OBJECTIVE OF PRESIDENT: To play all of your cards as soon as possible. The last player with cards in their hands is the ‘scum,’ ‘asshole,’ etc.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4-7 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card

RANK OF CARDS: 2 (Highest) A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3

THE DEAL: The player who is the president (or the scum in some versions) both shuffles and deals out the cards. All the cards are dealt out as equally as possible. Some players may have more cards than others.

TYPE OF GAME: Drinking / Competition



Games such as President, which is considered a ‘climbing game,’ where to object is to shed as many cards as you possibly can, are relatively new to the West (gaining popularity in the 1970s). Due to the nature of the game, its origins are believed to be traceable back to China. President is also known as: Scum, Asshole (Arsehole), Landlord, Butthead, Root Beer, Warlords and Scumbags (Australia), Capitalism, Trou du Cul (France), Einer ist immer der Arsch (Germany), and Hűbéres (Hungary). 



President – Player who won the previous round (regardless of the number of players). If scoring, this position receives two points.

Vice-president (“VP”) – Player who came in second place in the previous round (regardless of the number of players). This position receives one point.

Upper neutral – Player who came in third place, only used in games with 6+ players. Zero points.

Neutral – Also the player who came in third place, however, this applies only when there are 5 players. If the game has 7 players, this title is used between upper and lower neutral. Zero points.

Lower neutral – Player who came in fourth place, this title is only used with 6+ players. Zero points.

Vice-scum (or other names) – Player who came in next-to-last place. (For example, in a six-person game, vice-scum is whoever came in fifth.) Negative one point.

Scum (or other names, commonly asshole or bitch) – Player who came in last place in the previous round. This is only used in games with 6 or fewer people. Negative two points.

Super scum (also called butt scum) – This is also last place, however, only used in games with 7 or more players. Negative two points.


Player to dealer’s left begins. The first player starts the game by playing a single card or a set of cards of equal value (two aces, for example). Other players may pass or play by beating the previous hand before them.

You can beat a single card with another single card of higher rank. Sets of cards can only be beaten by equal number sets of higher rank. You may pass at any time, you do not have to beat a hand just because you can. Passing does not inhibit you from playing on your next turn.

The game continues until a play has been made where everyone subsequently passes. All the cards that have been played are pushed aside and the player who played last starts the next round.

Play may proceed like this:


Player would start the next round. If for example, Player C had no more cards, the next player in the rotation would begin (Player D).


Play continues until one player has played all their cards. Whoever run out of cards first is the winner and becomes President in the next round.

However, the game does not end once there is a new (or first) President; the game continues until there is a single player left with cards in their hand. This player becomes the ‘scum’ in the next round. On the next hand players may move around, President at the head and VP to the left (and so on in order) or simply play in the order of rank from original seats.

Scum gives their highest card to the President and the President gives them any card in return which they do not want. Higher status players generally are entitled to abuse (in good fun!) lower status players.

If you are keeping score, set a target score to be reached that ends the game.


  • Larger sets of cards can beat smaller sets of lower rank, for example, a single 7 can be beaten by a pair of 9s
  • Larger sets of cards beat smaller sets regardless of the rank of the smaller set.
  • Cards of equal rank can beat other cards. For example, a pair of 8s can be beaten by another pair of 8s (or a higher ranking pair). Sometimes, variations allow that after an equal rank has been played, the next player is skipped. If there are only two players, the player who played the equal rank plays again.
  • Four of a Kind Variants, when a player plays a four of a kind the rules of the game are inverted. So, instead of trying to play cards of higher rank, you try to play cards of lower rank. If another four of a kind is played the rules switch back to normal. Another four of a kind may also be employed. If one player plays four of the same card or each player, sequentially, plays a single of the same card a revolution begins. The direction of the play and the ranks of the cards are both reversed. Under this ranking, aces are highest and lowest. An ace beats anything, but anything also beats an ace. Ranking high to low: A 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
  • Jokers may be played as a high card that beats all others.
  • Two is highest and lowest card, two beats everything and everything beats a two.
  • Transparent threes, a three can beat all single cards and a set of threes can beat a set of an equal number of cards of any rank. The threes played then take on the rank of the card they beat. For example, if a pair of threes are used to beat a pair of Queens, the next player must beat a pair of Queens to play.



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