The game is played with 3 or 4 players. The cards are dealt equally between the players, and the person with the 9 of hearts begins the game by placing it on the table. (If playing with 3 players, either the 9 of hearts is removed from the deck and placed on the table before dealing cards and the dealer begins the game, or one person ends up with 18 cards).
The table is divided into four columns, one for each suit. Players take turns placing cards in those columns, and the player is allowed to:
- add to the top of the column by playing the card one higher than the highest card in the column,
- add to the bottom of the column by playing the card one lower than the lowest card in the column,
- or open a new column by playing a nine of the column's color.
The cards added to the columns need to match the column's suit. So for example, once the starting player plays the 9 of hearts, the next one can play the 10 of hearts, the 8 of hearts, or a 9 of any other color. If they played the 10 of hearts, the next player can play the Jack of hearts, the 8 of hearts, or any other 9. Aces are considered high.
If the player cannot play any cards they have to pass the turn, but they can't pass the turn if they have a card to play. The first person to get rid of all cards in their hand wins the game.