snap rules

OBJECTIVE OF SNAP: Win all of the cards in the deck by identifying matching face-up pairs.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 6 players

MATERIALS FOR SNAP: Standard 52-deck of cards

TYPE OF GAME: Card game

AUDIENCE: All ages


snap rules

Are you looking for a fun, basic card game that pretty much anyone will enjoy? Look no further than Snap! Snap is a super exciting children’s card game that really tests your skills. This card game was first invented by John Jaques & Son Ltd in the 1880s and started off with a set of picture cards featuring funny illustrations. Nowadays, this game is played with a standard deck of cards.

Snap may be a simple card game with just a couple of rules, but this game can get insanely competitive! In Snap, players must be able to observe and react as fast as they can in order to win, making it an incredibly fast-paced game that will get your heart racing in no time.

Okay, so have you got your deck of cards ready? Here are the rules for Snap!


To begin, make sure you have a 52 deck of cards. If you are missing some cards, don’t worry! As long as each value has a pair, you’ll be able to play Snap. You can even use a different type of deck, such as an Old Maid deck, as long as there are pairs.

Make sure all players are sitting around a table.


Now, it’s time to deal the cards! Choose a random dealer to shuffle the cards. The dealer must then deal the cards face-down, one by one, to each player, dispersing the cards as evenly as possible. Keep in mind that some players may have more cards than others.

Each player then places all of their cards in a deck, face-down, in front of them.


The player to the left of the dealer begins the game. And remember: the goal is to win all the cards!


The first player picks up the top card from their personal face-down deck. Then, they quickly flip over the card and place it on a new face-up pile next to their face-down pile.

Note: When flipping the cards, make sure to flip the card away from you so that you cannot gain an advantage by being the first person to see the card. On the other hand, if you flip too slowly, you’ll give yourself a disadvantage, as you’ll be the last person to see the card. So, the goal is to flip away from you super fast so that all players can see the new flipped card at the same time!

Once the first player finishes their turn, play continues to the left, with each subsequent player doing the exact same to create their own face-up pile.

When it’s the first player’s turn again, they must flip over the top card of their face-down pile onto the top of their face-up pile. And so on.


One of the most important aspects of Snap is to pay close attention to all the cards on the table! Look out for any two cards of the same number or rank. Throughout the game, as each player flips a card one by one, check everybody’s top face-up cards. If you notice that there are two cards with the same rank, quickly yell, “Snap!”

The first person to yell, “Snap!” wins the two face-up piles of the matching ranks. The player gets to add these cards to the bottom of their face-down pile.

Then, continue playing as usual, with the person to the left of the winner of the round going first.


If two players yell “Snap!” at the same time, combine the two face-up piles and put them in the middle. This is the snap pot or snap pool. Then, continue playing as normal. And when someone flips over a card that is the same rank as the top card of the snap pot, yell, “Snap pot!” or “Snap pool!” The first player to do so wins both piles: the middle pile and the matching pile.

If, by some miracle, there is another tie, add this third matching pile onto the snap pot as well!

This also occurs if a player mistakenly shouts snap when there is no match.


If the cards in your face-down pile run out, turn over the face-up pile and continue playing. Do not shuffle the cards!

If a player has completely run out of cards, they are out of the game!


Continue playing until only one player has all of the cards. This player is the winner of Snap!


There is one variation of Snap you can play if you want to change the rules up a little bit for a challenge: Single Pile Snap. The major difference between standard Snap and Single Pile Snap is that in Single Pile Snap, you only need to track one single pile in the middle of the table.

Here are the basic rules for Single Pile Snap:

  1. Deal the cards as normal, distributing the cards evenly amongst the players.
  2. The player to the left turns over the card at the top of their face-down pile and places it face-up on the middle of the table. Unlike standard Snap, all players contribute to this one pile.
  3. Continue playing, with each player flipping over their top face-down card and placing it at the top of the shared pile in the middle.
  4. When two matching cards are put on top of one another in the middle pile, the first player to yell, “Snap!” wins the entire middle pile of cards.
  5. If two players yell “Snap!” at the same time, create a snap pool by pushing the middle pile off to the side. Then, continue play as normal, creating a new middle pile. The first player to yell, “Snap pool!” when the top card of the snap pool matches the top card of the new middle pile wins both piles!
  6. Continue playing until one player has all the cards and all other players have run out of cards.


Although, in theory, Irish Snap has very similar rules to traditional Snap, instead of trying to get all the cards, to win, you have to get rid of all your cards.

To play Irish Snap, deal out all the cards to the players as usual face-down. Then, the first player flips over their top card to the middle of the table (much like Single Pile Snap), and says, “Ace.” It doesn’t matter what value the card actually is, the game always starts with the first player saying, “Ace.”

Then, the next player flips their card and says 2, then the next player says 3, and so on. Continue flipping in this manner, player after player, onto the middle pile.

Now, for the actual snapping. To snap in Irish Snap, you must race to slap your hand on top of the pile. The last player to do so loses. You can snap in one of two ways:

  1. When the card flipped matches the rank of card said. So, if a player says 6 and the rank of the card flipped is 6, players must snap.
  2. When the card matches the card already at the top of the pile, just like Single Pile Snap.

The last person to put their hand in the middle pile must take all the middle pile cards as a penalty. And the first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game!


Slapjack is another similar card game that is super fun to play with friends and family. This card game is played similarly to Single Pile Snap, where players flip over their cards one by one onto a single face-up pile in the middle of the table. However, instead of slapping the pile when the previous top card of the face–up pile and the new top card is of the same value, in Slapjack, you slap whenever a jack appears. And by snapping, we mean, players have to reach their hands out and slap the middle deck when the jack appears. The player who manages to slap the middle deck first wins the pile.

The player who wins all the cards in the entire deck by slapping the jacks wins!


If you’re looking for other similar children’s card games to entertain your family, check these out!

Mia Kim

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