How to Play Speed

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Speed Rules & Instructions

speed card game


Number of Players

  • 2

Supplies Needed

  • Full deck of 52 standard playing cards

The Deal Before Gameplay

  • Deal twenty face-down cards to each player
  • With the remaining 12, create four community piles that both players will be using
    • Furthest left pile – five face-down cards
    • Middle left pile (active in gameplay) – one face-down card
    • Middle right pile (active in gameplay) – one face-down card
    • Furthest right pile – one face-down card


Be the first to get rid of all of your cards.


Before the game starts, deal yourself five cards from the top of your own personal deck of 20. Keep these face-down for the time being. These five will be the active hand that you play with, while the remaining 15 will be your reserve draw pile.

To begin the game, both players must simultaneously count down from three and turn over one of the single middle cards that were dealt in the community piles.

Now, you may look at your personal five cards with the goal of playing them on top of the active middle decks.

To play a card from your hand, your card must either be equal to, one more, or one less in rank than one of the two cards from the active piles. Remember that you are allowed to play a card on top of either middle pile (they aren’t assigned to players). Also, suit does not matter, only the value on the card. In this game, Aces are both high and low (proceeding a two and following a King).

Gameplay Example

  • Left Active Pile: Queen
  • Right Active Pile: Eight

You would. be able to play a Jack, Queen, or King on top of the left pile or a seven, eight, or nine in the right pile.

speed gameplay

There are no turns, so continue to play cards until you aren’t able to. At any point, you are allowed to draw from your own pile of 15 as long as you don’t have more than five cards in your hand at once.

Once neither player can make a move, you pause and flip over a card from the furthest face-down community piles in the middle.

Continue play until one player runs out of cards. If there are no more community cards to flip from, then you can take the middle piles, shuffle them, and flip over the top two to continue until the game is done.

 Note: it’s customary to yell out “speed” once you run out of cards. The more obnoxious, the better (know your audience).

Speed Variations

  • No doubles: you can only play a card that precedes or follows the middle piles (you can’t play a six on top of a six)
  • One at a time: some players prefer playing individual cards over playing consecutive cards from their hands in batches. This allows a chance for your opponent to slip in a card during your run
  • Jokers as wild: include jokers in the deck that can be used as any card value
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