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How-To: Play ‘Daifugo’, the Japanese Card Game

By James
June 02, 2021

Let's learn how to play 'Daifugo' or 'Billionaire', a super popular card game in Japan!

Each player is dealt a set of cards, and the winner is the one who has no more cards left in his or her hand. "The winner is the one who runs out of cards. The winners (the richest and wealthiest) also get preferential treatment in the next game. The losers (the poor and the very poor) are treated poorly in the next game.

The goal: Get rid of your cards as fast as you can by playing progressively stronger cards than those of the previous player.

Basic Rules:
Number of Players: 3 to 8 people (4 to 5 is ideal!)

Card Strength: Weakest are from 3 through King of any symbol. The Ace is stronger than those, but the 2 is stronger than Ace, and finally the Joker is the strongest card.

Cards Used: 52 Cards + 1 Joker

Note: 2 is stronger than A, no matter the symbol.

Winning Ranks:
1st) Billionaire
2nd) Millionaire
3rd) Commoner
4th) Poor
5th) Great Poor

Game Instructions:

① Oldest player distributes all cards evenly.

② Decide who will show their card first. You can also start from the person with a 3 of Diamonds.

③ The person who plays the first card puts down 1 to 4 sets of cards with the same number (including the Joker it may exceed 5 sets) from their hand.

④ The next person will play the same amount of cards with stronger number pairs. The Joker can be used as a substitute for any card.

⑤ If you don't have a card to play, or if you don't want to play a card for strategic reasons, give a "pass". There is no limit to the number of 'passes'.

⑥ In the case that everyone except yourself passes, the cards in play will be utilized.

⑦ Next, that person can issue the cards in the same tricky way.

⑧ This way, the person who keeps issuing cards and is the first to run out is the Daifugo, or Billionaire. After the first place player, the ranks are Millionaire, Commoner, Poor, and Great Poor in the order of rising. Depending on the number of people, increase or decrease the number of commoners (or add the 'kings', 'queens', etc.).

⑨ When playing two or more times, exchange the cards. The Great Poor give the two strongest cards in their hand to the Billionaire, and the Billionaire gives two cards they don't need to the Great Poor. The Poor give one of their strongest cards to the Millionaire, and the Millionaire gives one unwanted card to the Great Poor. In addition, the second round and after may start from the Great Poor. 

Optional Rules:

Sequence: If you put out 3 or more cards with the same mark in consecutive numbers (example: 7, 8, 9), then the next person must issue the same amount of stronger cards with consecutive numbers on them (example: 10, J, Q).

Tight: If a card with the same mark is issued twice in a row, only cards with that mark can be issued until the spot is played.

Revolution: If you play 4 or more cards with the same number, the strength of the cards will be reversed (basically excluding the Joker).2 is the weakest and 3 is the strongest. Four or more cards with the same number are issued again (revolutionary return), return to original rules when one game is over.

Bankrupt: If the millionaire does not finish first, the millionaire becomes a poor man.

Spade 3 Return: You can give 3 spades to a single Joker. In the next turn, the person who drew 3 of spades can issue a card first.

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James

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