Notice: This edition of the Rules for Clash is copyrighted by Mike Church ( © 2003. You may freely use and distribute these rules as you wish, but commercial use of this game or these rules without his permission is forbidden. Non-commercial use and distribution of Clash and its rules, however, is encouraged.


I developed Clash in October 2003 in Budapest, Hungary. A descendant of the "split poker" (card games involving the creation of multiple poker hands from a set of cards) family (known as partition games on, it’s a fast-paced two-player game of offense and defense.

Basic Information

This is a two-player game. Play time varies, but a game lasts about half an hour.

The Deck

A standard deck of 52 cards is used. The ranking of cards is as follows: A, K, ... , 2.

The Object

The first player to score 10 points is the winner.

Initiating Play

In each round, one player is the attacker and the other, the defender. Players alternate roles throughout the game. For pronoun clarity, the attacker will be female, the defender male.

To start, each player is dealt 13 cards from the deck and may look at them. The first thing to be done is to determine who shall attack first. This can be done with a coin-toss, or a red-and-black (one player draws from the remainder of the deck, the other chooses a color and wins if he guesses it correctly). The winner of the toss selects whether s/he will attack or defend in the first round.

The defender always has a hand of 13 cards. The attacker has a hand of 16 cards except in the first round, where she has only 13. The reason for this is balance: The attacker is at an advantage in each round, and this adjustment takes away from what would otherwise be an overwhelming balance in attacking first.

Playing a Round: Attacking and Defending

In each round, the defender starts play. With a hand of thirteen cards, he must "set up", that is, partition his cards into four disjoint poker-like hands (called sets) with, respectively, one, two, three, and four cards in them. The remaining three cards he puts aside, and these will be added to his hand in the next round, when he attacks.

The defender sets up face-down on the table, and places his other three cards, face-down, somewhere else on the table. Note: It should be evident which three cards he is saving and which three are his 3-card set!

An example hand, for the defender: club3, spade4, diamond5, heart5, heart6, diamond8, club8, diamond9, diamond10, heartJ, spadeJ, clubK, diamondA

An appropriate way for him to set up would be:

  • One-card: Ace of Diamonds (high card)
  • Two-card: Jack of Spades, Hearts (one pair)
  • Three-card: Eight, Nine, Ten of Clubs (straight flush)
  • Four-card: club3, spade4, diamond5, and heart6 (straight flash)
  • Saved for next round: King of Clubs, Eight of Diamonds, Five of Hearts.

Once the defender has set up, he reveals his four sets to the attacker, one-by-one in any order he wishes.

As the defender reveals each set, and before he reveals the next one, the attacker plays from her hand a set containing the same number of cards. She is not required to beat him (even if she can). She may play any selection of cards she wants ("junk" cards she doesn't need, if she can't beat him) but she must use the appropriate number of cards. That is, she must throw four cards in response to the defender’s four-card hand.

For each set where the attacker wins (that is, plays a higher hand) she "captures" the defender's cards in that set. Her goal is to capture 6 or more of the defender's ten cards.

At the end of the round, the remaining cards held by the attacker (three in the first round, six in subsequent rounds) as well as the twenty cards played are re-shuffled into the deck. The three cards saved by the defender for next round, however, are obviously not. Roles reverse, and each player is dealt thirteen cards for the next round.


At the end of each round, if the attacker fails to capture 6 of the defender’s cards, the defender scores 2 points.

If the attacker succeeds, she gets one point for each card captured over five, up to 5 points if she captures all of them.

The winner is the first player to reach 10 points.

The Ranking of Sets


  1. Highest card wins.


  1. Two-of-a-kind = Two cards of the same rank. (Ex. spade9, club9)
  2. High card.


  1. Three-of-a-kind. (Ex. spade5, heart5, club5)
  2. Straight Flush = Three consecutive cards, same suit. (Ex. spade7, spade8, spade9)
  3. Straight = Three consecutive cards. (Ex. heart10, clubJ, clubQ)
  4. Flush = Three cards, same suit. (Ex. spade2, spade9, spadeJ)
  5. Two-of-a-kind.
  6. High card.

[Although an Ace is normally high, it can be counted as low to make a Straight of 3-2-A or 4-3-2-A. However, "round the corner" combinations such as 2-A-K are not valid Straights.]


  1. Four-of-a-kind. (Ex. spade7, club7, heart7, diamond7)
  2. Straight Flush = Four consecutive cards, same suit. (Ex. heart9, heart10, heartJ, heartQ). [Note that a 3-card straight flush, straight, or flush is worthless as a 4-card hand.]
  3. Straight Flash = Four consecutive cards, each suit represented. (Ex. club6, heart7, diamond8, spade9)
  4. Two Pair Flash = Two pair, each suit represented. (Ex. spade9, club9, heart7, diamond7)
  5. Straight = Four consecutive cards
  6. Flush = Four cards, same suit
  7. Three-of-a-kind
  8. Two Pair
  9. Two-of-a-kind
  10. Common flash. (Each suit represented, no other properties.)
  11. High card.

Between two sets of the same type, the winning set is that with the higher relevant card. The ranking of individual cards is as follows: clubA, heartA, diamondA, clubA, spadeK, heartK, ... , club2. The relevant card is the highest card in the set that contributes to its having that property (i.e., in the 3-card set spade5, club5, heart9, the five of spades, NOT the nine of hearts, would be relevant). Exception: In an ace-low (ex. clubA-heart2-spade3) straight, straight flush or straight flash, the ace is excluded from being the relevant card. In the above example, the 3 of spades would be relevant.


Feel free to email me, with questions or comments, at I hope you have enjoyed Clash, will send me feedback on the game, and will recommend it to friends.

Last updated: 17th November 2003