The number eight has long been considered to be magical in many cultures. The ancient Greeks celebrated it for its resemblance to the symbol for infinity while the Chinese have long prized it for sounding similar to the word for prosperity in their native tongue.
It has been so popular that there is also a card game named after it. “Crazy Eights” is the name of the game, and it is one activity where drawing an eight can change the pace entirely.
Unlike other card games like war where the objective is to get all 52 cards during the game, Crazy Eights invokes the opposite. To win, you have to be the first to lose all the cards in your hand.
There are decks of cards that were designed specifically for a game of Crazy Eights, but you can still play the game with a regular deck of cards. At least two are required to play, but you can have up to eight players in a single game. Both children and adults can play the game.
For games where less than six people are playing a deck of 52 cards is sufficient. If the number of players exceeds six, two decks of 52 cards each are shuffled together.
To begin, the dealer shuffles the cards and has the player to his or her right cut the deck. (There should be at least five cards in each cut.) After the cards have been cut, the dealer can start distributing the cards to all the players in a clockwise motion, beginning with the player to his or her left. The cards are dealt face down, and each player should have five cards in his or her hand before the game is played. In case there are just two players participating, each player is entitled to a hand of seven cards. The remaining cards will now serve as the stock deck and will be placed in the middle of the table.
Once all the players have a complete hand, the dealer starts the game by drawing the starter card, which is the one at the top of the stock deck. The starter card is then placed face up beside the stock deck, setting up the discard pile.
However, if an 8 is drawn, it should be placed back into the middle of the deck face down. The next card on the top of the deck then becomes the starter card. The player to the left of the dealer can now takes his turn, with the rest of the players taking theirs in a clockwise motion.
The first player should then drop a card from their hand that matches either the color (red or black), suit (club, spade, heart, or diamond), or rank (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, or a numerical card) of the starter card on the discard pile. For example, if the starter card happened to be a King of Diamonds, the first player can drop a card that is red, a diamond, or a King. If the first player has no cards that match any of the categories (or if the first player simply does not want to use a card from his or her hand just yet), she or he will have to draw from the stockpile. The next player can then take his or her turn after this.
The game is called “Crazy Eights” because any player who either draws an 8 or gets dealt an 8 can throw that card and completely change the sort of cards required next. Using an 8 enables you to call for a completely different color or suit from the one that is currently in play. The only limitation is that you cannot specify a number or a value (Ace, King, or Queen) when you deploy an 8.
Once an 8 goes to the discard pile, the next player has two options: he or she can either deploy an 8 of his or her own, or he or she will have to drop a card that matches the suit or the color nominated by the previous player.
The game ends either when one player has managed to dispose of all the cards in his or her hand, or if the stock deck has been exhausted even if no one has disposed all of their cards yet.
If the latter is the case, the player holding the hand with the lowest total value wins. To determine the total value of a hand of cards, you can refer to the following:
8 cards are worth 50 points individually. A King, Queen, and a Jack are worth 10 points each. An Ace card is worth 1 point. Other cards are worth 0 points. For example, a player with a hand of four cards that has a King, Ace, 8, and a 5 has a total value of 61 (King = 10, Ace = 1, 8= 50, 5= 0).
If the stock deck is exhausted and the winner happens to be the player with the lowest total value of cards, he or she can then collect his winnings from the other players based on the difference between the total values of their hands.
If a player wins because she or he was able to deploy all of his or her cards, s/he can then collect his or her winnings from each player based on the total value of the cards in each player’s hand.
While Crazy Eights is considered to be a child’s game in many countries, winning constantly does require a considerable amount of strategy and experience. Some of the strategies that you can use to gain an upper hand in the game include the following:
If you are lucky enough to be dealt an 8, you may want to save it for later in the game. This way, you can either foil your opponent’s strategy by changing the suit demanded or you can dump all of your remaining cards before the game comes to an end. It would be wise, however, to use up all your 8 cards before the game ends. Retaining them would cost you since they have the highest value out of all the cards.
At the beginning of the game, cast the higher value cards (apart from the card) first so you can get rid of them quickly. At the very least, the lower value cards will not amount to much if you get stuck with them by the end of the game.
When choosing between whether to cast a card that matches a suit or a number, look at your hand first. Cast the card that will allow you to get rid of most of your remaining cards faster.
For example, let’s say the card on the pile is a six of hearts. This gives you the option to either throw a six or a card with hearts on it. If you have a hand full of hearts, then throw a heart card, preferably one with the highest value among the ones in your hand. If you have a hand that is full of a different suit altogether, such as a club, then thrown a six of clubs instead. This will switch the course of the game back into your favor.