Oh Hell

Oh Hell: A Beginner’s Guide to Rules, Instructions & Winning Strategy


Oh Hell. This trick-taking card game, also known as Blackout or Nomination Whist, is a blend of luck and strategy. It’s played with a standard deck of 52 cards and can accommodate 3 to 7 players, making it a perfect choice for family gatherings or casual get-togethers.

Quick Tip for Oh Hell

Remember, in Oh Hell, accurate bidding is the key. Try to predict the exact number of tricks you can win in each round.

Rules for playing Oh Hell

  1. The game consists of several rounds, and in each round, the number of cards dealt changes.
  2. Players bid on the number of tricks they think they can win in the round.
  3. The player who wins the exact number of tricks as their bid scores points.
  4. The game continues until a predetermined number of rounds are completed.

While these are the official rules, house rules can add a fun twist to the game. For instance, some play with the rule that the total bids can’t equal the number of cards dealt.


The dealer shuffles the deck and deals cards starting from their left. The number of cards dealt varies each round, starting from one card per player and increasing by one in each subsequent round.

How to Play Oh Hell

  1. Setup: Choose a dealer who will shuffle the deck and deal the cards.
  2. Gameplay: Players bid on the number of tricks they think they can win. The player to the dealer’s left leads the first trick, and play continues clockwise.
  3. End of the Game: The game ends after a predetermined number of rounds. The player with the highest score wins.
  4. Scoring: If a player wins exactly the number of tricks they bid, they score 10 points plus the number of tricks won. If not, they score zero points.

How to Win at Oh Hell

Winning at Oh Hell requires a good balance of strategy and luck. Pay attention to the cards played and try to remember them. This will help you make accurate bids and win more tricks.

Best Strategies for playing Oh Hell

One of the best strategies in Oh Hell is to control your bids. Try not to overbid or underbid. Also, keep an eye on your opponents’ bids and play your cards accordingly.

1. Understand the rules: The first strategy for playing the Oh Hell card game is to understand the rules. Know how the game is played, the scoring system, and the significance of each card.

2. Predict wisely: Oh Hell is a trick-taking game where you have to predict the number of tricks you can take in each round. Be realistic in your prediction, consider the cards you have, and the number of players.

3. Card counting: Like in many other card games, card counting is a useful strategy in Oh Hell. Keep track of the cards that have been played. This will help you to make better predictions and decisions about which cards to play.

4. Watch your opponents: Keep an eye on the cards your opponents are playing. This will give you a clue about their strategy and the cards they might be holding.

5. Use your trump cards wisely: Trump cards are valuable in Oh Hell. Use them wisely – you don’t want to waste them on tricks you’re sure to win, but you also don’t want to hold onto them for too long.

6. Start low: Early in the game, it’s better to start with your lower cards. This will give you an idea of what others are holding and allow you to save your higher cards for later in the game when they can win you tricks.

7. Adjust your strategy as the game progresses: As the number of cards dealt changes with each round, you should adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, if fewer cards are being dealt, you may want to be more conservative in your predictions.

8. Practice: Like any game, practice makes perfect. The more you play, the better you’ll become at predicting and strategizing.

9. Don’t forget to have fun: While winning is great, don’t forget to enjoy the game. After all, it’s all about having a good time with friends or family.

Game Variations

There are several variations of Oh Hell. In some versions, the game starts with the maximum number of cards and decreases each round. In others, the scoring system is different, with players scoring points for each trick won, regardless of their bid.


Imagine you’ve bid for two tricks, but you’ve already won three. In this scenario, it’s best to try and lose the remaining tricks to avoid scoring zero points.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Oh Hell game

What happens if everyone’s bid equals the number of cards dealt? In some versions of the game, the last player to bid is not allowed to make a bid that would cause this situation.

Can I change my bid? Once you’ve made your bid, you can’t change it.

What if I don’t win any tricks? If you bid zero and win no tricks, you score points. If you bid zero and win a trick, you score zero points.

Former US President Bill Clinton and acclaimed director Steven Spielberg are both notable players of Oh Hell.