Jack change it

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Jack change it
Players 2–6
Age range 5+
Setup time 20 seconds
Playing time Typically a few minutes
Random chance Medium
Skill(s) required Strategy

Jack change it is a simple card game popular among children. It is usually played by two to six players, although theoretically it can be played with up to ten. This game is a shedding-type card game whose purpose is to discard all of your cards before your opponents.

Basic game[edit]

Using two decks of cards, seven cards are dealt to each player, and the remaining card pack is placed between the players, with the top card turned face up beside the deck, often called the "pile". The object of the game is to play all your cards before your opponent(s), and the winner is the player with no cards left.

The player to the left of the dealer plays first, choosing a card that matches either the suit or the rank of the card on the pile. If the player cannot play a card on this turn, then they lift a card from the deck. Also, a player can play a trick card on any go, except on their final go, where if they have one card remaining and it is a trick card, then the player will have to fish from the deck.

Trick cards[edit]

A player cannot finish on any of the cards listed below, except in the case of queens which can be used to finish when only two players are participating, and the 5 of hearts, which can be used to finish in all games. If you have a pair you can play both at once. The game ends when all cards are gone.

Ace of hearts[edit]

This is regarded as the most powerful card available in the game. The player immediately on their left will have to pick up five cards from the deck. This can be blocked by a 5 of hearts and no cards are drawn. You can add a 2 of hearts to an ace of hearts to make the next player pick up seven cards.


When an 8 is played, the player whose turn it is next misses their turn; play passes to the next player.


When a jack is played, a player can switch play to any suit the player wishes (other than the suit currently in play). The jack is regarded as the most powerful rank in the game. For example, if the player holds Q, 6, J, the player can play the jack, saying, "jack change it to hearts", and the next player plays on using cards of the heart suit only.


If a player plays a King, they can say "King calling on..." followed by a card rank. The next player must then play that card. If they can't play that card, they have to pick up a card from the pile. This continues until a player plays the card, or the turn moves to the person who played the King. No other card can be used to cancel out this, other than the card requested.


The queens can only be used when three or more players are participating. When a queen is played, the play is "reverse to the player", and the player to the immediate right will take the next go, and play continues in this fashion until another queen is played. This is not the case when only two players are participating, as if the play is reversed to go in the opposite direction, that would still be towards the opposing player. This means the queen is only classified as a trick card with three or more players. Even when playing with more than two players the status of the queen as a trick card is optional, and should be agreed on at the start of the game.


When there are no more cards in the deck, the top pile card is removed and placed to the side, and the remaining cards are shuffled and placed face down, and the game resumes.


The game can be played in a number of different ways, such as:

  • The 8s can carry, e.g. if a player places two 8s on the pile, and the next player places another 8 on the pile to block this, then the third player will miss three turns instead of one.
  • The number of starting cards can vary, usually an odd number such as five, seven, or nine, and each with a specific reason for doing this. Using five cards allows more players, while nine cards allows two or three players a longer game.


Players try to hold on to the trick cards until needed because if they are used early, the opponent can tell if the player has any trick cards to block any moves.