Cheat (game)

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Hand of cards.jpg
Alternative namesBluff, Bullshit, B.S., I Doubt It
Skills requiredCounting, number sequencing[1]
Age range8+[2]
Cards52 (104)
Random chanceMedium[1]
Related games
Valepaska, Verish' Ne Verish', Poker Bull
Easy to play

Cheat (also known as Bullshit, B.S., Bluff, or I Doubt It[3]) is a card game where the players aim to get rid of all of their cards.[4][5] It is a game of deception, with cards being played face-down and players being permitted to lie about the cards they have played. A challenge is usually made by players calling out the name of the game, and the loser of a challenge has to pick up every card played so far. Cheat is classed as a party game.[4] As with many card games, cheat has an oral tradition and so people are taught the game under different names.


One pack of 52 cards is used for four or fewer players; five or more players should combine two 52-card packs. Shuffle the cards and deal them as evenly as possible among the players. No cards should be left. Some players may end up with one card more or less than other players. Players may look at their hands.

A player's turn consists of discarding one or more cards face down, and calling out their rank—which may be a lie.[6]

The player who sits to the left of the dealer (clockwise) takes the first turn, and must call aces. The second player does the same, and must call twos. Play continues like this, increasing rank each time, with aces following kings.[6]

If any player thinks another player is lying, they can call the player out by shouting "Cheat" (or "Bluff", "I doubt it", etc.), and the cards in question are revealed to all players. If the accused player was indeed lying, they have to take the whole pile of cards into their hand. If the player was not lying, the caller must take the pile into their hand. Once the next player has placed cards, however, it is too late to call out any previous players.[6]

The game ends when any player runs out of cards, at which point they win.


  • A common British variant allows a player to pass their turn if they don’t wish to lie or if all the cards of the required rank have clearly been previously played.
  • Some variants allow a rank above or below the previous rank to be called.[6] Others allow the current rank to be repeated or progress down through ranks instead of up.[6]
  • Some variants allow only a single card to be discarded during a turn.
  • In some variations a player may also lie about the number of cards they are playing, if they feel confident that other players will not notice the discrepancy. This is challenged and revealed in the usual manner.[6]
  • In another variant, players must continue placing cards of the same rank until someone calls "Cheat" or everyone decides to pass a turn.

International variants[edit]

The game is commonly known as "Cheat" in Britain and "Bullshit" in the United States.[6]


The German and Austrian variant is for four or more players and is variously known as Mogeln ("cheat"), Schwindeln ("swindle"), Lügen ("lie") or Zweifeln ("doubting").[7] A 52-card pack is used (two packs with more players) and each player is dealt the same number of cards, any surplus being dealt face down to the table. The player who has the Ace of Hearts leads by placing it face down on the table (on the surplus cards if any). The player to the left follows and names his discard as the Two of Hearts and so on up to the King. Then the next suit is started. Any player may play a card other than the correct one in the sequence, but if his opponents suspect him of cheating, they call gemogelt! ("cheated!"). The card is checked and if it is the wrong card, the offending player has to pick up the entire stack. If it is the right card, the challenger has to pick up the stack. The winner is the first to shed all their cards; the loser is the last one left holding any cards.[8]

Verish' Ne Verish'[edit]

The Russian game Verish' Ne Verish' ("Trust, don't trust")—described by David Parlett as "an ingenious cross between Cheat and Old Maid"[9]—is also known as Russian Bluff, Chinese Bluff or simply as Cheat.

The game is played with 36 cards (two or three player) or 52 (four or more). One card is removed at random before the game and set aside face-down, and the remainder are dealt between players (even if this results in players having differently sized hands of cards).[9]

The core of the game is played in the same manner as Cheat, except that the rank does not change as play proceeds around the table: every player must call the same rank.[9]

Whenever players pick up cards due to a bluff being called, they may – if they wish – reveal four of the same rank from their hand, and discard them.[10]

In some variants, if the player does not have any of the rank in their hand, they may call "skip" or "pass" and the next player takes their turn. If every player passes, the cards on the table are removed from the game, and the last player begins the next round.[citation needed]

Canadian/Spanish Bluff[edit]

