Crazy Eights

The card game crazy eights has been around for years and year. Certainly, I played this game for hours when I was a kid and through the years. As young children, my girls had several “little kid” decks for this game— Sesame Street, animals, that kind of thing. So I was surprised when I mentioned it to my 10 year-old and received a blank stare. “How do you play Crazy Eights?” she asked.

I guess we’ve neglected this tired and tested game. Now, it’s her go-to game, especially Crazy Eight Countdown.

In this post, I will cover the basic game as well as some variations.

What you need:

A standard deck of playing cards with the jockers removed.

Object of the game:

To be the first person to get ride of all of your cards.

Set up:

Deal seven cards to all players. Then place the remaining cards in the middle of the playing area; this is the draw pile. Next, flip over the top card and place it next to the draw pile. This is the discard pile.

Each player gets 7 cards to start a game of Crazy Eights
Each player gets 7 cards to start. The draw and discard piles are placed in the middle.


The player to the deal’s left goes first. Play continues around in clockwise fashion.

How to play:

You must match the top card on the discard pile either in suit or number. For example, if the top card is the 4 of hearts, then you can play any four or any heart card. The play moves on to the player on the left. If a player can’t go, she picks up off the draw pile. If the player can then play, she may and play moves on.

Cards can be matched with either the suit or the face number of the card on the discard pile
The three of clubs matches the three of hearts that is on the discard pile so can be played.
In Crazy Eights Card game, cards can be matched with the suit on the discard pile.
The five of clubs matches the suit of the seven on the discard pile.
If a player can not match the suit or number, and does not have an eight, she must pick up from the draw pile.
This player can not match the five in number or the suit of hearts and chooses not to play the wild eight; she must pick of the draw pile.

Special cards:

8 – as the name says, the eights are “crazy” or wild. This means that you can place an eight at any time on your turn. You then get to pick a suit to change the play to. The suit on the eight and the suit that you choose do not have to match, nor does the eight you play have to match what is on the discard pile.

In Crazy Eights a player can play an eight at any time and change the suit.
This player can not match the suit or face of the card and decides to play the wild card, chaning the suit to Spades.

2 – when a two is played, the next player must pick up two cards and add them to his hand. If he can go then he does so and play moves on. If he can’t go then play moves on. If a two is played on top of another two, the next player has to pick up four cards. The same goes if yet another two is played. The twos can only be played according to the suit on the discard pile or if another two is on top.

Playing a two will make the next player pick up two cards from the draw pile.
Playing a two will make the next player pick up two cards off the draw pile.
In Crazy Eights two can be played on top of each other , increasing the amount that the next player has to pick up.
When a two is played ont op of another two, the next player has to pick up four cards off the draw pile.

Queen of Spades – nicked named “The Mean Queen” in our house, the Queen of Spades is a pick up 5 cards. Just like the twos, this card must be played on another spade or another queen. If the queen is played on top of the two of spades, the next played would have to pick up 7. Similarly, if the two of spades was played on top of another two and then the queen was played, the player would have to 9 cards.

Playing a the Queen of Spades make the next player pick up five cards.
Playing the Queen of Spades will make the next player have to pick up five cards off the draw pile.

The Last card:

When a player has only one hand, she must knock, announcing that she only has one card left. If she does not knock before the next layer plays, and someone points it out, she then has to pick up 7 cards from the draw pile as a penalty.


The first player to discard all of her cards is the winner.

The king matches the nine in suit and this player will win the hand!

Other names of the game:

As Crazy Eights is a very old game, it is known as many different names. Here are just a few: crates, switch, last one, Swedish Rummy and Rockaway. In Germany, it is Mau-mau. In the Netherlands, it is called Pesten. And the name that I like the best is Suits.


As with many things that have travelled around the world and through time, Crazy Eights has many different variations. For example, some have that the queens are skip a turn and aces change the direction of play. Other, have the jacks as skip a turn.
For picking up cards some have that the Queen of Spades is a regular card. While others have that if a two is played to you and you place down a two, you don’t have to pick up but the next player has to pick up 4. Some variations, say that if you can’t play, you must keep picking up off the draw pile until you can. And others state that if you can’t play and pick up a card that could be played, you have to wait until your next turn to play it.

Some games say that when you play an eight, the suit of that eight is now the suit of play. And some still have the ability to play more than one card at a time—if you have three 3s then you can place them down at the same time, presuming that the bottom card matches the discard pile.

Scoring is yet another difference. Some variations have a score option that has any cards left in your hand that count against you. 8s are worth 50 point, any picture cards are worth 10 points and the rest of the cards count as to the face value of the cards.


Overall, Crazy Eights is a fun card game that the whole family can enjoy. The basic game is quick and easy. It is best to state the rules at the beginning of a game if you are playing with someone new as you can see from above there are many rules to play by. The whole family can play this game. It transports easily and only takes a short time to play around. Crazy Eights is a keeper for your Family Game Shelf.

We’d love to hear any other rules or variations that you have! Let us know how you play Crazy Eights in the comments!

For more fun, learn the rules of Crazy Eight Countdown!
For more card games check our the card section on Family Game Shelf here.
To see the card options at Amazon, click here.

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