Spit Card Game Rules: Setup, Gameplay & How To Win the Game

A person in a brown shirt shuffling a deck of playing cards.

Spit is a fast-moving, two-player card game that is a great way to pass the time. It’s an active game that is best played on the floor or on a big table with lots of space!

How do you play the card game Spit? Each player forms a layout consisting of 5 piles with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 cards respectively. A card is added from their hand to form two spit piles. Continue to build the spit piles by playing a card that is one higher or lower the cards showing in the spit piles. First player to run out of cards wins.

The following will tell you how to set up and play the fast and exciting game of Spit as well as fun variations you can try to keep things interesting. 

Playing the Spit Card Game: Quick Guide

To play the Spit card game all you will need 2 players and 2 decks of cards. 

  • Number of players: Spit is a 2 player game.
  • Deck: You will need 2 full decks of 52 playing cards each for this game.
  • Object of the game: The object of Spit is to get rid of all of your cards. 
  • Winning the game: The first player to get rid of all of their cards wins the game!

Setting Up the Game

To set up the game, first find a large area to play in. The floor is a good place as there is lots of space for when cards go astray, but a large table will work as well.

Both players should be able to access each other’s piles from wherever they are seated.

Each player chooses a card from the deck, and the player with the lowest card becomes the dealer. The dealer deals out all of the cards evenly, one by one, to both players.

Each player then builds 5 piles in front of them, known as their layout. The top card on each pile is face up.

The first pile has 1 card (face up), the second pile has 2 cards, the third pile has 3 cards, the fourth pile has 4 cards, and the fifth pile has 5 cards.

The players keep the remainder of their cards to form their individual Spit piles. 

How Many Piles Are in Spit?

Each player has 5 piles in front of them in their layout and an individual Spit pile, for 12 piles total. Each player also has a Spit deck. The amount of piles can change throughout the game.

Can You Use Two Hands in Spit?

A player can only use one hand to move cards and can only move one card at a time in Spit.

Playing the Spit Card Game

Now that you have everything in place to play, let’s get into actual gameplay.

Play the Cards

Players do not take turns in Spit; rather they play simultaneously.

When both players are ready, one player says “spit,” and each player takes the top card from their Spit deck and places it in a separate Spit pile in the center of the play area.

Players get rid of the cards from their Spit decks by either playing them in either of the Spit piles or playing them off of any of their 5 personal piles in their layout.

Add Cards to Spit Piles

If a player is adding a card to one of the Spit piles, it must be either one card value higher or one card value lower than the card at the top of the discard pile.

Aces can be played as either high or low cards, meaning they can be played next to a King or next to a 2. The rank of cards in Spit other than Aces is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K. 

Add Cards to the Layout

Players can also play cards onto the 5 piles in front of them, as long as they follow the sequence.

You can move any face-up card from the top of one of the piles in front of you to an empty space, but you cannot exceed 5 piles. 

Once a card has been played from any pile, the next card in the pile is flipped over to be played. 

Slap the Spit Piles

As soon as one of the players gets rid of all of the cards in their layout, both players try to slap one of the two Spit piles as quickly as they can.

Since the object of the game is to get rid of all of your cards, players should try to slap whichever pile has fewer cards in it.

The first player to slap a pile keeps that pile, while the slower player takes the other pile. 

Deal a New Layout

A new layout should be dealt anytime one player has gotten rid of all of the cards in their Spit deck or when both players are out of Spit cards but have piles in their layout left.

If both players run out of Spit decks and can’t play on the Spit piles, then that round ends. When a round ends, players try to slap the pile with the least cards.

They then shuffle their cards and build 5 new piles in front of them as they did at the beginning of the game. 

If a player cannot build 5 piles in front of them, then there will only be one Spit pile in the center. The game continues until one player runs out of cards.

A deck of playing cards fanned on a black background.

Scoring and Winning

After a player has run out of cards in their Spit deck, they continue playing using the cards from the 5 piles in front of them until one of the players gets rid of all of their cards.

If both players run out of cards in their Spit pile and can’t play anything from their 5 piles, then the player with the fewest cards wins. 

If both players are trying to play a card on the same pile, the player who reaches the pile first gets to play their card, and the other player has to take their card back.

If there is only one Spit pile, the first person to play all of the cards in their layout does not get cards from the center.

Instead, the other player picks up the Spit pile and all of the unplayed layout cards. The first person to get rid of all of their Spit cards and all of the cards in their layout wins. 

Spit Card Variations

Spit can be played in several different ways. Speed, Slam, and Spite and Malice are all versions of Spit.

In the Spit variation Wild Speed, you use the same basic rules as Spit, but you make Jokers special.

A Joker can only be played in a Spit pile, but once it has been played, the other player must pick up all of the cards played so far and shuffle them back into their Spit deck.

Jokers can also be played as Wild cards. 

You can also play with 4 piles in your layout instead of 5. In some versions people skip the slapping part of the game and allow whoever gets rid of all of the cards in their layout first to choose the Spit pile that they want. 

Another variation of the game is to play so that all cards played on the Spit piles must alternate in colors!


Spit is a fun, fast card-shedding game that is perfect for two people. Speed is the primary skill needed, making this game an easy one to learn for players of all ages.

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I am a writer and an artist taking opportunities every day to transform my dreams into reality. I love learning new things and am always creating and innovating. I worked as an Art Instructor, teaching painting and art techniques to artists of all levels and ages. I have hosted countless paint parties and taught children’s art classes both in my home as well as an art teacher at a Montessori school.