Crazy Eights (Swedish Rummy) Card Game Rules

3 girls playing card game in living room

Ben Gold / Getty Images

In Crazy Eights, players begin with a deck of cards and have a goal of getting rid of all of them, like in the card game UNO and Old Maid. The game is a type of "shedding" card game that requires skills in both tactics and communication. It's also known as a "stops" game because players can be stopped from discarding if they don't have a proper card.

It's believed that Crazy Eights can trace its heritage back to the mid-1600s and a French gambling game known as Basset or Hocca. Crazy Eights is also known as Eights and Swedish Rummy, a distant relative of general Rummy.

How to Set up the Game

To play the game Crazy Eights, there must be a minimum of two players and a maximum of four. A standard 52-card deck can be used with the goal for players to discard all of their cards. To set up the game, first, a dealer must be chosen. In a two-player game, each player is dealt seven cards and in a game with three or four players, each player is dealt five cards.

The remaining cards are then placed facedown in the center of the table, forming a draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned faceup to start the discard pile.

How to Play

The player to the left of the dealer goes first in the game, and the play moves clockwise. On a turn, each player adds to the discard pile by playing one card that matches the top card on the discard pile either by suit or by rank (six, jack, ace, etc.).

A player who cannot match the top card on the discard pile by suit or rank must draw cards until he or she can play one. It is allowed to pull cards from the draw pile even if a player already has a legal play. When the draw pile is empty, a player who cannot add to the discard pile passes his or her turn.

All eights are wild and can be played on any card during a player's turn. When a player discards an eight, he or she chooses which suit is now in play. The next player must play either a card of that suit or another eight.

How to Win

The first player to discard all of his cards wins. With four players, it is possible to play with a team. If players decide to do this, the game ends when both members of a partnership discard all their cards.

To play multiple games, players can add up the cards remaining in the losers' hands and give the points to the winner. Players can play to a set number, such as 150 or 200. Here is an example of the point system to implement for the game:

  • 10 points for each face card
  • One point for each ace card
  • 50 points for each eight card
  • Face value for the other number cards