Presidents and Assholes is a popular card game which has appeared in a number of American movies, such as American Pie and Jackass, as a drinking game. The Presidents card game is actually originated form a Chinese card game called Dai Hin Min (which didn’t involve drinking), but is now commonly played with drinking rules. If you’re familiar with the card Big 2, you’ll find that Presidents and Assholes is very similar, it just has additional rules. In Australia, it’s not uncommon for the game to be called Presidents and Scumbags instead.
How to play Presidents & Assholes
The aim of the game in Presidents is to finish the round first so that you can be President in the next round. If you miss out on finishing first you try and finish as soon as you can as other players receive different rankings for the next round too. In order to finish first in the round you need to be the first player to discard all of your cards. We’ll detail how to discard in Presidents and Assholes in the rules section.
President card game terminology and titles
There are quite a few different terms and titles used in Presidents and Assholes, and you’ll find that are a whole heap of slight variations on the titles and the rules each title must abide be.
These are some of the common titles used:
- President: this is the winner of the previous round.
- Vice President: the player who came second place in the previous round.
- Secretary: this can be allotted to whoever finishes third.
- Average Joe: the player who finishes in the middle.
- Vice Asshole: second last place.
- Asshole: the player who came last in the last round.
The titles used depend on how many people are playing, but you can pretty much add any titles and accompanying rules as you wish.
Basic terminology used in Presidents and Assholes:
- Single: this is when one card is being played alone, e.g. a player puts down a single Jack card, the next player must beat this card with another single card that is higher.
- Double: a pair of cards played. The next player in line must follow suit and also play a pair of equal or higher value, or play a 2 card to “clear the deck”.
- Triple: when a three of a kind trick is played (must be beaten in the same way as singles or doubles).
- Quadruple: four of a kind trick is played
- Bomb: a single card that is played that clears the deck and win the hand. The 2 card is normally considered the bomb but in some variations Joker cards can be bombs too.
- Laser: when you have all four 2 cards.
- Quick Clear Play: when a player plays out of turn to complete the play, for example if Player 1 put down two Kings another player could put down the other two Kings even if it wasn’t their turn. This would clear the deck and they would get to have their turn.
- Clear: when someone plays a hand and all the other players pass it “clears” the play and whoever put out the winning hand may lead with whatever hand they wish. If someone plays a 2 or Joker card the play is also cleared.
- Collo Card: when someone plays out of turn or makes some other simple mistake in the game they must pick up a discarded card and miss an extra turn.
Step-by-step guide to playing President
1. The President, or Asshole (depending on which variation you’re playing) deals out all the cards between the players until the deck has been totally divided. The first card of each players hand is turned upwards so that the President can choose the hand they wish.
2. Once everyone has had a look at their hand the Asshole must hand over their best two cards to the President, and the President gives the Asshole any two cards that they don’t want. The Vice Asshole then gives the Vice President their best card which is swapped for a card that the Vice President doesn’t want.
3. The President starts the game by playing any cards they wish whether it’s a Single, Double, Triple or Quadruple play. They can also play poker hands, for example a straight, a flush, a full house, etc.
4. The player to the left of the President then has their turn. In order to play they must be able to beat the Presidents trick, but only use the same number of cards. For example if the President was to play two 8’s the next player must play a pair that is higher than the two 8’s. Alternatively the next player could also play a pair of 8’s. This would skip the next person’s turn if this happens.
5. Each player continues to have their turn, but they must beat the trick played directly before them. If they can’t they must pass.
6. This continues until all players pass or a 2 card is played. When either of these things happen the play is cleared and whoever one that round starts the next round by playing whatever sort of trick they wish.
7. The play continues until all players have finished and only one player is still left with cards in their hands. The order in which the players finish determines the ranks each player is given for the next round.
So far we’ve run through how to play Presidents and Assholes without the drinking rules, but the game is considered a fun and popular drinking game. The additional drinking rules don’t interfere with the main rules, they are more like extra punishments dealt out in the game. The drinking rules are flexible and change depending on who you’re learning the game from, but here is what we play by:
- When a player is skipped because the same card or set of tricks has been played on another, the skipped player must take a drink. For example if Player 1 puts down a 6 card and the next player puts a 6 on top of that then the next player is skipped and must take a drink.
- At the beginning of a round the President can tell anyone to take a drink.
- When a player takes a Collo Card they must also take a drink.
- When someone passes on a play they must take a drink.
These are pretty standard drinking additions but Presidents and Assholes is a creative game and you can add whatever sort of drinking rules you feel like making up.