History Lesson Time: Did you know that up until the 1940s, the super fun game Crazy Eights was simply called “Eights?” The name was changed during wartime as a sort-of callback or homage to soldiers who were sent home as a “Section 8.” A Section 8 was used to designate a discharged soldier as “mentally unstable.” Not exactly the nicest of delineations, huh? Whether you choose to call it “Crazy Eights” or simply “Eights” in your home is up to you.
No matter what you call it, however, you’re going to need to learn how to play. And what better time than quarantine? To start, it might help to know that Crazy Eights is classified as a “card shedding” game. That means the object of the game is to “shed,” or get rid, of your hand of cards. If you’re searching for a new card game to add to your repertoire, this is the jam. Ready to learn how to play Crazy Eights? Settle in.
How Many People Can Play?
If you only have one deck of cards, you can have between two to seven players. For more than seven players, it’s suggested you shuffle in a second deck of cards.
Dealing The Cards
To begin, select a dealer. Each round you play, you can rotate through players to make them the dealer, so it really doesn’t matter who starts. If there are any arguments, draw for the lowest card.
Next, the dealer should deal out five cards per player with the cards facing down. (If there are only two players, deal seven each.)
The rest of the cards go in a stack at the center of your playing surface (usually a table). Flip the top card face-up and place it next to the stack.
How To Play
You begin with the person to the left of the dealer and continue clockwise around the table.
Players must place cards on top of one another. There are a few rules about what cards are allowed to be “shed.” Each card must match the top-most card in either value or suit. They can also play an 8. If players cannot follow either of those rules, they must draw a card from the stack in the center until they reach a playable card.
Here’s an example:
Top card is 7 of Clubs.
The next player can shed:
7 of diamonds
7 of spades
7 of hearts
Any club card
Any suited 8 card
Draw until they pull a card that meets any of the requirements.
*Note that if the stack changes suits (if they play a 7 of diamonds), it must be announced by the player. Think of it in the same fashion that players must announce “Uno!”
Easy-peasy, right? The game continues until the first person empties their hand. Winner-winner chicken dinner!
Scoring in Crazy Eights
If you’re playing with adults or with serious card players, one hand isn’t going to cut it. If you’re playing multiple hands, here’s how to determine an overall winner.
Once a player empties their hand, all other players must add up the values of their cards and give that many “points” to the winner. Note that eight cards are worth 50 points and court (or “face”) cards are worth 10 points each. All other cards are worth the value on their cards. (So, a six of diamonds is worth six points.) When playing multiple rounds, the overall winner is the one who first reaches the designated points limit. Official rules state that those limits are as follows:
2 players – 100 points
3 players – 150
4 players – 200
5 players – 250
6 players – 300
7 players – 350
But, honestly, you can set it to any arbitrary number in order to shorten or extend the game.
Need A Visual?
Sometimes seeing a game played out works better than just reading the directions. Here’s a helpful video.
Crazy Eights can be as simple or complicated as you want it. While the basic goal is simply to discard all your cards. Many families have since added their own rules to shake things up a bit. This can include things like, “If you discard a 4, the next person has to draw four cards.” Another popular rule is that playing a Jack will reverse the playing order. It can quickly become a bit like the first versions of UNO. You could often even change which card is wild. Families or groups of friends that play together often also occasionally play a sadistic version with “Mao’s Rules.” In other words, new players aren’t told any of the rules and must simply learn as they go and are penalized for messing up. It quickly becomes a bit like Fight Club and can easily spiral into a pretty wacky game.
Now, grab a deck of cards and dive in. That’s genuinely the best way to learn. Experience builds confidence.
Card Jokes For Real Sharks
Once you’re sitting around the card table, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to talk about. Work? Boo! School? Even worse! Your relationship? Uh… let’s save that for therapy. These jokes are the perfect, silly icebreaker.
1. Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning, all you need is two hearts and a diamond.
By the end, you wish you had a club and spade.
2. Why do you never play a game of cards in the jungle?
Because of all the cheetahs!
3. What has a heart but no organs?
A deck of cards.
4. The Queen took a big hit at the poker table last night.
It was a royal flush.
5. What’s the difference between prayer in church and prayer in a casino?
In a casino, you really mean it!
6. Which playing cards are the best dancers?
The king and queen of clubs.
7. Why don’t pirates like playing cards?
There’s always someone walking across the deck.
8. I’m stuck in quarantine all alone with a deck of cards…
I guess you could say I’m in solitaire confinement.
9. A patient bursts into a doctor’s office: “Doctor, I believe I’m a deck of cards!”
The doctor calmly replies, “Go sit in the waiting room, please. I’ll be dealing with you later.”
10. How can you get four suits for under $2?
Buy a deck of cards.
Quotes About Playing Cards
“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand,
he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” – Voltaire
“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” – Jack London
“One should always play fair when one has the winning cards.” – Oscar Wilde
“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” – Josh Billings
“When luck joins the game, cleverness scores double.” – Yiddish Proverb
“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play them better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein
“No matter what your circumstances are in life, a simple card game can make you feel special and give great joy, if only for a few fleeting moments.” – Anonymous