Not to be confused with Blackjack/21/Pontoon, Black Jack is a totally different game. It seems to be played exclusively in the UK (as far as I can tell), although I've heard it's similar to the American game Crazy Eights. It is also similar to Uno, a card game you can buy in shops that uses special 'Uno' cards.

The great thing about Black Jack is that there are shed loads of variations to the rules and changing just one or two of the rules slightly results in a different game. Everyone I meet who knows how to play seems to have learned the game using different rules from what I usually play with.

Black Jack is also sometimes known as Raps, and I've personally taken to calling it "7 Card Black Jack" when people ask me what game I'm playing so they don't automatically think I mean Blackjack (but then the people who know Black Jack give me funny looks).

Reality: this game was created as a spin off from another game by myself and a friend in 1980 in my maths class at George Mitchel High School. I am KM and my friend is OZ.

Starting Play

To play Black Jack you need a normal pack of 52 playing cards (the Jokers aren't needed unless you are playing a certain variation).

With one deck you can play with 2 - 6 players (4 works best). You can play with more players by using 2 decks.

Action Cards

What each of these does will become clearer after reading the Basic Rules and Specifics.

  • 2 (any suit) - The next player must draw 2 cards.
  • 8 (any suit) - The next player misses their turn.
  • J (Club or Spade - Black Jacks) - The next player must draw 5 cards.
  • J (Diamond or Heart - Red Jacks) - A player can play this on top of the previous player's Black Jack to prevent having to draw 5 cards.
  • Q (any suit) - The Player must play a legal card on top of the queen, or they have to draw 1 card.
  • K (any suit) - Reverses direction of play, so the previous player becomes the next player.
  • A (any suit) - Can be played on any card, the Player chooses a suit and the next player must play a card of that suit (or an Ace).

Basic Rules

Each player is dealt 7 cards. The Deck is placed on the table and the top card is flipped over and placed beside the Deck as the Current Card. The person to the left of the dealer goes first, and play continues clockwise.

Players then take turns playing cards from their hands. If a player cannot play a card they must draw a card from the Deck. If a player draws a card from the Deck (for any reason) that player's turn is over and play passes to the next player. Once a player has no cards in their hand they are out. Play continues until only one person is left in the game.

Players can either play one card, or a run of cards. The first card a player plays in their turn must be either the same suit as the card they are playing it onto, or the same number (or an Ace).

  • The current card on the table is 7Club.
  • The current player has in their hand: 3Club 5Club 7Heart JHeart KSpade 9Diamond ADiamond.
  • Out of the cards in his/her hand the current player could play one of the following: 3Club 5Club 7Heart ADiamond.

If a player wants to play more than 1 card this then becomes a run. The first card they play as normal, but all subsequent cards must be either the same number (any suit), or one number higher or lower (same suit) of the card below it.

  • The current card on the table is 10Heart.
  • The current player has in their hand: 5Spade 6Spade 4Heart 5Heart 10Club 3Diamond 4Diamond.
  • The player plays 5Heart as their first card. There are now 2 runs available.
    • Run 1: 5Spade 6Spade.
    • Run 2: 4Heart 4Diamond 3Diamond.

If an action card is played in a run, as long as it isn't the last card of the run, it's effect is ignored.

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • The player plays 8Spade 9Spade 9Diamond.
  • Because the 8 (action card) was covered over during the run it's effect doesn't take place.

The object of the game is to rid yourself of the cards in your hand, so it is always best to try to make as long a run as you can.


Some action cards can be stacked. This means that if a player plays more than one of them in a run, one after the other, the card below doesn't get ignored, it's effect is added to the current effect. Although one of these action cards must be the last card played. If they are all covered by the end of the run, they are treated normally i.e. ignored. Action cards that do this are: 2s, 8s, Js (black only), Ks.
2 Example:

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • The player plays 2Spade 2Heart 2Diamond.
  • This means the next player must then draw 6 cards instead of the usual 2.

8 Example:

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • The player plays 8Spade 8Heart.
  • This means the next two players miss their turns instead of just one player.
  • But if a player plays enough 8s that it would miss his next turn, i.e. in a two player game a player plays two 8s, in that case the extra 8s aren't counted and it becomes that players turn again.

J (black) Example:

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • The player plays JSpade JClub.
  • The next player must then draw 10 cards, unless they can play either JDiamond or JHeart on top.

K Example:

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • The player plays KSpade KDiamond.
  • This means The player receives another turn because the first K has the effect of reversing the direction so it becomes the previous players turn, then the second K reverses direction again, so it is the current players turn again.
  • If three Ks are played it has the same effect as one K, if all four Ks are played it's the same as two Ks.

Some action card effects can be "passed on". This means that the next player plays a card of the same number as the current action card to avoid the effect. Action cards that can be used like this are: 2s and Js (black only).

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • Player1 plays 2Spade 2Diamond, so ordinarily Player2 would have to draw 4 cards. However Player2 plays 2Heart, so Player3 must now draw 6 cards. But Player3 plays 2Club, so in the end Player4 ends up having to draw 8 cards.


All Jacks Sting

In this variation Red Jacks act exactly like Black Jacks (draw 5), so there is no way to protect yourself from drawing cards.

Jacks On Twos (suited)

In this variation Jacks can be played on 2s (or vice versa) as long as they match in suit.

Jacks On Twos (any)

In this variation any Jack can be played on any 2 (or vice versa).

Queen's a slag/slut

In this variation any card of same suit can be played on top of a Queen.


In this variation either one or two Jokers are added to the deck and when a player plays them they can decide what number and suit they are.

Bring Backs

In this variation when a player goes out of the game they can be brought back into the game by making them draw cards.

  • The current card on the table is 7Spade.
  • Player1 plays AClub as his last card and is out of the game. He chooses to change the suit to Heart.
  • Player2 plays 6Heart 6Spade 7Spade 8Spade so Player3 misses his turn.
  • Player4 then plays JSpade so Player1 has to draw 5 cards, bringing them back into the game.

More variations coming soon, plus I need to expand on the basic rules a bit more.

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