Oh Hell Variations

This page is part of the Invented Games section of pagat.com. It is a collection of variations of the traditional card game Oh Hell.

Super Screw Your Neighbour

Contributed by Murray Poole

In this variation there are three cards that rank higher than the Ace of trump: from highest to lowest, the Super Joker, the Loser Joker, and the Super Trump. The Super Joker and Loser Joker are just joker cards that are distinguishable (if not by color, drawing, etc. then simply mark an "S" and/or "L" on the card). The Super Trump is the same rank and color card of the card that was turned over to identify the trump suit; for example, if the 5 of Spades is turned over to indicate that Spades is trump, then the 5 of Clubs is the Super Trump. Note that if a Super/Loser Joker is turned over to indicate the trump then there is no trump suit and no Super Trump.

The Super Joker or Loser Joker may be played to any trick, even if the player could have followed suit. If a Super Joker or Loser Joker is led then there is no lead suit and the other players may play any card they choose.

The Super Trump counts as belonging to its suit, and is subject to the normal rules of following suit. For example, if the 7 of Diamonds is turned for trump, the 7 of Hearts is the highest Heart, above the Ace. It can be played if Hearts are led, and must be played if it is the holder's only Heart, unless a Joker is played instead. If the 7 of Hearts is led, the other players must follow with Hearts if they have them (or play a Joker). If a suit other than Hearts is led, the 7 of Hearts cannot be played unless the holder has no card of the suit led. If it is played, it beats everything except a Joker - it is higher than the Ace of trump.

In this variation it's usual to bid first and then flip a card for trump / Super trump. The inventor considers that this increases the skill factor. Bidding involves taking more unknowns into account to come up with the most appropriate workable bid. Sometimes the trump suit or super trump card throws a monkey wrench into your plans, and greater skill in game play is needed to work with what you have.

Simultaneous Bidding is used, but if the bids add up to the number of tricks to be played, then each player has a card blindly/randomly removed from their hand by a neighbour - except in a one-card deal where everyone is dealt a second card instead. An alternative rule, with which players may like to experiment, is that when the total bids equal hand size with hands of more than one card, each player discards a card of his or her choice.

For simple quick games where the hassle of keeping score isn't desired, individual hands are played, rather than a series. The dealer simply chooses at random how many cards to deal. The winner of the hand is the player who wins their exact trick bid, and the one who bid more tricks in case of a tie. This version is useful for mini-games when it is uncertain how much time you'll have to play the game.

Andrew Hunt has contributed the following variations.

Dealer Picks the Suit

After the deal the dealer looks at his or her hand and selects and annouces the trump suit. (No-trumps is not allowed as an option.)

Extra Card

The dealer is allowed to bid a number of tricks that makes the bids add up to the number of cards dealt, but in this case an extra card is then dealt to each player after the bidding, so that the hand is in fact one underbid. This is especially dangerous for players who have bid zero, as they may get a big trump as their extra card.

Joker High

A single joker is added to the deck. It is used as the highest trump, above the ace.