Big Two

For other meanings see Big Two (disambiguation).
Big Two
People playing card games in the street.jpg
Origin Chinese
Alternative name(s) Big Deuce, Deuces, 大老二, 鋤大地, 步步高昇, Pusoy Dos
Type Shedding-type
Players usually 4, but sometimes adapted to different numbers of players
Cards 52, 13 per person with 4 players
Deck Anglo-American
Card rank (highest to lowest) 2 A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3,
(Spades) >
(Hearts) >
(Clubs or Clovers) >
Related games
Winner (爭上游)

Deuces (Chinese: 大老二; pinyin: dà lǎo èr; Cantonese: 鋤大D; jyutping: co4 daai6 di2) is a card game similar to the game of Asshole, Crazy Eights, Bullshit, Winner, and other shedding games. It is sometimes called "Chinese poker" because of its Chinese origin and its use of poker hands, though there is actually a different game by that name of an entirely different nature. In Malta it is often referred to as Giappuniza or Ciniza due to its Asian origin.



This card game has many names, including Big Deuce, Big Two, Top Dog, "The Hannah Game" (used in canada), Da Lao Er (Mandarin Chinese), Sho Tai Ti, Choh Dai Di, Dai Di (Cantonese), Cap Sa (Hokkien, used in Indonesia), "Poker in the Asshole" (due to its mixture of the two), and Pusoy Dos (a Philippine variant of the game). A common mistake is to confuse this game with Tien Len or Thirteen or 13 because these two games are actually different in the sense that Big Two involves poker hands but Tien Len does not.

The game is very popular in East Asia and South East Asia, where it originated, especially Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is played both casually and as a gambling game. It is usually played with two to four players, the entire deck being dealt out in either case (or sometimes with only 13 cards per player). The objective of the game is to be the first to get rid of all of your cards.

A commercial version of the game was published as Gang of Four[1] in 1990.


Note: Like many other popular card games, there are a wealth of variations to these rules. Rules with variations are noted.

Valid combinations

Cards may be played as singles or in groups of two, three, or five (var. 1 and 8), in combinations which resemble poker hands. The leading card to a trick sets down the number of cards to be played; all the cards of a trick must contain the same number of cards. The combinations and their rankings are as follows.

  • Single cards: Any card from the deck, ordered by rank with suit being the tie-breaker. (For instance, A beats A, which beats K.)
  • Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the K and K beats a pair consisting of K and K.)
  • Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank, ordered by rank, twos rank high, as usual. Not all people play with three of a kind.
  • 5-card hand: There are five (var. 2) different valid 5-card poker hands, ranking, from low to high, as follows (the same ranking as in poker):
  • Straight (also known as a snake in cantonese): Any 5 cards in a sequence (but not all of the same suit). Rank is determined by the highest valued card with the suit used only as a tie-breaker. Therefore A-2-3-4-5 > 10-J-Q-K-A . The smallest straight is 3-4-5-6-7.
  • Flush (also called flower): Any 5 cards of the same suit (but not in a sequence). Rank is determined by highest value card and then by highest suit. In some popular variations, flushes are not permitted as a playable hand, and thus it is the lowest possible combination.
  • Full House: a composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Rank is determined by the value of the triple, regardless of the value of the pair. Also known as a Fullen.
  • Four of a kind + One card (nicknamed King Kong, tiki, or Bomb): Any set of 4 cards of the same rank, plus any 5th card. (A 4 of a kind cannot be played unless it is played as a 5-card hand) Rank is determined by the value of the 4 card set, regardless of the value of the 5th card. It is also known as a poker. (Some play the Four of a kind hand as the beat all, therefore nicknamed the bomb, King Kong, or also tiki.)
  • Straight Flush: A composite of the straight and flush: five cards in sequence in the same suit. Ranked the same as straights, suit being a tie-breaker. (Sometimes also played as a bomb or tiki, larger than a Four of a Kind)

The dealer (who may be chosen by cutting the cards, as usual) shuffles the deck to begin with and begins dealing out the cards singly, starting with the person of his right, in a counter-clockwise manner around the table. The cards are dealt out among the players as far as they can go while retaining an equal number of cards for each player. Leftover cards (not possible if there are 4 players) are then given to the player holding the 3. If this card is in the kitty, then the holder of the next lowest card adds them to his pile (var. 5).

At the beginning of each game, the player with the 3 (var. 6 and 9) starts by either playing it singly or as part of a combination, leading to the first trick. Play proceeds counter-clockwise, with normal climbing-game rules applying: each player must play a higher card or combination than the one before, with the same number of cards. Players may also pass, thus declaring that he does not want to play (or does not hold the necessary cards to make a play possible). A pass does not hinder any further play in the game, each being independent, referred to as jumping-back. (var. 7).

