Spit (card game)

Last updated
Alternative nameSlam, Speed
Skills requiredCounting, sequencing, manual dexterity [1]
Age range8+ [1]
Deck Standard 52-card deck
Playing time5-15 min.
Related games
Stress, Speed

Spit, also known as Slam or Speed, is a card game of the shedding family for two players. The game is played until all of a player's cards are gone.



The goal of Spit is to get rid of one's cards as quickly as possible. The players do not take turns; physical speed and alertness is required to play faster than the opponent. On each deal, the player who is first to go through all of their starting cards can reduce the number of cards for the next deal. By being successful for several deals, clearing all of one's cards becomes possible, and if this is carried out successfully, one wins the game. [2]


Spit is played by two players. The entire deck is split between them, and each player makes five stacks in front of themselves in a row, similar to Klondike, as follows: [3]

There is an alternative setup where each person lays down four cards face up separately, and a stack of ten face-down cards with one face-up card on top, similar to the setup for Canfield.

The object of the game is to move all of these cards into two "spit piles" that start empty in between the two player's rows of cards. Each player's eleven remaining cards not dealt into stacks are placed face down in a pile next to the play area; these are the spit cards. Within each player's row of cards, face-up cards of the same value (the same card but a different suit) may be placed upon each other. Then, the face-down cards revealed from this are turned over. This process continues until each player's row has face-up cards of five different values.

Players must leave their stacks on the table, and only one card can be played at a time. Players may either use both or just one hand while playing Spit; however, both players need to agree on either one or both.


To begin, both players say "spit" (or "slam or "speed, depending on the variation) simultaneously as each player flips over the top card from their spit cards into the center to start the two spit piles. Then, the two players attempt to play the cards from their rows of cards into the spit piles as fast as they can; there are no turns.

Each player can play their face-up cards from their row onto either spit pile, if the previous card in that spit pile is of a consecutive value. For example, a 5 can be placed upon a 4 or a 6, but not another 5. An Ace is considered consecutive to both King and 2. When a face-up card is used, the next card under it in its stack can be turned over and then played. If a stack of the rows is empty, a player can transfer any face-up card into that slot and turn over the following card. As during setup, face-up cards of the same rank may be placed on top of each other within the rows.

Once either player has depleted the cards from their row, each player tries to slap the spit pile that they think is smaller. Whoever slaps first gets the pile slapped, and the other player takes the other spit pile. (In some variants the player who plays all their cards just chooses a pile.) These cards are added to the remainder of the player's spit cards and then shuffled together and dealt into rows as done at the start of the deal. There is no set number of rounds because the first to lose all of their cards is the winner

If the run reaches a point where both players are stuck or choose not to play a card, both players once again say "spit" simultaneously and each player turns their top spit card face up, placing it on one of the spit piles. Play then resumes as described above. [4]

End of play

When one player starts with fifteen cards or fewer, there will only be one spit pile, and the first player to get rid of their rows doesn't take anything from the center. The opponent takes the spit pile and their tableau cards.

If the player with no spit cards in their hand is also the one who gets rid of their rows first, they win the game. If their opponent gets rid of their tableau first, the game continues. [4]

Comparison to Speed

Spit is similar to the game Speed in the sense that players attempt to get rid of all their cards first. Speed requires 4 stacks, two having five or ten. If there are five cards in the outer stacks in the middle each player is dealt twenty cards, while if there are fifteen cards, ten are dealt. Speed permits players to use Jokers as wild cards, where in Spit, the Jokers are removed from the deck.

When playing Speed, while slapping the final pile, players have the option of shouting the word “Speed” as they slap the deck. This rule can be carried over to Spit, however it is not mandatory. The difference between Spit and Speed is in the arrangement of the stock piles. In Spit, each player has a row of piles, usually five, each with the top card face up. In Speed, each player has a single face down stock pile and a hand of five cards. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Klondike (solitaire) Solitaire card game

Klondike is a solitaire card game. In the U.S. and Canada, Klondike is the best-known solitaire card game, to the point that the term "Solitaire", in the absence of additional qualifiers, typically refers to Klondike and is considered its other name. Equally in the UK, it is often just known as "Patience". Elsewhere the game is known as American Patience, as well as Fascination, Triangle or Demon Patience.

Flinch (card game)

Flinch is a card game that was invented in 1901 by A.J. Patterson. Flinch is a card game that is based on stockpiling. The game is played with a custom deck and was first produced by the Flinch Card Company in Kalamazoo. This custom deck has 150 cards: ten sets of cards numbered from one to fifteen. Some variations use a deck that has 144 cards. Flinch is based on another game called "Spite and Malice". It is currently being published in the USA by Winning Moves Games USA.


Slapjack, also known as Slaps, is a simple standard-deck card game, generally played among children. It can often be a child's first introduction to playing cards. The game is a cross between Beggar-My-Neighbour and Egyptian Ratscrew and is also sometimes known as Heart Attack. It is also related to the simpler 'slap' card games often called Snap.

