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To avoid confusion, I am going to use numerals (e.g. "2") to indicate the number on a card and written numbers (e.g. "two") when discussing numbers of cards. The designations of cards will also be in boldface.
The dealer deals seven cards to each player, including him/herself, and then places the remainder of the pack face down in the middle of the table, and turns over the first card, placing it to the side of the face-down block. The player on the dealer's left starts.
The object of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand. Each successive player has the option of placing one of their cards on top of the uppermost face-up card, if it matches it either by number or by suit. For strategic reasons they may if they wish choose not to play a card which they can play, but if they cannot or do not lay down a card, they must pick one up from the face-down block.
The following cards have special meanings:
*2*: If a player plays a 2, the player next after them must pick up two cards, unless they put down another 2, in which case the player after them picks up four, and so on, to a maximum of four successive 2s played, and eight cards picked up by the person at the end of the chain. Once a 2 has been played, and the next player has picked up 2, the 2 which is face-up in the centre thereafter becomes a normal card and the third person may lay a card down on it by number or suit, without being forced to pick up two.
*JACK*: If a player plays a black Jack, the next player must pick up six cards, unless they have another Jack to play. Playing another black Jack forces the third player in the sequence to pick up twelve cards, unless they have a red Jack. Laying a red Jack on a black Jack neutralizes it, and the next player may play another Jack, if available, or follow suit. If there are only two people playing it is advisable to be wary of playing a black Jack unless you have the other black Jack, or a red Jack, or you know the other black Jack has already been played - otherwise the other player may "double Blackjack" you.
As with 2s, if Player One plays a black Jack and Player Two picks up six cards, the black Jack face up at the centre of the table has been neutralized and Player Three may follow it with a Jack or by suit, without having to pick up six.
*7*: A 7 reverses the direction of play. If the very first card turned over is a 7, the player on the dealer's right starts, rather than the dealer him/herself, unless there are only two people playing, in which case the dealer starts.
*8*: An 8 causes the next player in line to miss a turn: if there are only two people playing and the first card turned over is an 8, the dealer starts play. Again, 7s and 8s only affect the player next in line after they have been played. Once somebody has been skipped, or play has been reversed, they become normal cards.
If there are only two people playing, 7s and 8s both effectively mean that the other player misses a turn, and one may then play them off in long runs, ending by either playing a normal card, or picking one up, or going out. For example 8H, 7H, 7S, 7C, 8C, 8D, 10D.
*ACE*: Aces may follow any suit and any neutral number, and may then be followed by any suit named by the person playing the ace. That is, you can't use an ace to neutralize an active 2 or Jack, nor can you lay an ace on a "special" card such as a 2 or an 8 and then say that it is a 2 or an 8, and expect the next player to act accordingly. An ace remains an ace. But you can e.g. put the Ace of Diamonds down on top of a Four of Clubs, and then say you want to be in Hearts. You can also lay an ace on a 2 or a Jack that has already been played out.
Some players deliberately bluff at this point. If you are getting low on cards and you know the other player has an ace, you may play an ace and ask for a suit which you don't actually want, knowing that the other player will probably then use their ace to change the suit away from the one you just named in order to prevent you from (as they think) going out - with a one in three chance that they'll choose the one you really wanted.
When all the face-down cards have been picked up, the top card from the block of face-up cards is taken and placed face up on its own, and the rest of the block re-shuffled and laid face down.
If you get down to having only one card in hand you must say "Last card" at once, before going out (if you can go out) or before the next player has made their move. If you fail to say "Last card" you must pick a card up on the next round, even if you could otherwise have gone out.
Normal scoring is as follows: for each round, if there are only two players the winner gets one point and the loser none. If there are three players, the winner gets two points, the second person out gets one and the third gets none. And so on. The overall winner is usually the first person to ten points if there are two players, to eleven points if there are three, twelve if there are four and so on.
If there are more than two players it is possible for two or more people to finish the game with a winning score - out of four players, two of them may finish the final round with twelve points, for example, even though one must have got there first. In this case it is customary for both (or all) the players with winning scores to proceed to a tie-breaker round.
There is no theoretical limit to the number of people who could play, although if you have more than four or five players it may be advisable to play with two decks, so that one is not constantly having to re-shuffle the pool. This makes it possible to lay eight 2s or four black Jacks, which means somebody could be forced to pick up twenty-four cards in one go.