Learn to Play


A novice can learn to play Michigan after just a brief explanation. This makes the game ideal for groups in which no one game is familiar to all members.
Game Type
3, 4, 5+

Rank of Cards The cards in each suit rank: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

The Layout

The ace of hearts, king of clubs, queen of diamonds, and jack of spades are taken from another pack. These four cards, called "boodle" or "money cards," are placed in the center of the table and remain there throughout the game.

The Ante

Before the deal, each player except the dealer places one chip on each boodle card; the dealer places two chips on each.

The Deal

Deal the cards one at a time starting to the left, face down. One extra hand is dealt immediately to the left of the dealer. No player may see the extra hand except the player, if any, who exchanges for it. The cards are dealt out as far as they will go, even though all players may not receive the same number of cards.

Object of the Game

To be the first player to get rid of all of their cards and to collect chips from the layout by playing one of the four boodle cards.

The Play

Each card played is placed face up in front of the owner, separate from all other hands, and the player names its rank and suit.

The person to the left of the dealer plays first by leading with the lowest card in any suit. The player holding the next higher card in sequence in the same suit plays it, and so on. The sequence in the suit is continued until it is stopped by a card in the dead hand or by the ace. The player who played last before the stop has the next turn. The player must play a new suit, and it must be the lowest card in that suit.

If the player has no new suit, the turn passes to the left.

Any time a player can play a card that duplicates one of the four boodle cards, they take all of the chips from that card.

Any chips that are still on the layout after the hand ends remain there until they are won in a subsequent hand.

If a player starts a suit without using the lowest card held in the suit, they must pay one chip to each opponent and cannot collect for any boodle cards played after that.

If a player causes a stop by failing to play a card when possible, play continues as usual, even though the card withheld may later enable the offender to get a stop. However, the offender may not collect for any boodle cards played after the error. If at the end of the hand there are still chips on the boodle card of the suit of the card the offender withheld, they must pay the same number of chips to any player who held the duplicate of the boodle card. If the offender is first to get rid of their cards, they do not win the hand, and play continues to determine the eventual winner.

How to Keep Score

Play ends as soon as any player plays their last card. The winner collects one chip from each opponent for every card remaining in that player's hand.