When all but one of the players have passed in succession the trick is over (some variations have when 1 player has passed the trick is over), and the cards are gathered up and a new trick is started by the last player to play. When a player plays the 2 either as a single or as part of a pair of 2s, it is often customary for that player to start the next trick immediately by leading a new card or combination, since the 2 cannot be beaten whether as a single or as part of a pair of 2s, and the passes are mere formalities.

It is often courteous for a player to warn others when he/she is one playing combination away from winning. The goal is, then, for the other players to play (and get rid of) as many cards as possible while avoiding the combination that would allow the calling player to win the game. For example, if the said player has one last single card, the other players would play doubles or other combinations to force him/her to pass.

The game ends when one player runs out of cards. Refer to scoring section.

In most popular variations, ending with a single or double two is not allowed.

Immediate win

In a 4-player game, when a player is dealt a 13-card straight (2-A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3, which is called a "Dragon", and they need not be of the same suit), the player is deemed to have won the game immediately. This is one of the more controversial rules of Big 2(var. 13). The scoring will be done as if the player has cleared all his cards while the opponents are still holding 13 cards each. Thus if the triple for 13 cards rule is enforced (see Scoring), the winner will have won the highest possible 3x3x13 = 117 points. These rules may be voided for it is not widely accepted.

The chance of getting a Pure Dragon is \frac{  \tbinom{4}{1}^{13} }{ \tbinom{52}{13} } = 0.010568\% = 1:9462 games.

The chance of getting a Suited Dragon is \frac{  4 }{ \tbinom{52}{13} } = 0.000000000629908\% = 1:158753389900 games.

In some areas there are other ways to obtain immediate wins, usually among casual playing groups. One such way is known as the "Golden Whoopin'" This is when a player is dealt all four 2s in a single hand. The player may lay them down together(not as a valid hand such as a 4-of-a-kind) before anyone plays anything, regardless of the situation. The player then wins the hand automatically, no questions asked. The score(card count) of the losing players is tripled.


If a player receives a hand with only 3 points or less, he may declare his cards, and the cards shall be reshuffled and dealt again. Point counting rules: J=1, Q=2, K=3, A=4, 2=5, others=0. This pointing counting rules may vary from place to place, or may be voided. A variation states that a player holding a hand with no cards with faces on them (namely Jacks "J", Queens "Q", and Kings "K") may request a reshuffle and the cards shall be dealt again.


Scoring varies from place to place. The most common version is that after a game each player with cards remaining scores -1 point for each, unless they have 10 or more remaining, in which they score -2 for each. If they didn't get to play any cards at all, they score -3 for each. Then the winner of the hand scores +1 for every -1 his opponents got. (So, for example, if North won, and East, West, and South respectively still had 3, 11, and 8 cards left, East would score -3, West would score -22, South would score -8, and North would score +33.)

Likewise for a 3-player game, a player with 17 cards remaining is deducted triple points. A player with more than 11 cards and less than 17 cards remaining is deducted double points. An alternative scoring method to deduct one point per remaining card, is to double the count for each unused 2.

Penalty for assistance

If Player B won a game by playing his last card (the case of more than one card played is excluded) after Player A has played his or hers and Player A could have prevented this from happening by playing a higher card, he is deemed to have assisted Player B.

There are several ways to penalize Player A. The most common way is for Player A to be deducted the total points that the other 2 losers have lost on top of his own so that the other two lose no points.

This rule can vary between styles of play. If the scoring system is by ranks (e.g. who finishes first, second, third or last), then this rule doesn't apply.


