Spit Card Game (Rules and Instructions)

Spit is a popular card game for two players with simple rules, high competitiveness, and a fast tempo. Not sure how to play it? These Spit card game rules will guide you.

Spit is one of the favorite choices for those who want to play cards with a single opponent. Little is known about its origin, but it’s likely derived from older card-matching games.

Like in War (see the War game rules), you share all the cards at the beginning in Spit. Except your goal is not to collect them but get rid of them instead. 

Spit also shares similarities with Solitaire (check out our Solitaire game rules). However, unlike this relaxing single-player game, Spit is very dynamic and highly competitive.

This Spit rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is Spit?
  • Spit Rules
  • Spit Scoring
  • Spit Rules in Pictures
  • How to Play Spit (Video tutorial)

Continue reading for detailed instructions on how to play Spit. 

What is Spit?

Spit Card Game Info Image

Spit is a game many of us learn to play as kids since it’s very simple. The main goal is eliminating your cards before your opponents by matching them in sequences.

Number of Players: 2

Ages: 8+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes

Category: Shedding-type card game

Similar to: Spite and MaliceSpeedSolitaire

Main Objective: Be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

Our Take: Spit is one of the most accessible and gratifying shedding-type card games you can play in a pair.

What You’ll Need to Play Spit

To play Spit, you’ll need the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Spit Rules

Spit is a simple game that does not require any particular strategies or skills. Even if this is your very first card game to try, you will surely be able to catch on to Spit very fast.

Starting the Game

First, decide on the dealer. The dealer’s job is to shuffle the cards and deal them all among the two participating players, one card at a time.

Next, each of the players deals a portion of their cards into their respective five down-facing stockpiles with the following number of cards:

  • Pile = 1 card
  • Pile = 2 cards
  • Pile = 3 cards
  • Pile = 4 cards
  • Pile = 5 cards

Now you can turn over the top card in each of the piles. 

Place the rest of your cards on the table next to the stockpiles. These are your “spit cards” (I will explain how they work shortly), and you are not allowed to look at them yet. 

Once everything is ready, you both can say “Spit!” to officially start the game.

How to Play Spit

First, both players simultaneously flip the top cards on their spit piles and place them side by side at the center of the table between their starting piles. These are the Spit Piles.

Just like you’ve begun, you will continue playing simultaneously: There are no turns in Spit, so you both perform your moves at the same time. This is how the game proceeds:

  • Using only one hand and always moving a single card at a time, transfer the cards from your stockpiles to either of the spit piles in the center. 
  • To move a card, it must form a sequence with the top card on the spit pile (i.e., your card’s rank is either one card higher (6 on 5) or lower (4 on 5) than the top card.)
  • In Spit, you can forget about the suit or color of the cards – they are irrelevant.
  • Aces rank higher than Kings and lower than twos so that you can create an endless loop of consecutive cards.
  • Whenever some of the top cards on your stockpiles are facing down, flip them over.
  • When your stockpile runs out of cards, move the top card from any of your remaining stockpiles to the empty space. You cannot have more than five piles.

Continue playing, following the above principles. Whenever you can make a move, you are obliged to do it (no skipping or ignoring possible moves). 

However, you most likely will eventually get stuck. When both players are stuck without moves, they call “Spit!” again.

Now you can restart the game by simultaneously flipping over another of your spit cards and placing it over your existing spit pile in the center. The game continues.

End of the Round

In Spit, you aim to discard all your cards by placing them in one of the central spit piles. 

When one of the players succeeds in playing all the cards from their stockpiles, they slap one of the spit piles with their hand. This is a signal that the round has ended

Now the player who ended the round takes the pile they slapped and adds them to their spit cards. 

The opponent takes the other pile AND all the remaining cards in their stockpiles and adds it to their spit cards. 

New Round

Each player shuffles their cards and creates new stockpiles, just like at the beginning of the game. 

If you have <15 cards (minimum for stockpiles), deal as many as possible in the standard order. In this case, you don’t have a remaining card for your spit pile, so you will play with a single spit pile created by your opponent.

The player who gets rid of their stockpiles first slaps the only spit pile, BUT this time, his opponent is the one to collect it and add it to their spit cards.

As you can see, the gameplay rapidly speeds up with each new round, and it’s soon pretty obvious which player had a higher chance of winning. 

Nevertheless, dramatic turning points in Spit are pretty common, so don’t lose hope and determination.

Spit Scoring 

Spit does not have any points or scores. All that counts is getting rid of ALL your cards. The first player who succeeds wins the game.

Spit Rules in Pictures

Step 1

The deck is dealt between the players. Each creates 5 stockpiles of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 cards, respectively. Their topmost cards are flipped over. The rest are their spit cards.

Spit card game rules 1 image

Step 2

Players start the game by calling “Spit!” and simultaneously revealing the top spit cards from their piles, placing them in the center of the table as two separate spit piles.

Spit card game rules 2 image

Step 3

Players simultaneously move top (face-up) cards from their stockpiles to their spit piles, matching cards that are one rank higher or lower, regardless of their color or suit.

Spit card game rules 3 image

Step 4

When both players run out of moves, they call “Spit!” again and restart the game by flipping over new spit cards, placing them over their respective spit piles, and continuing.

Spit card game rules 4 image

Step 5

When a player runs out of stockpiles, they slap one of the spit piles and round ends. The slapped pile is added to their spit cards. The opponent takes the other spit pile and what’s left of their stockpiles.

Spit card game rules 5 image

Step 6

Shuffle the cards and deal another round. If a player has <15 cards, they deal reduced stockpiles, and the game is played with a single spit pile. Whoever runs out of cards first wins the game.

Spit card game rules 6 image

How to Play Spit Card Game – Video Tutorial 


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you use Jokers as wild cards in Spit?

No. Unlike in some similar games (including Speed), you do not use Jokers in Spit. Sort them out of the deck before you start playing.

Can you take back or change your move in Spit?

No. Once you move a card in Spit, you can no longer undo the action. Also, you must make a move whenever you can. 

Is Spit and Speed the same game?

No. Spit and Speed are similar but not identical. In Speed, you don’t deal the whole deck between the players. Also, the winner is whoever wins three independent rounds. 

Other Similar Games to Spit 

Do you like Spit? Check out our guides to a few similar games below:

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova