How to Play the Card Game Called Bastard (Also Known as Shithead, Shed, Palace or Karma)

Updated on October 16, 2019
daydreams profile image

Marianne is a writer from the United Kingdom who enjoys card-game strategies.

How to Play the Card Game Called Bastard (Also Known as Shithead, Shed, Palace or Karma)
How to Play the Card Game Called Bastard (Also Known as Shithead, Shed, Palace or Karma) | Source

There are many different versions of this card game, so it's possible that your friends do know how to play, they just call it something different! The game is played in many countries across the world. It is simple and easy to play once you have the hang of it. The main thing you must do is agree on what rules you are playing from the start to avoid arguments halfway through because one of the players knows different rules.

The Basic Rules of 'Bastard'

The basic rules for playing the game are below, with details of some of the variations you might want to try at the end.


  • You need standard sets of 52 playing cards.
  • If between 2 and 4 people are playing use one pack of cards.
  • If between 4 and 9 people are playing use two packs of cards.

Dealing of the Cards

  1. Shuffle the cards.
  2. Deal 3 cards face down in front of each player.
  3. Deal 3 cards face up on top of the cards you have just dealt.
  4. If there are more than 3 players, deal out 3 cards for each .player
  5. If there are less than 3 players, deal out 5 cards
  6. Put the remaining cards in a pile in the middle

Layout of the cards
Layout of the cards


Your aim is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

How to Decide Who Starts

The player who gets to start is the first person who says they have a card of the value 3 in their hand. If no player has a 3, it is the person who has a 4, if no 4 then the player who has a 5, and so on. If more than 1 player has a 3, then go with the person nearest to the left of the dealer.


  1. The first person must start a pile of cards face up in the centre. They must play a card from their hand (or any number of cards of the same value in the centre).
  2. Once they have played a card they must pick up another card from the face down pile in the centre, so that they always have 5 (or 3) cards in their hand.
  3. The next player to the left must play a card that beats the previous card in the centre. If they cannot beat the card in the centre they must pick up the face up pile of cards, and it is the turn of the next person to the left.

What Cards You Can Play to Beat Another Card

The basic rule is that you must play cards of the same value, or higher than the player before you. For example, if the player before you plays a 6, you must play a 6's or higher. If you have more than one card of the same value you can play them together. Aces are high. Suits do not matter.

Some cards also have special properties, and you can play the game with different variations of the rules. (It is important to agree on these in advance of playing).

For the first time I recommend using:

  • 10: burns the pack—this means that you can play a 10 on anything, and all the cards in the pile in the centre are removed from the game.
  • 2: can be played on anything
  • 4 of a kind: burns the pack—if someone plays 4 cards of the same value all the cards in the pile in the centre are removed from the game

Winning the Game

Once the pack of cards in the centre, and a player has no more free cards in their hand, they can start playing the 3 face-up cards that were dealt to them at the beginning.

Only once the 3 face-up cards have all been successfully played, can the 3 face-down cards be played. These must be played blind, and if they do not beat the card in the centre, the deck in the middle must be picked up. The winner is the first person to have no cards left.

Variations on the Rules

You can give other cards special properties. Remember to agree on what variations you are playing with at the start. It is usually best to have 3 or 4 special cards.

  • 7s are invisible: This means you can play a 7 on any other card, and the person who takes a turn next to you must play a card that beats the card before the 7.
  • 8 or wait: This means the player who takes a turn next must either play an 8 or skip a turn.
  • 8 wait: This can mean that the player next to you skips a turn.
  • 9 or lower: This means the player whose next turn it is must play a 9 or lower value card.
  • Jack back: This reverses the order of play.

The four suits of playing cards are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Bastard is unusual amongst card games as the suit of the cards do not really matter. It is the values that count.
The four suits of playing cards are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Bastard is unusual amongst card games as the suit of the cards do not really matter. It is the values that count. | Source

Questions & Answers

  • What’s an ace worth in Bastard?

    Aces are high, so you can only play another Ace on an Ace, or one of the special cards that you can play on any card like a 2 or a 10. (sometimes others depending what rules you play)

  • When playing bastard, who plays next after a 10 is played--the player who played the 10 or the next player?

    The player who played the 10.

  • Can you put down the same card after picking it up in Bastard?

    If you have to pick up the center pile, then it moves on to the next person's turn so you don't get a chance to put the same card down after picking it up.

  • What happens when you play a 2?

    You can play a 2 on any card, and it resets the value the next player needs to play, i.e. the next player can play any card because it is worth more than a 2.

  • When an ace is played during the card game Bastard, and there are no options for further play, what happens?

    If no one can play on top of an Ace (or any other card) the pile of cards in the centre is picked up by the player whose turn it is.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Amy Southgate 

      16 months ago

      I just want to know how to play shit head/basterd properly the way my town plays is 10 burns 2 go on anything 7 u can put on anything except an ace but u after go lower also when u av been dealt ur hand and u get ur three u can change what u av on the cards faceing up nd also add to the pile for example if I av a another 2 u can add it to my ones facing up!!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)