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Jokers of Death

also known as Insane Eights

This game, contributed José Luis Adrião , is a Crazy Eights variant with three discard piles instead of one.

What you will need:

  • 2 (or more players)
  • 2 (or more) standard 52-card decks without jokers
  • 2 jokers (always 2 jokers, no matter how many people play)

Objective of the player:

To be the first player to discard all cards in their hand.


Each player is dealt 20 cards from the deck. The remaining cards are stacked face down and become the stock pile.

Three cards are removed from the top of the stock pile and place them side by side, face up next to the stock pile. They will become three new discard piles.


The first player to the dealer's right starts. The direction of play is counter-clockwise.

At your turn, you must play three cards, one on top of each discard pile. The card that is being discarded by the player on each discard pile must match the top card of the discard pile in suit or number/letter (unless it's an 8). If you manage to discard on all three piles, it is now the next player's turn.

If you do not have the necessary cards in your hand to match all 3 discard piles, you must draw new cards from the top of the stock pile until you are able to match any piles that you were unable to match from your hand (or until the stock runs out), and then complete your turn by playing on any piles where you have not already placed a card in this turn.

If no cards remain in the stock, then a player who would otherwise have to draw from the stock simply passes instead of playing, and the turn to play passes to the next player.

The play continues in this way. If the player has only one card left, either at the end of a turn or in the middle of a turn, he or she must knock on the table twice before the next player's turn or before playing another card. (Do not shout UNO, because of Copyright reasons.)

If a player knocks with one card and then (on the same or the next turn) plays this last card, this ends the play. If the player fails to knock, the play does not end. The player with no cards will have to draw from the stock until he or she has cards to play to complete the turn.

Each game can last from 20 seconds to 15 minutes. If you use the Aces variant - see below - the game could go on indefinitely, though this is unlikely.

Special Cards:


If a player discards a 2 on one of the discard piles then the next player cannot play on the other two discard piles and has only two options:

  1. to discard another 2 on top of the 2;
  2. to take two cards from the stock pile.

Either of these actions ends the player's turn.

If the player places another 2 (option a) then the next player in turn must either discard another 2 or take 4 cards. If this second player plays a 2, the following player must take 6 cards or play a 2, and so on, increasing the cards to be taken by two for each two played on the pile in consecutive turns.

Only a player has taken cards (option b) instead of adding a two, the following player plays normally on all three discard piles again.

If a player discards two or three 2s on different discard piles in one turn, then the next player must either play another two on each of these twos, or if discarding a smaller number of twos or none at all, take two cards from the stock pile for each two that was not matched. The following player must then play twos on any twos that were matched, or take four cards for each that he or she fails to match, and so on. When cards have been taken for each pile on which a two was played, the following player plays on all three discard piles in the normal way.

Example.   John plays 2s on two piles and a 7 on the third pile. Margaret, the next player, plays two 2s as well, one on each of John's twos, but she is not allowed to play on the third pile, topped by the 7. Then it's Theodore's turn, and he has only one 2 to discard. He discards it on one of the 2-piles, and draws 4 cards from the stock pile (as a "punishment" for not discarding a 2 on the other pile). He takes 4 because the resultant number of 2s discarded on the pile that Theodore couldn't play is two 2s: 2×2 = 4. There are three players, and it is now John's turn again, but he has no two to play. He must therefore draw 6 cards from the stock pile (3×2)., after which Margaret can play on all three piles. John may now regret having played two twos at once: had he initially played just one two and two other cards, then in turn Margaret, Theodore, John and Margaret would have played single twos, after which Theodore would have been obliged to draw 10 cards (5×2) and John would have been able to play on all three piles again.

Four of spades

If a player discards a 4 of spades, then the next player has 3 options.

  1. Discard another 4 of spades.
  2. Take 4 cards from the stock pile. If two fours of spades are played in succession and the next player does not play on the pile, he or she must take 16 cards (4×4). After cards have been taken the following player is released from the restrictions created by the four of spades and can play normally.
  3. Discard a joker on top of the four of spades, killing the pile. In this case, this discard pile is turned upside down and/or placed to the side of the table. This reduces the number of piles available for play. After the first joker is played, the players can only discard on two piles, instead of three.

When a 4 of Spades is discarded, then the same rules apply as for 2s: the next player can only choose one of the options above, but cannot play on the other discard pile(s). If a two and a 4 of spades are played on the same turn, the next player must play a 2 on the 2 and a 4 of spades or joker on the 4 of spades, or take the relevant number of cards if unable to play one or both of these.


An eight (or rather a Crazy Eight) can be played at any time in any discard pile regardless of its suit, except that it cannot be played directly onto a two or a spade4 discarded by the previous player. An 8 can however be played on those cards if the previous player picked up cards to satisfy all remaining 2's or spade4's.

The player of the 8 can specify the suit of the next card to be placed on the discard pile where the 8 is placed. The next player must discard a card on that pile from the suit the first player chose, or he can play another 8, and choose the suit again.

