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Finally, a Tottenham Hotspur Uno explainer!

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For over a year, we’ve been wondering about Spurs’ house Uno rules. Now we have an answer!

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Tottenham Hotspur’s players love Uno. We’ve known this for a while now — between postings on players’ social media feeds, anecdotal evidence, and official Spurs TV videos, we know that Uno is sweeping through the Spurs dressing room in a way not seen since the heady days of Settlers of Catan back in 2014-15.

We’ve written about Uno in the Spurs dressing room before. However, in previous Spurs Uno videos, there were some weird things going on that none of us recognized. We assumed that they were playing with house rules, and to be fair there are about a gazillion ways that you can customize the rules of Uno.

Today, Spurs posted an Uno video via Twitter featuring Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min, Fernando Llorente, and Paulo Gazzaniga that gives key insight into how these players play Uno. This is super important, so we at Cartilage Free Uno is giving it the deep dive that it deserves.

Basic rules

The official rules of Uno are pretty simple. Play starts left of the dealer and proceeds clockwise. Each player starts with a set number of cards (usually 7) and can play a card on their turn that matches either the color, the number, or the symbol/action of the card previously played on the discard pile. So, if the last person played a yellow 7, you can play either another yellow card or a 7 of another color. You can also play the colored Skip, Reverse, or Draw 2 cards, or the wild or Wild Draw 4s, which also let you choose the color moving forward. If you can’t legally play (or if you choose not to play), you must draw a card and play passes to your right.

Get down to one card in your hand and you must say “Uno!” If someone else says “Uno” before you can, you must draw two cards as a penalty.

The first person to get rid of all of their cards is the winner. (The official rules also have a point scoring system though I’ve never played with it).

THFC “House Rules”

This video actually gives pretty clear evidence of what Spurs’ house rules are, and it’s long overdue.

House Rule #1: Playing Multiples. Instead of playing one card at a time, if you have a legal play you can play more than one card of the same number. For example, if the discard pile shows a red 2 and you have three 2s in your hand, you can play all of them at once, regardless of color. That allows you to churn through your hand pretty quickly.

House Rule #2: Stacking Draw Cards. This rule is vicious. Basically, Draw 2s and Draw 4s can stack, and the effects are cumulative on the player who can’t match it. You see an example of this in the video when three players end up playing consecutive Wild Draw 4s, and Fernando Llorente ends up having to draw 12 cards at once. Bet you didn’t hear THOSE drums, Nando.

House Rule #3: Loser Does Something Bad. I always played that the game ends once the first player is out of cards. However, in this particular game, it gets a little spicy: play continues after the winner is declared, and the overall loser has to wash the cars of all the other players. Sorry, Gazinga. I would imagine that this rule would NOT be used in the team’s single elimination tournament play.

House Rule #4: Two Card Draw on a Misplay. Small rule, but one I like. Play out of turn, draw two extra cards. Fernando got hosed by that one.

Not Really A House Rule #5: At the beginning of the video, Eriksen explains about the optional play rule, and calls it a “dressing room rule,” but he’s wrong — it’s part of the official rules. He should have to draw two for that.

Other miscellaneous observations

  • As noted by both Eriksen and Son, Fernando Llorente is the slowest Uno player I’ve ever seen in my life. Is he color blind? Have his cognitive abilities deteriorated in his old age? GET MOVING, NANDO.
  • I greatly appreciated Sonny’s ka-chung! sound effects during his plays. He’s just the best.
  • It should be codified that every game of Uno be started by saying “UNO ON!” I’m doing that from now on.
  • With Paulo Gazzaniga’s loss, this really backfired on the other three. The point of Uno is to get your friends hooked. This was pretty clearly Gazinga’s first game and he ended up having to wash three cars. Pretty sure he won’t ever play again, and that sucks. I want more Gazinga Uno action.
  • Eriksen’s the seasoned pro here and this was obviously a side game with no tournament implications, but can Christian topple the reigning champion? (And if so will he take his belt with him to Madrid? Womp-womp...)