8 up is played with a numbered playing card deck of 57 cards. 8 up is a clever game that consists of 16 rounds of play. Each round a different amount of cards is dealt out to all of the players. Starting from round one where 8 cards are dealt. Then round two where 7 cards are dealt. All the way down to round eight and nine where 1 card is dealt. Then back up to round sixteen where 8 cards are again dealt to all players. Each round, players are to guess based on their hands how many tricks they will take. Points are talied based on the amount of tricks takes as well as getting the amount of tricks you bid. 8 up is great for an individual style of point accumulation for 3 to 8 players.

Amount of Cards per Round

  1. 8 Cards
  2. 7 Cards
  3. 6 Cards
  4. 5 Cards
  5. 4 Cards
  6. 3 Cards
  7. 2 Cards
  8. 1 Card
  9. 1 Card. Note: This should be done “Indian style” by placing the card on your forehead without looking at it so you can see all of the other players cards, but do not know what card you have. You then bid accordingly.
  10. 2 cards
  11. 3 Cards
  12. 4 Cards
  13. 5 Cards
  14. 6 Cards
  15. 7 Cards
  16. 8 Cards


After all the players are dealt their cards for the round, one card is flipped over from the top of the deck. The color of the card is then trump for this round (if the wild 57th card is flipped, pick the next card). Players then look at their hand and based on knowing the trump color, the amount of tricks possible, and the amount of players, the then decide on how many tricks they will likely win for the round. All players put out their hands and on the count of 3 put out the number of fingers representing the amount of tricks they will take in the round.

Players who at the end of the round make their bid are awarded a bonus of 5 points. Each trick taken is worth a point.


Each round totals are added per player until all rounds have been played. The payer with the most points at the end of all 16 rounds wins.

Example Scenario

  • Player bids 3 for the round
  • Players gets 3 tricks at the end of the round
  • Player is awarded 8 points

Example Scenario 2

  • Player bids 3 for the round
  • Player gets 2 tricks at the end of the round
  • Player is award 2 points for the round

Example Scenario 3

  • Player bids 3 for the round
  • Player gets 4 tricks at the end of the round
  • Player is awarded 4 points for the round.

Example scenario 4

  • Player bids 0 for the round
  • Player gets 0 at the end of the round
  • Player is awarded 5 points for the round.

In some areas 8-up is called “Up the River, Down the River” for obvious reasons. You go up the river from 8 cards to 1 card dealt, then down the river from 1 card to 8 cards dealt. My understanding is that the rules are still the same as described above.