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Rules to Play 'Up and Down the River' Card Game

Rules to Play 'Up and Down the River' Card Game
When friends and family get together, it can at times get daunting to keep all of them entertained. A simple card game like Up and Down the River is a solution to your problem. Plentifun lays open all the cards on how to play the Up and Down the River card game. Get acquainted with the rules, and have a blast playing!
Rucha Phatak
One game, many names!
The "Up and Down the River" card game is known by different names to different people. Oh Hell, Oh Heck, Estimate, Judgment, 10-9-8, Bumble, Diminishing Whist, Peanuts, etc., are the other names that the game is known by.
This card game was originally known as Oh Hell. However, as the name was considered as offensive, the game became popular with several other names. Up and Down the River might be apt for the game as the hands or tricks won in a game varies.

Though the name and rules may vary from place to place, by following simple common rules, the game can be still enjoyed by family members of all ages. Let us see how you can go on with this simple form of recreation.
You will need:
  • 1 deck of cards
  • 4 or more players
  • 1 blank page to write down scores
Preparing a 'Up the River, Down the River' Score Sheet
  1. Take a blank page and write all the names of players at the top of it.
  2. On the left-hand side, make a column to write the number of rounds being played.
  3. Start with the number 10 and continue writing the numbers in the descending order.
  4. Once you reach 1, start writing the numbers again in the ascending order till 10.
  5. In total, you will have 19 rounds.
Playing the Game
  1. Players take a seat in a circle.
  2. A dealer is chosen among the players to shuffle the deck, and pass around 10 cards to each player.
  3. The players can look at their cards.
  4. Rest of the deck is kept in the middle with the top card turned face up. This card is not used in the game.
  5. The suit of that card will be considered as a trump suit for that round of the game. It means that while playing the tricks or hands, any card from that suit will beat other suits of cards.
  6. After the revelation of the trump card, each player bids the number of tricks he believes he can win. The bid can vary from zero to 10 as players have 10 cards each.
  7. After the bidding, a player sitting on the left of the dealer will begin a new trick of the round. He will draw a card from his stack and place it in the middle.
  8. The turn will go clockwise as every player will draw 1 card each.
  9. After cards from each player are drawn, the player who has the highest card in the drawn stack wins that trick or hand.
  10. The winner gets a chance to draw a card for a new trick.
  11. The game continues till all the cards are taken.
  12. The cards from the trump suits are used to win the hands. However, if the hand contains more than one trump card, the trump card of the highest value wins that hand.
  13. As the game is being played, each player needs to collect as many hands or win as many tricks as he had bid at the beginning of the round.
  14. At the end of one round, the scores are tallied and written on the score sheet.
  15. After all the 19 rounds end, the highest scorer wins the game.
Rules and Scoring for the Game
  • Ace is the highest, while two is the lowest.
  • Trump cards are used to win the hand while playing tricks.
  • While playing a trick, if a player draws a trump card, it will win that player that trick even if the other cards of different suits are higher in value.
  • Each won trick earns a point for the player.
  • A player needs to win as many tricks as he bids. This earns him bonus points. For example, if a player bids 5 tricks when won, he earns 5 points plus 10 bonus points.
  • If a player wins more tricks than he had actually bidden, he loses points. For example, if the player has bid for only 5 tricks, but wins 7, then he gets only 2 points.
  • If a player bids 0 tricks and succeeds in winning no trick, he receives 5 points.
This is how the Up and Down the River card game is played! Enjoy it with your friends and family, bid for tricks, make your own strategy, try to achieve those numbers, and earn high scores. Good luck with it!
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