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How to Play Egyptian Ratscrew Card Game?

Egyptian Ratscrew, also known as Slap, is a modern American card game popular among families and children. The game is closely related to the 19th-century British card game known as ‘Beggar-My-Neighbor.’ The new version of the game includes the added concept of ‘slapping.’ Certain combinations like Slapjack are included in the game. 

Egyptian rat screw is a multiple card game that combines agility. The game is played with a standard 52 playing card deck, wherein the objective of the game is to win all the cards through drawing and slapping. 

Learn how to play this fun card game and add it to your list for your next gaming session with friends and family.

Also Read: Top 3 Classic Family Card Games For a Fun Game Night

Egyptian Rat Screw Game Rules

This game is all about quick wits and luck. The objective of the game is to take as many of the cards as possible. It is a great game to play if you or your friends are bored. This is a new game that is a good source of entertainment for everyone. Now, there is a certain way of playing this game. Before moving on with the steps to play the game, let us have a look at the rules that you are required to follow. Afterwards, we will see how you can play this game efficiently. We will also cover the penalties and strategies that can be applied in order to play this game. 

The Deal

While playing Egyptian Rat screw, there are deal cards present. Now, what are deal cards? See, deal cards in the game face downwards until all the cards have been dealt with! The players are not allowed to look at the cards until they have created a neat pile. Once this has been done, the players can start playing the game!

Egyptian Rat Screw Gameplay

Here are the important rules that all players must follow to play the game.


The two cards of the equivalent value are laid down consecutively. (EG: 5, 5)


The two cards of the same value are laid down but one card is of a different value. Basically, three cards are involved here. (EG: 5, 7, 5)


The same cards as the first card of the sets are laid down. It is important to note that this rule can be nullified if a card is burned as a penalty. 


Two cards are played consecutively (the letter card can also be used) and are added up to 10. For this rule to work, an ace counts as one, i.e., 3, 7, or A, K, 9 (sandwich). 


When using Jokers in the game, the quantity must be determined before the game begins. When someone lays a Joker, the pile can be slapped. 

Four in a Row:

In this, the four cards with values are consistently placed in ascending and descending order. (EG: 5, 6, 7, 8) or (Q, K, A, 2) 


A Queen is placed either over or under a King. (This is an optional rule). EG: Q, K, or, K, Q.   

Also Read: How to Play Queen City Rum Card Game?

How to play Egyptian Rat Screw?

An entertaining game to turn your boring time into a party night is finally here! There are two ways to play Egyptian rat screw. Here’s how.  

Method 1

  • Take a regular deck of playing cards (exclude Jokers) and shuffle thoroughly. Pass out the cards. Distribute evenly so that everyone has the same amount of cards. Players must take the cards and hold them face down. They must not see the cards.
  • To begin the game the person or the dealer goes first by pulling the top card off the pile while placing it face-up in the middle. You are not allowed to see the cards you have got until the cards are placed in the middle. 
  • If the card played has a number on it, then the person, two spaces to the left of the dealer, puts down the card as well. This cycle continues around the table until one of the players plays a face card i.e., J, Q, K, or A. 
  • Once the letter card is played, the next person in the sequence must play another letter card in order to continue the game. Basically, you can play up to four cards, if the ace has been placed – 3 for the king, 2 for the queen, and 1 for the jack. 
  • If the next person in the sequence does not have the letter card, then the person who played the last card wins the round and the whole pile goes to him/ her. The next round begins with the winning person. 

Method 2

  • If you are playing with Jokers, then you have to put 5 cards for a Joker. If you play this version of the game, then you can’t play the joker’s slap. 
  • Remember that no player can have a look at the cards before they are played. So, the odds are entirely random. 
  • The only thing that overrides the letter card is the slap rule. The first person who slaps the pile of the card when the slap rule is put into effect becomes the winner of the round. If it is difficult to determine who the first to slap the pile is, then the person with the most fingers on the top wins. If the tie is not resolving in any way, then the play will continue normally.  
  • The rules must be readily followed by the players as mentioned in the above section. 
  • One or two cards must be added to the bottom of the pile if you slap the pile while it was slapable. This is called the ‘burning cards’ technique. In this, the player voids the top-bottom slap and changes the first card in the set.
  • Continue playing even if you run out of cards. As long as you don’t slap at the wrong time, you are still allowed to ‘slap in’ and get cards! Every player must strive to remain in the game until the game has a winner who attains all of the cards.


Egyptian rat screw consists of multiple rounds. Each round has one point which is awarded to the winning player. Challenging and slapping are the ways of scoring. Earlier, player 1 plays and initiates the challenge. Player 2 tries to play an ace and if he fails, player 1 takes all the cards.

Now, player 1 plays six diamonds and player 2 plays six aces. All the players slap because a double combination is formed. The player who has the majority of cards wins and gets all the cards in the pile.

Also Read: How to Play Klondike Card Game?

Game Variations

  1. For a harder game, slapping is removed.
  2. Jokers can be used as a fifth challenge card. It can also be used as wildcards to represent the suit.
  3. The Players who slap incorrectly are penalized. They cannot slap in further in the rounds.
  4. The burn penalty can be made severe by increasing the number of cards burned. This can prevent the players from gaining an advantage if they have memorized the piles.


Egyptian Ratscrew is a phenomenally entertaining game and can definitely spice up your game night if you go for triples instead of doubles. The rules of playing the game of Egyptian rat screw are given above. As far as penalties are concerned, there’s only one, i.e., if you slap the pile when no sequences are in effect, then you must add two cards to the bottom of the pile. Apart from this, there is no penalty in the game. So, what are you waiting for? Create a fun game night with Egyptian Rat Screw.   


How many decks of cards does an Egyptian Ratscrew have?

An Egyptian rat screw has 52 decks. The game is also known as slapping and is very entertaining. Anyone who is bored can play this game with their friends and family. 

How to play Egyptian Ratscrew?

In order to play this game, you can look up the section titled ‘How to play the Egyptian rat screw.’ Make sure to follow the rules and abide by the rules till the end of the game.   

Is Slapjack and Egyptian Ratscrew the same?

Yes, both the games are almost the same in nature. Egyptian rat screw also involves slapping the cards. But the players must make sure not to earn the penalty.

Vijaya Bharti
Vijaya Bharti is an experienced gaming writer fuelled by a passion for virtual worlds and interactive storytelling. Her profound understanding of game design and culture shines through her compelling content pieces captivating readers. She finds leisure in playing online games, writing about anything related to games, and watching web series.


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