The objective of Thieves is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards by playing them onto the center pile.


  • Thieves is played with a standard deck of 52 cards.
  • Shuffle the cards thoroughly and deal the entire deck evenly among the players. If there are more cards than players, some players may have an extra card.
  • Each player holds their cards face-down in a stack without looking at them.

Card Rankings:

  • The ranking of cards in Thieves is as follows, from highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.


  1. The player to the left of the dealer starts the game by playing any card from their hand face-up onto the center pile.
  2. The next player must play a card of the same rank or higher onto the center pile. For example, if a 7 is played, the next player must play a 7 or a higher-ranked card.
  3. If a player cannot play a card of the required rank, they must pick up the entire center pile and add it to their hand. Then, it becomes their turn to play any card they wish.
  4. Play continues clockwise, with each player trying to play a higher-ranked card onto the center pile.
  5. Special Cards: Some variations of Thieves include special cards that have specific effects. For example, a Queen may reverse the direction of play or a Jack may skip the next player’s turn. Make sure to establish any special card rules before playing.


  • Thieves is typically played without scoring. The objective is simply to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.


  • The game continues until one player has successfully played all their cards onto the center pile. That player is declared the winner.


  1. Keep track of the cards that have been played and the rank of the last card played to help you make strategic decisions.
  2. Try to play high-ranking cards early in the game to increase the difficulty for other players.
  3. Pay attention to the cards played by other players and anticipate the possibility of picking up the center pile.
  4. Save your lower-ranked cards for situations when you can’t play a higher-ranked card.
  5. Be aware of any special card rules or variations that may apply to the game you are playing.

Remember, Thieves is a versatile card game, and variations in rules and gameplay may exist. It’s always a good idea to clarify the specific rules with all players before starting the game.

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