your turn.

Bomb (Reverse)

The Bomb (Reverse) card resets the pile and changes the direction. Otherwise, it’s identical to the Bomb card, including rank.

All Other Cards: All other cards are the rank # found on the corner of the card.

Example Gameplay

The cards are dealt as evenly as possible by Al who decides Betty goes first and the direction is clockwise. There are 6 players in the following order:
1. Al; 2. Betty; 3. Christine; 4. Don; 5. Ed; 6. Frank

Betty starts the round by laying down a single Turd (1).
Christine plays a Turd (1) as well, which skips Don.

Ed’s next highest card is a Couch Potato (2), but since he has 2 of them, he decides to not break up his doubles and instead plays his single Citizen (3).

Play continues for a bit with higher and higher single cards being played.

It’s Al’s turn and the last card played is a President (12), which he cannot beat. Al decides to play his Bomb (Reverse) card which resets the pile (and changes the direction), allowing him to play double Citizens (3).

Because Al reversed the direction, it is now Frank’s turn.

Frank has no doubles, but he does have a Vice President (11) and a Doppelgänger, so he plays double Vice Presidents using his Doppelgänger, hoping no one will beat it.

Everyone says “pass,” resetting the pile for Frank. Frank plays a single Police (5) card.

Play continues until players get rid of all their cards in the following order:
Frank – President
Betty – Vice President
Christine – Couch Potato (2nd to last)
Ed – Turd (last)

The next round, 1st place takes 2 cards from last place and 2nd place takes 1 card from 2nd to last place.

Frank (first place) 🡪 asks for 2 “high” cards from Ed (last place) and gives his 2 worst cards 🡪 he receives 2 President cards and gives Ed 1 Turd and 1 Couch Potato

Betty (2nd place) 🡪 asks for 1 “low” card from Christine (2nd to last place) and gives her 1 bad card 🡪 she receive a Bomb card and gives Christine 1 Turd card.

Next round, Frank (first place) goes first and Betty (2nd place) chooses the direction.

Most importantly, everyone addresses Frank as Mr. President and congratulates him, meanwhile doing everything they can to take over the presidency.

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