The game Presidents and Slaves is a social card game that is great for parties and is dependent on luck as well as some skill and strategy. It is played with anywhere between 4 and 10 people with 6 or 7 people being the ideal number of players. It is played with a 52 card deck and the objective of the game is to get rid of all of your cards as fast as possible. Depending on how fast you get rid of your cards you can earn the title of President, Vice President, Slave or Vice Slave, each of which comes with its own reward or punishment.
Step 1: Dealing the First Round
Step 2: Game Play Rules for Round 1
The suits in this game are irrelevant; this is because if at any time a person lays the same single card as the person previously laid, the person whose turn is next will be skipped. For example, if an eight is laid and is followed by the next person laying an eight, the next person will have to skip their turn.
The two’s are what is called a “clear”, as cards are laid they start to pile up in the middle of the table, and if at any time you cannot beat the card with a card of higher value, you may lay a two which forces the dealer to remove the cards from the table, and allows you to lay another card of your choosing. However a two may not be used to start or end any particular round. If you lay your last card and it is a two, you automatically loose that round and are assessed a penalty that will be discussed later.
Another way to “clear” the cards is by finishing the set of four cards. This means that if at anytime someone lays a card(s) and you have the remaining cards of that value, you may lay those remaining cards at any time to effectively clear the cards. It doesn’t have to be your turn to perform this clear, but all 4 cards must be laid consecutively. For example, if someone lays two nines and you have the other two nines, you may lay those and clear the deck. If someone lays a nine, then someone lays a queen, if you lay the remaining three nines this does NOT clear the cards because they were not laid consecutively. Once the cards have been cleared, the next card is laid by the person who laid the cards that cleared the table.
Step 3: Playing Round 1
Step 4: Playing Rounds 2 and On
Step 5: Strategy Tips
Using clears can help get rid of the low cards. Since you are able to play a card immediately after you clear, this can be a good strategy to get rid of your lower cards.
When you become the Slave, be careful of trying to give yourself an advantage by dealing yourself too few cards. It’s very easy to get a little unlucky and get stuck with a lot of low single cards. Since you have less cards, the chances of getting pairs of cards become considerably less. Less cards is good but be careful of going overboard and getting stuck with a bad hand.
After you are dealt your cards, putting all pairs together and arranging them from lowest to highest can help you make quick decisions. If a card(s) is laid and you have the remaining cards to perform a clear, you must act quickly before the next person lays. Having your cards in order and ready helps you do this.
If you are President or Vice President, it is ideal when trading cards with the Slave and Vice Slave to either pair up cards that you have singles of, or trade those cards away so as to have as many multiples as possible.
If it is possible to skip the next person by laying the same card that was previously laid, always do so. You don’t want people to get rid of their cards and making someone skip their turn is a small way to help you do that.
If it comes down to you and one other person with cards remaining, look at how many cards they have left. If they only have one or two left and you have more than they have, a good strategy is to play your highest cards first. If the card(s) they have left is high value or a multiple, they are going to beat you anyway, but if it’s a low card, you can play high cards that they can’t beat. This will continually clear the board and allow you to keep laying cards. This is effective because usually the reason the player has this card left is because it’s a low card that they haven’t been able to get rid of. This particular strategy is mostly used in desperation if you have one person to beat and you have more cards than they do. It is somewhat of an advanced strategy and may require some experience to acquire the proper timing.