UNO Rules

UNO Rules

UNO Rules

Wondering how to play UNO? You’re in the right place. 

Although UNO is played by millions across the world, sometimes we need a refresher of how to play. We’ve compiled a list of rules for the famous card game, including commonly asked questions and house rules you can use to switch up your play.

The instructions below are specific to the original UNO card game, compared to variations such as UNO Flip or UNO Extreme

1. Deal the UNO cards

Each player starts the game with 7 cards dealt face down. The remaining cards should be placed in a draw pile, face down too. To start the game, flip the top card of the draw pile over to create a discard pile. If you turn over a wild card, put this to the back of the draw pile and flip the next card.

How many cards are in UNO?

In one standard UNO deck you’ll find 108 cards:
25 cards of each colour (green, red, blue and yellow).

  • 19 number cards (1 zero and 2 of each number up to 9)
  • 2 reverse cards.
  • 2 skip cards.
  • 2 draw 2 cards.
  • 4 wild draw 4 cards.
  • 4 wild cards.

2. Match your cards to the discard pile

Choose either the player to the left of the dealer or the youngest player to start and work in a clockwise direction.  

When it’s your turn, inspect the card on the top of the discard pile and see if any of your cards are playable. You can play a card when it matches either the colour or number of the card, or if you have any wild cards. 

If you have no playable cards, you must draw a card from the draw pile. The aim of UNO is to be the first player to get rid of all of your cards so you’ll want to avoid picking up cards as best you can. If you have to draw a card, you can choose to play it straight away if it is playable, otherwise your turn ends. 

If you use all of the cards in the draw pile and no one has won yet, reshuffle the discard pile to continue playing.


3. UNO card meanings

In UNO, you’ll find cards that don’t have basic numbers on - these special cards can help you to win the game, so use them wisely!

UNO Reverse card

This card reverses the direction of play, for example from clockwise to anticlockwise. You might be able to prevent someone from winning first by using this card tactically.

UNO Skip card

This card simply skips the next player’s turn.

Draw 2 card

A draw 2 card forces the next player to pick up 2 cards and makes them skip their turn. Since the aim of the game is to get rid of all of your cards, playing a +2 card can be a clever strategy to prevent your opponent from winning.

Wild card

The wild card has all 4 card colours on it and allows a player to pick which colour they want the round to move on with. After playing a wild card, you should say aloud which colour you want the play to change to. You are allowed to pick the same colour as the current card if you’re looking to get rid of your wild card. If you’re holding a lot of cards in one particular colour, the wild card can help you to get rid of these.

Wild card draw 4

Similar to the standard wild card, playing this card means that you can dictate which colour should be played next. The difference, however, with this card is that the next player must pick up 4 cards from the draw pile and miss their turn. 

You might be surprised to hear that there are only certain circumstances when this card can be played. You can only play the draw 4 wild card when you don’t have a card in your hand that matches the colour of the card on the discard pile. 

If the player who has to pick up 4 cards wants to, they can challenge you if they suspect you’ve played the card illegally. With this, you have to show your hand to the player who has accused you and if they are correct with their suspicion you must draw 4 cards. If, however, they are incorrect, then the challenger must draw the 4 cards plus 2 additional cards.

4. How to win UNO

When you find you only have one card remaining in your hand, you must say ‘UNO’ aloud before play moves to the next player. If you don’t say UNO in time and another player catches you, you must pick up 4 cards from the draw pile. On the other hand, if you do not get caught before the next player makes their move then you do not have to draw extra cards.

Once a player has placed their last card they have won this round! It’s time to score…


If you are the first player to get rid of all of your cards, you get points for the cards in other players’ hands. Each card is worth:

  • Number cards - the number written on the card.
  • Draw 2 - 20 points.
  • Reverse - 20 points.
  • Skip - 20 points.
  • Wild card - 50 points.
  • Wild card draw 4 - 50 points.

The winner of the overall game is the player who first reaches 500 points. Alternatively, you can score the game by each player totalling the points in their hand, then when one player reaches 500 points, the player with the lowest points wins.

House Rules 

Aside from the standard UNO rules, there are popular house rules that can be incorporated into your gameplay.

UNO Stacking Rules

There was widespread surprise around the game on Twitter in 2019, where players were shocked to find that stacking is not a standard part of UNO rules. This house rule is suggested to alter the game so that players can prevent themselves from picking up cards by forcing the next player to pick up unless they have a +2 or +4 card to continue the play.


This rule changes up your usual gameplay. Every time a 7 is played, the player who used this card can trade their cards with a different player. Every time a 0 is played, all players should pass their hand to the player next to them in order of play.


If a player has a matching card in colour and number to the top card visible on the discard pile, they may play it immediately. This means they can play their card even when it’s not their turn, making the game continue as if it was just their go.


- How many cards do you pick up if you don't say UNO?

You are required to pick up 4 cards if you fail to say UNO 

- Do you pick up a card every time in UNO?

If you can play a card then you don’t need to pick a card up. If you can’t go, then you will have to pick up a card from the draw pile. You may also be required to pick up cards if your opponent uses a Draw 2 or Draw 4 card on you.

- Can you end on a wild card?

Yes, you can end the game with an action card. With this, the next player must draw 2 or 4 cards depending on what’s played and this will add towards their points total.

- Can you hold a wild card in UNO?

Yes, you can! UNO rules state that you can draw a card even if you have one that could have been played.

- Can you play two identical cards at once in UNO?

In the official UNO rules, stacking is not permitted. You could, however, add this rule as part of your house rules. In ‘Doubles’, players can play two identical cards together, for example a pair of red 4s could be played if the card is red or is a 4.