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How to play UNO: Tips and official game card rules

UNO is an American shedding-type card game that is played with a specially printed deck. Here's how you can play the game.


What is UNO?

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UNO is an American shedding-type card game that is played with a specially printed deck. The game’s general principles put it into the crazy eights family of card games, and it is similar to the traditional European game mau-mau. It has been a Mattel brand since 1992.


The game was originally developed in 1971 by Merle Robbins in Reading, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. When his family and friends began to play more and more, he spent $8,000 to have 5,000 copies of the game made. He sold it from his barbershop at first, and local businesses began to sell it as well. Robbins later sold the rights to Uno to a group of friends headed by Robert Tezak, a funeral parlor owner in Joliet, Illinois, for $50,000 plus royalties of 10 cents per game. Tezak formed International Games, Inc., to market Uno, with offices behind his funeral parlor. The games were produced by Lewis Saltzman of Saltzman Printers in Maywood, Illinois. In 1992, International Games became part of the Mattel family of companies.


There are 108 cards in total, 4 colors and 19 cards in each color (0 to 9), 24 action cards, and 8 wild cards.

How To Play:

  • Shuffle the cards and deal 7 UNO cards to each player.
  • Put the rest of the UNO cards in the center of the table.
  • Turn over the top card from the draw pile to start the game.
  • Deal a card to match the color, number, or symbol on the card.
  • Draw a card from the draw pile if you can’t play a card.
  • Say “Uno” if you only have one card left.

NOTE: Players should be at least 7 years old.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Avoid using the reverse card at the wrong time.
  • Play your action cards at the right moment
  • Pay attention to your opponents.
  • Never hold too many skip-cards and reverse cards.
  • When playing a Wild Card +4, always change the color.
  • Try to switch to a color that scores the most points in your hand.
  • Try to save a Wild card as your final card, if you have one.

Official rules:

The game is for 2-10 players, The aim of the game is to be the first player to score 500 points, achieved by being the first to play all of one’s own cards and scoring points for the cards still held by the other players.

The deck consists of 108 cards: four each of “Wild” and “Wild Draw Four”, and 25 each of four colors (red, yellow, green, blue). Each color consists of one zero, two each of 1 through 9, and two each of “Skip”, “Draw Two”, and “Reverse”. These last three types are known as “action cards”.

To start a hand, seven cards are dealt with each player, and the top card of the remaining deck is flipped over and set aside to begin the discard pile. The player to the dealer’s left plays first unless the first card on the discard pile is an action or Wild card (see below). On a player’s turn, they must do one of the following:

  • play one card matching the discard in color, number, or symbol
  • play a Wild card or a playable Wild Draw Four card
  • draw the top card from the deck, then play it if possible

Cards are played by laying them face-up on top of the discard pile. Play proceeds clockwise around the table. Action or Wild cards have the following effects:

  • Skip: Next player in sequence misses a turn.
  • Reverse: Order of play switches directions (clockwise to counterclockwise, or vice versa)
  • Draw Two (+2): Next player in sequence draws two cards and misses a turn
Draw Two
  • Wild: Player declares the next color to be matched.
  • Wild Draw Four/Draw Four Wild (+4 and wild): Player declares the next color to be matched; next player in sequence draws four cards and misses a turn. May be legally played only if the player has no cards of the current color.
Wild Draw Four/Draw Four Wild

House rules:

The following official house rules are suggested in the Uno rulebook, to alter the game:

  • Progressive Uno: If a drawcard is played, and the following player has the same card, they can play that card and “stack” the penalty, which adds to the current penalty and passes it to the following player. This house rule is so commonly used that there was a widespread Twitter surprise in 2019 when Mattel stated that stacking was not part of the standard rules of Uno.
  • Seven-O: When a 7 is played, the person who played may choose to swap their hand with that of another player. When a zero is played, all players pass their hands to the left.
  • Jump-In: If a player has exactly the same card as the top card of the discard pile, they may play it immediately, even if it is not their turn. The game then continues as if that player had just taken their turn.


When the game ends the winner receives points. All their opponents’ cards are collected, given to the winner, and points are tallied. The first player to reach 500 points or whatever the mutually agreed upon target score is the overall winner.

  • Draw 2: 20 Points
  • Reverse: 20 Points
  • Skip: 20 Points
  • Wild: 50 Points
  • Wild Draw 4: 50 Points


  • If a player does not call “UNO” after laying down their next-to-last card and is caught before the next player in sequence takes a turn, they must draw two cards as a penalty. If the player is not caught in time or remembers to call “UNO” before being caught, they suffer no penalty.
  • If a player plays a Wild Draw Four card, the following player can challenge its use. The player who used the Wild Draw Four must privately show their hand to the challenging player, in order to demonstrate that they had no matching colored cards. If the challenge is correct, then the challenged player draws four cards instead. If the challenge is wrong, then the challenger must draw six cards; the four cards they were already required to draw plus two more cards.

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