How to Play the Card Game Speed


Speed is an exhilarating and fast-paced card game that has gained popularity among players of all ages. It requires quick reflexes, sharp focus, and rapid hand-eye coordination. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the rules and strategies of Speed, providing you with valuable insights and tips to enhance your gameplay. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, this article will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to master this exciting card game.


To play Speed, follow these simple steps:

  1. Set up the game by placing two separate piles of cards, each containing 20 cards, face-down between the players. This ensures that both players have equal access to the cards.
  2. Deal five cards to each player, forming their own personal stockpile. This stockpile serves as the player’s source of cards to play onto the centre piles.
  3. Arrange the remaining cards in each pile as a draw pile, facing downward. These draw piles will be used when players cannot play a card from their stockpile.
  4. Flip the top card from each player’s stockpile face-up, placing them side by side in the middle. These cards serve as the starting cards for each player and determine the initial conditions for the centre piles.
  5. Determine who goes first, either through mutual agreement or by flipping a coin. The first player to start may have a slight advantage, but the game’s fast-paced nature ensures that both players have an equal opportunity to win.
  6. The objective of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your stockpile. Be the first to play all your cards to win the game.

Printable Rule Sheet​

For your convenience, you can find printable rule sheets online that outline the rules and gameplay of Speed. These sheets serve as handy references, especially for new players, and can help ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the game’s rules and procedures. Printable rule sheets provide a visual and concise summary of the game’s mechanics, making it easier for players to learn and remember the rules.

Playing Regular Speed

Regular Speed follows the standard rules described above, but there are variations and alternative versions of the game that add an extra layer of excitement. Let’s explore some of these variations:

Adding Variations to Speed

Multiple Deck Speed: In this variation, multiple decks of cards are used to increase the number of available cards, adding an extra layer of complexity and strategy to the game. With more cards in play, players have a wider range of options and must adapt their gameplay accordingly. Multiple Deck Speed requires heightened focus and attention to keep track of the larger number of cards in play.

Partner Speed: Partner Speed introduces a team dynamic to the game, allowing players to form partnerships. Two teams of two players each compete against each other. The teammates sit opposite each other, and their stockpiles are adjacent. Communication and coordination between partners are key to success in this variation. Players must strategize together, exchange information about their cards, and work collaboratively to defeat the opposing team.

Time Trial Speed: For those seeking an extra challenge, Time Trial Speed introduces a time limit to each player’s turn. Players must play their card within a specified time frame, usually a few seconds. If they fail to play a card in time, they forfeit their turn. This variation adds a sense of urgency and pressure, requiring players to think quickly and act decisively.

War Speed: War Speed combines elements of the classic card game War with Speed. Players play cards from their stockpile onto the centre piles, following the ascending or descending order. However, if both players simultaneously play cards of the same rank, it triggers a “war.” In a war, each player places three additional cards face-down and then another card face-up. The player with the higher face-up card takes all the cards in the war and adds them to their stockpile. War Speed adds a layer of unpredictability and excitement to the game.

Knockout Speed: Knockout Speed is a variant where players aim to knock out their opponents by forcing them to accumulate penalty cards. Penalty cards are awarded when a player fails to play a card within a predetermined time limit or violates the rules. The player who accumulates the most penalty cards is knocked out of the game, and the remaining players continue until a winner emerges. Knockout Speed adds an extra competitive element and rewards players who can maintain composure under pressure.

Playing Spit

Spit is a closely related card game to Speed that shares similarities in gameplay. While Speed is played with a standard deck of cards, Spit is typically played with a specialized deck consisting of only the cards from Ace to King. The objective of Spit is to get rid of all the cards in your hand by playing them onto the centre piles. Players need to have quick reflexes and keen observation skills to outmatch their opponents in this fast-paced game.

Card Game Rules

Set Up

To play Speed, follow these steps to set up the game:

  1. Arrange the deck by removing any cards that are not Ace through King. This creates a specialized deck that is used specifically for Speed.
  2. Shuffle the remaining cards thoroughly to ensure a random distribution of cards during gameplay. This step is important to prevent any predictability or bias in the card order.
  3. Divide the deck equally between the players, with each player receiving 26 cards. This division ensures that both players have an equal number of cards to start the game.

How to Play

Speed is played with two players facing each other. The gameplay proceeds as follows:

  1. Each player creates a personal stockpile of five cards face-down in front of them. These stockpiles serve as the player’s source of cards to play onto the centre piles.
  2. The remaining cards form the draw pile, which is placed between the two players, facing downward. The draw pile serves as the source of cards when players cannot play from their stockpile.
  3. Both players simultaneously flip the top card from their stockpile face-up, placing it in the centre as the starting card. This starting card determines the initial conditions for the centre piles and sets the stage for the game.
  4. The objective is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your stockpile and hand. Players accomplish this by playing their cards onto the centre piles in a specific manner.

