Screw Your Neighbor Card Game: How to Play and Win Every Time

How to Play Screw Your Neighbor card game
How to Play Screw Your Neighbor card game

Screw Your Neighbor is a traditional card game that is often referred to as Ranter-Go-Round. To play this game you need at least three players and a regular 52-card deck of playing cards.

Before we dive deeper into the rules of this fun-filled card game (and share some useful tips that will help you beat the other players), let's highlight two basic aspects:

  • Aces are a low card
  • Kings are the highest card
  • The goal of the game is to never have the lowest card at the end of each round.

While it is not included in our list of the best online games to win real money in 2021, it is a fun and classic drinking game that many players continue to enjoy.

Continue reading to learn how to play the Screw Your Neighbor card game and what is the best strategy to beat your friends.

Screw Your Neighbor Card Game Rules

Let's start by learning how to play the Screw Your Neighbor (SYN) card game.

If you play the game online, some details might change depending on the website you choose. The ones that follow are the official Screw Your Neighbor rules used by our recommended casinos that include the SYN card game.

Setting up the game: The game requires a standard deck of 52 French, a stable playing area, cards and three players.

Basic Rules:The Kings are the highest-valued cards in the game. Consequently, the Aces are the lowest ones. This is important to remember since the goal of Screw Your Neighbor is not to be left with the lowest card.

How to Play Screw Your Neighbor:

  • To start a round, the Dealer gives one card face down from the deck to each player.
  • Players looks at their card and decide what to do next. If the card is a King, players need to immediately flip it face up on the table and show it to the other players. All the other cards of the deck stay face down.
  • The first person to play is the player at the Dealer's left. Players can 'Swap' their card with the next player to their left or to keep the card and 'Pass'.
  • Trading cards is allowed for all cards except for one card: the King. If you want to Swap your card but the player to your left has a King, you can't do that.
  • Once everyone has had their turn, the action goes back to the Dealer.
  • Last is the Dealer's turn. The Dealer can switch their card with the one at the top of the remaining deck. In case the top card on the deck is a King, it will become a blocker and the dealer won't be able to take it.
  • The player who has the lowest card loses and must put one unit/chip in the pot. If the game ends in a tie, only the player sitting on the dealer's left loses.

As the play continues, the dealer position rotates clockwise players get eliminated as soon as they tun out of units or chips, depending on what you use for the bankroll.

The game ends when only the last player left remains. The remaining player wins all the money and does not share with any of the other players.

Screw Your Neighbor Strategy

Despite the basic gameplay, there are a few strategy tips that can improve your chances to win.


To understand the best strategy to win at Screw Your Neighbor, we are going to focus on two players:

  • John: is the first player to act
  • Kelly: is the one to act right after him

If John swaps his card, Kelly must do the same in case she has a lower card compared to the one she had prior to the swap.

If John 1 does not swap his card, Kelly needs to decide whether she wants to keep hers or not.

This is a typical situation in this card game. Before you decide what is the best way to play, there are a few things to consider.

If John swaps cards with a 6 or less, Kelly must do the same if holding a 7 or a lower card.

But if Kelly swaps with a 7 or less, John must do the same with a 7 or less.

In case John swaps with a 7 or less, Kelly must switch cards with 8 or less. If Kelly swaps cards with 8 or less, then John must swap with 7 or less, and so on.

Each time, John must:

  • Swap with 6 or less
  • Keep the card with an 8 or higher
  • Consider swapping with a 7

At the same time, Kelly must swap with 7 or less, keep 9 or more, and consider swapping when dealt an 8.

This simple strategy gives John a 51 per cent chance to win at the Screw Your Neighbor card game. If none of the players follows this strategy, there are chances the opposing player might notice and use it against you in the upcoming rounds.

If you are new to the game, this is how you should play.

  1. Player 1 must swap with 6 or less.
  2. If Player 1 passes, then Player 2 must swap with 6 or less.
  3. If Players 1 and 2 both pass, then Player 3 must swap with 7 or less.
  4. In case Player 1 swaps and Player 2 does not, Player 3 must swap if they have a 4 or less.
  5. If Player 1 holds a King, Player 3 must swap with the dummy card with a 6 or less.
  6. If Player 3 holds a King, then Player 1 must swap cards with Player 2 having 6 or less.

Video Tutorial

Don't let the strategy tips discourage you: Screw Your Neighbor is a simple card game to learn and play and you can get everything running in three minutes or less.

Watch this video tutorial to see the game in action and understand how to play and how to handle the action at the table.

This drinking game has various names. Card games that Screw Your Neighbour is also known as are Ranter-Go-Round, Chase the Ace, Bohemian Poker, Cuckoo, Moogle, Bring the King, Stick or Swap, Spit on Your Neighbor, Dump on Your Neighbor, Hate Your Neighbor.

What is Screw Your Neighbours?

Screw Your Neighbour is a popular card game that can be played also as a drinking game. This game uses a standard deck of cards (52 French cards) and requires three players or more.

How to play the card game 'Screw Your Neighbor'?

Players are dealt one card and need to decide whether to keep it or 'trade it' with the one of their immediate neighbours at the table. At the end of each round of swapping/keeping cards, the player with the lowest card loses the hand and pay a fee.

The last player standing in the game is the winner and takes home all the money in the pot.

The player did not flip up the king so I passed my card to her and got the King. Is that legal? She said she 'forgot' to turn up the king.

No, this play is against the rules. A player can't pass the King to another player.

BioPolitical scientist, and gambling expert, I have spent the most part of the last ten years writing about the casino and poker industry. As a professional journalist, I work with FOX News, La Repubblica, the Economist, Politico, and PokerNews. As a gambler, I won money pretty much anywhere in Europe. As a gambling editor, I'll help you do the same.
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