Number of Players: 3 to 6. If more than six people wish to play, use one deck for each group of 6.
The Deal: All cards in the deck or decks are dealt out to the players one at a time. Some players may receive unequal amounts of cards. Traditionally, the deal begins with the player on the dealer's left and proceeds in a circle around the table clockwise. However, this is not required.
The Goal: The goal of the game is to have no cards remaining in your hand; this is called "going out". The first person to get rid of all their cards becomes the President for the next hand. Play continues until there is only one person left with cards in his hand. That person becomes the Asshole. If you have at least four players, you can play that the second person to go out is the Vice President and the second to last person to go out is the Vice Asshole.
Starting the Game: After at least one hand has been played and there is an Asshole and a President, the Asshole and President exchange cards before play begins. The Asshole must give his two best cards, with 2's being considered best, then aces, then kings, down to 3's. The President must give his two lowest cards, beginning with 3's, then 4's, and up to aces. The President may not choose to give higher cards even if it would benefit him to do so. The exchanged cards are placed face up on the table for everyone to see. For instance, if the President is dealt four 3's and two 4's, it would be to his benefit to trade the two four's rather than two of his 3's. However, he must trade the two 3's. If it is found that the President or the Asshole did not trade the correct cards they will automatically be made Asshole and taken out of the current hand.
If you are playing with the Vice President and Vice Asshole rule, these players exchange as above but only one card.
On the first hand of a new session, the person with the 3 of Diamonds makes the first play by laying down all his threes. If you are playing with multiple decks, the first person to lay down a 3 of Diamonds gets to start. On any hand other than the first, the President begins with whatever cards he likes so long as they make a valid play.
Making a Play: Making a play when no cards are face up is called "opening". A valid opening play can be any card or group of cards of the same rank, not including 2's. Except for 2's you can never lay down two cards of different rank at the same time. Example: A single 3, a pair of queens, three 9's, or four 6's would all be valid openings.
Once someone has opened, play proceeds to the left in seating order. The next player must lay down the same number of cards as were laid down on opening and the cards must be equal or higher in rank. If the current play is identical to the previous play, the next player on the left is skipped; he may not play his turn normally and he may not lay down a 2 until he gets another turn. Once a player makes his play, the player to his left makes a play in the same fashion. Example: If the previous play was a single 3, the current player could play a 3 to skip his neighbor, a 4, a 5, or any card up to ace. If the previous play was a pair of 5's, the current player could play a pair of 5's, a pair of 6's, etc. up to a pair of aces.
A play is considered made once the cards have left the player's hand. At this point the cards may not be taken back.
On his turn a player may pass. However, once a player has passed he can no longer make plays or lay down 2's until the current stack has been "closed" (turned over).
Play continues to the left until the stack is closed. When every player has passed, the stack is closed, the cards are flipped over and taken out of play, and the last person to make a play gets to open. Play then continues as above. If there is only one player remaining who has not passed he is free to make as many valid plays as he likes before passing.
2's: 2's are special cards and are never played as their numerical rank with the other cards. With some restrictions, at any time, even when it is not his turn, a player may lay down a 2. This causes the current stack to be closed and allows the player who laid the 2 to open. In any case where one player is trying to lay a 2 and another is trying to make a play, whichever card hits the table first is considered to be played first. If the card being played skips the player who wishes to lay a 2 he must take back his 2 and wait until he has another turn. If the 2 hits the table before another player's valid play, the other player must take back his cards.
Restrictions on 2's: If a player has been skipped, he cannot play a 2 again until he has another turn, even if the current stack is closed. If a player is skipped repeatedly it does not count as him having a turn.
Once a player has played a 2, he must wait until he has another turn to play another 2, even if the current stack is closed.
Once a player has passed he must wait until the stack is closed to play a 2. He need not wait until he has another turn, though, but may play a 2 as soon as the new stack is opened.
Once a play is made, a player may put his finger on the current stack of cards. Once he has done this, no one may play a 2 unless at least one of the other players who have not passed can beat the current play. If the player does not place his finger on the stack, a 2 may be thrown regardless of whether anyone can beat the current play. If a player asks if someone at the table can beat the current play the players are not allowed to lie. If a player lies about being able to beat the play and is found out, he automatically becomes Asshole and is removed from the current hand. Play is not paused by such a question, although in some circumstances the player may be able to avoid answering the question. Example: Player 1 plays a pair of aces and places his finger on the stack. Player 3 wants to play a 2 so he asks if anyone can beat a pair of aces. Player 2 has a pair of aces, so if he said, "I can beat it," Player 3 would be able to play his 2 and close the stack. Player 2 instead passes; now that he has passed, no unpassed player can beat the pair of aces so Player 3 is unable to play his 2 and Player 1 takes the stack.
A 2 must always be played on another card or cards. A 2 may never be played as an opening. If no other restrictions apply, however, a 2 may be played along with an opening. Example: A player opens with a pair of jacks. He may lay down a 2 at the same time to close the jacks immediately and open again. After doing this he must wait until he has another turn before he can lay another 2.
Sessions: A session is a set of hands where the game does not start over with the 3 of Diamonds. A session typically lasts as long as the players wish it. However, if at any time the current President or Asshole leaves the game, the session is over and play must begin with the 3 of Diamonds. A session is not ended when another player joins the group.
Other Rules: There are no other rules. Anything not expressly disallowed in these rules is permissible. If people take actions that other players do not like the other players may quit the game.