How to Play: Play or Pay

This is a sequence game. Play your cards or pay a token.

Play or Pay Rules

| Players: 3+ | Type: Sequence | Supplies: 1+ Deck(s), tokens |

Before playing, decide on how many rounds will be played, and how many tokens the players start with. Players start the game with the same amount of tokens. If you play this game with more than 4 players, add another deck of cards.


The objective of play or pay is to get rid of all your cards by playing them in sequence on the four center stacks of cards.


Deal out the entire deck one at a time. Some players may have one more card than another player, this is ok. Each player should start the game with the same number of tokens.

Card Rank

(Highest Rank) King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace (Lowest Rank)

Game Play

Each player starts the round by putting a token in the middle pot. The player left of the dealer starts the round by playing a card in the middle. This is called a sequence. The next player can either play off of the sequence that is already down, or start another sequence. There can only be 4 sequences out on the table, one sequence per suit. In order to play on a sequence already on the table, you have to add the next highest rank or the next lowest rank.

If you can not play a card during your turn, add a token to the pot. If you run out of tokens, you are out of the game. The first player to get rid of all the cards in their hand wins the pot, and the round is over. Shuffle the deck and start a new round. The dealer of the new round is the player who played the first card of the previous round.

Additional Rules

-If you run out of tokens during a round, you have to finish the round, however, you do not collect the pot if you go out first. Instead, the pot remains in the middle and is collected by the winner of the next round.

-If you can play a card on your turn, you must play a card. If you have multiple cards that can be played, you may choose which one to play.

-If you start with an extra card due to the deal, you do not ante at the start of the round.


When the predetermined number of rounds have been played, the game is over. The player at the end of the game with the most tokens is the winner.

Play or Pay Variations

Sevens is an easy variation of play or pay that is slightly different and doesn't use tokens.

Card Dominoes is another easy variation of play or pay that also doesn't use tokens.

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