Crazy eights

Crazy eights

The game Crazy Eights is a shedding type of card game. The goal is to be the first player left without any cards and maintain the lowest overall score.

Gameplay is simple and the rules are uncomplicated. There are different variations of the game, but the rules remain unchanged in most cases.

Game set up

Crazy Eights is played by 2 to 5 players using a standard 52-card deck. For more than 5 players, an additional 52-card deck will be needed. This must be reshuffled well.

In the case of four players, the game begins by dealing cards. Each of the four players will be dealt five cards, one card at a time.

For two players, eight cards will be dealt. The remaining deck is then placed in the middle face down as the stockpile with the first card removed and placed face up. This card will start the discard pile.

The players’ 5 cards are placed face down.

How to play

To begin playing, the player left to the dealer is the first to play. Gameplay involves discarding cards that have a matching suit or rank to the first card of the discard pile.

If for instance, the first card of the discard pile is a five of clubs, then the first player can choose to discard a club, an eight or a five of diamonds from their hand.

This moves on clockwise until a round is completed and scores computed.

During the game, 8 is a wild and can be played at any time. In simple terms, 8 can be played regardless of the suit of the first card of the discard pile.

The player who plays 8 will then decide the suit or rank that the next player needs to discard.

A round ends, when one of the players has discarded all their cards. When the round is over, cards that were not discarded by the other players will have their values computed.

How to win

The objective of the game is to have the least score for each round. The final score is decided upon when there is a player who has already attained 100 or more points. At this point, the player who will have maintained the lowest score will be the winner.

The scores are computed as follows;

  • Ace is equal to 1 point
  • 2-10(except 8) is equal to their face value
  • K/Q/J is equivalent to 10 points
  • 8 is equal to 50 points.

There are a few strategies that could work in order to win.

  • Save your eights as they may come in handy. If you play an 8, always decide on a suit that you have the most cards. However, always keep an eye on the number of cards your opponents have because when the round ends, 8s are equal to 50 points.
  • Always play cards with the highest value first to ensure you maintain the lowest score in case a round ends.
  • Although not always the best, playing a rank match before a suit match is better.


  • The player left to the dealer always starts the game.
  • Players can only draw one card at a time except for multiple cards variation.
  • When the player has no card to match the first card of the discard pile, then they will have to draw from the stockpile.
  • Players can draw up to 3 cards until they find a matching suit or rank. If they haven’t found one, then the player will pass their turn to the player on the left. However, this will depends on the game variation being played. In some variations, players can draw cards until the stockpile is exhausted.
  • Card 8 can’t be used to start the discard pile when the game is starting. If this happens, the card will have to be buried at the centre of the stockpile.
  • A round ends when there is a player who has discarded all their cards.
  • The player who discards all their cards is the dealer of the next round.
  • A player can draw from the stockpile at any point in the game.
  • When a player has one card remaining, they must alert others by saying ‘last card’. Failure to do so leads to a penalty of drawing 2 more cards from the stockpile.


Like most card games, Crazy Eights has a number of game variations to spice up gameplay.

Queens skip

For this variation, playing a queen causes the next player to miss their turn. This can also apply to Aces too. For a two player game, the opponent will miss that turn and the current player will have a second turn.

Queen of Spades

When a player plays queens, the next player in line must pick 5 cards before they can continue playing.

Aces reverse direction

The direction of the game changes when aces are played. So instead of the player to the left having the next turn, the player to the right will play next. For a two player game the Ace has no effect.

Playing multiple cards

For this variation, players can draw two cards of the same rank in one turn. So if the first card of the discard pile is 7s, then if the player has two 7s they can discard them at once.


What is the main objective of Crazy Eights card game?

The main goal is to be the first player to discard their cards and also maintain the lowest score.

How is the score calculated?

Each of the remaining cards will be assigned their value and the score calculated. The player with the least score after the game ends is the winner.