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Official Rules

From World Shithead - The International Shithead Federation

The Official Shithead Rules as endorsed by the International Shithead Federation can be seen below. These official rules have been put together from thousands of test games of all known variations of the game from every country in which it is played, and are endorsed for the following reasons:</p>

1. These rules are known to avoid endgame situations in which no player is able to win - as is occasionally the case with the popular If You Pick Up It's The Next Person's Turn variation of the game. Using the Official Rules ensures that there is always a way for one of the players - and in the majority of cases either player - to win the game.

2. The flow of the game is smoother - there are no skipped moves (e.g. as there are when playing with invisible cards or direction changes (e.g. as there are when playing with a direction-changing wildcard). These variations are regarded by experienced players as gimmicks which introduce more chance and reduce the reliance on skill to win the game.

Quick Guide

Setup Time

Approximately 1-2 minutes

Initial Setup

1. Three face down cards are dealt to each player. These cards remain face down on the table as a row of three in front of the player. The player may not look at these cards. No there player may see them either.

2. Three face up cards are dealt to each player - each of these cards is placed face up on the top of the player's face down cards. The player can see these cards, and so can all other players.

3. Three additional face down cards are dealt to each player. These three cards are the player's hand, and the player may pick these up and look at them. No other players can see these cards.

The Swap

1. Each player may now choose to swap any of the cards in his or her hand with any of the face up cards that have been dealt to them during the initial setup. The purpose of this is to ensure that the player's face up cards are strong cards, with weaker cards remaining in the player's hand. The player does not have to exchange any of the cards in his or her hand with any of the face up cards, nor do the 'best' cards have to be laid face up on the table - this is purely at the player's own discretion.

The Opening

1. The player with the lowest card, starting with the 3H, begins. If the player has more than one card of an equal lowest numerical value then he or she is permitted to lay more than one card - e.g. “two threes”. This player does not have to lay their absolute lowest card if they have more than one cards of the lowest value. e.g. if one player has 3H and 4H, and none of the other players have anything lower than 6H, then the opening player is permitted to lay the 4H.

2. Moving clockwise, each player lays one or more cards of the same or higher numerical value - e.g. “three fours” or “one six”. If a player is able to make a legitimate move then they must do so.

Open Play


The losing player must deal for the next game as a forfeit for coming last.

Official Rules

1. a) The card game Shithead is be played by 2 or more players. b) A standard game of Shithead requires a single deck of 52 cards, although in any game more than 1 deck of cards may be used, and if more than 5 players are participating then multiple decks are highly recommended.

2. a) The standard Special Cards are Twos (which may be played on top of any preceding card), Sevens (which may be played on top of one or more Twos, Threes, Fours, Fives, Sixes or Sevens only and after which the next player must play one or more Twos, Threes, Fours, Fives, Sixes, or Sevens or else pick up the Pile), and Tens (which may be played on top of any card except for one or more Sevens, and will subsequently cause the Pile to be stacked . b)The use of other Special Cards or changing the function of either Twos, Sevens or Tens is classed as a Shithead Variation.



5. a) A player may not win by playing either one or more Twos or Tens as their final card(s). If one or more Twos or Tens is the player's last card(s) then they must show their hand to all other players and then pick up the Pile. The player picking up the pile then opens the next round by playing one or more cards from their new larger hand.




9. a) b) c) d) If a player's card touch the ground during either the deal or during open play then the entire hand is to be reshuffled and redealt. In either case the player responsible for the card(s) touching the ground may be compelled to perform a pre-decided forfeit in order for them to proceed as a participant in the current game.