Skip Bo Rules: How to Play Skip-BO Card Game

skipbo rules

Skip-Bo is a card game that has become very popular due to its ease in learning and the fun that is involved while playing. It’s a game that involves 2- 6 players and the game is all about stacks.

Skip-Bo has a total of 162 cards. 144 cards are numbered 1 through 12 and 18 wild Skip-Bo cards. A wild Skip-Bo card can be used to substitute a numbered card when necessary.

There are four stacks in this game namely: Stock stack, Draw stack, Build stack, and Discard stack.

Understanding the different kinds of stacks in Skip Bo

Stock Stack

Each player gets 30cards (for 2-4 players) or 20 cards (for 5or 6 players) at the beginning of the game. The cards distribution will depend on the number of players or the number of cards agreed on (For a quick game, you can use 10 cards on each player).

The stack is placed at the right of every player face down, except for the top card of the stack which has to face up. After playing the top card, turn the subsequent card to face up.

Draw Stack

This type of stack is always placed at the center. When a player runs out cards, he borrows some from the draw stack.

Building Stack

While playing, stacks are built in a numerical sequence 1 through 12 starting with a 1 card or a Skip-Bo wild card. When a stack completes the 12 stacks, it is then discarded and a new one is started.

When the draw stack has run out of cards, the completed building stack can be used as a draw stack.

Discard Stack

When playing, every player has a discard stack and they can build up to 4 discard stacks. Discard stacks are usually placed on the left of Stock Stack and cards can be added to the stack but one has to play with the top card only.

The cards in discard stack don’t have to follow any order but must be turned to face up always.

Setting up a Skip-Bo

This card game requires a bigger space due to the number of cards used and the number of players that can play. It can be played on a big round table or on the floor.

Every player should pick a card from the deck and the player with the highest value becomes the dealer. He deals the cards face- down.

If the players are 4 or less, then each player is dealt with 30 cards. But if they are 5 or 6 then each player gets 20 cards and the dealer places the remaining cards in the center. These will be used as a drawing stack. Each player now turns the top card of their stack to face up.

The objective of the Game

The main objective of the game is to be the first player to play all the cards in the stock stack as fast as possible. The first player to do this wins the game!

Playing the Game

The player who is at the left of the dealer plays first. Each player begins by drawing 5 cards to their hands from the draw stack. You use the cards in your hands to build a stack in the center.

Always play with the card on top and remember to turn the next card to face up after playing the top card. Once the cards in your hands are over, then draw another 5 cards from the draw stack and continue adding to the build stack. You should add them in sequential order.

Every build stack must always begin with a 1 or a Skip-Bo card. Whenever you feel like stopping from playing, you end your turn by discarding a card from your hand to the discard stack. On your next play, first, draw cards to a total of 5 in your hand and continue to add cards to the build stack.

In case you no longer have a card to complete the numerical sequence, then you can use a Skip-Bo wild card if you have it. If the cards in the draw stack run out, then the cards from a complete build stack can be used as a draw stack.

Remember the player who finishes his stock stack first becomes the winner. So you should aim at finishing the stock stack as fast as possible to be crowned the winner!

Team or partner playing

When playing as a team each partner gets their own stock stack. In this situation, your partner can’t talk when it’s your turn and vice versa.

If one partner finishes cards from the stock stack, the player goes out and the other one continues to play using both players discard stack. Winning occurs when the cards have been exhausted from the stock stack.


The player who finishes his stock stack first is awarded 25 points and 5 points for each card left in their opponent’s stock stack. The first player to reach 500 points wins the game.

Skip Bo Rules

When a player plays all the 5 cards in his hand, he should draw another 5 from the draw stack.

If a building stack is completed with 1 through 12 numbered cards, the stack can be removed. A new stack can be started and it should start with a 1 or a Ski Bo wild card.

Discards can be stacked on top of each other but only the top card is used when adding to a building stack.

If the draw stack runs out of cards, then a completed build stack can be reshuffled to create a new draw stack.