The Official Guide to Uno Rules

Uno cards displayed out on a table.

The Official Guide to Uno Rules

The popular household staple, Uno has been around since the early 1970s. Developed by Merle Robbins, in Reading, Ohio, the game started as just a game for the creator’s family and friends. However, as they played the game more Merle began to see the potential of the game. He started selling it at his barbershop and local businesses and the rest is history. Today, the game is pretty much an American classic and seemingly everyone has played it in one way or another. The problem is that the game has been adapted and changed over time and now no one knows what the actual rules are. Here is an official guide to the rules of Uno.

The Mechanics

Uno normally consists of 112 cards: 25 in each of four color suits (red, yellow, green, blue), each suit consisting of one zero, two each of 1 through 9, and two each of the action cards “Skip”, “Draw Two”, and “Reverse”. Uno decks also contain four “Wild” cards. Four “Wild Draw Four”, one “Wild Shuffle Hands” and three “Wild Customizable”. Wild Shuffle Hands allows a player to collect all cards held by the other players.The player then shuffles and re-deals them, starting from the player to their left. Wild Customizable are blank cards that can have a house rule assigned to them. These last two Wild card variations are only present in post-2018 prints of Uno. Decks before 2018 only have 108 cards in the deck.

For each hand, the dealer is decided by having the players draw from the deck. Whoever has the highest number deals and all the cards are reshuffled into the deck to prepare for the round to start. The dealer then gives every player seven cards. The top card is revealed and set aside to begin the discard pile. Whoever is to the dealer’s left has the first turn unless the first card revealed from the deck is an action or Wild card.

Action and Wild Cards

Action or Wild cards do one of the following effects:

Card NameCard Effect Once Played From HandCard Effect As First Discard
SkipThe next player in sequence misses a turn
The order of play switches directions (clockwise to counterclockwise, or vice versa)
ReverseThe order of play switches directions (clockwise to counterclockwise, or vice versa)The dealer plays first; the play proceeds counterclockwise
Draw Two (+2)The next player in sequence draws two cards and misses a turnThe player to the dealer’s left draws two cards and misses a turn
WildThe player declares the next color to be matched (may be used on any turn even if the player has any card of matching color)The player to the dealer’s left declares the first color to be matched and takes the first turn
Wild Draw FourThe player declares the next color to be matched; the next player in sequence draws four cards and misses a turn. May be legally played if the player has no cards of the current colorThe card is returned to the deck, then a new card is laid down into the discard pile (the deck may be reshuffled first if needed)

Turn Economy

When it’s a player’s turn they must do one of the following actions:

  • Play a card matching the discard in color, number, or symbol.
  • Play a Wild card, this includes Wild Draw Four cards.
  • Or draw the top card from the deck, and optionally play it if possible.

Miscellaneous Rules And Penalties

Uno’s mechanics, like any card game, can get a bit complex. There are some extra things to keep in mind:

  • Anyone who draws a card from the deck must choose to play that card immediately or keep it. If they keep it their turn immediately ends and no cards already in their hand may be played.
  • A Wild card can be played on any turn, even if the player holding it has other cards that match the current color, number, or symbol.
  • A Wild Draw Four card can only be played if the player holding it has no other cards matching the current color. If the player has a card of a different color that matches the current number or symbol they are still able to play the Wild Draw Four Card. When a Wild Draw Four card is played the player targeted may challenge the original owner of the card. When this happens the player of the Wild Draw Four Card must show their hand to the challenger of the play. If the challenge is successful, the challenged player must draw the four cards instead before play continues. However, if the challenge fails, the challenger must instead draw 6 cards AND miss their turn. Either way, the player of the Wild Draw Four card chooses the color.
  • If the players run out of cards to draw, the top discarded card is set aside and the rest of the pile is shuffled to create a new draw deck.
  • You can not trade cards in Uno.
  • When a player only has one card left in their hand they must call out “Uno”.
  • In a Two-Player game, the rules are the same except the Reverse action card acts like a Skip card.