  1. Smack Down: The Smack Down can be played to defeat the "Big Two" only when the Two of Spades is played as a single. A Smack Down is either 4 of a kind or a run of pairs (Example: 4-4-5-5-6-6). The run of pairs may be any length of at least 3. After a Smack Down has been played, any player is allowed to "Smack Back" with a higher 4 of a kind or run of pairs of equal length as the Smack Down. "The Smack Down" and "The Smack Back" originated on the first floor of the Chemistry Building at UMBC and is often culminated with a violent smack of the playing surface.
  2. Some allow four-of-a-kind without extra card; twos rank high, as usual.
  3. Some variations allowing four-of-a-kind without extra card do not allow for two pairs.
  4. Some allow four-card combinations (two pairs or four cards alone, without an odd card). Four of a kind beats two pairs (this rule is extremely rare)
  5. Some allow a sixth five-card combination called "two pair-junk" or "Butterfly", consisting of two pairs (of different ranks) and one odd card ("junk"); Rank is determined by the highest pair. This combination ranks below the straight.
    Or it can be more specific, known as sisters, where two consecutive pairs are played, with any random card. This combo is lower than a straight, making it the weakest 5 card combo in the game, if it is played. An example of sisters is double Jack, double Queen and a single Nine. This would be beaten by a double King, double Ace and a three (only the 'sisters' count, not the random card.)
    3-K-K-A-A > 9-J-J-Q-Q (tie-breaker rules vary)
  6. Some variations allow for straights longer than five cards.
  7. There are many variations on ranking straights, suit of last card is tie-breaker unless otherwise stated.
    • A-2-3-4-5 < 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 10-J-Q-K-A < 2-3-4-5-6 (Singaporean variant)
    • 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 10-J-Q-K-A < A-2-3-4-5 < 2-3-4-5-6 (Suit of 2 is tiebreaker) (Malaysian variant)
    • 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 10-J-Q-K-A < J-Q-K-A-2 (Vietnamese & Indonesian variant)
    • 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 10-J-Q-K-A < 2-3-4-5-6 (Suit of 2 is tiebreaker) < A-2-3-4-5 (Suit of 2 is tiebreaker) (Hong Kong variant)
    • 2-3-4-5-6 < 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 9-10-J-Q-K < 10-J-Q-K-A < A-2-3-4-5 (Suit of A is tiebreaker)
    • 2-3-4-5-6 < 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 9-10-J-Q-K < A-2-3-4-5 (Suit of A is tiebreaker) < 10-J-Q-K-A
    • 3-4-5-6-7 < ... < 10-J-Q-K-A
    • Q-K-A-2-3 < K-A-2-3-4 < … < 10-J-Q-K-A < J-Q-K-A-2 (Depending on variant, suit of last or highest card is tiebreaker)
  8. Some rank flushes by highest suit, K-Q-J-10-8 in spades defeating A-6-5-4-3 of diamonds.
  9. Some discard the extra cards. Some play that the lowest cards are consciously removed to avoid having the spade two, the highest card, in the kitty. Yet others give the kitty to the holder of the lowest diamond (not necessarily the lowest card).
    Whereas sometimes in a 3-player game, the extra card is not revealed (or is revealed), and the holder of 3 is given a chance to make a decision to or not to trade his/her 3 for the extra card. If he/she does, the starting player will be 3 holder, or the previous winner depending on the rules.
  10. Some switch and , to conform to contract bridge tradition, and play begins with the 3. Another variation rearranges the suit ranks from (lowest to highest) , , , . Another variation of suit ranks is (lowest to highest) , , , .
  11. In some variations, suit rankings are not used, for example, a 3-single cannot be used to beat any other 3-single, and an 8-high straight cannot be used to beat any other 8-high straight.
  12. A variant to discourage passing disallows a player from playing any further cards to a trick after he passes.
  13. A rare variation involves a 3-player game, where each is dealt 17 cards. A "Dragon" consists of 13 cards in straight (A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2), is considered a valid combination and may be played once the player has gained control of the game. Suit of 2 is tie-breaker.
  14. In Malta, a "Dragun" or "Dragon" is not a 13 card straight, but it is the initial 13 cards that he is dealt, consisting of 6 pairs and any other single card. When a person is dealt a "Dragon" he immediately wins the game. However, if the "Dragon" contains a pair of 3s it is called a "Dragun bla-bajd" and the player immediately loses.
  15. In tournaments, this is only true for the first round. In subsequent rounds, the winner of the previous round plays first.
  16. If only two players are available, deal 13 cards each and play as normal. When one player passes he is forced to pick up one card from the remaining deck and add it to his hand. This variation is taken from the card game Go Fish.
  17. If three people are playing, deal four 13-card hands as if a fourth players were present. The hand to receive the last card that would normally become the dealer's now becomes the "ghost hand". No one plays the ghost hand and its cards are not shown, play continues as normal.
  18. If three people are playing, deal three 17-card hands, leaving one left over. The one card is placed in the middle, and whichever player possesses the two of spades or three of diamonds receives that card.
  19. In some places, owning 4 Twos is also a condition for Immediate Win. Some play Immediate Win rule in 3-player game too. There are more cards involved, the chance of occurring and points transfer is therefore very high. On the contrary, some variations said that it's an automatic draw when 1 player has all 4 twos, as having all 4 twos gives the player amazing amount of power.
    The chance of getting 4 Twos is \frac{ \tbinom{48}{9} }{ \tbinom{52}{13} } = 0.264106\% = 1:379 games.
  20. In some rules, four of a kind + one card and straight flush can also be played on a pair or a single card, regardless of value.
  21. Some players rank all poker hand with traditional poker rules, except for the full house 2, which is higher than full house Ace, and you must win a hand exactly, not just by a tiebreaker of suit.
  22. In some rules, a single spade of 2 is not allowed to be played as the last card. Others do not allow any combination that includes the 2 of spades to be played as the last hand.
  23. A four of a kind can be used to beat all card combinations without a four of a kind.
  24. Some require the person to call "Last Card" when he/she only have one card left right after the last play. If the person holding the last card won, but forgot to call "Last Card" beforehand, he/she will take the penalty of all the other player's remaining cards, while other players will score 0.
  25. In some variations, a straight is considered higher than a flush. This can be determined beforehand.
  26. In Hawai'i, the game Penning is played similarly to Big Two. The main difference is that the ranking of cards is Diamonds high, followed by Hearts, then Spades, and Clubs as lowest. When playing with three or four people, the 2nd and 3rd place titles are done by person with the lowest card going first.
  27. Joker Rules: Jokers are added to the deck, and they can be played as any card with any suit. Also, the jokers are deemed higher than the Two of Spades, but the black joker is considered higher than the red joker. These variations allow for more in depth and strategic game play.
  28. No Poker Rules (AKA No Soccer Ball Rules): The players are not allowed to play a different type of 5 card hand over the current. For example, a Full House can not be played over a Straight.
  29. In some variations, any five-card combination can be played on top of any other five-card combination with a lower card value, e.g. 4-5-6-7-8 can be played on top of 7-7-7-6-6 even though full house is higher than straight in standard Big Two.
  30. Some variants do not score; rather, play continues till all but one person have rid all cards, and at the end, players are ranked according to the order they got rid of their cards, e.g. 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.
  31. The direction of play (clockwise or anti-clockwise) can be determined by a race between the two players on either side of the leader (previous round winner, or holder of diamond 3).
  32. Playing with 2 decks: this enables up to 8 players per game. In this case, five-of-a-kind defeats four-of-a-kind, but may or may not defeat a straight flush. Players may or may not be allowed to play a hand equivalent to the previous hand, such as diamond 3 followed by the other diamond 3.

