Also known by more family-friendly names like *Cheat,* *I Doubt It* and *Liar's Poker,* the object of BS is simple: **Be the first person to discard your entire hand via deceit and guile.** BS can have three or more players but is particularly fun in larger groups, where it is even harder to tell who's keeping it straight and who's blowing smoke.
Playing the Game
The basic gameplay of BS is easy for newcomers to quickly grasp: The whole deck, minus the joker cards, is evenly dealt to everyone playing, and your goal is to discard all of your cards first. The first player is picked at random and play continues from him in a clockwise fashion. The first player discards any Aces he has or lies and discards a different card while claiming it's an Ace. The next player discards Twos and so forth in order until one player runs out of cards and wins the game.
Bluffing or Telling the Truth
Careful bluffing is a major strategy in BS, and often the key to success. The rules of bluffing in BS are fairly simple: You can say just about whatever you want and as long as no one calls you on it before it becomes the next player's turn, you get away with it. Good bluffing strategies include not only lying about what kinds of cards you're putting down, but also how many you're putting down. For example, you claim to be putting down three eights, but are in fact putting down only one eight and three other cards. Be careful not to get too ambitious with your bluffs, however: The more outlandish your bluff, the more likely someone will call you on it.
While a successful bluff is generally the key to winning the game, getting caught bluffing is bad news: Any player challenged and caught in a lie have to pick up the entire discard pile and add it to his hand. While this isn't a big deal early in the game when the pile is fairly small, it is disastrous near the end when the discard pile is huge. However, a bluff challenge is a double-edged sword: If someone challenges your move and proves you were telling the truth, that player has to pick up the entire discard pile instead.
Changing Things Up
Variants on BS include starting at the King instead of the Ace and working downward, as well as mixing multiple decks into a game to add not only to the game's length but to create new possibilities for bluffs. Adding in extra decks can also make the game easier to play in large groups, as a single deck only produces small hands when many players are participating. In some variations, a player can play the same card as the previous player, or choose to go up or down a card; for example, if the last player played Aces, you can also play Aces or play a Two or King instead.