Spite and Malice, also known as Cat and Mouse or Screw Your Neighbor, is a traditional card game for two or more players. It is a reworking of the late 19th century Continental game Crapette and is a form of competitive solitaire, with a number of variations that can be played with two or three regular decks of cards. It is descended from Russian Bank.

Paskahousu is a Finnish card game. The object of the game is to play higher cards than the previously played cards, first to get replacement cards from the stock pile, and, after the stock pile has exhausted, to get rid of one's cards. It is similar to Shithead.


Ligretto is a card game for two to twelve players. The aim of the game is to get rid of all your cards faster than all the other players by discarding them in the middle of the table. Instead of taking turns, all players play simultaneously. The game in its present form, was published in 1988 by Germany's Rosengarten Spiele designed by Michael Michaels. An earlier form of the game was published at the start of the 1960s. Since the year 2000 the game has been published by Schmidt-Spiele of Berlin, Germany. In 2009, Playroom Entertainment began publishing the game for North America and other English-speaking countries.

Pyramid (solitaire)

Pyramid is a patience or solitaire game where the object is to get all the cards from the pyramid to the foundation.


Rummy is a group of matching-card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build melds which consist of sets, three or four of a kind of the same rank; or runs, three or more cards in sequence, of the same suit. If a player discards a card, making a run in the discard pile, it may not be taken up without taking all cards below the top one. The Mexican game of Conquian is considered by games scholar David Parlett to be ancestral to all rummy games, which itself is derived from a Chinese game called Khanhoo. The rummy principle of drawing and discarding with a view to melding appears in Chinese card games at least in the early 19th century, and perhaps as early as the 18th century.

Snap (card game)

Snap is a popular card game in which players deal cards and react quickly to spot pairs of cards of the same rank. Cards are either dealt into separate piles around the table, one per player, or into a single shared pile.

Gargantua is a patience or solitaire card game that is a version of Klondike using two decks. It is also known as Double Klondike and as Jumbo.

Crescent is a solitaire card game played with two decks of playing cards mixed together. The game is so called because when the cards are dealt properly, the resulting piles should form a large arc or a crescent. An alternative and less common name for the game is La Demi-Lune.

Speed is a game for two players or more of the shedding family of card games, in which each player tries to get rid of all of his or her cards first.

Tonk, or tunk, is a matching card game, which combines features of knock rummy and conquian. Tonk is a relatively fast-paced game that can be played by 2-4 players. It was popular with blues and jazz musicians in southern Louisiana in the 1930s, including Duke Ellington's orchestra, and was played during breaks in the back rooms of bars and saloons. It has been played in military barracks to the battlefield and In many other places it has become a popular pastime for workers while on their lunch breaks. It can be played for just points or for money wagered.


Nerts (US), Pounce (US) or Racing Demon (UK) is a fast-paced, multiplayer card game involving multiple decks of playing cards. It is often described as a combination of the card games Speed and Solitaire.

Switch, also called Two Four Jacks or Irish Switch, or Last Card, in New Zealand, is a shedding-type card game for two or more players that is popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland and as alternative incarnations in other regions. The sole aim of Switch is to discard all of the cards in one's hand; the first player to play his or her final card, and ergo have no cards left, wins the game. Switch is very similar to the games UNO, Flaps and Mau Mau, both belonging to the larger Crazy Eights or Shedding family of card games.

Stress is a card game that uses a standard 52-card deck. It is usually only played with two people, although it is possible to play with more. The game requires each player to have a deck of numbered cards from 0 to 9. A player wins when they have lost all of their cards.

Screw is a card game where the players try to be the first to lose all their cards. Like Palace, it is derived from the Finnish card game Paskahousu.

Irish Switch, also called Two-four Jacks, Lives or Black Jack, is a version of the card game Switch popular in Ireland. It is very similar to the original with a few rule changes. Switch is a shedding-type card game for two or more players that is popular in the United Kingdom, and as alternative incarnations in other regions. The sole aim of switch is to discard all of the cards in one's hand; the first player to play the final held card, and ergo have no cards left, wins the game. Switch is very similar to the games Uno and Mau Mau, both belonging to the larger Crazy Eights family of shedding games.

Egyptian Ratscrew, also known as Slap, Egyptian Ratkiller, Egyptian War, or ERS, is a card game of the matching family of games. The game is similar to the 19th-century British card game Beggar-My-Neighbour, with the added concept of "slapping" cards when certain combinations are played, similar to and perhaps borrowed from Slapjack.

Bowling Solitaire is a patience or solitaire card game that uses a single deck standard playing cards to simulate a round of ten-pin bowling.


  1. 1 2 Children's Card Games by USPC Co. Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
  2. 1 2 Mcleod, John. "Spit/Speed". Pagat. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  3. "How to Play Spit / Speed / Slam –". 52pickup.net. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
  4. 1 2 Arneson, Erik. "Spit Rules". About.com. Retrieved April 1, 2013.