The Win Condition

For a game as old as Uno it isn’t uncommon for its ruleset to be amended over time. The current official rules are built from the 2018 edition of the game. The point of Uno is to be the first player to reach a certain point threshold contrary to the common belief that you need to get rid of all your cards to win. For a player to be declared the winner they must be the first to score 500 points which is usually achieved over multiple rounds. You gain points by getting rid of all of your cards and then counting up points depending on the other players’ hands.

Numbered cards are worth their face value, all action cards are worth 20 points, and all Wild cards are worth 50. If a Draw Two or a Wild Draw Four card is played as the final card, the next player in the turn order must draw the appropriate number of cards before the score is tallied.

House Rules

Not every Uno game is created equal and a lot of the time the rules change depending on who’s playing. Some players prefer to play by the book while others have found ways to switch up the formula. Over time these House Rules have been included in official Uno packaging.

Progressive or Stacking Uno

If a player plays a draw card, the next player in turn order has a card with the same symbol, that player can play that card and “stack” the penalty. This adds to the current penalty and passes it to the next player (although a +4 cannot be stacked on a +2, or vice versa). This house rule is so commonly used that there was widespread Twitter surprise in 2019 when Mattel stated that stacking was not part of the standard rules of Uno.


Every time a “7” is played, whoever played it must swap hands with another player of their choice before ending their turn. Every time a “0” is played, all players pass their hands to the next player in the current direction of play, after which play continues normally.


If a player has exactly the same card (both number and color) as the top card of the discard pile, they may play it immediately, even if it is not their turn. Play then continues as if that player had just taken their turn.


When a “6” is played, players must place their hand on top of the card, whoever is the last player to place their hand on the card will have to draw 2 cards.


When it’s a player’s turn and they don’t have a card in their hand that they can play, the player will have to draw until they find a playable card.

Other Variations Of Uno

These rules are only scratching the surface. There are many other variations of Uno including but not limited to:

  • Uno 50th Anniversary (2021)
  • Uno Wild Twists (2022)
  • Uno All Wild (2022)
  • Uno Attack (Uno Extreme in the UK and Canada) (1999)
  • Uno Attack Jurassic World (2018)
  • Uno Attack Refill Deck (2005)
  • Uno Bingo (1997)
  • Uno Blast (2012)
  • Uno Blitzo (2000)
  • Uno Choo-Choo (2011)
  • Uno Color Screen
  • Uno Deluxe (2022)
  • Uno Dare (2014)
  • Uno Dice (1987, 1996, 2011)
  • Uno Dominoes (1986)
  • Uno Emoji (2016)
  • Electronic Uno (2020)
  • Uno Flash (2007)
  • Uno Flex! (2023)
  • Uno Flip (2009) (Target Store Exclusive)
  • Uno Flip! (2019)
  • Get Wild for Uno (2016)
  • Giant Uno (2016)
  • Giant BTS Uno (2020)
  • Uno Go! (2022)
  • Uno H2O (2004)
  • Uno H2O To Go
  • Uno Harry Potter (2019)
  • Uno Hearts (1994)
  • Uno Junior (1992)
  • King Size Uno (1994)
  • Uno Lightyear (2021)
  • Uno Madness (1995)
  • Uno Minecraft (2018)
  • Uno Moo (2008, 2014)
  • Uno Show ‘Em No Mercy (2023)
  • Uno Party! (2022)
  • Uno Power Grab (2012)
  • Uno Remix (2022)
  • Uno Reflex (2010)
  • Uno Roboto (2010)
  • Uno Royal Revenge (2014)
  • Uno Rummy Up (1993)
  • Uno Showdown Supercharged (2020)
  • Uno Spin (2005)
  • Uno Spin Hannah Montana (2005)
  • Uno Spin One Piece (Japan)
  • Uno Spin To Go (2010)
  • Uno Stacko (1994)
  • Travel Uno Stacko
  • Uno Tippo (2009)
  • Uno Tiki Twist (2014)
  • Uno Triple Play (2021)
  • Uno Wild Jackpot (2016)
  • Uno Wild Tiles (1982)
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