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Kemps Rules: How Do You Play Kemps?

Players and Cards

According to Kemp rules, the game is playable with four, six or eight players. The players are divided into teams of two players.

The game requires one standard deck of 52 cards. 


Teammates sit facing each other.

Non-verbal signal

Before the game starts, teammates come up with a specified non-verbal gesture to use to signal when they reach a win-condition.

Any signal is allowed as long as it is nonverbal.


Each player is dealt four cards, one card at a time. The rest of the cards forms the draw pile.

The dealer draws four cards from the draw pile and places them face up in the center of the table.


The goal in Kemps is to assemble four of a kind. Once the win-condition is satisfied, players issue a nonverbal signal to their teammate, signaling that they are able to win the game. 

Game Play

Each player has an opportunity to exchange one card with a card from the center of the table. They don’t have to follow a specified turn order.


When no one wants any of the draw cards, they are swept aside face-down. Replace them with four new cards from the draw deck, and the cycle starts over again. The process is repeated until someone calls Kemps. 

Calling Kemps

A player can call “Kemps” if they see the signal from their teammate and the teammate shows their hand.

If the hand is four of a kind, the team wins the round. If the call is incorrect, the team loses a point, and the round ends.


Calling Cut

If a player believes that the opposing team has a winning hand, they may call “Cut” which leads to both players of the opposing team revealing their hands. If either player has a four of a kind, the opposing team wins the round. 

If Cut is incorrectly called, the team calling the Cut loses a point, and the round ends.

In a game with more than two teams, the player calling Cut have to specify the team they are cutting.

Double Kemps and Double Counter-Kemps

If a player believes BOTH team members have four of a kind, he/she may call “Double Kemps.” If correct, the team gains two points, but if incorrect, the team loses two points; the round ends in both scenarios.

If a player believes that BOTH players of an opposing team have four of a kind, they may call “Double counter-kemps!” If correct, their team receives two points; if wrong, however, they lose two points. The round ends in both scenarios.

Scoring & Points

 In Kemps, the first team to reach five points wins the game

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