Crazy Eights Card Game: How To Play, Rules and Strategies

In this post, we’re taking an in-depth look at Crazy Eights – a fast-paced, easy-to-learn card game that promises loads of fun. We’ll explore how to play, key rules, and winning strategies. Let’s get started!

Overview of Crazy Eights Card Game

Crazy Eights is an exciting and engaging card game enjoyed by players of all ages worldwide. Known by different names like Swedish Rummy or Crates in various parts of the world, it’s a game that involves 2 to 7 players and is played with a standard 52-card deck.

The primary goal of Crazy Eights is straightforward: be the first player to get rid of all your cards. Sounds simple, right? Well, there’s more. The twist comes in the form of the game’s namesake – the eight card, which serves as a wildcard and can alter the direction of the game dramatically.

The rankings of the cards are typical with Aces being low (just above the 8) and Kings high, but remember, the eights are the game changers here. They can be used at any time and allow you to dictate the game’s flow.

Crazy Eights card ranking
Card rankings from lowest to highest in a game of Crazy Eights

Ready to dive deeper? Up next, we’ll tackle the setup.

How to Setup Crazy Eights

Setting up a game of Crazy Eights is a cinch. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Select a Dealer: To kick things off, players should agree upon a method to select a dealer. This could be done randomly or by a simple game of ‘draw the highest card’.
  2. Shuffle and Deal: Once a dealer is selected, they shuffle the deck and deal five cards to each player if there are only two players. If there are more than two players, each player should receive seven cards.
  3. Create a Draw Pile and Discard Pile: After dealing, the dealer places the remaining deck in the center of the table to form a draw pile. The dealer then flips the top card from the draw pile and places it next to the draw pile to start the discard pile.
  4. Begin the Game: The player to the dealer’s left begins the game.

Now that you’re all set up, let’s move on to the gameplay and rules of Crazy Eights.

Gameplay and Rules of Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights - King placed on top of burn pile

Once the game setup is complete, you’re ready to dive into the action. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play the game and the associated rules:

  1. Start of Play: The player to the left of the dealer kicks off the game by matching the rank or suit of the top card on the discard pile. The match can be anything from an Ace of Spades to a Queen of Hearts, as long as it corresponds with either the rank or suit of the top card.
  2. Using Eights: If a player cannot match the top card of the discard pile or simply chooses not to, they may play an eight and declare any suit, not necessarily the one they hold. For instance, if a player puts down an eight, they might declare “hearts,” turning the game in a new direction.
  3. Drawing Cards: If a player cannot (or chooses not to) play a card or an eight, they draw cards from the draw pile until they can play one. If the draw pile runs out, the game continues without players drawing cards.
  4. End of a Round: The round ends when a player gets rid of all their cards. The players then score points based on the cards left in their hands. Each card carries its face value in points, while eights are worth 50 points each.
  5. Winning the Game: The game continues over several rounds until a player reaches a previously agreed upon score, often 100. The player with the lowest score at this point is declared the winner.
Crazy Eights - Using an 8
The 8 is used as a wildcard and can be played on any card to change the suit to the players liking. Whilst the 8 in this example is the 8 of Clubs, the player could declare “Hearts” to change the active suit to Hearts.

Variations of Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is a card game that has seen various iterations and modifications over the years. Here are a few notable variations:

  1. Crazy Eights Countdown: In this version, players need to first get rid of their cards and then start again with one card less each time. The winner is the first player who manages to go out when holding only one card.
  2. Last Card: A popular variant in Australia, the game allows players to reverse the direction of play, skip a player’s turn, and require the next player to draw additional cards.
  3. Mau Mau: Popular in Germany, Mau Mau introduces a rule where a player must announce their last card. Failure to do so results in a penalty of drawing extra cards.
  4. Switch: A British variant where the player not only has to match the previous card’s rank or suit but can also switch to another suit if they match the rank.

These variations offer a twist on the original game, ensuring it never gets old. Up next, we’ll be sharing some useful strategies and tips to up your game in Crazy Eights.

Strategies and Tips

Crazy Eights might seem simple, but it has its fair share of strategic depth. Here are some tips and tricks to get you ahead:

  1. Save Your Eights: As eights are wildcards, it’s often a good strategy to save them for emergencies. When you can’t match the suit or rank, an eight can bail you out.
  2. Change Suits Strategically: When you play an eight, you get to choose the next suit. Use this to your advantage by choosing a suit you have plenty of. This will help you get rid of more cards on your subsequent turns.
  3. Be Mindful of High-Value Cards: Remember, cards left in your hand at the end of the round count as points against you. Aim to play your high-value cards like Kings, Queens, and Jacks early to avoid being caught with them.
  4. Keep An Eye on Your Opponents: Pay attention to the cards other players are drawing or playing. This can give you clues about what suits they might be holding, allowing you to strategically change suits and potentially block them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions players have about Crazy Eights:

Can a game of Crazy Eights end in a draw?

No, the game can’t end in a draw. If the draw pile runs out, the player with the fewest points in their hand is declared the winner.

What happens if the first card turned up in a game of Crazy Eights is an eight?

If the first card turned up from the draw pile is an eight, it is buried in the middle of the deck, and a new card is turned up.

Can you play another eight on top of an eight in Crazy Eights?

Yes, you can play another eight on top of an eight. The player who does so declares the next suit.

How many cards do you deal in Crazy Eights?

If there are two players, each player is dealt five cards. If there are more than two players, each player gets seven cards.


Crazy Eights is a versatile and dynamic card game that guarantees hours of fun. Whether you’re a seasoned card player or a beginner, the game offers ample challenge and entertainment.

We’ve armed you with the rules, strategies, and some useful tips – the rest is up to you. So gather your friends or family, grab a deck of cards, and let the games begin! Remember, in the whirlwind world of Crazy Eights, the only constant is change.

Do you have any other tips or strategies? Or perhaps a unique variation of Crazy Eights you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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