Similar to Russian Bluff, it is a version used by at least some in Canada and known in Spain. The rules are rather strict and, while a variation, is not open to much variation. It is also known in English as Fourshit (single deck) and Eightshit (double deck), the game involves a few important changes to the standard rules. Usually two decks are used[6] instead of one so that there are 8 of every card as well as four jokers (Jokers are optional), though one deck may be used if desired. Not all ranks are used; the players can arbitrarily choose which ranks to use in the deck and, if using two decks, should use one card for each player plus two or three more. Four players may choose to use 6,8,10,J,Q,K,A or may just as easily choose 2,4,5,6,7,9,J,K, or any other cards. This can be a useful way to make use of decks with missing cards as those ranks can be removed. The four jokers are considered wild and may represent any card in the game.

The first player can be chosen by any means.[11] The Spanish variation calls for a bidding war to see who has the most of the highest card. The winner of the challenge is the first player. In Canada, a version is the first player to be dealt a Jack face up, and then the cards are re dealt face down.

The first player will make a "claim" of any rank of cards and an amount of their choice. In this version each player in turn must play as many cards as they wish of the same rank.[6] The rank played never goes up, down nor changes in any way. If the first player plays kings, all subsequent players must also play kings for that round (it is non-incremental). Jokers represent the card of the rank being played in each round, and allow a legal claim of up to 11 of one card (seven naturals and four jokers).[12] A player may play more cards than they claim to play though hiding cards under the table or up the sleeve is not allowed. After any challenge, the winner begins a new round by making a claim of any amount of any card rank.

If at any point a player picks up cards and has all eight natural cards of a certain rank, he declares this out loud and removes them from the game. If a player fails to do this and later leads a round with this rank, he or she automatically loses the game.

Once a player has played all his or her cards, he or she is out of that particular hand. Play continues until there are only two players (at which point some cards have probably been removed from the game). The players continue playing until there is a loser. The object of the game is not so much to win, but not be the loser. The loser is usually penalised by the winners either in having the dishonour of losing, or having to perform a forfeit.

China/Iranian Bullshit[edit]

In the Fujian province, a version of the game known as 吹牛 ("bragging") or 说谎 ("lying") is played with no restriction on the rank that may be called each turn, and simply requiring that each set is claimed to be of the same number.

On any given turn, a player may "pass" instead of playing. If all players pass consecutively, then the face-down stack of played cards is taken out of the game until the next bluff is called. The player who previously called a rank then begins play again. [6]

This version, also sometimes called Iranian Bullshit,[13] is often played with several decks shuffled together, allowing players to play (or claim to play) large numbers of cards of the same rank.[6]


Known as bluffstopp (a portmanteau of bluff ("bluff") and stoppspel ("shedding game".)) Players are given six (or seven) cards at the start of the game, and the remainder makes a pile. Players are restricted to follow suit, and play a higher rank, but are allowed to bluff. If a player is revealed to be bluffing, or a player fails to call or a bluff, the player draws three cards from the pile.

Additional rules and players to play more than one card in secret, and drop cards in their lap. But if this is discovered, the player must draw three or even six cards.


  1. ^ a b Children's Card Games by USPC Co. Retrieved 22 April 2019
  2. ^ Kartenspiele für Kinder - Beschäftigung für Schmuddelwetter at Retrieved 23 April 2019
  3. ^ Guide to games: Discarding games: How to play cheat, The Guardian, 22 November 2008, [1] retrieved 28 March 2011
  4. ^ a b The Pan Book of Card Games, p288, PAN, 1960 (second edition), Hubert Phillips
  5. ^ The Oxford A-Z of Card Games, David Parlett, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860870-5
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Rules of Card Games: Bullshit / Cheat / I Doubt It". 22 March 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  7. ^ Geiser 2004, p. 48.
  8. ^ Gööck 1967, p. 31.
  9. ^ a b c Parlett, David (2000). The Penguin encyclopedia of card games (New ed.). Penguin. ISBN 0140280324.
  10. ^ "Rules of Card Games: Verish' ne verish'". 17 November 1996. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  11. ^ "". Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Bullshit, the Card Game". Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Board Games". The Swamps of Jersey. Retrieved 29 November 2020.

Further reading[edit]