How to Win at UNO – 10 Best Strategies to Win UNO (2024)

Want to know how to win at UNO? Simple: you must be the first player to score 500+ points over the course of several rounds. Points are awarded to the player who first gets rid of their cards each round.

The first player to get rid of all their cards gets points for the cards left in the other players’ hands. Each card is scored as follows:

Number Cards (0-9)Face value
Draw 220 Points
Reverse20 Points
Skip20 Points
Wild50 Points
Wild Draw 450 Points

Scores are recorded after each round and a running total is kept for each player at the end of each round. The winner is the first player to reach 500 points.

If you still have questions about UNO, we recommend you to read our Ultimate UNO Rules FAQs Guide, where we answer every possible question you may have.

In this guide, we are sharing 10 tips to help you win at UNO. They include:

  • Short-term and long-term strategies
  • How to score the most points (and lose the fewer)
  • How to manage your hand
  • How to use your wild cards wisely
  • How to read and trick your opponents


  • How to win at UNO
    • 1. Never forget the rules
    • 2. Be aware of your opponents’ hands and plays
    • 3. Balance your number and color cards
    • 4. Play your high-numbered cards first
    • 5. Use your +2’s wisely
    • 6. Become a +4 pro
    • 7. Do not use a reverse card at the wrong time
    • 8. Make yourself unpredictable
    • 9. Cooperate with other players when needed
    • 10. Attack and defend appropriately
  • Conclusion

How to win at UNO

Keep in mind UNO takes place over several rounds and you will hardly be able to win them all. To win at UNO you must balance both short-term and long-term tactics and strategies.

You want to score as many points as possible each time you win a round, but award as few points as possible to other players on the rounds you lose.

Follow these tactics and strategies to improve your odds of being the overall winner every time you gather with your friends or family for a quick and fun play.

1. Never forget the rules

There are especially two rules that will cost you points if you forget them, or even worst, make you lose the round:

The obvious one is shouting UNO! when you play your second-to-last card. Forgetting to do so will surely compromise your chances of winning the round.

The not-so-obvious, and incredibly forgotten by many, is challenging a +4 wild card. Remember you can only use this card if you don’t have a matching color card available.

Knowing how to play a +4 wild card will significantly improve your game. More on that, later.

2. Be aware of your opponents’ hands and plays

Pay close attention to the cards played by the other players and how many cards they have left in their hands.

This will give you an idea of whether they have strong or weak hands and how they could respond to your moves.

For instance, attacking with a +2 wild card when all the players have many cards left will probably unleash a chain reaction, possibly returning to you.

Also, look for the colors that have been played on the table. The more a certain color has been played, the scarcer it will be on the drag pile and in other players’ hands.

Make sure you use this to your advantage.

3. Balance your number and color cards

Avoid getting rid of just one color or number if you have many other options to choose from.

This will keep your hand open to most card numbers or colors the other players throw at you later on in the game.

The more options available to play, the more you will avoid the need to drag cards from the pile.

4. Play your high-numbered cards first

Remember a player wins at UNO by scoring points over the long run.

Since a single player will hardly win every single round, you must decrease the total value of your hand to avoid awarding too many points to other players.

When possible, start with your 9’s and leave your 1’s and 0’s until later in the game, as these will be harder to match by your opponents as there are only four 0’s in the deck.

5. Use your +2’s wisely

Your +2 wild cards should be used mostly for defense. Avoid being caught off-guard so try to keep one in hand.

If you have more than one, use the excess ones to attack your opponents when you spot an opportunity if you suspect they have a weak hand.

Try not to use them “just because”, or you will face missing opportunities or drawing cards unnecessarily.

6. Become a +4 pro

Players can only play a +4 wild card if they have no other cards available to match the color played by the previous player.

However, as no one knows exactly what their opponents’ remaining cards are, it is possible to challenge said move to call a bluff.

If you have correctly read the game, your opponents, and the cards played, you will increase your chances to call a bluff and make your opponent drag the 4 cards instead of you or the player directly affected.

Consider how many cards your opponent has left. The more cards, the more likely he could be bluffing.

Think also of the colors played on the board (remember strategy #2) and how probable is for a player to have a matching card that could be used instead.

If it is you the one trying to bluff, make sure to have confused your opponents to not raise any suspicions.

Use this at your own risk.

7. Do not use a reverse card at the wrong time

Think of this: The player before you calls UNO using a wild card and changes color. The most probable scenario is that he changed it to the color of its last card.

Playing a reverse card of said color will surely grant him the victory.

Even if it is your only possible move, it is better to draw a card and pass waiting for other players to attack.

8. Make yourself unpredictable

Do not stick to only one strategy. Switch colors and numbers as often as possible. Practice your poker face.

Play mind games with your opponents and trick them to challenge your +4. For example, choosing the same color (although you don’t have it in your hand) will seem like an amateur move and will lure them to your trap.

9. Cooperate with other players when needed

Is another player close to winning? Use teamwork to bring him down. Make sure everyone focuses their attention on avoiding that last card being played.

If your only available move is surely granting that player the winning play, for example, a card that changes the color to the one he probably has, it is better to draw a card and let your opponents keep charging on the leader.

However, be prepared for this kind of teamwork when you are the one about to win, which brings us to the last piece of advice.

10. Attack and defend appropriately

Wait for your opponents to have weak hands to time your attacks. Do not go all-in unless you have a plan to respond if the tables turn, avoiding being caught off-guard.

Read the table to predict the best color to choose when playing a wild card and make your opponents draw as many cards as possible.

Plan in advance your late-game defense strategy to increase your chances of countering incoming attacks.

Try to keep your +2s and wild cards till the very end unless someone is far in the lead. Remember that winning UNO requires several rounds to reach 500 points, so you must avoid giving points in rounds that could hardly be won.


Although it is a fun game to kill some time with your friends and family, learning how to win at UNO will guarantee some laughs among your playing group.

Master these 10 strategies and you will soon be known as the one to beat and spark competition across the room.

Just remember always to have fun and do not make it (too) competitive.

Want to learn more strategies to beat your friends in more games? Check our guides on our Stratego best setup strategies, our Blokus Strategy, or the best Azul strategies you will find online.

Last Updated on 11/10/2022 by ARU

How to Win at UNO – 10 Best Strategies to Win UNO (2024)
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