Oh Shit! Card Game - (also known as Oh Hell!)

This game is also fun. A score sheet makes it convenient to play so we have provided one on this page for your convenience. Enjoy.

The Rules

Terms to understand:

Trick: one card from the hand of each player

Trump: a card, or the suit, which is especially privileged to win over cards of other suits.


2 to 10 players


A regular pack of 52. For both trump suit and non-trump suits the cards rank: Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Trump suit cards rank over non-trump suit cards.


To obtain the highest total score by successfully declaring exactly how many tricks a player will take. The score is recorded on a score sheet.

The Deal.

Each player receives 10 cards, dealt clockwise. As there are only 52 cards in a deck and if more than 5 players reduce each player's amount of cards by one card so that each gets the same number. 8 cards for 6 players, 7 cards for 7 players, 6 cards for 8 players, 5 cards for 9 or 10 players. In the event of more than 5 players the scoring starts in the appropriate row in the score sheet, not in the top row for 10 cards.

After the last card is dealt one card from the deck is turned up and placed face up on top of the deck. This card establishes the trump suit.

Simultaneous Bid.

Each player decides how many tricks he thinks he will win but keeps this decision secret until all players simultaneously bid.. When everyone is ready to declare their bid they place a fist on the table. One player will lead the bid by saying "Ready, get set, go" and then all players will simultaneously straighten the number of fingers to indicate how many tricks. The fingers remain extended so the scorekeeper can record everyone's bid. A player may choose to not extend any fingers, predicting they will not take any tricks.

The Play.

After all the bids are recorded the player to the dealer's left leads. Following players if able to follow suit must either do so but if they cannot they can play another suit, which may or may not be the trump suit. A trick is won by the highest trump in it, or if it contains no trump, by the highest card played of the suit led. Even the deuce of a non-trump suit can take a a trick if following cards are all in other suits and none of them are trump.

Tricks are taken and placed face down in front of the winner of the trick. Tricks are kept separated so the number of tricks can be conveniently counted after the hand is finished.

The winner of a trick leads for the next trick. When hand is finished, each player's tricks are counted. If the player has taken exactly their predicted number of tricks they score 10 plus the number. For example:

  • A successful bid of 0 tricks scores 0+10=10 points.
  • A successful bid of 1 trick scores 1+10=11 points.
  • A successful bid of 2 tricks scores 2+10=12 points.
  • A successful bid of 3 tricks scores 3+10=13 points and so on.

Obviously the maximum number of tricks that can be taken is the number of cards dealt for that hand.

If the player has taken less than their predicted number they score 0.

Similarly, when a player takes a trick they hadn't counted on taking and exceed their predicted number they score 0, and at this time players often exclaim "Oh Shit!".

The number of cards for successive hands diminishes by 1 until only 1 card is dealt per player. Then the pattern reverses, until the number matches the initial hand dealt (10 cards if 5 or less players). The game ends after this hand.


After each hand the score of each player is recorded on the score sheet. Players making their bids exactly have a 1 recorded before the bid number, thereby adding 10 points. Players failing to make their bids exactly have their bids crossed out. After the game has ended all the scores are totalled and the player with the highest total score wins.

     Oh shit! gamesheet.pdf

This page was last edited Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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