Settle this card game dispute (on my side hopefully!)
March 2, 2019 12:10 AM   Subscribe

In Snap and similar card games where the goal is to slap a pile of cards at some point, do you play with a rule where you are required to slap with a certain hand? This could be either the same hand that you play out cards with, or the other hand.

A sample justification for the 'slap with the same hand' rule might be that being made to play and slap with different hands puts the playing person at a disadvantage, as they have to switch their focus from one hand to the other. A sample justification for the 'slap with the other hand' rule might be that being allowed to play and slap with the same hand puts the playing person at an advantage, as their hand has a shorter distance to travel when the card is revealed. A justification for having no set rule could be that Snap is already a game of speed, so it doesn't make sense to handicap the players. I make no claims for the soundness of these justifications—I'm just providing them to hopefully make it clearer what I'm talking about in my question.
posted by Panthalassa to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
 
No
posted by TheRaven at 12:42 AM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


No
posted by lollusc at 12:50 AM on March 2, 2019


Such rules must be negotiated with the opponent- there are no universal hand rules of snap.
posted by freethefeet at 12:54 AM on March 2, 2019


No
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:40 AM on March 2, 2019


Nope.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:12 AM on March 2, 2019


Never heard of any hand rules in snap or similar.
posted by billiebee at 2:22 AM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


No.

But there’s a saying about sport (which I think also applies to games) which I totally can’t remember in the original, nor tell you who coined it (anyone?) but is along the lines that

It is the willing submission to a set of totally arbitrary rules*.

So... the rules are whatever you both agree on before you start. I’d say it’s even more true in cards, where there are countless different versions of most games - the rules are what the people playing agree on at the beginning (assuming there’s no international governing body of snap).

(*I think about this every time I watch the pole vault. It’s an extraordinary physical feat, but WHO decided that we would measure each other holding onto a pole and levering ourselves over another pole? I work in athletics so this is probably not the sort of thought I’m supposed to harbour).
posted by penguin pie at 2:56 AM on March 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


I think it's a bit of an oversimplification to say the rules are totally arbitrary. Certainly the concept (throwing a ball through a hoop, hitting a ball back and forth across a net, jumping as far as one can, etc.) can be kind of arbitrary. But there are plenty of rules with the express purpose of balancing the game, or for safety, or to make the game easy to play, or even to make it look good on TV or something like that.
posted by Panthalassa at 3:21 AM on March 2, 2019


No and thinking about my left handed father I think such a rule might be really unfair.
posted by CMcG at 3:21 AM on March 2, 2019


I don't see what the need is. People take it in turns to play or flip cards in Snap. It's going to even out pretty quickly.

And isn't the usual rule that the first person to say "snap" wins, anyway? I thought that's why it was called "Snap".
posted by howfar at 3:42 AM on March 2, 2019


And isn't the usual rule that the first person to say "snap" wins, anyway? I thought that's why it was called "Snap"

Certainly in my house, you do have to say "snap," but it's the person whose hand is at the bottom of the pile who wins. Probably because that's way harder to argue than who said snap first.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:52 AM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is how everybody does it, but if the playing person flips their card onto the pile kind of backwards or underhanded, the other players have a greater chance to see it as its going down, which kind of negates the dealers-hand-is-closer thing. I always felt like that made it fairer.
posted by Wulfhere at 5:22 AM on March 2, 2019


In Spit (which also involves speed & slapping, my family & I always played one-handed: you have to hold your stock with one hand and move cards (and slap) with the other. But even then, the Wikipedia article implies that some people play the game two-handed; what's important is that the players agree on the rules in advance.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:30 AM on March 2, 2019 [4 favorites]


In my family the full rule was: hold you cards in one hand; play cards and slap only with the other hand; dealer has to touch their cards again before slapping; non-dealer has to keep their hand on their cards until slapping.

This is reasonably balanced, and avoids ambiguous rules, which is key to a good ruleset if the game gets competitive. Otherwise you have to argue about exactly how far away everyone is holding their free hand, and the dealer has to deal in a weird way to keep a hand free. This way you just have to make sure everyone's holding their cards about the same distance away.

(Like, what if you played baseball without bases, and the hitter just had to run out some distance that felt right to both teams before coming back home? It would be a hoot, but doesn't scale to serious play. That's snap without a one-hand-touching-the-deck rule.)

We also had Wulfhere's rule that you have to flip so other players see the card before the dealer, which incentivizes the dealer to play quickly and avoids another place for ambiguity. Put all the rules together and it encourages a fast flow which was one of my favorite parts of the game -- sort of a competitive dance where the dealer often "wins" by slipping a card in before anyone can slap.

Re: balance, I think there's a subtle advantage to the dealer just because they know exactly when they're going to put a card down. In any event the dealer ends up winning more often than they should based on pure timing, which evens out the extra round trip back to touch their cards.

FWIW my cousin and I went on to become a moral psychology researcher and an appellate litigator, respectively ...
posted by john hadron collider at 5:43 AM on March 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


We play ERS (this really needs a less offensive name, maybe since we're a Boston-area household we'll just start calling it WERS after our default radio station) with house rules like john hadron collider's - you hold your deck in one hand, you slap with your dealing hand; it wouldn't make sense to try to slap with your deck hand because it's otherwise occupied and wouldn't be nearly as fast as slapping with your dealing hand.

We do have a "no hand jewelry" rule, though, to minimize injury.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 6:28 AM on March 2, 2019


YES. We always played right hand slap only, no jewelry. We switched it to left only for difficulty or out of courtesy; if a right-handed person played with a left-handed person, it was winner's choice.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 6:31 AM on March 2, 2019


In Spit (which also involves speed & slapping, my family & I always played one-handed: you have to hold your stock with one hand and move cards (and slap) with the other. But even then, the Wikipedia article implies that some people play the game two-handed; what's important is that the players agree on the rules in advance.

Yes, at the summer theater camp I attended as a kid we played constant games of spit, and the house rule, at least, was one-handed play. Two handed was considered cheating.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:29 AM on March 2, 2019


You all came down on my side of the argument (i.e. nobody uses silly hand rules) so thank you!
posted by Panthalassa at 5:51 AM on April 2, 2019


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