El Presidente

If there was one thing that I learned while studying at University, it was how to play cards.  Sure there were the crazy euchre tournaments and people begging you to be their partner, but there was absolutely nothing that was as much fun as President.  Hands down, best card game ever.  The great thing about it is that you can play with many people as long as you have enough decks of cards.

I introduced this game to our family while we were vacationing at the cottage.  There was our family and two of the extended families with us.  We were trying to figure out a card game that everyone could play.  Old and young.  It had to be something that everyone could get a chance to win.  Then it hit me.  I asked Wiseguy to go and bring out two decks of cards.  I told our clan that we would play a really fun game and it wouldn’t take long to learn it.  We started with 8 people.  We needed one deck of cards for every four players.  I figured that if the eight of us had fun then the others would join.  We played, we laughed…hook, line, sinker.  Bring out another deck of cards.

I will try to summarize the rules and gameplay for you:

The goal is to become President.  You become president by getting rid of all your cards first.  There is also a vice president, a secretary, and the lowly joker.  Anyone can deal the deck of cards first as everyone begins as a neutral person.  You deal the whole deck (jokers included as they are very, very lucky cards).  Now, the best way to sort all your cards is to put them highest to lowest and put pairs and triplets together.  Example:  Joker would be highest, then any deuces (twos are bonus cards as well).  Next would be Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, 9s, and so on down the line.  The three of spades starts to the game so whoever has that card must play it.  The game continues clockwise from there. 

Important:  if one card is laid then the next person can only play one higher card (not two or more).  If doubles are played, then it continues all around as doubles.  So, if one 3 is played then one 4 or higher can be played.  If two 5s were played then two 6s or higher can be played.

Super important regarding the bonus cards:  The wonderful Joker cards can beat anything…a single card or a stack of 5 of a kind.  BAM!  wins it!  The deuces, a little bit to remember.  One 2 will beat a single card or a double card.  If there is 3 of a kind put down you need two 2s.  Four of a kind, you need four 2s.

So, round and round you go until someone slams down that last card and calls PRESIDENT!  The next person who goes out is the Vice President, the next, secretary, and last is the Joker (fondly called Loser, but I prefer Joker when children are playing).

Next:  the Joker is now in charge of shuffling and dealing the cards (deal goes clockwise again).  The President gives his two lowest cards to the Joker and the Joker gives two highest cards to the President.  The Vice President gives his one lowest card to the Secretary and the Secretary gives the highest card to the Vice President.  Now, when you have 6 or more people playing it gets quite interesting.  There are only the 4 main positions.  All others that are playing keep all their cards.  No need to swap so you never know who has the Joker cards or the deuces. 

What is SO great about this game?  Anyone can win.  I remember my eight-year old niece just cleaning up.  She went from Joker to President in one turn.  The giggles and laughter were priceless.  This is definitely a unifying game.  That anticipation of dropping the last card is such an adrenaline rush.

We still play this game.  I introduced this game to The Baker and The Artist at Christmastime.  When we get together we still love to gather around the table play President and nosh on snacks while we giggle and laugh and taunt each other.  Good loving times.

The next time you have a large group of people together and just need a quick pick me up, whip out that deck of cards (or two or three or four) and declare a Presidency war.

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