How to Play Oh, Heck

This card game is excellent for large groups of players of all ages and abilities. The minimum number of players is three.

The Deal and Bids

  1. Shuffle and cut a standard deck of 52 playing cards.
  2. Deal clockwise, one card face down to each player.
  3. Turn up the top card on the remaining deck. The suit of this card is trump.
  4. Bid on how many tricks you will take. Bidding starts with the person to the left of the dealer and proceeds clockwise once around the table.
  5. End bidding with the dealer, who must ensure that someone will lose. In the first round, if everyone has bid "zero" tricks, the dealer must bid "one." If one person bid "one," the dealer must also bid "one."
  6. Record bids on a score pad as they are made.


  1. Start play by having the person to the left of the dealer place his card face up in the center of the table. Follow in order, with each player placing his or her card on the table near the first card.
  2. Determine who won the hand, or trick. The highest card in the suit first led wins, unless someone played a trump card; you can play a trump card if you are out of the suit that was led. The highest trump card wins.
  3. Score the round. A player gets 10 points for every trick over or under his or her bid.
  4. Record the scores.

Points are not good in this game.

Ace is high.

Continuing Play

  1. Make the person to the left of the first dealer the dealer for the next round.
  2. Shuffle the deck and cut the cards.
  3. Deal two cards to each player this time. Deal one card at a time, going around the table twice.
  4. Turn over the top card on the remaining deck to designate trump.
  5. Bid as before, estimating how many tricks you will take.
  6. Continue the bidding clockwise, ending with the dealer. Record bids as they are made.
  7. End bidding with the dealer, who must ensure that someone loses.
  8. Play the first trick. The winner of the first trick will lead his or her last card.
  9. Determine the winner of the second trick.
  10. Score the round.
  11. Continue playing, adding another card each time the cards are dealt.
  12. Determine how long you want this game to go on, and declare a winner or winners when that point is reached.

One option is to play until someone scores 100. Or continue adding to the number of cards dealt until there are not enough cards to go around. Then reduce the number of cards dealt by one each round until after you've gone back to one card. End the game there.

You can also keep an indefinite running score over a long period of time. A year is the longest we've heard of.


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