California Speed

This page is based on information from Sam G, Ashley, David Rutter and Rory Barclay.

Introduction

This rapid two-player game requires accurate observation and quick reactions. It goes by various names. Some people just call it Speed or Spit, but that is also the name of another game. Sometimes it is called Chinese Spit (or Speed), and it previously appeared on this site under the name Double Flip.

Deal

This game is for two players only, using a standard 52-card pack. Deal all the cards equally to the two players (26 each).

Play

Players hold their cards face down in their hand. Then each player simultaneously and quickly lays down a row of 4 cards one at a time, dealing them face up from the top of their pile. This creates 2 rows of 4 cards directly in front of each other, with the cards lined up reasonably evenly to make a 2×4 rectangle.

As soon as the last 2 cards are laid down, each player looks for matches. A match consists of two or more face-up cards of the same rank anywhere in the layout: suit is irrelevant. When a match is found, the player immediately deals new cards from their hand on top of both or all matching cards.

If both players spot the same match at the same time, it is legal for one player to cover one matching cards with a new card while the opponent does the same to the other.

This process continues until no matches can be found among the 8 exposed cards. At this time, each player gathers up the row of four stacks of cards directly in front of them and places all those cards face down under the pile in their hand. Again each player simultaneously deals a row of 4 face-up cards. Play continues as before until a player wins by dealing all the cards from their hand onto matching cards.

Variations

In David Rutter's version, if the top two cards of any pile match each other, another card may be played on top of that pile.

David Rutter also describes a tournament version for up to 5 players using a double deck (2×52 cards). There is a series of rounds, in each of which one player is eliminated. It works as follows.

  • The setup:
    • With 5 players four equal cards are removed from the deck leaving 100, and each player is dealt 20 cards each. Each player has 2 piles.
    • With 4 players, each is dealt 26 cards and has 2 piles.
    • With 3 eight equal cards are removed leaving 96 cards. Each player is dealt 32 cards and has 3 piles.
    • With 2 players each is dealt 52 cards and has 5 piles.
  • When there are more than two players, a player who has no cards in hand gathers up all the cards in their piles and waits while the others play on. When there is only one player remaining with cards in hand that player is eliminated. All the cards are then gathered and dealt to the remaining players for the next round.
  • The player who wins the two-player finale by getting rid of all their hand cards first wins the game.

Other Sites

A video demonstration of California Speed is available here.