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How to Play Crazy Eights Card Game – Rules & Strategies

What is it about a deck of cards? What is so alluring about them? Is it their tactile quality? Or perhaps it’s the sound of them as they are being shuffled. Maybe it is the simple fact that so much can be done with them to entertain us.

Whatever it is, we humans are in love with cards and with card games. So 

Today, we want to show you how to play Crazy Eights, a card game. 

This game is for the whole family and is sure to become a household favorite in no time. Children and adults both love this game. 

Really, there isn’t much to it in order to set it up, and we’ll go over the Crazy Eights rules in a moment and once you understand the rules and the objective, you’ll be set to play. 

How to Play Crazy Eights

how to play crazy eights

The Objective

The winner of Crazy Eights is determined by who can discard all of their cards first. If you can do that, you may raise your arms in a victory pump. 

Again, the first person to discard all of their cards, wins the game. 

Sounds easy right? It is and it isn’t. Its challenge lies in that narrow margin where skill can be applied to the game. It is otherwise a game of chance. 

Crazy Eights Setup

You will need to get a standard 52 card deck of playing cards and give it a good shuffle. 

Depending on how many players you are, you will need to deal the cards as follows: 

  • If you are playing a two-player game, each player receives seven cards. 
  • If you are playing three or more players, each player should be dealt five cards. 
  • You can play a four-player game as teams as well if you would like. This does add an extra element of fun to the game. 
  • Players will take their turn in order, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer.

Crazy Eights Rules

  • Deal the cards
  • Place the remaining card stack face down. This is your draw pile.
  • The dealer turns the top card of the draw pile over. This is placed next to the pile to begin the discard pile. 
  • Each card played from a player’s hand must match the card facing up on the discard pile. It can match either but suit or rank. 
  • Player One then plays a card from their hand if they can. If they do not have a matching card, they must draw a card from the draw pile.
  • If that card is a match, they may place it on the discard pile. 
  • If the card is not a match, the player keeps it as part of their hand. 
  • The player then must continue to draw cards until a match is made. 
  • When a match is made, the next player takes a turn.
  • Eights are wild and so when played, the player must declare if they are changing the suit.
  • When a player is down to their last card, they must announce this to the other player(s) by saying, “Last card.” Otherwise, they will be penalized by having to draw two additional cards on their next turn. 
  • If a player has discarded all of their cards, they win. 

How to Play Crazy Eights – Example

how to play crazy eights

The game in this example has two players

The cards have been dealt; the first card is flipped.

It is the nine of clubs. Player One discards a card onto the Nine. It is a two of clubs. 

Player two takes their turn but they have neither a two or a club. They draw from the pile and get the three of diamonds. It is placed in their existing hand and they draw another card. A two of Hearts and so place it on the two of Clubs.

Player one has an eight and so places it on the card and says, “Spades.” 

Player two draws from the pile and gets an Ace of Spades. The card is placed on the top of the discard pile. 

Each player takes their turn but player two finds that they are not getting a match and have now acquired ten additional cards.

Finally, a match is made but Player One is down to one card and says, “Last card.”

The game is soon over with Player One as the winner. 

Round two quickly begins and so it continues.

Do you want to discover new card games? Take a look at our How to Play Spades Guide!

A Recap

how to play crazy eights

Once you have dealt the dealer turns the top card face up to begin the play. 

Player One plays one of their cards. 

If the card does not have a match they must choose the next card from the draw pile. 

If it matches, it is placed on the discard pile. 

If the card is not a match, the player must continue to pull cards from the draw pile until they get a match. 

The player keeps each card that did not match.  

Once a match is found, the next player then takes their turn. 

The game continues this way until someone has been able to discard all of their cards. 

Eights are wild. So, when playing an eight, the player must announce which suit they are choosing to play. 

When a player has discarded all of their cards but one, they must inform the other players by saying, “Last card.” 

If they neglect to say this during their turn, they will be penalized by having to draw two additional cards from the draw pile on their next turn. 

If however, they are able to discard their last card, they will win the game.

Do you know How to Play Fish – Card Game?

Strategy

how to play crazy eights

Crazy Eights is a game of chance, but strategy still has its place in this game. 

Because players could not predict what card they will need or what will be drawn, the only real strategy is simply deciding when to use a crazy eight to try to shift the game in their favor. 

For example, if you are holding three cards of the same suit, you might choose to use the eight to change the suit to the one you hold those three cards of. 

Of course your opponent may have as many if not more of that same suit. 

The Winner

Upon placing their last card onto the discard pile, that player wins. 

We hope you enjoy playing this game as much as we have.

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