President

White-house-1941-northPresident (also known under a number of colorful titles, such as Bum, Scumbag, and Asshole) is a game of Asian origin, bearing some similarity to Thirteen. Like Thirteen, the object of the game is to get rid of all of your cards, and play progresses with each player playing progressively higher ranks of cards (some group them together as climbing games). President has the novel feature of assigning each player a rank based on how well they did in the last round and having them rearrange themselves according to the ranking.

President is best for three to seven players.

Object of President

The object of President is to avoid being the last player to hold cards.

Setup

President uses the standard 52-card deck. You can use any deck of cards, but if you use Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, you’ll definitely appear a lot more presidential.

You will need to establish a rank system, with one rank for each player. The top rank is something suitably impressive or positive and the last rank is typically something derogatory. One example for a six-player game would be President, Vice President, Governor, Lt. Governor, Citizen, Asshole. You could also use military ranks, ranks of nobility, job titles from your workplace—use your imagination. For the purposes of illustration, we will use the ranks just mentioned whenever the ranking system comes up.

You also need to establish chairs for each rank. The President should have the nicest and most comfortable chair, with the next-nicest sitting to the left and being occupied by the Vice President, and so on around the table to the Asshole, whose chair is to the President’s right and is the most unpleasant seat available—like a wooden crate, a backless stool, or the like. Some players also prefer to have silly hats that the holder of each rank is required to wear.

Shuffle and deal the cards as far as they will go. Some players may receive more cards than others. They’ll just have to deal with that, though.

Card ranking

President uses the same unconventional card ranking that Thirteen does. Aces rank high, but twos rank even higher than the ace. That means that the lowest card in play is the three, giving us a rank progression of (high) 2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 (low). Unlike in Thirteen, however, suits do not matter.

Game play

The player with the 3♠ goes first. That player plays it face up to the table, either singly, or with any number of additional threes. The next player to the left plays the same number of cards of a higher rank (e.g. if the first player laid down a pair of 3s, the next player would have to lay down a pair of 4s or higher). The number of cards must match exactly with what the first player set down (so a pair must be followed by a pair, and not three of a kind, etc.). If a player cannot or doesn’t want to play on a particular turn, they pass, although they can still elect to play the next time it’s their turn.

Each player continues playing cards of ascending rank until all players pass except the last person to play. This player is then permitted to lead off, playing any number of cards of the same rank that they choose to.

The game continues in this manner until one player runs out of cards. This player is declared to be President, and play continues with the player to the left, as normal. This President-elect takes no further part in the hand. As more and more players run out of cards, they too receive titles and sit out of the game. Finally, the last player to run out of cards gets the last good rank, and the player stuck with cards becomes the Asshole.

Players now “take office” for the next hand, rearranging themselves to sit in the seats assigned to their new rank. The Asshole is required to perform the game-running duties for the next hand, including clearing the cards away from the last hand, shuffling, and dealing. The Asshole is also required to surrender their highest-ranked card to the President, who chooses any card they wish from their hand and passes it back to the Asshole. The next round begins, with the President playing first, leading with any card they wish.

See also

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