How to Play Spit

Making Your Moves

The card you turn over is considered available and can either be played to your tableau or to the spit piles. While you don't play to each other's tableau, you do play to each other's spit piles.

So after you “spit,” the action begins. The object is to build on these two spit cards. You can play your stock pile and tableau cards to either of these spit cards. Suit does not matter; you play by rank of the card and you can play in ascending or descending order—this is called “circular” play. In other words, you can put a red 6 on a red 7 and your opponent can then put a black 6 on that red 7. You can also put an Ace on a King or a King on an Ace.

Let the Spit Fly

The art of Spit is to play quickly and beat your opponent to the spit piles. You are in a race to build the spit piles, using up all your cards in your stock pile and on your tableau before your opponent uses up his or hers. Not only will you have to keep your eye on your tableau and on the spit piles, but you'll have to keep one eye on your opponent's tableau to anticipate future moves. That's the tricky part!

High Score

By the way, you can only use one hand to move cards to the spit piles. You can play the cards on your tableau with two hands, but any cards moved to the spit piles must be one-handed moves. (My friend and I used to play that you could only play with one hand, period.) So don't use two, or you may have to forfeit.

Don't forget, you play to both spit piles; but when you spit again, you spit on top of your original spit pile. You can only spit again when you both cannot make any further moves. If you see a move your opponent can make that he or she isn't seeing, you can point it out … but don't do that unless you think it will benefit you—otherwise, your opponent might wind up on a roll and you might be stuck.

The funny part is that sometimes your opponent will be completely stuck, unable to make any move, and you'll be flying around, moving cards on your tableau and to the spit piles. The good thing for your opponent is the more cards you add to the spit piles, the greater his or her chances of becoming unstuck. If you put down a 5 of Clubs on a spit pile, your opponent might have a 6 of Clubs to play on top of your 5. This could put your opponent back on the fast track, opening doors for other plays on his or her own tableau or to the spit pile.

Spitting Tips

Spit play is so fast that it's sure to cause a lot of laughter and even a couple arguments. My friend and I were such pros that we had our rules well memorized. We stuck to the rules, and rifts were almost always avoided. Here are some tips to make your Spitting match fast and fun:

  • If neither one of you can make a move after turning a spit card, then you have to spit again.
  • If one player runs out of stock pile cards before the other, the one player spits alone onto one pile. The player with the remaining stock pile can choose which spit pile he or she wants to spit onto—but must stick to that one pile.
  • When both players run out of spit cards, both players get to pick a spit pile to add to their hand. But in this game, nothing is as casual as just picking a pile. You have to watch each other very carefully to see which one of you is running out of cards, because the second it happens, you both slap your hand on a spit pile and shout … of course … “Spit!” You want to try and slap your hand on the pile with the least cards—because the object is to be the first one to get rid of all your cards.

    You may find yourself slapping your opponent's hand if you both attempt to slap the same pile. If you feel skin rather than cards, you lose and your opponent takes the desired pile (and you take the other), but if you land your hand on the pile first, you take the pile. However, if you accidentally slap the bigger pile (which will happen sometimes) you have to take the pile you slap, whether you like it or not.

    Try playing Spit with only one hand. Your stock pile should be held in one hand while you play with the other. If your stock pile is exhausted, you are still obligated to play with only one hand.

You continue to play by shuffling the spit pile you took—and it becomes your new stock pile.

New Tableau Layout

After you've shuffled your “chosen” spit pile, you each lay out a new tableau. One player will probably have more spit cards in his or her stock pile than the other player. That's okay; you'd be surprised how quickly the tables will turn throughout the game.

If one player has less than 15 cards, he or she will not be able to build a complete tableau. In this case, the player should build the tableau as far as it will go, using up all of his or her cards, and turns over the top card of each pile. This means the player won't have any cards left in his or her stock pile with which to spit. So the opponent will spit onto one spit pile and the other player continues to play as normal—both players building onto one spit pile this time.

The first person to get rid of his or her spit cards does not take a spit pile. The person with cards remaining takes the spit pile and the unplayed cards from his or her tableau. If you get rid of all your spit cards and the cards from your tableau—congratulations—you've won the Spitting match!

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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