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Laying the Smackdown

A wrestling card game invented by Hugh Heelan

In this game for two or more players, the aim is to collect combinations of cards as follows (suits are irrelevant):

Half a move:2-4 or 6-8This combination can only win the game for the player if no other player has an equal or better half a move or any higher combination. 6-8 beats 2-4.
Straight smack:2-4-6-8This can be used to beat half a move.
Royal rumble flush:3-5-7-9This can only be used to beat a straight smack or half a move. If no other player has a straight smack or half a move, the royal rumble flush has no value.
Screw over:10-J-JThis combination has no value in a smackdown, but can be played during the game. Every other player must show their cards, and the player of the screw over selects two cards belonging to each player and discards them out of the game.
Dirty play:Q-KThis has no value in a smackdown, but when played it allows the player to take one card from each of his opponents' hands. He is not allowed to see his opponents' hands but must make a blind pick.
Double ace:A-AThis move is called a smack dowm finisher. When a player collects two aces, he can then put the combination down and win the game. A double ace beats everything.

Rules of Play

Four cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards are stacked face down: this is the "mystery move deck".

Play proceeds clockwise. Each player at his turn must draw one card from the mystery move deck. Having drawn, the player may play a "screw over" or "dirty play" or may call a "smackdown".

When a screw over or dirty play combination is played, the played cards are out of the game, and the consequences are as described in the table above.

When a smackdown is called, all players show the best combination they can make, and the highest combination wins. If two or more players have equal highest combinations - for example two half moves or two straight smacks - the game is cancelled and has to be restarted. The game is also cancelled if a player calls a smackdown with a royal rumble flush, but it turns out that no other player has any combination, so there is no half a move or straight smack for the royal rumble flush to beat.


At the start of the game players should agree whether to play with chips or not. When using chips, each player antes one chip at the start of each deal, and then at any point during the play, any player can propose to raise the stake by any amount, at which point the other players must choose whether to accept the increased stake or to fold. If they fold they lose whatever chips they have already staked and take no further part in the play. of that deal.

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Last updated: 24th March 2006