Presidents and A**holes is a card game based on a set hierarchy of cards and is usually played in groups of four to eight. Although the game is known in the western world as Presidents and A**holes or just President, the game was actually developed in Japan. The original version, called Daifugo, which means grand millionaire, was not much different than the current American version of the game. In both versions, the object of the game is to get rid of all of the cards that are dealt to oneself before anyone else. The players of the game have special titles given to them based on individual performance throughout the game. The player with the current lead is given the title of president, the player in second at any given time is the vice president, the player in last is named the a**hole, the person in second-to-last is the vice a**hole, and the rest of the players are just referred to as neutral. The only difference between the original and more modern version presents itself in the form of the titles of the various players, with the older version laying out the hierarchy of players as the grand millionaire, the millionaire, the poor, the destitute, and the other players as commoners. Presidents and A**holes is a fairly simple game (after you learn the order of the cards) and is a fun and exciting game for a group of 4 to 8 players!
Step 1: Statement of Purpose
Even though P&A is a perfect blend of the right amount of simplicity and uniqueness and has the ability to thoroughly entertain a large number of people, it is still a game that many would consider relatively obscure. It is for this reason that a tutorial must be made so that others may learn the wonderful game of P&A and take on the challenge of becoming the president.
Step 2: The Order of Cards
From weakest to strongest, the hierarchy of cards is as follows:
- King (excluding the King of Hearts)
- King of Hearts
- AK-47 (playing an Ace, King, 4, and a 7 at the same time)
- 666 (three 6’s at once)
It is important to note that while almost every version of P&A follows a similar hierarchy of cards, each person may have their own version of the game in terms of special card combinations or the hierarchy may be slightly different. Simply make sure to pay attention to the variation of the game that is being played in order to have the best possible card playing experience.
Step 3: General Game Constraints
In general, the game works best when it is played in groups of four to eight people. Playing with four people will result in a president, vice president, a**hole, and vice a**hole every hand. If there are more than four people, the remaining players will be neutral at the end of the hand and will not exchange cards with anyone. Playing with any more than eight people requires the use of a second deck of cards, which can be cumbersome and will take longer. During game play, you must play a card that is higher or of the same value than the previous person. If a card of the same value is played twice in a row, the next person who would play gets skipped for one turn. If a player cannot play a card of equal or higher value than the previous person, they must pass. The round is over when every player cannot play a card higher than the previous player or every person around the table has passed.
Step 4: Special Moves
1. Multiples - If the person who is leading off the round has more than one of a type of card in their hand, the person can play multiple of the same card. For instance, if a player has two 3's in their hand, they may lead off with two 3's if they so choose. If a person lays down multiples, the subsequent players must also lay down the same number of the multiple laid before them. It goes without saying that it must be a higher multiple than the previous player.
2. Skip - At any time during game play, whether a single card or multiple are laid down, if a player has the same card in their hand as what was played before them, they may lay down that card and this will initiate a "skip." The person directly next to the person who laid down the skip will forfeit their turn and the turn will pass to the person after them.
3. Pass - If a player cannot beat the card or cards laid down in front of them, they must pass. This will count as that player's turn. Once you pass, you are done for the hand and can continue to play only after someone wins the hand and a new one is started.
4. 4 in a Row - If at any point in game play, four of the same card are laid down sequentially, the person who completed the quadruple will win that hand. It is important to note that four people sitting sequentially do not have to lay down the four of a kind. The only instance that matters for this rule is that four of the same card are laid down sequentially in the "card pile."
Step 5: Special Cards
1. The Joker - The Joker is one of the highest cards in the game and a special rule applies to the card as well. If any amount of cards is played before the joker, one less than the amount that was laid down is all that is needed to beat the previous high card. For example, if two cards were laid down, only one joker would be needed to be played. A similar process should be followed if sets of three cards are being laid down. Only two would be needed respectively.