The game of President using Deuces rules

This is a major variant of President using Deuces rules.

The usual rules of Deuces apply, with the following President game features:

  • The first player to clear all his cards becomes the President for the next round. The players next to the new President can follow the President's last play if possible (singleton, pair, three of a kind, 5 cards). If no one can follow the President's last play or choose not to do so even when able (the player immediately next to the President has a strong incentive not to follow), the player next to the President gains control and may start a new sequence of his own. Eventually, this will produce the Vice-President, followed by the Vice-Bitch. The last player remaining becomes the Bitch for the next round.
  • The first game proceeds without anyone being President, Vice-President, Vice-Bitch and Bitch.
  • Subsequent games involve the following:
    • President passes his lowest 2 cards to the Bitch. The Bitch passes his highest 2 cards to President.
    • Vice-President passes his lowest 1 card to Vice-Bitch. Vice-Bitch passes his highest 1 card to Vice-President.
      • A variant to the rule is where President passes any 2 cards to the Bitch, after receiving cards. This can make a difference as his 2 lowest cards may form a 5-card hand.

Team Play

It is possible to play in teams of two with four total players. Each player's teammate is the one opposite of him (i.e. the two players who you are adjacent to are your opponents). Teammates are not allowed to have any communication with each other regarding their cards, preferred combinations or the quality of their hands.

The winning team is determined by the total number of cards held by that team when the one player runs out of card. If one player plays his last card but his teammate has more cards left than the other team's total, his team loses. (Ex: Mike and Dave are on one team against Lionel and Brendan. Mike has 4 cards, Dave has 5, Lionel has 10 and Brendan has 1. Brendan plays his last card but Lionel has 10 cards and Mike and Dave have 9 cards total. By playing his last card Brendan has lost the game for his team.) Any player can ask what the card count is for each team at any point.

If the card count is tied at the end of a game the players proceed to a five card shootout. This is where each player receives 5 cards and the game is played as normal. The lowest card holder starts and the same team grouping is still used. Further ties lead to further five card hands; this determines the final winner of the original game.


Players in collusion in each other have massive advantages over a non-colluding player(s). The basic strategy of colluding players is to preserve the high "control" cards against the non-colluder, and not to waste these cards amongst themselves. Other collusive techniques include signaling techniques (through the played cards, e.g. odd/even as in bridge, or non-verbal cues) where the strength of the hand, number of controls, hand type, exact high cards and other features of the hands are transmitted to the partner.

Other cheating methods includes false shuffles, peeking and cold decking. Cheating, especially collusive techniques, is rampant in online and higher stakes games.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Gang of Four on

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