Asshole, sometimes referred to as President, Assholes & Presidents, or even Scum, is a card drinking game where the object is to get rid of the cards in your hand as fast as possible.
Written by DP | Updated
The process of getting rid of your cards is referred to as "going out". Asshole is a the type of drinking game that can be played repeatedly. But be careful, people relegated to the position of asshole for too long will get increasingly frustrated.
We can't tell you how many times we played this game at parties over the years. It's as great for opening the party as it is for closing it down at the end of the night. So many skips, so many rules, so much fun.
- A deck of playing cards (preferably waterproof)
One of the most important parts of playing Asshole is the assigning of titles (or roles) to players after the first round completes. You will see why the first round of gameplay is important shortly.
These roles are mandatory in gameplay. Someone must lead the game (President) and someone must be designated as the lowest person in the game (Asshole). They each play different roles in the course of gameplay.
The President, also known as the King in some games, controls gameplay, sets rules (by winning three or more turns in a row), and tells everyone when and where to drink. The President also lays down the very first cards of the round.
An important thing to note about being President is that you have no power to command in-between games. Also, you trade your worst card with the Asshole prior to the start of the round. In return, you receive the Asshole's best card.
Presidents who sit in office for 3 turns can make a rule. Rules can be anything that is within the spirit of the game. Examples of common rules include:
- Never Have I Ever
- Players who play a Jack must talk like a Pirate
- Thumb Game
How to become President
The winner of the previous round ascends to the Presidency.
Also known as simply a Person or Player, they are someone who is between the President and Asshole in terms of when they shedded their cards in the round prior. They must follow the orders of the players above them in the pecking order to drink. They can also deliver the command to drink to those below them.
How to become a Citizen
Finish anywhere between the President and Asshole.
Asshole. It is the role of all drinking game positions. No role, title or position is more famous among those who partake in competitive alcoholic gaming.
The Asshole is responsible for dealing each round and for clearing cards as gameplay dictates. The Asshole goes last in the first turn of the game. The Asshole also trades their very best card to the President, receiving their worst card in return. Because Capitalism!
What you should know about being Asshole is that you have power during the dealing phase of the game. You assume all powers of the Presidency and can hand out sips, socials and waterfalls as you see fit.
How to become the Asshole
Finish last in a round and you become the Asshole.
Optional titles are based on the group's size and desire to reward (or penalize) additional players. We've seen large enough games of Assholes & Presidents that the President had a whole cabinet assigned to them, including a Secretary of Drinking Defense. FYI, this required multiple decks of playing cards.
If you are going to expand the roles of the game, you're going to need a counterbalance of power. For example, if you add a V.P., then you need to add a Vice Asshole. Cause someone has to give up the cards.
Vice President possesses the second most power in any given round, only with twice the envy of the Office of the Presidency that every other player has. Vice President receives a card from the Vice Asshole in the same manner that the President does.
Usually when put the Vices into the play, the Asshole gives up two cards to the President. You see, the President craves power, and one card simply isn't good enough.
Can you do one and one? Sure. But we'll believe you only when you show us that Benevolent Dictator.
Vice Asshole gives up a card to the President. They are responsible for any duties of being Asshole that the Asshole is currently neglecting. Vice Asshole has similar power during the dealing phase of the game, being just under the Asshole.
That's how politics works in this card game.
Ranking the Playing Cards
Asshole, President, Scum, Politics, whatever you want to call ... has a different approach than many of the card drinking games with regard to the values placed on the cards. It's a lot more in line with traditional non-drinking card games such as poker than say King's Cup, Drunk Uno or Up and Down the River.
The twist is at the top, where a Two is actually more valuable than any other card (except when playing with Red Threes). From there, it goes Ace on down to Three. Jokers are not part of the game of Asshole.
- Two Card (Clears)
* Red Threes are sometimes clear cards, depending on your house rules and how you want to play the game.
Setting up Presidents & Assholes is relatively easy, as all you need to play the drinking game is a standard deck of playing cards. The first round takes place before the order of power is established.
- Choose a dealer at random
- Deal one card to every player until you run out of cards
- The person who holds the three of clubs plays first
- They can throw the single three of clubs, or, doubles, triples, or all four (for a self social) if they have it.
- The winner of the round becomes the President of the next round. The person in last place becomes the Asshole. If you're playing with Vices, assign them as well based on performance of the hand.
Gameplay of each successive round varies a bit from the first in that the President always goes first. Because Capitalism!
- The President starts each round by throwing a single, double, triple or quadruple (rare) of any card they choose.
- Play moves on from there descending down through the order of power, with players playing equal or progressively higher cards until the cards must be cleared.
- A turn ends when all players pass, either by strategic choice or having been forced to by lesser valued cards.
- The Asshole then removes the cards from play (clears) and the person who was the last to play starts the next turn. The Vice Asshole must clear the cards if the Asshole does not. Bad things happen if the President must clear the cards (everyone will drink).
- This repeats until a new order of power is established at the end of the round, based on how players shed their cards.
As for how to play your cards, we follow a logic that goes Singles-on-Singles, Doubles-on-Doubles and Triples-on-Triples. For example, if you play a Jack, someone can't toss Two Queens on top. Yes, a single Queen has a higher card value, but playing doubles on a single isn't allowed.
Got it? Good.
- Play. A play consists of putting down the same or higher value card
- Pass. A pass occurs when a player cannot play or chooses not to play on a turn. If a player doesn't possess higher value cards, they cannot play and must pass.
- Skip. A skip occurs when a player plays the same face value card as the player before. The next player in line from the Citizen currently playing the same value card gets skipped (and must drink).
- Clear. A clear action occurs when a clear card has been played, everyone has passed, or a Social has occurred.
- Social. A social wherever everyone drinks occurs when 4 of the same face value card has been played in a row.
- Party Foul. A party foul occurs when a player does not take their punishment sip(s) and they proceed to play a card prior to fulfilling their obligation to the laws of Asshole. This often happens when a player has been skipped and throw-in socials are in play.
- Waterfall. A waterfall can be called for by the President in-round and the Asshole during the dealing phase of the game. The start of the Waterfall begins with one and ends with the other, depending on phase.
One thing to watch out for during gameplay is a President who starts currying favor with his or her underlings. They tend to do this because they are looking for a soft landing for their weak hand. They know early that they will probably lose the presidency that turn, so they act nice in order to not suffer tremendous punishment when they rejoin the general citizenry next round.
Another thing to consider is strategic passing. If you know early that you have no shot at the Presidency, it's best to play to avoid becoming Asshole. This may involve passing on a turn that you'd otherwise have been able to play, just to save some firepower for a later turn in the round.
Additional Rules of Asshole
There are variations to the Asshole/President/Scum/Politics drinking game that some people play with. Some rules and variations are pretty fun. Some we aren't big fans of. One controversial variation on Asshole is playing with Throw-In Socials.
What is a Throw-In Social?
Throw-In Socials allow for players to complete a social in any form, rather than following the Singles-on-Singles, Doubles-on-Doubles and Triples-on-Triples method of gameplay.
For example, if someone is holding 3x Fives and a person throws a Five, the other person can instantly opt-in despite it potentially not being their turn with their 3x Fives. They then follow the rules for a Social and lead off the next turn, with the Asshole clearing that hand.