How to Play Trash

Trash Header

We have another fun card game to share with you today, that is great for number recognition and for practicing number sequences. It is know as 'Trash' or "Garbage'.

The aim of the game is to be the first player to line up your cards in sequence order from 1 to 10, with the Ace counting as 1. You will need a standard deck of 52 cards, with the jokers removed. For 1-2 players, use one pack of 52 cards, for 3-4 players use two packs, and for 5-6 players use three packs.

Watch out short video to learn how to play, or scroll down for detailed written instructions as well as some variations.

Setting up the Game

Shuffle the cards, and deal each player ten cards face down, in two lines of 5 cards each. Place the remaining cards in the centre of the table. This is the draw pile.

Playing the Game

Player 1 starts by turning over any one of their face down cards.

If it is a card from Ace to 10, the player places that card in the corresponding position of their number line, replacing the card that is already there.

The replaced card is flipped face up, and in turn placed in its corresponding position of the number line.

This continues until the player finds a card that can not be played - either a number that’s already been placed, or a Jack, Queen or King.

The unplayable card is discarded to the ‘trash’ pile in the centre of the table, and the next player takes their turn.

Player 2 now turns over one of their cards, and proceeds in the same way that Player 1 did.

On subsequent turns, players turn over the top card from the draw pile to start their turn, and place the card according to the same rules as before.

When a player places a card in an empty spot, with no card to flip over, they take a card from the draw pile to continue their turn.

On their turn, players can also choose to take the top card from the discard pile instead of the draw pile.

The first player to complete their Ace to 10 sequence wins the game.

If the draw pile runs out before anyone completes their number sequence, the cards of the discard pile, apart from its top card which is left in place, are shuffled to make a new draw pile.


  • If you have plenty of space on the table, arrange the cards in a single row from Ace to 10.
  • Players start the game by taking a card from the draw pile, instead of turning over one of their face down cards. That way you don’t end up with any empty spots.
  • When setting up the game, take the top card of the draw pile and lay it face up next to the draw pile to form the discard, or ‘trash’, pile. This means that players have the choice from the start to pick a card from the draw or 'trash' pile.
  • Some games use either the Jack or the King as a wild card. Wild cards can be placed in any position in your number sequence, and can be moved on subsequent turns. For example, if you use a wild card as a 3, and then later turn over a 3, you can replace the wild card with the 3 and reuse the wild card in another position.
  • To make the game easier, you can designate all face cards as wild cards.
  • After one player has completed their Ace to 10 sequence, the other player(s) turn over their remaining face down cards. If it turns out the cards were already in the correct places, thereby also completing the sequence, the game is tied.
  • After one player has completed their Ace to 10 sequence, the other player(s) each get one final turn in an attempt to tie the game.

Latest News and Events


Maths at Work Compilation Packs

We have pulled together all the 'Maths at Work' related activities from our past Activity Packs, to make it easier for you to access this content which can be reused year after year. The compilation packs align with the levels of the Scottish curriculum.


Facing the Future: Edinburgh Science Festival 2024

It's Spring in Edinburgh means, which means the return of the Edinburgh Science Festival (30 March - 14 April)! This years theme is Shaping the Future, and we've browsed through the programme to pick out some of our maths highlights for you.

29th Sep

Science Sunday at the National Museum of Flight

National Museum of Flight | | Free with museum admission
Celebrate Maths Tales with our Science Sunday at the National Museum of Flight