Irish Snap

Irish Snap is a fast-paced card game that’s a fun twist on the traditional version of this game.

Age Range
Number of Participants
5-10 minutes

Quick overview

A fast-paced card game that’s a fun twist on the traditional version of this game.

Game type




Supplies you’ll need

Playing Cards, timer (on phone is fine).

Game run-through

Sit your group in a circle, either around a table or on the floor.

The objective of the game is to have no cards by the end of the time limit.

At the beginning of the game, divide cards equally between those playing and have them hold them in a pile, number face down so they don’t know which card is at the top of the deck.

To get rid of cards, you go around the circle placing cards in a pile in the centre. As you place a card down you say a number. This number is determined by when you put the card down: The first person says “Ace”, the second person says “Two”, the third person say “Three” and so on and so forth. This happens until the tenth person says “Ten”; the next person, instead of saying “Eleven”, instead says “Jack”, the next “Queen” and the next “King”. If you get up to “King” you then return to “Ace” and build up again.

You start the timer when the first person puts down a card. Five minutes is a good length for one game.

There are three ways a ‘Snap’ happens in this game, these are:

  • When someone puts down a card which has the same number on it as the card that was put down by the person before them.
  • When someone puts down a card with the same value as the number they say.
  • When someone puts down a Joker.

When a ‘Snap’ happens, everyone must place a hand on the pile of cards and keep it there. The person with their hand at the top of the pile must then pick up the cards and add them to the bottom of their deck.

The game then resumes with the person who would place a card down after the person who has just picked up. They restart the counting back at “Ace”.

If someone slaps the pile when there is not a snap they must pick up all the cards.

As long as the timer is running everyone is still playing, even if they have no cards left. At this point they still have to count when it comes around to them, which means if they say the number of the card at the top of the pile it is again a snap.

People with no cards also still have to snap, which means they must pay attention else be cardless for most the game then end up having to pick up loads of cards in the last few seconds.

At the end of the time limit those with no cards are winners; if this is no-one, the person with the fewest cards in hand is the winner instead.


The game can be played without a timer; in which case, it can go on for hours and only ends when there is one individual with the whole deck at the end of a round. That person is the loser. This is a good variation for long coach trips and the like.


Ensure people take off rings to prevent damage to the ring and people’s hands.

Ensure everyone know that this game may result in them bruising their hands.


The cards you use will likely get battered quite quickly so it’s worth having a specific set for this game so as not to affect your other card games.