Bull/Cheat - the Card Game Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Bull/Cheat - the Card Game

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Known in the US as 'Bull' and in the UK as 'Cheat', the aim of this game is to rid oneself of all your cards, which, unless the player is endowed with superhuman luck, will most likely necessitate a few white lies.

The game can be played with two or more players1. With numbers of six and above, two packs can be used.

All cards are dealt out clockwise amongst the players, all of whom will receive the same (or very nearly) number of cards. The discard pile will be in the centre of the table.

How to Play

The first player lays one or more of his/her2 cards face-down on the discard pile, starting with aces and moving upwards, while also calling out what he claims he is playing. The following player lays twos, and so on.

Now for the Fun Bit

There will be occasions when the player has no cards of the appropriate value, in which case he can lay one or more other cards on the pile, while calling out a false claim as to what the cards are.

Players can challenge claims at any point until the next player has laid his cards on the pile. Challengers call the word 'Cheat!' or 'Bulls**t!', and the player who has just laid his cards has to turn them face-up to prove the truth, or otherwise of his claim. If he was lying, he has to pick up the entire discard pile - if he was telling the truth, the challenger picks up the entire discard pile.

The game continues until one player has no further cards left, who is the winner. Some people choose to carry on playing until there is a final loser who will be left holding all the cards in the pack that haven't already been discarded.


There are several variations of this game, with different names, but generally the variations are around the following areas:

Varying the order in which the cards are played:

  • King - ace rather than the other way round.
  • Not following an order but always having to play more than one card.
  • Allowing any card(s) the same or one removed (upwards or downwards) from the last played - eg, nine, ten or jacks can be played on a ten.
  • Allowing (or not) varying levels of cheating - for instance, some people may choose to play three cards instead of the two they are claiming, and hope no other player notices the extra card tucked inside. At an extreme level, on being challenged they may also only turn over the top two cards and claim that the extra one was not laid by them.

All variations require an element of guile and eagle-eyes. Don't look away and let someone put down twelve cards without you noticing - similarly, don't assume that someone who puts down four of the same thing three times in a row was telling the truth the first time. Two packs in play at once can lead to hilarious moments where one person puts down 'six aces' or suchlike.

Other Bluffing and/or Rude Card Games

  • Card Games
  • Card Games with Rude Names
  • Liar's Poker - a poker game which also involves declaring/challenging the value of cards.
  • Spoof - a drinking game involving guessing the number of coins in the other player's hands.
  • Perudo - 'spoof' with dice.
1If only two are playing, you may want to deal a spare hand or use two packs, so you don't know exactly what the other player is holding.2Male version will be used for ease from now on, apologies for patriarchal interpretation of language rules.

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