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Do You Really Know The Rules For Slap Jack?

The Rules Of Slapjack

Slapjack is a very fun card game that originated in the United States. It has been a popular pastime for decades, often being played at parties. Slapjack is similar to other games such as rummy, Egyptian rat screw, crazy eights, and others.

But, do you know the rules for slapjack? The object of slapjack is to slap the pile of cards in the middle when you think your opponent does not have a face card in their hand. If you slap when they do have one, then it becomes your turn to slap and everyone else gets another turn before you get another opportunity to slap again. The slapjack pile can be moved around in the middle of the table, but it should always be in the middle.

Keep reading to learn more about this fun game that is suitable for a wide range of age groups!

The History Behind Slapjack

Slapjack, or slapjacks as it was originally called, became a popular game in the 1920s. It is derived from a parlor game called slap tan, which was first played in the English county of Yorkshire.

Others say Slapjack was invented by Larry Hanson in 1991 at a local coffee shop. He says that slapjack is an old English card game that he just decided to slap a new name on. It is also said that Slapjack comes from another card game called Klaberjass which originates from Belgium.

The name of the game slapjack probably derives from slap meaning slam – as in slamming a door – and jack being slang for a king. This would refer to knocking out other players who have no more cards by playing their last remaining card at just the right moment.

In some ways slapping down your last card is similar to knocking out an opponent in boxing or other sports.

Rules To Know To Master Slapjack

Slapjack has certain rules that must be followed for this game to work smoothly. Slapjack rules are fairly simple, but mastering the slapjack slap requires some practice!

A player starts by playing a card that is one number lower or higher than the previous card laid down. If you cannot play this way then slapjack rules say that you have to pair up your cards using any match available.

At any time during slapjack gameplay, any player may slap the pile of cards in the middle. This will mix up all the cards so no one knows whose is whose. The last person to slap is now required to pick up all of them and start over.

After picking up the mixed-up pile of slapjack playing cards, continue with play as usual until someone runs out of cards first. The winner of slapjack is the player who has cards left in their hand.

The cards used for slapjack are any 52 playing card deck. Face cards such as jacks, queens, and kings are

worth 10 points each, and number cards 2-10 are worth face value. Number one cannot be placed down because its only purpose is to take up space so you cannot place anything on top of it. The goal of slapjack is to slap the pile of cards when you think your opponent does not have a face card in their hand.

If slapjack was played with more than 2 players, then whoever slaps last is now required to slap again and everyone else gets another turn before they get a chance. Just remember, slapjack can also be played by two players.

How To Play If There Are Three Players

For example, if three people are playing slapjack, it would be slapjack rules that Player One slaps first. Then the next player slaps after them even though the first slap must have been made by Player One just because he or she slapped first doesn’t mean that they will always be allowed to slap again.

So let’s say that Player One slaps and Player Two just watches but decides not to slap this time Player Three has his or her chance slapjack rules say that Player Two has to slapjacks next turn or pair up his or her cards.

Players may slap the pile of slapjack playing cards at any time during gameplay even if it is your turn. Slapping does not stop turns. However, if you slap when someone else has a chance to slap then slapjack rules state that this person will get another opportunity slap before you do.

For example, if Player One slaps and she wasn’t supposed to because Player Two had their chance they can ask for another chance but since they already slapped the other players get another slap fist like normal gameplay until someone runs out of cards. The winner of slapjack is the one who ran out of cards first.

Slapjack Tips and Tricks

  • Cards rank Ace high unless only two remain, in which case the lower card wins.
  • You can slap your last card if it is the only remaining card in the pile unless playing with wildcards.
  • If a player slaps out a pair of identical cards on top of a pair already slapjack belongs to that person and he/she gets all other cards on the table as well, including those slapped by his or her opponents.
  • At any time during play, you may ask what the slapjack value is. When asked this question, each opponent must slap their hand face-up on the table so everyone can see their cards. Nobody else should reveal their hands at this point except for whoever has slapjack, who will say whether or not the slapjack value is true.
  • If slapjack is revealed to be false, the player who asked loses a turn. However, if slapjack turns out to be true, then the person who asked loses TWO turns.
  • Aces are always high in slapjack. For example, if there are two Kings on the table and an Ace comes down slapjack belongs to that person unless wildcards are being used.


Slapjack can’t end until both players have no cards left or until all cards are slapjack. The first one to lose all their cards wins!

Common Slapjack Mistakes

If you are planning on playing slapjack, these are good mistakes not to make:

  1. Do not slap too hard when you play slapjack! This gives your other opponent an advantage by giving them more information about the cards they have in their hand.
  2. Try not to slap too early or try to slap the wrong person’s turn if someone else reaches for the card. Slapping at the wrong time will result in you getting slapped, and this may harm your relationship with your slapjack-playing buddies.
  3. Do not be too loud while slapping cards or you will annoy the other slapjack players. This can result in them getting annoyed and wanting to slap you back by accident, which plays into their hand more than yours.  If you are being too loud, the slapjack game will go on for longer than it has to.


Follow these tips and you and all the other players are bound to have a great round or many rounds of slapjack!

Alternate Ways To Play Slapjack

Some people play slapjack with jokers and wildcards. In this variation, different combinations may yield different scores, but using them too much may make your slapjack score much lower than average!

With this game, you can slap down your last card when it’s the only card left in the pile. In this variation, slapjack is a playable combination and doesn’t require two penalty cards to be picked up by the slap player (although both players do need to show their hands for all of them to see).

The slap player can slap his/her very last card if he/she has no more cards left on the table. Slapjack allows wildcards which make slapjack games fun! Wildcards include jokers, deuces (2s), Aces, and picture cards like Kings or queens.

Slapjack is popular with children because it encourages quick reflexes and quick thinking! Slapjack can be adapted for teams or group play. It can also be adapted for adults and nights in.

Time To Play!

Do not forget that the objective of slapjack is to get rid of all your cards first by playing them in pairs or runs, while at the same time trying to be the first player NOT TO SLAP JACK! If you slapjack, you have to pick up two penalty cards from the pile. You can slap jack if there are no cards left on the table after both players have laid down their last cards.

Slapjack is a quick game to play when you’re in between games or waiting for your friends. It’s easy to adapt slapjack for teams, and slapjack is a fantastic way to spend time with the family during the Christmas holidays because it’s so easy to learn!

Slapjack is a fun card game that people of all ages can enjoy playing while having fun with others close to them. If you are looking for family entertainment at home, slapjack is an excellent choice because it does not require complicated rules or strategies for everyone involved to have a good time. Now that you know slapjack slap jack rules, give it a try!

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