Idiot the Card Game Rules

Do you like card games that involve little strategy and lots of luck? Come and learn the Idiot card game rules. It may become your new favorite.

The Idiot card game is simple, dynamic, and fun. It should not be confused with You Are an Idiot, though, a completely different adult party game played with a specialized set of cards. 

Idiot is much more similar to the Pitty Pat game or Garbage card game: It is a family-friendly game played with standard cards that has a simple objective — don’t be the last one to get rid of all cards.

Key highlights of this Idiot card game rules guide:

  • What is Idiot
  • Idiot Card Game Rules
  • Idiot Scoring 
  • Idiot Rules in Pictures 
  • How to play Idiot (Video tutorial)

Want to learn how to play the Idiot game? Read on for a comprehensive rules guide.

What Is Idiot The Card Game?

Idiot Card Game Info Image

Idiot is a card game involving a little bit of everything: it’s fun and strategic and requires some logical decision-making. 

Still, the chance remains the main factor here, as players try to outrank the cards on the top of the pile to discard as many of their cards as possible.

Number Of Players: 2 – 3 

Ages: 10+ 

Difficulty: Easy

Length Of Play: 20 – 30 minutes

Type of Game: Party-type trick-taking card game

Similar to: Bridge, Hearts, Sheepshead

Main Objective: Getting rid of all the cards by playing the correct numbers and burning piles at the right time.

Our Take: Idiot is great for all ages and is also an extremely flexible game – you can easily add and tweak its rules to make it more fun or challenging.

What You’ll Need to Play Idiot Card Game

If you plan to play the Idiot card game, you’ll need the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Tip: To adapt the game to more players, if needed, add one more identical card deck for every 2 – 3 players. 

Idiot Card Game Rules 

Idiot is a simple game based on classic trick-taking principles, so if you’re already familiar with some more complex games from this family, you’ll learn how to play Idiot in no time.

Starting the Game

First, remove the jokers from the deck and shuffle the cards thoroughly (of course, you should designate the dealer for this purpose). 

When the cards are ready, here’s how to set up the game in 3 simple steps:

  1. Start by dealing 3 cards face down to each player.
  2. Next, place 3 cards face up over the face-down cards of each player.
  3. Finally, deal 3 more cards to each player they will place in their hand.

Before the game begins, the player can rearrange cards in the hand and the face-up pile

Once the game starts, no card from the face-up pile can be played as long as the player has cards in their hand.

How to Play Idiot

The player to the dealer’s left goes first, and turns are taken clockwise. 

Generally, the game begins with the card of the lowest ranking, i.e., 3. If no player has 3 or wishes to play their 3 cards in the first round, the next round begins with 4, and so on.

The players must play a card that ranks equal to or higher than the card on the top of the discard pile. 

They can play multiple cards with the same number in turn. This means if a 3 card is played by player A, player B will need another 3 or higher. 

And if the second player has 2 cards of 3, the player can play both cards in the same turn. 

So, quite like in Chase The Ace, players with higher numbered cards have a greater chance of winning Idiot. 

However, that is only a part of the gameplay: The main goal is getting rid of as many cards as possible the fastest.

The play continues as explained above until a player has no cards ranking higher than the one on the top of the discard pile.

In this case, that player collects all the cards from the discard pile in the hand and continues playing with that many cards. 

The gameplay is divided into three stages according to the distribution of cards:

  • Stage 1: Each player draws 3 cards per turn after playing their cards. These cards can be used in turn. If the player gets another 3 after drawing from the stockpile, the player can play that card, too, leaving fewer cards in their hand. 

Note: In this stage, winning is next to impossible because you will most likely draw more cards than you discard.

  • Stage 2: When all the cards from the stockpile are drawn, the players now only discard cards in turn. In this stage, the players get rid of all the cards in their hands and then move on to play the cards from the face-up pile.
  • Stage 3: When finally all the face-up cards have been played, the players move on to play blind. This means that the players cannot look at the cards they are playing and are at maximum risk of having to pick up all the cards in the discard pile. 

Note: This stage can turn the entire game around and entirely depends on the player’s luck. 

Special Rules & Card Values

In Idiot, the cards mostly rank higher or lower according to their numerical value. There are some special cases, though. 

For example, Jacks, Queens, and Kings have the same value as 10

Here are some other rules to follow:

  • Ace is the highest-ranking card.
  • Number 2 is a determiner. The player that plays 2 will play another card that determines the discard number that the game will be reset to. The following player will follow that second card that is discarded and aim to rank equal or higher.
  • Number 10 is a burn card. This means each time a 10 is discarded, the entire discard pile burns and is out of play for the rest of the game. 

Burning The Discard Pile

Besides card number 10, there’s another rule for burning the discard pile (and, thus, effectively throwing several cards out of the game).

If one number is repeated 4 times consecutively, the entire pile beneath it can be discarded.

It doesn’t matter whether a single player is throwing in 4 cards of the same number or different players are throwing one card each. 

Example: If 3-3-3-3 land on one another in a discard pile in any order, the pile burns.

Winning Strategies

Here are a few tips that might help you score and win the game of Idiot:

  1. Keep high-ranking cards in the face-up piles because that’s when you cannot afford to go back to too many cards.
  2. Save your 10 cards for larger piles, and take the smaller piles if you have to.

Idiot Scoring 

There is no scoring in this card game. Instead, the last player left with cards is the Idiot, and all other players who finish are the winners. 

Tip: If you want to make the game more mischievous, get a funny hat and make the loser (the Idiot) wear it for the rest of the evening!

Idiot Card Game Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Each player gets 3 cards facing down, 3 face-up cards over them, and 3 more cards to their hands. They can rearrange the face-up and hand cards. The remaining cards form a draw pile.

Idiot card game rules 1 image

Step 2

In the game of Idiot, Aces rank the highest. Jacks, Queens, and Kings are of the same value as Tens. Twos are also high and work as “determiners.” 

Idiot card game rules 2 image

Step 3

The game starts with the lowest-ranking available card, ideally 3. Players take turns playing cards that rank equal to or higher than the previous card. They can play more cards of the same rank at once and always replenish their hand up to 3.

Idiot card game rules 3 image

Step 4

If a player cannot play a card matching the criteria, they collect the entire discard pile.

Idiot card game rules 4 image

Step 5

You can also burn the discard pile if 4 cards of the same rank are played in consecutive order or if someone discards 10.

Idiot card game rules 5 image

Step 6

When the draw pile is empty, and the players use all the cards in their hands, they continue with the piles in front of them. The last player with some cards left is the Idiot, who loses the game. 

Idiot card game rules 6 image

How to Play the Idiot Card Game – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the reverse rule in the Idiot card game?

In some versions of Idiot, 5 works as a reverse card. Once played, the following card has to rank equal or LOWER than 5, so the next player can only play 3, 4, 5, or special cards to pass the turn.

Is there an exception to the burn pile rules in the Idiot card game?

In some variations, the 6 is an exception to burn the pile rules. Instead of the 4 cards of the same number normally needed, you only need three 6s to burn the pile.

What is the ‘wild card’ variation to the Idiot card game?

To make the game easier, some Idiot game rules state that 2 is a wild card, which means it can go on top of any number, and any number can go on top of 2.

Other Similar Games to Idiot

Can’t get enough of playing card games like Idiot? Check out our guides to a few similar games below: 

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova