How To Play Uno: One Card to Rule Them All

Photo of author

Uno, a classic and beloved card game enjoyed by people of all ages, is a fun way to spend quality time with friends and family. Whether you’re hosting a game night or looking for a fun activity during a gathering, Uno is sure to entertain and bring out the competitive spirit in everyone.

In this guide on how to play Uno, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of playing Uno, from setting up the game to advanced strategies and variations.

How to Set Up Uno

Before you start throwing cards around, you’ll need to have at least two players and set up the game. Uno is meant for two to 10 players, but it plays best with a group of four to six. The game is played with a specialized deck that consists of the following cards:

  • 19 red cards from 0 to 9 
  • 19 yellow cards from 0 to 9 
  • 19 blue cards from 0 to 9 
  • 19 green cards from 0 to 9 
  • 8 “draw two” cards of each color (two per color)
  • 8 “skip” cards of each color (two per color)
  • 8 “reverse” cards of each color (two per color)
  • 4 wild “draw four” cards
  • 4 wild “change color” cards
  • and 4 blank wild cards 

This amounts to 112 cards in total. Shuffle the deck thoroughly and deal seven cards to each player, face-down. After you’ve dealt the cards, place the draw pile in the middle of the table, so all players can easily reach it. Draw the first card from the draw pile until you get one of the numbered cards to a face-up discard pile. Now the game can begin.

uno deck and cards
Here’s where it begins.

Uno Gameplay

Uno follows a simple, yet engaging and satisfying gameplay structure. The game begins with the player to the left of the dealer and continues clockwise. The objective is to get rid of all your cards before anyone else does. To play a card, it must match either the color or number of the card on the discard pile. If a player cannot play a card, they must draw one card from the deck. If the card you drew matches the number or the color of the top card on the discard pile, you can play it right away. 

Special Card Effects: Skip, Wild, and Reverse Card

Players can strategically use action cards to disrupt the game flow or force opponents to draw more cards. You don’t want them winning before you do, after all. For instance, a wild card allows you to change the color in play, while the wild draw four card not only changes the color but also forces the next player to skip the turn and draw four cards.

Since the objective of the game is to get rid of your cards as quickly as you can, you need to pay attention to how many of them your opponents have and disrupt the player whose turn to play is after you. 

Other Uno cards also have special effects that can significantly influence the game. The skip card, as its name suggests, forces the next player to skip their turn, forcing that player to wait for another whole turn, before they can play their cards again. 

The Reverse card changes the direction of play, causing the turn order to reverse. This can potentially cause the player on their last card to have their victory snatched from their hands. 

uno hand
Should I plus 4 or reverse?

The Draw Two card forces the next player to draw two cards and skip their turn.

It’s important to note that when some action cards are played, their effects can be chained together. For example, if a player plays a Reverse card, the next person in turn order reverses, and if the following player plays another Reverse card, the order switches back to its original direction.

However, the most feared card in Uno is the Wild Draw Four card. When played, the player not only gets to change the color but also forces the next player to draw four cards. This card can only be played if you don’t have a card that matches the number or the color of the current card on the discard pile. The recipient of the Draw Four can challenge it if they suspect it was played illegally, and if they are proven right, the person who played the card must draw four cards instead. In case they are proven wrong, the player draws six instead of four cards. 

Uno and Last Card in Hand

When a player has only one card remaining in their hand during the game of Uno, a specific rule comes into play to add an extra level of excitement and challenge. This rule is known as “Uno.” When a player is down to their last card, they must declare “Uno” to alert the other players. Failure to do so before their next turn can result in a penalty. The declaration of “Uno” should be clear and audible to all players. Also, it serves as a warning that the player is close to winning the round. 

If another player notices that the player with one card has failed to say “Uno” before their turn ends, they can call out “Uno” and point out the mistake. If the player is called out for not saying “Uno,” they must draw two additional cards as a penalty. The player who caught the mistake continues their turn. 

Almost there…

Winning Uno

The first player to get rid of all their cards becomes the round’s winner. The game can also be played with points, and here’s how they are scored.

