Slap Jack is an extremely easy game to learn and play and is an excellent choice for younger children. Slapjack is fun for children ages 5 and up. Additionally, it can be played by only two players, or as many as 10, although the ideal number is three to five players. To play the Slapjack card game, you will need a 52 card deck, preferably one you do not mind having messed up, as this game can be extremely hard on the cards.

How to Play Slap Jack

The Slap Jack card game has several versions. We have included the three most common versions in this article.

Version #1

In this version, only jacks are slapped. The first person who is able to slap the pile collects the cards. The aim of the game is to collect all the cards.

  1. Begin by having someone deal the cards to the players. It is okay if some players get one more than others.
  2. Each player holds their cards as a facedown pile.
  3. Play proceeds clockwise around the table with each player placing the top card in their hand (pile) face up in the center of the table creating a pile of face up cards.
  4. If someone plays a jack, players attempt to be the first person to slap the pile of face up cards in the middle of the table. Players slap the cards with the palms of their hands.
  5. Divide the pack roughly equally between the players. Everyone holds their cards as a face down pile.
  6. The player that slaps the pile first wins the center pile. The contents of the center pile are placed face down on the bottom of the players pile.
  7. Play continues starting with the player to the left of the player who won the cards.


  • Players must not look at the card they are playing, but must turn cards over so that all players see what the card is at the same time.
  • If several players slap the face up pile at the same time, the player whose hand is underneath and touching the top card wins the pile.
  • If a player slaps a card that is not a jack, that player must give the top card from their own pile face down to the player whose card they wrongly slapped. The player receiving the card adds it to the bottom of their pile.
  • When a player runs out of cards, they can still slap when the next jack is played. If they are successful and slap the jack (not just any card), they win and get the pile and are back in the game. If not, they are permanently out of the game.
  • As soon as one player has all the cards, they win the game. Alternatively, you can set a time limit for playing. If no one collects all the cards before the end of the time limit, the person holding the most cards is the winner.

Version #2

In this version, cards are slapped when they match a card whose name or number is called out. The slowest slapper collects the cards. The aim of this version of Slapjack is to get rid of all the cards.

  1. Someone serves as the dealer and deals a deck of cards clockwise facedown to all the players. Players do not look at their cards.
  2. The dealer begins play by placing their top card in the center of the table face up. As the card is laid, the dealer calls out a number (two, three, etc.) or a name (King, Queen, Ace, etc.). If the card put down matches the card name or number shouted out, then the dealer and all the other players “slap” the pile palm down.
  3. The last player to slap the pile must pick up the entire pile and put it on the bottom of their own pile.
  4. Play then moves clockwise with each player putting their card down on top of the pile and calling out a name or number. Whenever the called out card matches the card put down, all of the players slap the pile and the player who is last to slap the pile picks it up and adds it to their hand.
  5. Play continues until only one player still has cards in their hand: they lose.


If a player puts their hand on the pile when the card and the card name shouted out do not match, they must pick up the entire pile.

Version #3

The goal in this version of Slap Jack is to collect all the cards and win the game.

  1. Players sit in a circle. The oldest player is the dealer.
  2. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals all the cards to the players facedown. Players place their cards in piles in front of themselves facedown without looking at them.
  3. The player to the left of the dealer goes first, taking the top card from their pile and placing it face up in the center of the playing area. If a Jack is played, all the players slap their hands palm down on top of the played card.
  4. The first player to slap the Jack – the player whose hand is on top of the Jack – wins the round and adds the pile of cards to the bottom of their stack.
  5. Play continues clockwise, and each time a Jack is laid down, players slap the pile as quickly as possible. The first player to do so picks up the pile and places it on the bottom of their stack.
  6. When a player collects all the cards, they win the game.


  • If a player gets too excited and slaps a card other than a Jack, they must give each player a card from their stack. Players place these cards face down on the bottom of their piles.
  • A player who runs out of cards is not immediately out of the game, but watches while the game continues. If a Jack is played and they are the first player to slap the pile, they pick up the pile and rejoin the game. They only have one opportunity to do so, after which they are permanently out of the game.
  • The player whose hand is lowest on the pile of hands that have slapped the pile, wins the pile.

Whichever version of the Slap Jack card game you choose, you and your friends will have an exciting time playing this game. Sometimes play is so competitive, a referee is needed to determine who slapped the pile first. Remember also, if you have eight or more players, you may wish to set a time limit for the game. Whoever has the most cards (or least – depending on the version you choose) at the end of the given time, wins.

However you choose to play it, Slap Jack is an exciting game!

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