Irish Snap

3 - 5 Strike Thro

5 - 5

Number of Players: 2 – as many drunk people you can fit round a deck of cards (wouldn’t recommend with less than 3 people)

Year of Publication: Who knows?

Creator: The Irish

I Guarantee You Will Laugh More Than Any Other Game:

So this has to go down as one of my favourite card games of all time. It’s very simple, huge amounts of fun and anyone can play it (they might just be bad at it, which will make it funnier).

Appreciate our custom cards!
Appreciate our custom cards!

What’s In The Box:

Unlike most of the games we review this game only needs one thing:

1 x Standard 52 deck of cards

Playing The Game:

Objective: Don’t be the person holding all the cards at the end of the game!

Now there are quite a few variations of this game what with it being quite ambiguous and not actually having an official publication or official set of rules, so it’s up to the people playing it to decide what to play by. But here’s how we play it:

The basic principle is the same as Snap (I hope you are all familiar with the concept of Snap – although its real name is Slapjack). The difference between it and snap is that it’s the card that matches what the person is saying rather than the card under it. So the cards are split, face down, equally between players. The first player puts a card in the centre and says Ace, now if the card is an Ace hands go in, the last hand in is the loser and picks up the cards. If its not an Ace the next person puts a card down face up and says Two, if it’s a two hands go in, if not play continues to Three, Four etc. all the way to King and then back to Ace. The picture below should demonstrate what I mean:

You only snap when the card put down meets the card said.
You only snap when the card played is the same as what was said

Now in addition to this you can also choose to snap on actual snap cards, say someone puts a ten down and the next card is also a ten. The game gets interesting when people start to lose all the cards. The person who loses all their cards is NOT the winner, in fact they’re not even out of the game, they still have to say the right card when it comes round to them and their hand still has to go in when snap happens. This way a player can go through phases of having and not having cards multiple times in a game. The game is only over when only one person is left with all the cards in their hand. So even when there’s only one person, or even in a rare case where no one is playing any cards the game is not over until the final snap and one person is left with the whole deck.

For a more concise and directly playable version of the rules see here.

Additional Rules:

These rules you may only want to introduce after playing it a few times:

  1. Flinching – if a person flinches they have to pick up all the cards.
  2. Pace – You have to keep a steady fast rhythm to the game and if you break it by forgetting what you’re supposed to be saying or by not noticing it’s your turn you have to pick up.
  3. Queens – Some rules state that you snap on a Queen too, but this is really up to you.
  4. Change of direction – When Jacks are played (or a card of the players choosing) the direction of play changes.
  5. Word confusion – Changing the word for some of the cards to something obscure and if a player forgets this when saying it they have to pick up.
  6. DRINKING! – This is the most obvious additional rule (it being called Irish Snap and all) but the player who picks up has to drink.


  1. Winning – The first and most major variant is that players to lose all their cards are actually out of the game and win… I personally believe this version is for losers with no real commitment.
  2. No speaking – Numbers are counted in your head and you snap in the same way you would if they were said. Makes it much harder as you have to pay even more attention. I tried an interesting variation of this rule (sort of) where half the people playing were Polish and they said the cards in Polish and the English people said them in English… It got very interesting.


  1. HAVE QUICK HANDS! – There is very little strategy that can actually be applied to this game except having quick hands and not getting distracted!
  2. DRUG THE OTHER PLAYERS! – We don’t actually suggest this… But it would help. Also keep in mind you just want to make them a bit slow, not knock them out.

To Conclude:

Ok, the loss of life may be a bit extreme.

First of all take heed of the picture above, this is why the drinking version is good… After a while you start to not feel the pain – but this also how hands are lost.

Note I have not put a “History and Interesting Things” section in this post; that’s because this game doesn’t seem to have a history. Well it probably does, but not a documented one, so if anyone knows anything interesting about it or finds anything beyond my lazy research capacity then please let me know in the comments. I would strongly advise playing this game, it’s only a 2 or 3 out of 5 on a purely objective level but is also a 5 out of 5  because of the huge amount of fun and endless hours of entertainment it has given me.