How to Play Screw Your Neighbor

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Screw Your Neighbor Rules & Instructions

deck of cards


Number of Players

Best with 4-8 players, but can play with less or more


10 – 20 minutes per round

Supplies Needed

Full deck of 52 standard playing cards

Tokens (chips, dollar bills, etc.)

Card Rank

Aces are low (K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A)


Each round, the person with the lowest card loses a token that is donated to a community pot that the winner will earn. Before you start the game, you will need to determine how many tokens each player will play with. The standard is three tokens per player.


The dealer passes out one face down card to each player. It doesn’t matter if you do this clockwise or counter clock wise, but make sure you keep it consistent the entire game.

The player who was dealt first starts the turn by looking at their card and determining whether or not they’d like to “stay” or exchange it with the player ahead of them. The player is required to exchange the card unless they are holding a King which can “block” the trade request (Kings are also the highest value card).

Each player takes a turn in sequential order deciding if they want to keep or exchange their card with the player ahead of them. Once it gets back to the dealer, that player can choose to stay or hit from the deck.

Once each player has gone, everybody flips over their card and sees who has the lowest card. The person with the lowest card places one of their tokens/lives into the middle of the pot.

If two or more people are tied with the lowest amount, they both have to forfeit their token to the pot.

You are eliminated from the game once you have run out of tokens.

The Endgame

You win Screw Your Neighbor by being the last remaining player with tokens. The winner gets to keep all the earnings from the community pot.

screw your neighbor gameplay example

Gameplay example – the player with the lowest card at the end of each round must forfeit a token to the community pot.

Additional Rules & Notes

  • The dealer and player positions rotate so that if you are first to act, the next round you will become dealer. This way everyone takes turns being first to decide to stay or switch.
  • If two players are left with one chip and on the last turn they tie, everyone re-antes the full token amount, keeps the chips in the middle, and replays the game. This is called a double knockout.
  • It’s customary to flip over your king when an opponent tries to exchange it with you. Some people play where if you take the card from the player ahead of you, then they can keep it even if it’s a king. This is a cheap, dumb rule, but it’s an option if you want to force everyone to pay extra close attention and you’re very competitive.


Is there a recommended number of players?

While you can technically play one vs. one, I think it’s most fun with 4-8 players. Anymore and it becomes a pain to deal and takes too long.

What’s the lowest card rank you should stay with?

It depends on how many players are remaining. The more players, the lower you can stay with and feel confident. Simply, there are more chances that someone swaps for a low card or is forced to stay. Anything below a 7 should receive consideration for swapping in my opinion.

How often to double knockouts happen?

They are rare, but they are so fun when they happen. Obviously all of the knocked out players want another chance at the pot so it’s a nice way to keep everyone engaged throughout the entire turn.

Do you need to play for money?

Nope! I’ve played with chips/pretzels before where the loser has to eat one of their “lives”. It’s a fun game to pass the time.

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