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Official 3 Up 3 Down Rules

3 Up 3 Down is a fast-paced card game that involves strategy, memory, and luck. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards. Here's how to play:


The objective of 3 Up 3 Down is to be the first player to play all of your cards.


1. Each player selects three more cards from their hand and places them face up on top of the face-down cards (these are the "3 Up" cards). The remaining three cards form the player's starting hand.

2. Deal Cards: Shuffle the deck and deal nine cards to each player.

3. Set Up Three Piles:Each player selects three cards from their hand and places them face down in front of them (these are the "3 Down" cards and are not looked at again until the end of the game).


  1. Starting the Play: The remaining cards form a draw pile in the center. The top card of the draw pile is turned over to start the discard pile.

  2. Playing Cards:

    • The player to the left of the dealer starts the game by playing a card from their hand that matches or beats the top card of the discard pile in rank (e.g., a 5 can be played on a 4, a 9 can be played on a 7, etc.).

    • If a player cannot play a card from their hand, they must pick up the entire discard pile and add it to their hand.

    • After playing a card, players draw from the draw pile until they have three cards in their hand. If the draw pile is empty, players do not draw and play with the cards they have.

    • Play continues clockwise.

  3. Special Cards:

    • 2: Can be played on any card and resets the discard pile. The next player can play any card.

    • 10: Can be played on any card and clears the discard pile. The player who plays the 10 goes again with any card from their hand.

  4. Playing the "3 Up" and "3 Down" Cards:

    • Once a player has played all the cards in their hand and draw pile, they begin playing the "3 Up" cards. These must be played in order, one at a time.

    • After the "3 Up" cards are played, the player moves on to the "3 Down" cards. These cards are played blindly; the player flips one card at a time and plays it if possible. If the card cannot be played, the player picks up the entire discard pile and continues play from their hand.

Winning the Game

  • The first player to get rid of all their cards, including the "3 Down" cards, wins the game.


Additional Rules:

  • Stacking: Multiple cards of the same rank can be played together (e.g., two 7s can be played at once).

  • Clearing the Pile: If four cards of the same rank are played consecutively, the discard pile is cleared, and the player who completed the set goes again.

  • Endgame Strategy: Save special cards like 2s and 10s for strategic moments, especially as you approach playing the "3 Down" cards.


  • Card Management: Keep track of the cards you have and plan to use special cards wisely.

  • Memory: Remember which cards have been played and which might still be in opponents' hands.

  • Timing: Play your high-value cards strategically to avoid picking up the discard pile.

3 Up 3 Down is an engaging card game that combines luck, strategy, and quick thinking. Its simple rules and dynamic gameplay make it a great choice for family and friends.

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