Crazy Jokers

Contributed by Justin Huneke

Beginning Principles

Crazy Jokers is a contract based card game I invented on a boring day in my Geometry class. It is a game for 2 to 4 players. It is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards, plus two jokers.

In this game, the card rankings are 2 low to Ace high. Jokers are wild. As in the name, a joker may change the whole game around! The player with the highest score after a set of custom rounds is declared the winner.

Here's how you start.

Pick a dealer and deal 7 cards to each player. Place the remaining cards in the center. This is called the stock pile. Before anyone looks or picks up their cards, each player randomly selects one of the cards they were dealt. The person who has picked the highest card goes first (if a player randomly selects a joker as their random card, that joker is an Ace, and that player receives 75 points). Discard these cards to the waste pile.

Starting with the player who picked the highest card, each player draws one card from the stock pile (winner picks up first then the others in a clockwise pattern). Turn the cards in the waste pile face down. Now, before you look at your cards, announce which one of the 7 contracts you will try to complete. You will complete these contracts by drawing and discarding, as I explain later. In the meantime, here are contracts you will try to complete.

The Contracts

The tricks in Crazy Jokers are somewhat challenging at times. The hard part most of the time is declaring what contract you will perform before you look at the cards. You could say one contract, but already have the complete set of cards you neded for a different contract in your hand! The contracts and the points scored for completing them are as follows:

  1. Full Full House: This hand must consist of 4 cards of the same rank (any rank from 2 to 10, not face cards) and 3 of the same face card (Aces included). Jokers can be used to represent any card 2-10 to make up the set of 4, but in this contract, a joker may not be used as a face card.
    Point Value: 55
  2. Fixed Straight: This hand must consist of a Queen and 6 other cards that are lined up in a row of consecutive ranks, like a straight in Poker. Example: 8 9 10 J Q K A. The straight may also go back through the low cards like this: Example: Q K A 2 3 4 5. Jokers may be played as anything but the Queen. Suits can be mixed.
    Point Value: 60
  3. The Big Flush: This hand must consist of seven cards all of the same suit. I.e.: all 7 cards are Spades, Diamonds, Hearts or Clovers [Clubs]. Jokers cannot be used in this contract. There's just one catch. Once you have all of the same suit, you must place your hand on the table, face up. The game does not end at this point! During a 2 player game, you must wait 2 turns before you win. In a 3 to 4 player game, you have to wait only 1 turn. During the time your cards are on the table, they can be stolen by a joker, so beware. They can also be forced traded (I’ll also get to this later.) If either of these things his happens, you must pick up your cards back up and continue play. When you get the suit back, you must lay down your cards and wait your time limit, again. When your cards are on the table, play continues normally, except that you skip your turn. Once your limit passes, you win the hand. Some other rules apply. You may not accept a trade (this will be covered later) or propose a trade or even force, but if someone forces you with the two of spades, the force must be accepted. And Jokers are absolutely useless to you. You cannot use Jokers to steal cards either. If you draw a Joker you might as well discard it. A discarded Joker may be picked up by an opposing player.
    Point Value: Clovers [Clubs] - 55
    Diamonds - 60
    Hearts - 65
    Spades - 70
    *You do not have to announce in your contract what suit your flush will be in*
  4. Faced by Evens: This hand must consist of 4 different face cards (Aces included) and 3 of the same cards that are even. For exmple: K, Q, J, A and three 2's (Or 4's, 6's, 8's or 10's could be used instead of 2's). A Joker may not be used as an even number, but can represent the J, Q, K or Ace.
    Point Value: 70
  5. A Birthday Wish to You: This hand must consist of your Birth date numbers! Yes, the numbers in your date of birth. The numbers are as followed:
      King=0
      Ace=1
      2-10= Face value
      Jack= 11
      Queen= 12
    You need 1 card for the month, 2 cards for the day and 4 cards for the year. Jokers may be used. Remember this.
    Point Value: 75
  6. Odd Man Out: This hand must consist of 6 odd numbers and 4 of those must be different card numbers. The other two may be one of the other odd numbers, but both cannot be the same (no face cards are allowed as odd numbers). The last card you need is a King or Jack. Example: 3, 3, 5, 7, 7, 9, K. The following would not be allowed: 3, 3, 7, 7, 9, 9, K (five missing); 3, 5, 7, 7, 7, 9, K (too many sevens). Different points are rewarded for which odd man you picked. Jokers may not be used as a wild to complete this hand.
    Point Value: Odd Man Jack - 80
    Odd Man King - 85
  7. The No Hand Hand: The only way to win this contract is to have no cards in your hand. The way you do this is to discard one card at a time. There is just one trick to it. The card you are about to lay down must be either
    • one or two card values higher than the top card of the waste pile, or
    • the same number as the waste pile, or
    • one card values lower than the top card of the waste.
    You may go back through the card values like in the Fixed Straight. For example, the cards that can be played on a King are any Queen, King, Ace, Two or a Joker, but no other cards. A player trying to accomplish this contract does not draw cards from the stock or waste. A joker may be used only as trash - it can be discarded on any card, and players are not allowed to pick up the discarded joker. You win the contract when all your cards are gone.
    Point Value: 90

When picking a contract, be careful. You may not select the same contract in consecutive rounds. This means you may not say you are going to accomplish the Full Full House on round 1 and in round 2 you say you will accomplish the same thing. Go for contracts that you are comfortable with. Don't always go for the low contracts. They may sound easy, but most of the time, they are hard. Pick ones that you have experience with.

Playing the game

Now that you know what contracts you are trying to accomplish, you can finally play the game. Once you announce what contract you are going to try to pull off, the game begins! On you turn, you may do one of the following three options:

  1. You may draw the top card off the stock pile, and then discard one card from your hand.
  2. You may pick up the top card off the waste pile, and then discard one card. (But if the top card of the waste pile is a joker, you are not allowed to take it unless the player who discarded it is going for a Big Flush).
  3. You may propose a trade with an opponent.

Trading your cards

You may trade with an opponent in place of your turn! How do you do this? Once per turn, you may propose a trade. As with the contracts, there is one catch. Neither player may see what card they are about to receive. The player to whom the trade has been proposed does not have to accept it. They can decline. If they do decline, the player that started the trade does not give up their turn. However, if a player proposes a trade and the other player accepts it, the player that started the trade ends his turn without discarding.

If a player constantly refuses to trade with you, all you have to do is lay down the 2 of Spades! This forces your opponent to show you their hand. While you are looking at their hand, take 1 card and add it to your own. Then discard one card from your hand to the waste pile. The other player draws one card. Beware of trades. They can either help you or kill you because you wasted a turn.

Crazy Jokers

With one Joker, this game can be turned upside down! With a Joker, you can do one of two things. You may use it as a wild card in selected tricks, or you may use it to steal 2 cards from one opponent’s hand. If you steal 2 cards, you must discard 1 card from your hand. Your opponent then draws 2 new cards from the stockpile. Stealing 2 cards with the Joker does take up your turn.

When you use the jokers, you get extra points! If you use it as a wild and win the contract, you get the regular value + 20 If you use it to steal, you get an automatic 30 points. Jokers really are crazy!

Ending the Game

The game ends when a player completes their designated contract. Once it ends, the winner gets points and then you move on to the next round. This game can be played with as many rounds as you want. It’s up to you!

This game was play tested and the highest score after 10 rounds was 554 points. Well, with all of this said, let the games begin!

Enjoy!