COMP 303 Fall 2009

President - Rules of the Game

Version 1.1 - 2 October 2009


This page defines the rules of "President" that will be official for the project. These rules are adapted from a page maintained by John McLeod ( Description of the game play © John McLeod, reproduced with permission.


The goal is to get rid of all your cards as soon as possible during a turn. The earlier you get rid of your cards, the more "social status" you acquire. The first player to get rid of all their card becomes "President", whereas the last person to get rid of their card is called "Beggar" (or some derogatory term of choice). People finishing in other positions receive appropriate titles.

Players and Cards

The game is played by 4 to 7 players. One or two standard 52 card packs can be used. The suits are irrelevant and the cards rank, from high to low, 2 A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3. Zero to <number of decks used>*2 Jokers can be used.


The game is played clockwise. All the cards are dealt out. Some players may have one more than others.


The player to dealer's left starts by leading (face up) any single card or any set of cards of equal rank (for example three 5s). Each player in turn must then either pass (i.e. not play any cards), or play face up a card or set of cards which beats the previous play.

A single card is beaten by any higher single card. A set of cards can only be beaten by a higher set containing the same number of cards. So for example if the previous player played two sixes you can beat this with two kings, or two sevens, but not with a single king, and not with three sevens (though you could play two of them and hang onto the third).

There are two exceptions to the requirement to match sets of equal values. First, if Jokers are used, a single Joker beats anything and wins the hand. Second, You need one less card in a set of 2s to beat another set of cards. For example, a pair of 2s beats a triple of kings. However, if need be, a player can use a single two to beat any single card besides a Joker (or another two).

It is not necessary to beat the previous play just because you can - passing is always allowed. Also passing does not prevent you from playing the next time your turn comes round.

The play continues as many times around the table as necessary until someone makes a play which everyone else passes. All the cards played are then turned face down and put to one side, and the player who played last (and highest) in the previous turn starts again by leading any card or set of equal cards.

For example the play might go:

     A     B     C     D     E

     44   Pass  Pass   66    99
     JJ   Pass  Pass  Pass   KK
    Pass  Pass   AA   Pass  Pass
    Pass  Pass
C then starts again by leading any card or set.

When a player whose turn it is to play has no more cards left, the turn passes to the next player in rotation. Therefore in the example, if the two aces were C's last two cards, it would then be D's turn to play anything.

Social Status

The first player who is out of cards is awarded the highest social rank (e.g., President), the next is usually Vice-President, and so on. The last player to be left with any cards is known as the Beggar (or by so other equivalent term).

To keep score, the players get points according to their position earned at the end of each turn, according to the following formula: (number of players)-(rank away from president) - 1. For example, in a 4-player game, the player earning the title vice-president at the end of the tern would earn 2 points.

For the following hand the players move position. The President selects the most comfortable chair, the Vice President sits to the President's left, and so on around to the Beggar who sits to the President's right.

In the following turn, the first card is dealt to the President, the second to the Vice President, and so on down.

When the deal is complete, the Beggar must gives one or two of his highest card to the President, and the President gives back in exchange the same number of cards which he does not want (this is called the advantage). The number of advantage cards is one or two, as determined when configuring the game. If the advantage for the President is two cards, then the advantage for the Vice-President (obtained from the Vice-Beggar) is one card. Otherwise, there is no advantage for the Vice-President.

The President then leads any card or set of cards and the game continues as before.

Note that for the first round of a game, there is no social status: all players are equal, seated randomly, and there is no advantage. The first player is selected randomly.

End of Game

The game ends at the end of a turn when a player reaches a pre-determined number of points (11, for example).