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Official "Oh Hell" Card Game Rules

Oh Hell is a trick-taking card game with a focus on accurately predicting the number of tricks a player will take. It's known by various names, including Oh Pshaw, Blackout, and Bust. The game requires strategic bidding and skillful play. Here's a comprehensive guide to the rules of Oh Hell:


The objective of Oh Hell is to score points by correctly predicting the number of tricks you will take in each round.


1. Determine the Dealer: Randomly select the first dealer. The deal rotates clockwise in subsequent rounds.

2. Deal the Cards: The number of cards dealt varies by round. The first round starts with one card per player, and the number of cards increases by one each round until the maximum (determined by the number of players and deck size) is reached, then decreases back down to one.For example, with 4 players, the progression might be: 1 card, 2 cards, 3 cards, ..., 13 cards, then back down: 12 cards, 11 cards, ..., 1 card.


  1. Bid

    • After the cards are dealt, players look at their hands and bid the number of tricks they expect to take. Bidding starts with the player to the dealer's left and proceeds clockwise.

    • The dealer must ensure that the total number of tricks bid does not equal the number of tricks available in that round. This rule ensures that at least one player will fail to make their bid.

  2. Play:

    • The player to the dealer's left leads the first trick by playing any card.

    • Players must follow suit if possible. If they cannot follow suit, they may play any card.

    • The highest card of the led suit wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads the next one.

    • Play continues until all tricks in the round have been played.

Winning the Game

  1. Points:

    • Players earn points for accurately predicting the number of tricks they will take.

    • If a player makes their bid exactly, they score 10 points plus the number of tricks they bid.

      • For example, if a player bids 3 tricks and takes exactly 3 tricks, they score 10 + 3 = 13 points.

    • If a player fails to make their bid, they score zero points for that round.

  2. Record Scores:

    • After each round, record the bids and scores on the scorepad.

    • Total the scores after all rounds have been played. The player with the highest total score wins the game.


Additional Rules:

  • No Trump Suit: Oh Hell is typically played without a trump suit. However, some variations may include a trump suit, determined by turning over the top card of the remaining deck after dealing.

  • Breaking Ties: If there is a tie for the highest score at the end of the game, the player who had the most exact bids wins. If there is still a tie, the player with the highest single-round score wins.


  • Bidding: Make realistic bids based on your hand's strength and the number of cards in play. Avoid overbidding or underbidding significantly.

  • Card Play: Pay attention to which cards have been played to make better decisions about which cards to play and when.

  • Blocking: Sometimes, preventing other players from making their bids can be as important as making your own.

Oh Hell is a fun and challenging card game that combines elements of strategy, prediction, and luck. Its simple rules and engaging gameplay make it a great choice for both casual and serious card players.

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