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Game Type
3, 4

Slapjack is a very simple game, and it is often a child's first introduction to playing cards. The memories of playing this often noisy, and always fun pastime are never forgotten!

Suggested Ages

5 to 12

Skills Developed

Visual alertness and quick responses.

The Pack

The standard 52-card pack is used.

Number of Players

Two to eight people, playing individually

The Deal

Any player may deal first. The dealer shuffles the cards and then deals them out, one at a time face down, to each player in rotation, until all the cards have been dealt. The hands do not have to come out even. Without looking at any of his cards, each player squares up his hand into a neat pile in front of him.

Object of the Game

The goal is to win all the cards, by being first to slap each jack as it is played to the center.

The Play

Beginning on the dealer's left, each player lifts one card from his pile and places it face up in the center of the table. In doing this, the player must turn up the card away from himself so that he does not see it sooner than anyone else. However, the player should turn his card up quickly enough so that the other players do not see the face of the card before he does.

When the card played to the center is a jack, the fun begins! The first player to slap his hand down on the jack takes it, as well as all the cards beneath it. The player winning these cards turns them face down, places them under his pile of cards, and shuffles them to form a new, larger pile. He then places the pile in front of him as before.

When more than one player slaps at a jack, the one whose hand is lowest (directly on top of the jack) wins the pile. If a player slaps at any card in the center that is not a jack, he must give one card, face down, to the player of that card. When a player has no more cards left, he remains in the game until the next jack is turned. He may slap at the jack in an effort to get a new pile. If he fails to win that next pile, he is out of the game.

Play continues until one player has won all the cards. That player is the winner.


If a card is exposed in dealing, the recipient's cards must be shuffled before he places them face down in a pile and plays.