How to Play Speed: A Favorite Two-Player Card Game

Only a standard deck of cards is needed to learn how to play the fast-paced, favorite two-player card game called Speed.

Speed has been a long time preferred card game to play between two players. It’s quick and ‘speedy’ play keeps both players pleasantly on the edge. Racing to get rid of all their cards first, players can finish a game within less than a few minutes. Usually the best out of three games wins, but the addictive game will most likely turn into the best out 5 or 10 or more!

The set-up for Speed is pictured as follows:  (It should not be confused with the similar game of Spit)

speed card game set up

Speed Card Game Set-up

Each player receives 20 cards. Five cards will be held in the hand at start and a face down stock pile of 15 cards is set to the side for each player. With players having 40 cards total, the other 12 are positioned face down in a row like so; 5,1,1,5

The center single cards are each flipped simultaneously by players at the beginning of the game. Players then race to play on either of these center cards with cards from their hands. There isn’t any turn taking. Once the game begins it’s a battle between players to get rid of all their cards and onto the Speed pile first.

Cards can be played onto the center pile by either placing a card numerically above or below the card showing. For example, in the image above, the center cards are a King and a 7. The player with the five cards consisting of a 5, 8, J, 6, and K can play either the 6 or the 8 on the 7 center card. But he must be fast because the other player could also play his 6 and may beat him to the 7.

The Ace card is played on either a King or a Two. Since the Ace can be considered a one, this continues the loop and allows players to play forward or backward the whole way through. As players play cards onto the center Speed pile, they pick cards from their starting pile of 15 to replenish their hands. A player is only allowed to have 5 cards at the most at a time in his hand.

If at any time neither player can place a card onto the center Speed pile, players simultaneously flip a card from the side middle stock pile of 5 onto the center cards and the game continues as rapidly as before. The round ends when a player has used all of his 20 beginning cards.

Speed’s addictive nature, simple game rules, and competitive style, makes Speed an exciting game for two players. Learning how to play the favorite game of Speed is remarkably easy and will have players wanting to share it with others. With the use of only a single standard deck of cards and level playing surface, a player can enjoy a fantastic game with any one almost any time and any where.

Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. December 12, 2011

    […] called Spit and Speed become confused with each other because of their similarities in game play. How to play Speed differs only slightly from the card game of Spit. The main difference between the two favorite card […]

  2. January 4, 2012

    […] Nertz can be played with only two players, the similar card games of Speed or Spit are best suited for that number of players.  Nertz would be the perfect choice for a simple […]

  3. May 8, 2012

    […] can easily be packed and multiple types of games can be played from a deck.  Two player games like Speed or Spit or for 3 or more players, games like Rummy or Crazy Eights can be played.  With additional […]

  4. May 12, 2014

    […] game is similar to Speed or Spit. These two games use a standard playing card decks, but players race to play cards on top […]

  5. September 30, 2015
  6. March 28, 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *