Cheating at UNO

UNOtips.org has a simple mission: to give you tips about UNO. And having a mission means committing to lofty goals and sticking to them. So, while we would never cheat at a game of UNO, for the sake of completeness, we have compiled some of the more popular ways players have cheated at UNO.

The honest player will treat this as list of what to watch for, and should not treat this as a "how-to" guide.

Fake Right, Run Left

Summary: Quick and dirty but surprisingly effective.

The cheater, sensing that he is in trouble, will make a wild gesture toward the back of the room, behind his opponent(s). He may look at some imaginary thing high on the wall or frantically point at something as though he is terrified. When unsuspecting players turn to see what danger looms behind them, the cheater either steals powerful cards from the other players or puts a large number of his own cards down in the discard pile.

Note: does not work well in a room with many mirrors.

The Melon Drop

Summary: A sophisticated move often seen in pro/am UNO competitions.

As the game progresses, the cheater begins an elaborate theatrical ploy that guiles his audience into thinking that he is clumsy and prone to wild gestures. The cheater may pretend to have Tourette's syndrome, be intoxicated, or that he is simply a loveable buffoon. He waves his arms around the table, and at a perfectly timed moment, knocks his opponent's cards onto the floor along with his own.

He quickly rearranges the cards on the floor (out of view of the rest of the players) before handing the cards back to the opponent with an extra Wild Card or Wild Draw Four Card as a "gift." In this way, the victim is made to feel he has caught a break, but in fact, the cheater has also filled the victimís hand with many other cards and is usually able to close the game in fewer than three more rounds.

Note: sophisticated cheaters will swap the victim's cards with similar cards, by swapping all of his blue fives with red fives or vice versa, leaving the total number of cards in the victim's hand unchanged.

Behold the Scarabaeus

Summary: An advanced technique employed by the lowliest UNO cheaters.

Many UNO cheats are simply the work of dishonest magicians and card trick men. However, with Behold the Scarabaeus, the UNO cheater will use a little-known sleight of hand technique to insert his unwanted, excess cards into a glass soda bottle or other seemingly impenetrable item. Thus, if the cards are discovered, the cheater can act surprised at what has happened, or he may simply leave the table before the ruse is discovered.

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