SPOONS rules

OBJECTIVE OF SPOONS: Be the first to have a four-of-a-kind and grab a spoon.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 13 players

MATERIALS OF SPOONS: 52-card deck, spoons (1 less than the number of players)

TYPE OF GAME: Card game

AUDIENCE: All ages


Also called Tongue, Spoons is a fast-paced game anyone can play! This is a super fun multi-round game that is reminiscent of musical chairs! Just like the classic school game, Spoons requires you to be fast and try to be the last one standing.

All you need to play Spoons is a deck of cards and some spoons, of course. But if you don’t have any spoons around you, don’t worry. You can replace the spoons with other objects of your choice. So, you can easily play this game wherever you want!

While you can play Spoons with as few as 3 players and as many as 13, we think it’s one of those games where the more, the merrier!

Sounds pretty hectic, right? Well, strap in, as you’re about to learn the rules for Spoons so you can play with your friends and family! You’ll quickly see why it’s a classic game to play at any gathering.


spoons rules

First things first, let’s set up the game so that you can have some fun! To play Spoons, you’re going to need a 52-card deck and 1 less spoon than the number of players. If you have a larger group playing (7+ players), it might be worth getting a second deck.

So, if you have 10 players, you’ll need nine spoons and two 52-card decks!

Then, put all the spoons in the middle of the table in a small circle.


Pick a dealer. The dealer deals out four cards to each player and places the remaining cards in a pile face down on their right.


So, what’s the objective of this game? In essence, you must get all four cards of the same rank in your hand, then quickly grab a spoon in the center of the table. The player left without a spoon at the end of the round is the loser.


The dealer starts the game by picking up a card from the pile on their right so that they have five cards. Then, they must quickly decide which card to discard and place a card down to their left so that they have four cards once again.

Whenever a player has a card on their right, they must pick it up, add it to their hand, and discard one card to their left for the next player.

Basically, all players should pick up a card on their right and discard it to their left at the same time altogether, making for a rather chaotic game.

Continue picking up and discarding cards with the goal of creating a hand with four-of-a-kind, or four cards of equal rank.

For example, if you have a Queen of Hearts, a Queen of Spades, a Jack of Hearts, and a 7 of Clover, and you pick up a Queen of Clover, you’re going to want to discard the Jack or 7 to the player on your left. That way, you’re one step closer to getting a Queen in all four suits: Heart, Spade, Clover, and Diamond.


Once you have a four-of-a-kind, do not announce it. Instead, quickly reach into the middle of the circle to grab a spoon. After the first player grabs a spoon, all other players must grab the rest of the spoons as fast as possible.


Since there is always one less spoon than there are players, there will be one player left without a spoon. This player loses the round and earns the letter “S.” Continue playing rounds with the same number of spoons until a player spells S-P-O-O-N, meaning they have lost five rounds in total. When this happens, this player is eliminated from the game and a spoon is removed from play as well.


As players continue to spell out the word SPOON by losing rounds, you’ll have fewer and fewer players remaining. Each time a player is eliminated from the game, remove a spoon. The last player standing wins the game!

Fun game, right? Check out our list of other kid-friendly card games you should play!


As you become more familiar with the game, it’s time to add some strategies to confuse other players and make the game even more chaotic and interesting!

Here are some of our favorite Spoons strategies.


Instead of lunging for the spoons in the middle when you get four-of-a-kind, wait a moment for all players to be distracted before you take a spoon quietly and stealthily. Then, hide the spoon and pretend to keep playing. It may take a while for other players to realize that someone has taken a spoon already!


A popular Spoons strategy is to fake grabbing the spoon. Even when you don’t have four-of-a-kind, pretend to reach for a spoon to create a rush of players grabbing spoons, but make sure not to actually touch one! Any player that touches a spoon when no one has four-of-a-kind automatically loses the round!


Instead of watching your cards in order to collect four-of-a-kind, one strategy is to simply watch the spoons instead of your hand. This means you may not get a chance to get four-of-a-kind, but you definitely won’t lose, as you’ll notice as soon as another player grabs a spoon!

When employing this strategy, keep in mind that you still need to play by picking up a card and putting it in your discard pile on your left for the next player.


spoons rules

Spoons is a super popular around the world and is known by many names. For that reason, it’s not at all surprising that there are many variations of Spoons rules. Pick the variation you like!


In a faster variation of the original Spoons rules, instead of spelling out the word SPOON, players are immediately eliminated when they lose a round. So, you decrease the number of spoons by one in each round until only one winner remains.


While you technically should have all the spoons in a neat circle to set up the game, instead, pile up all the spoons in a messy pile. This makes it more difficult for a player to stealthily take a spoon, and it makes grabbing the spoons at the end of the game way more rough and crazy!


If you want to kick the game up a notch, one variation of Spoons rules is to not put the spoons in the middle of the circle. Instead, scatter the spoons around the room. For example, you can put some behind the couch, on the stairs, under the table, or even in the next room! In this variation, there’s no such thing as stealth. Instead, everyone will be up and running and jumping everywhere the moment someone gets a four-of-a-kind!


If you don’t have any spoons, one variation you can play is to stick out your tongue when you get a four-of-a-kind. This variation is way more stealthy and it may take a while for other players to notice when a tongue is out!


Other similar games you can play include Donkey and Spoons and a Spork.


Can You Fake Grab a Spoon in Spoons?

If any player touches a spoon when there is no four-of-a-kind, the round immediately ends, and that player gets a letter. So, yes, you can try to trick your fellow players by fake grabbing a spoon even when you don’t have four-of-a-kind. In fact, this is a relatively popular strategy.

How Many People Can Play Spoons?

You can play Spoons with as few as three people and as many as 13. However, if you play with more than 7 players, we recommend using two 52-card decks.

Do You Use Jokers in Spoons?

No, to play Spoons, you only use the standard 52-card deck, minus any jokers.

Is Playing Spoons Easy?

Spoons is a super beginner-friendly game. It’s a great way to introduce card games to your little ones as well, as children as young as 7 will easily understand the concept. As long as you can recognize four-of-a-kind, that and speed are the only skills you need to play this fun card game! If you can play games like Go Fish, Old Maid, Snap, and Sevens, you can play Spoons.

Mia Kim

6 thoughts on “SPOONS”

  1. If there are only you and another player left, and your opponant has 4 of a kind but has not yet grabbed a spoon can you grab a spoon before they do? (You can tell whether or not they have 4 of a kind based on how they look when they swap out their final card.)

    • Hi Joe, unfortunately not. Spoons cannot be grabbed by other players until the player who got 4 of a kind first, grabs one.

  2. What happens if a player is too slow and gets a small pile of cards on their right hand side to pick up?

    • Hi Dane, there should be no stacking cards, cards are passed simultaneously so no card should be passed until all players are ready, this becomes much quicker the more familiar with the game you are.

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