A card game for two or more players. The ideal number of players is
two or three; four is doable, and more may be possible with multiple
card decks, though I haven't tried that.
Idiot is a fun way to spend an hour or two with someone in whose
company you're always glad to do most anything. The rules are simple,
the action is fast and doesn't tax your brain so there's plenty of
bandwidth available for conversation. It's more fun than poker,
blackjack, etc., (IMHO) because too much time is spent in the
overhead of those games (shuffling, dealing). Sometimes
a single hand can go on between two players for half an hour -- that's
I have no idea when the game was invented,
or by whom.
How to play
Deal three cards to each player, face down, then three more to
each, face up, on top of them. Each player then gets three more cards
which e holds in his hand. The rest of the deck forms a draw pile.
A player's six cards on the table won't come into play for a while,
but before the game starts, any of the three showing can be exchanged
with a card in the player's hand if e wishes, based
on the value criteria described later. The player who first plays all
of eir cards is the winner. To conclude the preparations,
the top card from the draw pile is placed face up on the table to
initialize the play pile.
As is common, play begins with the person to the dealer's left
and continues around in that direction. A person can play any card
that is equal to or higher than the top card on the play pile. (The
suit of cards is not significant.) If e holds more than one of
that value card, e may play any number of them. After doing so, if
e holds fewer than three cards, he draws cards to replenish his hand
to three. (After the draw pile has been exhausted, a player may then
hold fewer than three cards in eir hand.) If a player cannot play
any card, e must pick up all the cards in the play pile and add them
to his hand; the next player then plays any playable card to start a
new play pile.
If a player has no cards in eir hand, e then starts to play from his
three face-up cards on the table. If e has played all of those, e then
plays from the face-down cards, by picking one at random (i.e., e
cannot look at them to choose). Note that though e has reached either
of those two stages, if e is unable to play at some point and must
pick up the play pile, e then must wait until e once again holds no
cards before e can resume playing from the table.
Of course, that all makes it sound too idiotic ... err, easy.
Naturally, there are exceptions to the rules which are what make it
- A two (the lowest value card) can be played on top of any other
card, regardless of its value
- A ten can also be played on any card, but when a ten is played,
the entire play pile is then picked up and permanently removed from
the game. The player who played the ten then plays again to restart
the play pile.
- If, after playing one or more cards, the top four cards on the
play pile are of the same value, the player who played the last
one continues as though e had played a ten.
Knowing all that, one then can see what e generally wants to do in the
card exchange phase before play starts: make your face-up cards consist
of tens, high-valued cards, two- or three-of-a-kind, and twos.