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Official Beggar My Neighbor Rules

Beggar My Neighbor is a simple but fun card game perfect for two players. Here's a breakdown of the rules:


Get rid of all your cards first and leave your opponent with nothing! Essentially, you're "begging" them to take all the cards.


1. Shuffle the Deck: Shuffle the cards thoroughly.

2. Deal the Cards: Deal all 52 cards face down, one card at a time, to each player, resulting in a face-down pile in front of them.


The game is played in rounds, with players taking turns in clockwise order. Here's what happens on a player's turn:

  1. Turn Over a Card: On your turn, flip the top card of your face-down pile face up to reveal it.

Card Value and Actions:

The value of the card determines what action you need to take:

  • Cards Ranked 2-10: If you reveal a card between 2 and 10 (numbered cards), simply play it face up to a central discard pile and your turn ends. Play proceeds to the next player.

  • Face Cards (Jack, Queen, King):  If you reveal a Jack, Queen, or King (also known as "court cards"), this triggers a "penalty" for your opponent. You can announce "Pay honor to the court!" (or a similar phrase).

  • Ace:  An Ace acts similarly to a court card, but instead of announcing "Pay honor to the court!", you might say "Down comes the Ace!"

Opponent's Penalty:

  • Depending on the revealed card (Jack, Queen, King, or Ace), your opponent must "pay the penalty" by turning over and discarding a specific number of cards from their face-down pile face up to the discard pile, without looking at them:

    • Jack:  Opponent discards 1 card.

    • Queen:  Opponent discards 2 cards, one at a time.

    • King:  Opponent discards 3 cards, one at a time.

    • Ace:  Opponent discards 4 cards, one at a time.

Important Rule:

  • Players cannot look at the cards they are discarding during a penalty. They must blindly flip them face up from their pile until they reach the required number.

End of Round:

  • After a player reveals a card (other than a court card or Ace) or their opponent finishes their penalty discards, the round ends.

Winning the Game

  • The game continues until one player has managed to discard all the cards in their face-down pile. That player wins the game by successfully begging all the cards from their opponent!


  • Fast-Paced and Strategic:  While the rules are simple, Beggar My Neighbor can be a surprisingly strategic game, as players try to hold onto high-value cards (2-10) for later and force their opponent to discard more cards with court cards and Aces.

  • Variations:  There are a few variations of Beggar My Neighbor. Some might allow players to choose which cards they discard during a penalty instead of discarding blindly.

  • Simple and Fun:  Despite its name, Beggar My Neighbor is a lighthearted and enjoyable card game perfect for two players looking for a quick and engaging challenge.

So grab a deck of cards, shuffle them up, and see if you can become the ultimate beggar and leave your opponent with nothing but an empty hand!

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