2. The King of Hearts - the King of Hearts is special in that it counts as a much higher card than a king of any other suit and it can be used to beat any number of cards before it. For example, if any amount of cards is laid down before the turn, such as two 3's or three 2's, a single King of Hearts will trump what has been laid down before it.
3. AK-47 - The AK-47 consists of the card combination of an ace, king, four, and a seven. The king in this combination could be the King of Hearts; however, this is not recommended as the King of Hearts is extremely valuable on its own and should be played by itself. Similarly to the King of Hearts, any number of cards could be played before the AK-47, but only one AK-47 is needed to beat the previous hand. The AK-47 will beat any combination of cards besides a 666.
4. 666 - A 666 consists of any combination of three 6's and can be used to beat any other card in the game. Any number or combination of cards could be played before the 666, but one single instance is needed to beat the previous hand and win the round. Since no player can beat the 666 and no other instance of a 666 can exist in a single deck, the round is over when a 666 is laid down.
Step 6: An Example of Multiples
This example of multiple cards illustrates that if multiples are laid down, you have to follow the amount of multiples that is played. For example, in the picture the first turn played two 4's so the following player played two 8's.
Step 7: An Example of "Skip"
The above figure shows one player skipping the next. After a card was played, the next person played a card of the same value, in this case a 5. The player who follows the person who played the second 5 would be skipped. This rule applies to all types of hands(single, pair, and triple).
Step 8: An Example of a Special Card, the Joker
The above figure shows how you can play some cards on top of any type of hand (singles, doubles, triples). One less joker can be laid down than the cards before it (1 joker on doubles, 2 jokers on triples) as long as the joker is stronger than the cards laid down. AK-47, 666, and King of Hearts can be played on any type of hand regardless (singles, doubles, triples) as long as the cards being played are stronger than the most recent card laid down.
Step 9: Another Example of a Special Card, the AK-47
This illustrates the use of an AK-47. An AK-47 can be used to trump any of the previous cards including the King of Hearts, but can still be trumped by 666.
Step 10: Move Options
Move options are as follows:
- Play a single card
- Play a double
- Play a triple
- Play a quadruple
- Pass, which ends your ability to play for that hand
- Play a card (s) of higher value than the previous card
- Play a card of equal value to the previous card to constitute a skip
Step 11: Rules for the First Round (Used to Determine Starting Roles)
Before general game play can begin, a round of the game needs to be played in order to determine the initial order or positions that every person will occupy. The rules for the first round are as follows:
1. Shuffle and deal out all of the cards to the participants.
2. The person with the 3 of clubs goes first for the first round.
3. The first person plays whatever card they choose; however, general game play is to play your lowest card. The next player then has to play an equal number of cards of equal or higher strength or they can pass (meaning they can no longer play in this hand).
4. This will continue until either everyone has passed or can’t play except for one person.
5. You continue playing new hands until everybody has played all of their cards except one person. Reaching this point ends round one.
6. The person who played all of their cards first has won the first round and will assume the position of president for the first hand of real game play. The person finishing in second starts as the vice president, the person finishing in last starts as the a**hole, and the person finishing in second to last starts as the vice a**hole. All other players are neutral.
7. These titles are re-assigned after every round for the rest of the game. For example, if in the second round the vice a**hole plays all of his cards first, he will be the president in round three.
Once the first round has been played and the initial order has been determined, you must sit in the order of the determined hierarchy of persons and normal game play can begin.
Step 12: All Rounds After Round 1
The game play for all rounds after round one (the very first round) follow the exact same game play mechanics with the exception of the a**hole now starting the round instead of the person with the 3 of clubs. Before the start of each round, the president must also give their two worst cards to the a**hole, and the a**hole must give the president their two best cards. The vice president and the vice a**hole do the same thing, but trade only one card instead of two. For deciding which cards are best, ignore any sets of cards (AK-47, 666, doubles, triples) and just go by single card strength.