Home » Cards and Dice » How to Play Slapjack: A Fast and Simple Card Game for Ages 5 and Up

How to Play Slapjack: A Fast and Simple Card Game for Ages 5 and Up

Slapjack, or Heart Attack, is a classic card matching game for 2 or more players.

This fast and simple game requires a standard 52 playing card deck and is suitable for ages 5 and up.

The objective of Slapjack is to be the one who first slaps any Jacks drawn.

How to Play Slapjack

How to Play Slapjack

Shuffle your 52-card deck and deal out the full deck to your group of players. Players hold their cards face down and take turns drawing the top card, face up, into the middle of the table. The pace of the game should be fast. When a Jack is drawn, the first player to slap the Jack on the pile gets to collect all the cards, adding them to the bottom of their deck. The first player to gather all the cards wins. 

Those are the basics. Here are the full details on playing a fun game of slapjack.

Set Up

To set up a game of Slapjack, players need to form a circle around a stable playing area. Before gameplay can begin, every player must draw a card from a shuffled deck. The player with the highest card becomes the first dealer. Ties are broken by a redraw.

The dealer then shuffles the deck and passes out every card, face down, one at a time, clockwise. Each player keeps their cards face down in front of them for the whole game.

>> While this game requires at least 2 players, it’s definitely fun with a larger group of four or more. See more fun card games for two.

Gameplay

Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer and going clockwise, players draw the top card in their deck and place it face up in the center of the circle, creating a face up pile.

When drawing their top card, a player must draw away from them so that they do not see the card before anyone else. This is important.

If the drawn card is a Jack, then the first person to slap the pile (slapping their palm down on the cards, being the first hand to make contact) gets to add all the cards in the pile to the bottom of their face down pile. If the card is not a Jack, then play simply continues in a clockwise rotation around the table.

The winning slapper begins a new round by drawing a new top card into the face up pile. This game continues until a player wins the game by having all of the cards.

If the pile is slapped without there being any Jacks there, then the slapper must give their top card to the last person who played.

When a player runs out of cards, they have one chance left to slap a pile and win more cards. If they do not win the next slap, they are out of the game.

If no player slaps a Jack before another card is played on top of it, the Jack is lost, and play just continues.

Watch the game in action here.

Variations of Slapjack

Snap

Snap is a popular variation of Slapjack with the same fast paced mechanics.

Like Slapjack, Snap is played with 2 or more people and is suitable for ages 5 and up. Unlike Slapjack, the objective of Snap is to be the first to yell “Snap!” whenever a pair of cards appears in the gameplay area.

After the dealer is picked and the cards are passed out, the player to the left of the dealer, draws their top card and places it face up in a new pile, adjacent to their deck. Play continues clockwise until two top cards form a pair.

The first player to notice this can yell “Snap!” and receive the cards in both piles. If more than one player yells “Snap!” and it cannot be judged who said it first, then the cards from the piles are placed in the middle of the gameplay area.

The next person who yells “Snap!” then receives cards from all three piles.

If a player yells “Snap!” without there being any pairs, then their pile goes into the middle.

If a player runs out of cards in their deck, their upturned pile is flipped over to form a new deck.

Similar to Slapjack, if a player runs out of cards, they have one chance to yell “Snap!” to get more cards.

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