Example. Margaret plays an 8 of spades on pile no. 3. The other piles are matched as well. Margaret chooses Diamonds as the next suit for pile no.3. Theodore plays a card from the Diamonds suit on pile no. 3, matches the card on pile no. 2, but he then plays a crazy 8 on pile no. 1. He chooses Spades. It's John's turn. He does not have spades to match pile no. 1 so he discards another Crazy 8 on pile no. 1 and chooses Diamonds again, and so on.


A player discards a 10 on one (or more) of the piles, can choose to reverse the direction of the game, from counter-clockwise to clockwise or vice versa. This is the player's choice - the player may choose to keep the same direction of play if preferred.

Jacks and Kings

If a player discards a Jack or a King then another card must "go along with them". This means that the player must discard another card on top of the King or Jack, that matches in suit, or he can play a crazy 8 and specify the suit to be played next. If the player plays another Jack or King on a Jack or King, a further card must be played. If unable or unwilling to play a card from hand on the Jack or King, the player must draw cards from stock until he has something to play on the King or Jack, and then play it (or draw cards until the stock runs out).

Example. John discards a King of Diamonds on top of the 3 of diamonds that was placed by Margaret on the previous turn. He plays a Jack of Diamonds on top of the King, which means he must discard another card. And so on. 


If a player discards an Ace in one of the piles, then when he/she finishes his/her turn, then the next player misses their turn, and the following player plays. If two aces are discarded (on two different piles) then the next two players skip their turns. So for example if two aces are played together in a 3-player game, the person who discarded the aces immediately plays again, the other players both having missed their turns.


The JOKER can only be played on a 4 of Spades played by the immediately previous player. It cannot be played on any other card, and it cannot be played on a 4 of Spades after another player has picked up 4 cards for failing to play on it.

The Joker kills the pile it is played on, as explained above. If two successive players play 4's of Spades, the next player can still kill this pile with a Joker, but must also draw four cards, since the Joker is only powerful enough to neutralise one of the 4's of Spades

If a player is left with jokers when the game finishes, he/she scores 50 points, which is nearly half of the allowed total before losing an overall game. If he or she has the bad luck of obtaining both jokers, then he/she can show all his/her cards face up on the table, at any time he/she wants. The play stops immediately and the scores are calculated, including the 100 points for the jokers in the hand of the player who stopped play.

Card Points:

When one player plays his/her last card, having previously knocked to show one card, or a player stops the game with two jokers, then the players have to add up the scores for the cards remaining in their hands. The card values are as follows:

  • Cards 2-10 are worth their face value. 2s are worth 2 points, 3s are worth 3 points, etc.
  • Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10 points each.
  • Aces are worth 20 points each.
  • Jokers are worth 50 points each.

The first person to reach 105 is the loser and the person with the least points at that time is the winner of that game.

Special Rules:

  1. You cannot use Aces to play your Joker on your own four of Spades. If you play a 4 of Spades and a Joker on two piles in a 2-player game or a 4 of Spades and two Aces in a 3-player game, you immediately play again, but you cannot play a Joker: you must play another 4 of Spades or draw four cards.
  2. In the event of a tie when 105 points are reached, another deal is played to determine the loser.


Hand Switching Variant

The 3 of Diamonds is an additional special card. When it is played, each player must give their hand of cards to the next player in the direction of play.

Five Pile Variant

Four players play with 4 decks and 4 Jokers, and there are 5 discard piles. Initially, players must play on all five discard piles.

Aces variant

In this two deck game, when all three piles have an ace on top, the three discard piles are shuffled back into the stock pile, with the exception of the three Aces. There is a theoretical possibility that this game could go on for ever, although it is unlikely.

Free Discard Pile Variant

In this variety, you may pick up one discard pile and use it as a hand of cards, but you must then play the whole of it on the other pile(s). If you pick up a discard pile, you do so at the start of your turn, and you cannot mix it with your first hand. Only when you finish using the discard pile as a hand can you use your first hand. At this point you have an empty discard pile space where you can place any card and start a new third discard pile. When using the discard pile special cards have no effect, except for 8's, which can be used to change the suit of the pile on which they are played.

You can browse through the discard pile that you are about to pick up before actually having to pick it up.

If you cannot get rid of all the cards from the discard pile you picked up, you will then mix the remaining cards from that pile into your first hand, your turn comes to an end and a penalty will be awarded. This penalty is the point total for all the cards you didn't use. You will score this penalty, in addition to your normal score, regardless of whether you are the first to get rid of your cards or not. The next player then takes their turn and can play any card in the empty space you have left as well as playing on the other piles.

Note that unused cards from the discard pile which you fail to get rid of by the end of the game are in fact scored twice: once in your penalty for failing to use the whole of the pile you picked up and again as part of the score for your final hand.

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Last updated: 8th March 2012