OBJECTIVE OF SLAPJACK: Collect all 52 cards in the deck.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-8 players, 3-4 is optimal
NUMBER OF CARDS: A standard 52-card deck
RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Slapping
OVERVIEW OF SLAPJACK RULES
Get ready to learn every kid’s favorite card game, Slapjack! It is a fun kids’ card game that perfectly introduces your young ones to card games. The game can play two to eight players, making it the ultimate family game!
In this article, we will go over the basic Slapjack rules and a few game variations.
Players will choose a dealer at random. They shuffle the deck and deal each player one card at a time, face-down, until all cards have been dealt. Try to deal cards as evenly as possible. Players keep their piles face-down in front of them. This game’s setup is similar to War, another great card game!
HOW TO PLAY SLAPJACK
Slapjack is a mix of two popular games: Beggar My Neighbor and Egyptian Ratscrew! The player to the left of the dealer starts, and the play passes clockwise. Players take the top card from their piles and place it face-up in the center of the table. Each player takes turns placing one card in the center, forming a pile. Please do not show your cards to other players before setting them down. You will flip the card away from you so that players cannot cheat by seeing their card before you place it in the center.
The center pile should be equidistant from each player to ensure fair slapping. If a player places a jack on the top of the pile, players race to slap the jack first. The player who slaps it first wins all the cards beneath it. They will shuffle the cards and add them to the bottom of their deck. Players will then start a new center pile with the next player in the rotation and continue similarly.
If more than one player slaps simultaneously, the lowest hand or the hand directly on the card wins the pile.
It is a common occurrence in Slapjack for players to slap the wrong card, essentially meaning any card other than a jack. If this happens, they give one card to the player that placed the card they mistakenly slapped.
Players who run out of cards can slap back in the game. However, they are out of the game if they miss the next jack.
Some people play that when you place your hand on the pile, you must also declare “Slapjack!”. If the player does not, they will not win the pile.
Another house rule that you can add is that when a player slaps and declares on a card that is not a jack, all the cards are taken from the pile and split evenly between the rest of the players.
END OF GAME
The player who wins all the cards in the deck by slapping jacks wins the game.
VARIATIONS OF THE SLAPJACK RULES
Below we have a few variations of the classic Slapjack rules. Some of these rules are meant to make the game more complex so the game can grow with your kids!
Snap is a very similar game. Instead of a single pile, each player reveals cards into a personal pile in front of them. If at any point there are two matching cards on top of players’ piles, anyone can call “Snap!” and collect the matching cards. The player will add these cards to the bottom of their deck. The player to win the whole deck is the winner.
Irish Snap is a fun twist on Slapjack. You are trying to lose your cards as quickly as possible. Each player receives their deck and will reveal one at a time into a single pile. Starting with the first player, they will declare “Ace,” followed by the next player calling “King” when they reveal. This continues in rank order, and if at any point a player reveals a card that is the same rank as what they declared, all players must slap the pile. The last player to do so takes the pile and adds it to their deck. The last player with cards is the loser.
Cabin 6 is a slightly more complex version of Slapjack for older players. The deck will need two jokers added to it before dealing. After players receive their decks, play begins. Each player will reveal their pile in front of themselves. If, at any point, two piles have the same rank of a card or a player reveals a joker, any player may declare “Snap!” and win all the cards in each pile. The player shuffles and adds the cards to the bottom of their decks. Players with no cards have two turns to get back into the game, or they are eliminated. The player to win all the cards is the winner.