Points are awarded to the player that got rid of all of their cards and they are based on the value of the remaining cards the other players still have in their hands. Numbered cards carry face value, while action cards (Skip, Reverse, Draw Two) carry 20 points each, and the Wild cards are worth 50 points. The game typically continues for multiple rounds, and the first player to reach a predetermined number of points (usually 500) becomes the overall winner.

Alternatively, you can adapt the rules and determine the winner based on the number of rounds won. This variation adds an exciting twist to the game and allows players to strategize their moves accordingly.

Advanced Uno Gameplay and Wild Card Variants

Once you’ve mastered the basic rules, you can dive into advanced gameplay strategies or even introduce some house rules. Pay attention to the cards played by your opponents and try to anticipate their next moves. 

You can also use action cards strategically to disrupt their plans or protect yourself from drawing cards. Uno offers an array of variations to keep the game fresh and exciting. 

Two-player Uno allows for intense head-to-head battles, while Team Uno fosters cooperation and teamwork. Additionally, themed Uno decks featuring popular characters or unique designs add an extra element of fun to the game.

Some games also include Wild Card variants such as Shuffle Hands, Swap Hands, or wild customizable cards.

Wild Shuffle Hands: When a player plays the Wild Shuffle Hands card, they get to shuffle their hand with the hands of other players and deal them among players as equally as possible. It can be a powerful card to disrupt other players’ plans and potentially improve one’s own hand.

Wild Swap Hands: When a player plays the Wild Swap Hands card, they have the opportunity to swap their hand with any opponent of their choice. This card allows the player to exchange their entire hand with another player, potentially trading a weak hand for a stronger one.

Wild customizable card: This is a great way of introducing your own special house rules to the game. You can grab an erasable pencil and add a rule that you like to the card. Later on, you can erase it and swap it for something else. If you like check out some cool wild card ideas online.

all the uno cards
All the cards…

Tips for Enjoying Uno

To make the most of your Uno experience, here are a few tips:

  • Pay attention to the cards played by your opponents to make informed decisions.
  • Keep track of the colors that have been played and the cards remaining in the deck.
  • Don’t be afraid to use action cards strategically to disrupt your opponents’ plans.
  • Stay vigilant and challenge “Wild Draw Four” cards if you suspect foul play.
  • Embrace the social aspect of the game, share laughs, and enjoy the friendly competition.
uno plus 4 card
The ultimate Uno card!

Final Thoughts About Uno 

Uno’s straightforward gameplay and exciting twists make it a timeless card game enjoyed by millions worldwide. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, this guide will serve as a solid foundation for mastering it, but you’ll only get there through a ton of practice. So gather your friends, shuffle those cards, and let the fun begin! Remember, Uno isn’t just about winning—it’s about having fun, creating lasting memories, and fostering connections through some fierce but friendly competition.


  1. Is Uno easy to play?

    Yes, Uno is generally easy to play, making it accessible and enjoyable for players of various ages and skill levels. It’s a fun entry game to the world of board games.

  2. What are the rules of Uno cards?

    Uno cards follow simple and intuitive rules. Players take turns matching the same color, or number of the card on the discard pile, using action cards to shake up gameplay. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards. Don’t forget to declare “Uno” when you have one card left! For detailed rules, consult the instruction booklet or the official Uno website.

  3. How many cards do you deal in Uno?

    In Uno, each player is initially dealt seven cards from the deck.

  4. What is the rule for the “wild draw four” card in Uno?

    The “Wild Draw 4” card in Uno is a powerful card that allows the player to choose the next color to be played and forces the next player to draw four cards. However, there is a rule regarding the use of this card. If a player suspects that the card was played illegally (i.e., the player had a matching card but played the “Wild Draw Four” instead), they can challenge it. When challenged, the player who played the “Wild Draw Four” card must show their hand. If they are indeed guilty of playing the card illegally, they must draw four cards themselves instead of the next player. However, if the challenge was incorrect, the challenger must draw six cards as a penalty.

  5. Can you put a +2 on a +2?

    No, in Uno, you cannot stack a “+2” card on top of a “+2” card. When a “+2” card is played, the next player must draw two cards and skip their turn. They do not have the option to play another “+2” or “+4” card to make the next player draw more cards. The same rule applies to the “+4” card.