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Who doesn’t love a fast and fun game of Uno? But what about when you’re travelling and you want to save space (or weight!) by taking just one deck of cards with you that can be used for a whole heap of other card games? Well, you find out how to play Uno with regular playing cards, of course!

Deck of cards spread out on the table

While there are lots of ways you can play the game with a standard set of cards, read on for my favourite rules. Whether official ones or house rules, I couldn’t tell you. All I know is this is how my husband and I have played Uno with playing cards for years.

How To Play Uno With Regular Playing Cards

Step 1. Choose your action cards.

First things first, you need to choose your action cards. In a standard game of Uno, these are:

  • Skip: The next player misses a go.
  • Reverse: Reverses the order of gameplay from clockwise to counterclockwise and vice versa.
  • Draw 2: The next player has to pick up 2 cards.
  • Wild: The person who plays this card chooses what colour the next player needs to match.
  • Wild Draw 4: As above, but the next player also has to pick up 4 cards.

You can easily match these up with any playing cards. But here’s how we do it:

  • Skip: Tens
  • Reverse: Jacks
  • Draw 2: Queens (these are stackable so a Queen on top of another Queen becomes Draw 4)
  • Wild: Kings
  • Wild Draw 4: Aces
Playing Uno with regular playing cards - the action cards

All other cards are just number cards with no actions. In Uno, the colour of the card dictates which colours you have to match (unless you have “Wild” cards). With a regular set of playing cards, unless you have a “Wild” card, you have to follow the same suit i.e. Hearts, Spades, Clubs, Diamonds.

Note: Some people think you need to have more than one deck of cards to play Uno this way. While this might be the case if there are large numbers of you playing, we’ve had no issues playing with 2-6 people using just one standard 52-card deck.

Also: In recent years, Mattel (the company that acquired Uno in 1992) has also introduced new action cards (probably to try and compete with the viral Exploding Kittens card game). These new Uno cards are “Wild Swap Hands”, “Wild Shuffle Hands” and “Wild Customisable”. Please note our instructions in this blog post do not reference these new cards. But you can easily change this for your own game if you wish by using Joker cards.

Step 2. Deal and play

Just like with Uno, the dealer gives 7 cards to each player. The dealer turns over the top card in the Draw pile to indicate which suit you need to match (unless you have a “Wild” card). Play then continues clockwise. Don’t forget to use your action cards!

Step 3. Win!

The object of the game is to be the first person to get rid of all of the cards in your hand. Don’t forget to shout “Uno” when you’re down to your last card, otherwise, you’ll have to pick up two more cards.


In a standard game of Uno, the player who gets rid of all of their cards first receives points for all of the cards everyone else is left with. The first person to get 500 points is the winner!

Scott and I usually don’t bother with scoring when we play (we’re lazy, I guess). We normally just do a “Best of 3” or “Best of 5” tally.

But for those of you who want to score points like you would in Uno, you can use the following scoring system:

  • Numbered cards (0-9): Face value
  • Tens, Jacks & Queens: 20 points each
  • Kings & Aces: 50 points each

Printable Cheat Sheets

To help you remember the action cards and scoring system, we’ve created handy cheat sheets you can print out and keep with you. If you end up playing Uno with regular playing cards often, then I’m sure you won’t need our printouts for long.

In the meantime, fill in your details via this link or the form below to grab our printable cheat sheets:

If you found this guide on how to play Uno with regular playing cards helpful, then why not bookmark it now, or share it with a friend?

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