Contributed by Owen Byer

Playing Deck: With two through five players, use one standard deck of 54 playing cards, including jokers. With six or more players, use two such decks.

Setup: Each player is dealt four cards, face down, and the remainder of the cards are placed face down in a draw pile.  After looking at his cards, each player arranges them into at most four columns, face down. (There are no requirements for how the cards are placed, but it is beneficial to place cards of the same rank in the same column.)

Play: The player left of dealer starts, and play proceeds clockwise. On his turn, a player must take the top card from either the draw pile or the discard pile.  The card may be discarded if it is taken from the draw pile, but otherwise it is placed face-down in one of his columns.  If the card is placed, the player has the option of discarding any other card, or of ending his turn without discarding.

Game End: The game is over when there are no cards left in the draw pile and a player decides not to take the top card from from the discard pile.  When the game ends, players may choose to discard any jokers in their columns.

Scoring: Cards Ace through 10 have a value equaling their number, jacks and jokers each have a value of 0, and Queens and Kings have a value of 10. The column scores are calculated separately, as follows:  if not all the cards in a column are the same rank, the column score equals the negative of the sum of the values of the cards in the column; if the ranks are identical in a column, the first card counts negative with each additional card scoring positively. (For example, one 8 scores -8 points, two 8s scores 0 points, three 8s scores 8 points, and four 8s scores 16 points.)  Note that Kings, Queens and 10's are different ranks even though they all have a value of 10: a column of K-K-Q would score -30. Any empty column scores -10 points. Each player’s column scores are added together to obtain his total score, and the player with the highest score wins.

Example.  The following layout would score (-1) + 16 + (-33) + (-7) = -25 points. If the Ace in the first column and the 3 in the third column had been discarded, the total score would change to (0) + 16 + 10 + (-7) = 19 points.

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4
Jack 8 Queen

Ace 8 Queen  
  8 Queen  
  8 3  

Additional rule clarifications

  1. While cards start face-down, at any time during the game, a player may look at one or more of his cards.  However, when this is done, the card(s) must be turned face up for all players to see, and each one remains face up until it is discarded.
  2. Each player may have at most four columns of cards at any time.  Cards may not be moved from one column to another, though they may be rearranged within a column.
  3. Players may not look through the discard pile. Only the top card should be visible at any time.
  4. Once the draw pile is empty, play continues, with players drawing from the top of the discard pile, placing the card and optionally discarding a different card, until a player declines to draw the top card, ending the play.


  1. The game can be made easier (or more challenging) by changing the required number of columns from four to three (or five).
  2. With two players (A and B), each player should play two hands, opposite each other, with turns alternating A1, B1, A2, B2.  The scores from the two opposite hands are added together to give each player his score.  Similarly, with three players, each player can play two 3-column hands, alternating A1, B1, C1, A2, B2, C2.