AKA: Bastard, Palace, Karma, China Hand and Ten-Two Slide

There are many variations of this game so your friends may well already know how to play, just under a different name. The initial layout with three cards face down and three cards face up on top usually rings a bell for most people.

2 – 5 Players with 1 deck of cards or up to 5-9 players with two decks

  • Uses a standard pack of cards, no jokers.
  • Deal a row of three cards face-down to each player, one at a time.
  • Deal three cards face-up to each player, one at a time, on top of the face-down cards.
  • Deal a three-card hand face-down to each player, one at a time.
  • Any cards remaining undealt are placed face down to form a draw pile.

Before the general play begins the players pick up their three-card hands and can exchange any cards in their hand with any of their face-up cards. In most cases, you try to have your strongest cards as the visible face-up cards.

General Play

Until the draw pile is finished all players should always have 3 or more cards in their hand. Player 1 starts by discarding any number of cards of the same rank face up to a discard pile. Player 1 then draws cards to have three in hand. Taking turns clockwise, each player must play a card or cards of equal to or of higher rank than the previous player, or pick up the pile!

When picking up the pile you add them to your hand and your go is finished. The next player then starts a new discard pile with any rank of card/cards of their choice. Play then continues as before.

When the draw pile is finished, play continues as before, without any replenishment. Only when you have no cards in your hand (ie no draw cards left and you have discarded your hand cards) can you play one of your table cards. All of the face-up cards have to be played before you can then play (without looking!) one of the face-down cards.

Note: Even if you have discarded any of your face-up/face-down cards, if you have had to pick up the discard pile you must play all of the cards from your hand before continuing to use any of the table cards.

Wild Cards – on your go..

  • Twos can be discarded at any time and rank as a two.
  • Tens can be discarded at any time and then the complete discard pile is removed from the game. That player then gets another go to start a new discard pile.
  • Set of Four Cards of the same Rank; they need to be played as part of normal play. Either played by one player or when a player discards the same rank as a previous player making a set of 4, the discard pile is removed and that player gets another go to start a new discard pile.

Game Play

You have been successful if you have completely discarded all of your cards before the last player. During the game it is quite normal to fluctuate from having no hand cards to picking up a large discard pile. This does, however, mean you may then have enough cards to dictate the flow of the game. Possibly having Sets of Four (which can remove the discard pile and give you another go) or through tactical use of the Two cards.

To be successful means that on your last go you have turned over a face-down card without knowing what it is. If it successfully matches or has a higher rank the current discard pile card then you can discard it. If it doesn’t, then you pick it and the discard pile up, into your hand, and you play on until you have no cards left.

Play continues until there is only one player left. They are the Sh*thead!


Additional Shithead Wild Cards; the rank used for these variations also varies! (ie some say missing a go is when you get a jack rather than an 8)

  • Any 7; when played in normal play a seven on the top of the discard pile means the next player has to play lower or equal to a seven
  • Any Jack; when played in normal play in changes the direction of play i.e you would then start going anti-clockwise
  • Any 8; when played in normal play the next player would miss a go.
  • Any 9; can be played at any time but is ‘invisible’ and play continues using the previous discard card.

Leave a Comment