How to Deal

Dealing the cards is a crucial step that ensures fairness and randomness in the distribution of cards. Here’s how to deal the cards:

  1. Decide who will be the dealer for the game. This can be determined through mutual agreement or a random method such as flipping a coin.
  2. The dealer distributes the cards by taking turns dealing one card at a time to each player until all the cards are dealt. This method ensures an equal distribution of cards between the players.


Once the cards are dealt, the players are ready to begin the game. The gameplay of Speed is characterized by the following:

  1. Both players simultaneously flip the top card from their stockpile face-up, placing it on top of the centre piles. This action initiates the game and creates the starting conditions for the centre piles.
  2. Players can play cards onto the centre piles in ascending or descending order, following the rank of the cards. For example, if there is a 5 on top of a pile, players can play a 4 or a 6 on that pile. This sequential gameplay requires players to think quickly and make rapid decisions.
  3. If a player cannot play a card, they must draw a card from their personal draw pile. This allows players to have access to more cards and increases the chances of finding a playable card.
  4. The game continues with players flipping cards from their stockpile and playing them onto the centre piles until one player successfully gets rid of all their cards. The first player to achieve this goal wins the game.


Jokers are typically not used in Speed. However, if agreed upon before the game, jokers can be introduced as wild cards that can be played on any pile, regardless of the rank. The inclusion of jokers adds an element of surprise and flexibility to the game, making it more unpredictable and exciting.

Verbal Win

In some variations of Speed, players can verbally declare “Speed” when they believe they have played all their cards onto the centre piles before their opponent. If the declaration is correct, that player wins the game. However, if the declaration is incorrect, the opponent wins. Verbal win adds a level of suspense and anticipation to the game, as players must carefully assess the state of the centre piles and make a confident judgment about their card placement.

Three and Four-Hand Speed

In this variation, three or four players can participate in Speed. The gameplay remains the same, with each player having a personal stockpile and attempting to get rid of all their cards. The centre piles will have a card from each player, creating more opportunities for strategic moves and quick thinking. With more players involved, the game becomes even more dynamic and competitive.

California Spit

California Spit, also known as Super Speed, is an advanced version of Speed that adds an extra level of complexity to the game. Instead of starting with just one card in the centre, each player starts with five cards. The game progresses in the same manner, but players must keep an eye on multiple centre piles simultaneously, making split-second decisions to play their cards strategically. California Spit offers a heightened level of challenge and requires players to stay focused and react quickly to changing situations.


To succeed in Speed, players must employ strategic thinking and quick decision-making. Here are some strategies to consider:

Speed and Accuracy: Rapidly analyse the centre piles and play your cards swiftly, keeping in mind the ascending or descending order. The faster you play, the higher your chances of beating your opponent to the win. Develop quick reflexes and train yourself to spot playable cards instantly. This skill can be honed through practice and familiarity with the game.

Observation: Pay close attention to your opponent’s moves and adapt your strategy accordingly. Look for opportunities to block their progress or utilize their discarded cards. Observing your opponent’s stockpile can provide valuable insights into their card availability and help you make informed decisions.

Card Counting: Try to keep track of the cards your opponent has played and the ones remaining in their stockpile. This information can help you make calculated decisions and anticipate their moves. By counting cards, you can gain an advantage by knowing which cards are likely to appear next, allowing you to plan your moves strategically.

Pile Splitting: When the centre piles become too long or congested, consider splitting them into two or more piles. This strategic move can open up more options for playing cards and increase your chances of winning. Splitting piles strategically can create new opportunities for playing cards and disrupt your opponent’s plans.



What happens if there are no cards left in either stockpile and nobody can place anything?

In this situation, both players continue flipping cards from their respective draw piles and placing them onto the centre piles. The game proceeds until one of the players manages to play a card on top of the centre piles. It is important to keep playing and not get discouraged, as the game can continue until a playable card is found.

Can I put a number down twice?

No, in Speed, you cannot play the same number card twice in a row. For example, if a 7 is on top of a centre pile, you cannot play another 7 on top of it. This rule ensures that the game maintains its fast-paced and sequential nature, with players constantly seeking playable cards.

Can I put more than one card at a time in order?

No, Speed is a game where you can only play one card at a time. You must wait for your opponent to make their move before playing your next card. This rule adds an element of suspense and anticipation to the game, as players must react and adapt to the cards played by their opponent before making their own move.