The Rules for Mao
This game is much like UNO. If you keep this in mind it makes it a lot
easier to understand.
Dealing the Cards:
The playing of Mao begins with the dealer saying:
"The dealing of the untraditional five card Mao now begins to
the dealers left."
The cards are dealt. Five to each player. The remaining deck is
placed face down in the middle of the table. The top card is turned over
and placed beside the deck. Play goes clockwise. Depending on the card
that is face up the player to the left must do what that card indicates.
If the card is an ACE the player to the left DOES NOT PLAY, but is skipped
and the next player will play the first card. If the card is a TWO play
is reversed and instead of going clockwise, play goes counterclockwise.
For the SEVEN the player must draw one and "Have a Nice Day" is said by
the dealer. If it is a Jack anyone can call suit, but since the dealer
"played" the card dealer has special rights, see SPECIAL CARD JACK.
The dealer then says, "The playing of the untraditional five card
Mao now begins to the dealers left."
All rules of Mao start after the dealer says that last line. The
players can pick up their cards AFTER the dealer picks up their cards.
2 - Reverse.
A - Skip.
7 - Player that laid the seven says, "Have a Nice Day" and the next player
must then draw one card. After the card has been drawn the person may play
any valid card. If the card played is another SEVEN the player says "Have
a VERY Nice Day" and the next person draws TWO penalty cards. The sevens
can keep adding on and for each additional seven the player must add another
"VERY". The mathematical way to put it is: "Have a (NumberOfSevens-1)*VERY
Jack - Once played anyone can call out a suit and the suit that is called
becomes the current suit. The same thing as a wild card. In the case of
a tie suit call it goes to the person who played the Jack. In the case
that two players call a suit in a tie it goes to the first person that
can call the suit again. i.e.. Bob played a Jack and then Jane and Jim
say "Clubs" & "Diamonds" respectively at the same time. Jane then says
"Clubs" before Jim can say his suit again. The suit call goes to Jane and
it is now changed to "Clubs".
Call all Spades. When ANY card that has Spades as the suit you must say
the card. i.e.. Bob plays the 2 of Spades. He then says "Two of Spades".
All spades must be called including Jacks!
1 Card Left - Player says, "Last card".
0 Cards Left - Player says, "Mao".
Point of Order - Anyone can call this out in the middle of the game. When
the player says this everyone must stop playing and put their cards face
down in front of them. During a Point of Order the players may NOT discuss
rules or touch the cards. Point of Orders are usual for answering the door,
getting more chips or figuring out which direction the play is going and
who's turn it actually is.
End Point of Order - The player that called point of order must say, "End
Point of Order" to resume playing Mao. If the player refuses to say this
the other players can override by agreeing to End Point of Order. i.e.
player 1 says, "Point of Order". After enough time has passed that player
1 should be able to end Point of Order player 1 should. If player 1 shouldn't
Players 2,3 and 4 would all say "End Point of Order" and the game would
Talking - one card. Talking is saying anything that is not needed for the
game. These would all be grounds for talking: "Five of DIAMONDS", "Who
played that?", "What time is it?" or "Hold on."
Misplay - player draws one card and takes their card back. Player screws
up and makes an invalid play. For example: The five of spades on the four
Out of Turn - Player draws one card and takes their card back. One of the
players makes a play out of turn. For instance: Jane plays when it is Bob's
Cursing - Person cussing draws one or two cards depending on the severity
of the cussing.
Time Limit Exceeded - player draws one card. If someone takes over 5 seconds
(or a different time limit set before game started) then they are called
for time and given one card.
Touching Cards During Point of Order - player draws one card. If someone
catches another player touching cards during a Point of Order they may
give them one card.
Flinch - player draws one card. This is hard to catch but it works like
this: Bob plays a skip that would skip Jane and go to Jim. Jane begins
to take out a card to play it and then realizes that it is not her turn.
This is a flinch and one card is given to Jane. If Jane plays the card
it is called Out of Turn and the Flinch is waived off.
Failure to Draw a Penalty Card - one card given to the player.
Failure to Say Last Card - one card LYING and one card CHEATING.
Failure to Say Mao - one card LYING, one card CHEATING and one card TAKING
THE GREAT NAME OF MAO IN VAIN.
Calling a Violation
If you call a person on a violation of one of the rules you MUST say
why you called them on it. If Bob plays a Club on a Heart the person that
calls him on the misplay would have to say, "MISPLAY". Person calling the
violation is exempt from the talking rule as long as they call the right
violation. If someone called Bob on a Out of Turn on the last play they
would be given a card for talking because it was not the correct call to
make. A player may get more than one penalty call on a single play. If
Bob plays a Club on a Heart and it is not his turn he will get two penalty
This concludes the Mao rules. If you know of a rule that is missing
from this list or are unsure what a rule means please write Doug
Back to the Mao Home Page.