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This is a variation of the card game Bullshit that I learned in Middle School in Portland, Oregon. We called it "Holt BS", but only because we learned it from a teacher named Holt. This version involves a ton more lying than the traditional version, and is quite a bit more chaotic. Having played both, I don't know why anyone would ever go back.


Deal out an entire 52-card deck between the players. If you have more than 6 players, you can use an extra deck. Anywhere between 3 and 10 people can play this game, but it is probably best with 4 to 8.

Variation: Deal out an extra hand that will not be used in the game. This makes it so that the actual number of each card in play is not known.


The first person to get rid of all of their cards is the winner.


The game starts by picking one person to have the lead for the first round. This can be whoever won the last game, or can just be chosen randomly. All subsequent rounds are led by whomever played the last card in the previous round.

In Bullshit, whenever you play cards, they are placed face down in the center of the playing area (a pile of played cards will accumulate). When doing so, you must announce the number you are playing, and say their supposed value ("two fours"). It is acceptable to lie about the value of the cards being played, but not about the number that you are playing ("two fours" can be a five and a king, but can't be three fours).

Gameplay is broken up into rounds. At the begining of each round, the player with the lead puts some number of cards in the middle and declares the number and type, as described above. It is now open season on that card type: any player can play any number of them into the center at any time during the round. (If the player with the lead opens with "one three", all other players play "threes" that round, or at least try to declare that their eights and jacks are "threes" with a straight face). When no more players want to play cards of that value, whoever played the last one begins the next round with whatever card type they want.

Any player may at any time call "bullshit" (or "BS") on the last cards played. When bullshit is called, the play stops, and the appropriate number of cards are revealled to see if the last player was lying. If that player was lying, she takes the entire pile of cards, and the player that called "bullshit" leads the next round. If the cards reveal that the player was telling the truth, the caller takes the pile and the person who was called gets to lead the next round.

It is generally good form to wait at least a second or two between plays to give people time to call "bullshit". Don't count on it though - if play is going quickly you may have to cover up the pile when calling "bullshit", rejecting all cards played after your call.

A typical round using one deck and 3 players might sound like this:

Player A has the lead.
Player A: One four.
Player B: Two fours.
Player A: One four.
Player C: One four.
Player A: One four.
Player A looks around suspiciously
Player A: One four.
Player A: One four.
Long pause.
Player A: One four.
Player B: One four. Anyone?
Player B laughs in triumph and begins the next round.

You will notice that there were ten "fours" played in that round. Eight or ten cards played in each round is not at all uncommon in this version of bullshit.


Obviously, to be good at this game, you have to be good at lying. And then lie. A lot.

Save the Best for Last:
It is a natural tendency to assume that the more cards that have been played that round, the more likely it is that people are going to lie. After all, you would expect all the legitimate cards to be used up already. To take advantage of this, you should save your legitimate cards for the end of the round, and play a lot of junk early on.

The Lead:
To get rid of your last card and win the game, you pretty much have to have the lead so you can play it without lying (there is no reason for people not to call "bullshit" on your last card). But having the lead is a big help during the rest of the game too. The person with the lead picks the card type that people will be playing, so if you have the lead, you can pick a card that you have a lot of. Not only will this let you get rid of more legitimate cards, but will make the other players extra cautious of calling you.

The easiest way to get the lead is to play the last card in a round. Save one legitimate card until the very end - hold onto it right up until people are asking if it's time to start the next round. If one of the other players is looking suspicious, they are probably holding out too; just relax and wait for them to play their card.

Four of a Kind:
If you've picked up the pile recently, chances are good that you have all four of a particular card. To use this effectively, you should pick a bunch of cards to use as your bullshit cards, and then get the lead. When you play your first "four kings", players will most likely look around and go "ok, next round?". That's when you lay down "another four kings". Look smug like you tricked them - good work! Let them laugh it off before you play "another four kings". In my experience, the third set should probably be your actual kings because players will get fed up with you and call "bullshit".

Avoidance of Calling "Bullshit":
A truly ridiculous amount of lying goes on in this game, particularly because it is not in a player's interest to call bullshit on a pile of fours until she has already played her fours. You can lay down two or three junk cards at the begining of the round pretty safely. On the other hand, some player's first play of the round is always a lie, and you can quickly get the lead and start a new round by calling them on it.

Cards in Hand:
Most people naturally arrange their hand from low to high as soon as they pick it up. Do not do this! If you see other players do this, you will be able to call them based on where the cards come from out of their hand. Grouping numbers together (without putting them all in order) helps you avoid missing a legitimate play, but there is something to be said for the looks you get when you pull three cards from completely different parts of your hand and claim they are all eights.