Reverse Shithead

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Reverse Shithead

Contributed by Andrew Duthie from Ottawa Canada ( He writes as follows:

I was first showed the game [Shithead] a few years ago by a friend of mine in England and we played for a while but found it kind of boring so we actually added a large twist to the game. Here is how it works - I call it reverse fucked-up shithead, but if that is too profanic you could just call it reverse shithead.

The game is really two parts. The first part is regular shithead, 2's beat everything, 10's beat everything, aces are high. As you are first dealt your cards, you can pile same numbers on one another on the face down cards (doubling or tripling up etc..). Any threes you get are thrown into the central discard pile. The first person to play is the one after the person who threw down the last three. If no-one has a three than you do the same with 4's, etc...until you have a start to the game.

During the play you are forced to play a card rather than pick up if you can. Jacks are miss a turn for the next player (two turns in the clockwise direction if two jacks are played etc..). If playing with jokers, they skip the next persons turn and they take the value of the card underneath (example.- a joker played on a jack causes a double turn skip).

Those are the shithead rules, now is the fun part. The next part is reverse shithead. Every rule of shithead and the ones mentioned above are the same except aces are now worth 1 (lowest value card of the deck). Kings are therefore highest, followed by queens, etc. Twos still beat everything and are beaten by everything except aces. When you first receive your cards, kings are thrown in the middle instead of 3's. The first person to go is the one after the person who threw in the last king. When it is your turn to play, you are still forced to play a card whenever you can. If you cannot play on the previous player's card, instead of you picking up the pile, the person before you picks it up (the placer of the card picks up the pile). So you do not want the beat the other persons card, although you are forced to - kind of the opposite of regular shithead. In the reversed game you do not want 2's, 10's or high cards. You do not want to be able to beat the previous person's card.

At the start of a reversed game it is a race to get your kings on the table, not by rule but because you may get screwed if you don't. Let's say you played the last king, the next person sees that you played a king, and will make sure he/she doesnt have anything that can beat it in his hand during arrangement of his cards. So the person that threw it in the middle now picks it up because the person next couldnt beat it, and the person before knows he/she can play whatever they want because the next person is holding a king, and a king beats everything. A king is terrible to have, since only a 2,10,king or joker(if using jokers) beats it, you may be stuck with a king for a while.

Now is the last step. you combine both games. Dealer calls how the game is going to start, either reversed or normal, people set up their cards as they want (it is hard to tell which cards to leave because you do not know which game the game will be in when you get down to those cards.) The game starts, (it always starts clockwise) . All regular rules apply except that when someone plays a 7, the game switches to the opposite of what it currently is, reversed to normal or normal to reversed. It also changes direction - either clockwise to counter clockwise or vise-versa.

And that is it. Very tricky but alot of fun. Remember to watch jokers. When a joker is placed on a seven it takes the value of the seven which switches the game, switches the direction of play, and then skips a turn in that direction.

One last thing, if four jacks are played, four turns are skipped (including the person that placed the jokers), the pile is cleared and whoever's turn it happens to land on, it is their turn, not the placers.

Doubly Reversed Shithead With Double Sampling

James Hollidge writes:

Saw your page so I thought I would contribute with my own rules which I devised with my flatmates.

The game is a variation of reversed shithead with extra card properties.

The deck we use has two Jokers, two Sample Cards and 52 standard playing cards. The sample cards are literally that - cards that say "Sample Card" on them. We decided to integrate them into the game because we could.

Basic properties of cards:

  • Black 2: Plays on any card and gives an extra go.
  • Red 2: Plays on any card and reverses the direction of play. If both are played at once the game remains in the same direction as before.
  • Four 3s: Hand pass - all players pass their entire hand in the direction of play. Gives those players with a large hand the ability to royally screw opponents. This happens whenever there are four threes on top of the pile - it's not necessary for the same player to play all four threes.
  • Seven of Clubs/Jokers - reverse the game. Three cards with this power is the optimal number. If you have a deck with three actual Jokers, then use all three jokers for this power, and use the seven of clubs as a standard seven.
  • Other 7s: Transparent - ie card below is to be played on.
  • 9's : Must player lower than a nine.
  • 10's : Burns on any card except a nine (which is nice and evil).
  • Red Jacks: Skip the next player. Playing two in combination skips two players.
  • Black Jacks: All players pass one card in the direction of play. If two are played together two cards are passed. It is possible to end up with fewer cards in your hand then you can pass. In this case you pass face up then face down cards in that order. If no cards remain you pass no cards (but still receive cards).
  • Four Jacks: If these are played together by one player, the above effects and the effect of four of a kind are combined. Everyone passes two cards, the discard pile is burned, the player of the jacks gets another turn, and then two players are skipped. A mighty combo.
  • Four of any other kind: burn. Twos only give a single extra go when burning.
  • Sample Card: (you may wish to use Bridge Playing Rules card for this) allows a player to request a card from either adjecent player. There are three possible requests: a special card (2,7,Joker,10), a low card (the lowest in hand not a special) or a high card (the highest in hand not a special). When responding to the request, entire groups must be given (e.g. if you are requested to give a special and have two red 2s, two black 2s, two Jokers, and two 7s you have to give the group of either). The 8s play a role here as 'The Masquarade Card' in that they have no other special abilities other than they can be passed as special cards. The player who samples also has to give the person he sampled one group of cards - eg, in a hand of a 4, two 5s and two 7s you can give any of these as groups. The sample card is placed on the discard pile as a transparent card like a 7.

Other cards have their face up value as normal. Groups of four still burn and give an extra go.


Three face down, three face up and three hand cards are dealt. At this point players have the opportunity to swap cards from their hand with their face up cards (unless they were shithead from the last round). The person with the lowest card starts (starting from 3 of clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades then 4's etc..). A player may discard a group of cards as a single play - a group being a set of indentially functioning cards (the exception being if you have more than one sample card - they may not be played as a set). You may play one or more cards from a group. After each card is laid down a card is picked up from the remaining deck unless the player already has three or more cards. (If a card is played that allowed an extra go you may pick up before your next go, e.g. on a black two). The next player must play equal or higher or according to the function of the card as described above. If they cannot go then they must pick up. Loser is the last player to get rid of all their cards.

When the game is reversed each play is the same except that the go is not over until the next person plays. If the next person cannot play then the person whose go it is must pick up. With Red Jacks the situation is slightly different - if the next person to play cannot go it is the person whose go it would have been who picks up. This allows for much evil behaviour.

Best played with Official TM Camel Cigarette Reversal Status Indicator. Up for reversed, down for normal.

Currently we are working on the electronic version (we are all computer science students).

We dub this version: Doubly Reversed Fucked Up Shithead With Double Sampling.

Last updated: 23rd March 2004