Nines - Rules for the Card Game

Object of the Game

Be the first to play of all your cards.

Players and Cards

Nines may be played with 2 to 5 players, 3 or 4 being the best. Nines uses a standard deck of 52 cards. Suits are irrelevant and the cards rank, from high to low, A K Q J 9 8 7 6 5 4.

10, 3 & 2 are wildcards (explained in a moment). 9 & 8 have special actions. 4 is slightly special.


Each Player is dealt 9 cards. Place the remaining cards where everybody can get at them. These are the draw pile.

Setup Phase

Pick up your 9 cards, but do NOT look at them. Pick 3 at random and place them face down. These are your "down" cards. Now look at your hand and pick your 3 "best" cards (explained below). These are your "up" cards. They remaining 3 cards are your hand.

Basic Play

Play starts with the person to the left of dealer. He may play any card he wishes, convention is the lowest card in the hand, but that is not a requirement. He may play multiple cards if they are the same (two 3s or three 5s, for example). After playing draw enough cards to bring your hand up to 3 cards.

The card(s) he played, form the pile. The rest of cards will be played on top of this card(s).

The next player may play any card(s) that match or exceed the previous cards rank. So if there's a 6 on top, the next card may be a 6 or anything higher. The number of cards by the previous player has no bearing on the current play. That is three 5s may be followed by a single 7. Again, remember to draw your hand up to 3 after playing.

Play proceeds in this manner until somebody can't match or exceed the current card on top. At this point that person would pick up the entire pile of cards. The person after them would get a "free" play, and may put down any card(s) they wish.

If you have more than 3 cards in your hand after playing (because you picked up earlier) don't draw. Only draw if you have less than 3 cards.

End Game

"up" cards

When the draw pile disappears, your hand will start getting smaller because you are nolonger replacing cards when you play. Once your hand is gone, you may start playing your "up" cards. Play these just like your hand, you may play pairs, or triples cards.

If you pick up the pile when playing your "up" cards that is now your hand. The up card(s) you couldn't play remain where they were. Once your hand is gone, you may again try to play the "up" cards.

One final note about playing the "up" cards. If the last card(s) in your hand matches a card(s) in your "up" cards you may play all of them if you wish. It's an option not a requirement, just like when you have mutiple cards of the same rank in your hand.

"down" cards

Once all your up cards are gone you'll be left with the 3 face down cards. These are played without looking at them. When it's your turn, pick one at random at turn it over so all can see. If you can legally play it, do so. If not that card and the pile becomes your hand. Once this hand is gone you may attempt to play the next "down" card blindly.


If you manage to play all your cards first you have won. The game can either stop at this point (which we usually do), or you can go ahead an play for 2nd place (aka first loser).

Special Cards

As stated earlier some cards are special, and have actions to let you avoid picking up the pile, or affecting the next players turn.

4 of a Kind

If four of the same card are played together, the pile is discarded (exactly like a 10). 3s are not considered as a match in this case. The four cards may be played either from somebody's hand (because they picked up the pile earlier) or by multiple people. In the case of multiple players, the person playing the last card is the one who does the clear and then gets the free play (like a 10). NOTE: the cards completing the four of a kind may be played out of order. If play is going Player A, B, C then D. And B plays two 5s, Player D or A may jump in with the remaining two to finish the set.

Selecting Your "Up" Cards

Earlier it was stated that you want the best cards from your starting hand as your "up" cards. Typically, these are the highest cards, 3s 10s, As, & Ks. Some good combos are a 10 and a pair, as this lets you get out all your "up" cards in one fell swoop. 3s can be quite useful as up cards. 2s are a mixed blessing. You'll be able to play them (except on a 4) but it means that the next person will get a free play.

End Game Strategy

Players should try to work together (without table talk...) if somebody is to their "up" cards and the rest of players aren't. Things like playing a 2 so that the next person can play a 9 to stick somebody with high cards is a good idea. Remember you can see the up cards so you know exactly what they have. Working to get a 4 played if a person has specials (10,3, or 2) is also a good idea.