Egyptian Rat Screw

Want to learn more about the Egyptian rat screw? Read on for facts and info on this popular card game from the 1980s…

Egyptian rat screw is actually a name of a card game that is considered to be part of the accumulation family. It is known by a variety of different names such as Egyptian rat slap, ERS, slaps and Egyptian war.

In terms of the way in which the game is played it resembles some older card games such as “Beggar My Neighbor” and “Slap Jack”. However Egyptian rat screw is far more complex. It can be played with a standard deck of cards that consists of a total of 52 pieces or depending upon the number of players involved you can add multiple packs of cards and shuffled them together. In order to add variation you can incorporate more than one joker.

The game play definitely takes inspiration from the 1860s British card game “Beggar My Neighbor”. It also incorporates the concept of slapping which has to be done on certain specific combinations of cards. It is quite likely that this concept has been borrowed from the popular card game Slap Jack.

Although the name suggests that the game originated from Egypt but the exact origins of the game are unclear. The game was actively being played in the United States in the 1980s and was particularly popular amongst the school children. In fact there is reason to believe that the Egyptian Rat Screw was being played in the United States as early as the 1970s.

Egyptian Rat Screw Game Play

The deck of cards would be equally distributed among the players. The game allows for multiple decks to be used if the players are more than four. Any cards that are not distributed will be placed in a pile in the center of the players. The center pile is considered to be bonus cards for the first player that manages to slap the Jack.
In order to make the distribution equal in a game of three players the nine of diamonds can be eliminated or two jokers can be added. At no point in time are players allowed to view their cards. This includes even when placing the cards in the center pile. The way to do this is to flip the cards outwards from their pack.

The game is initiated by flipping the card face up on the center pile. The order in which the game proceeds is predefined and each player has to lay down a card consecutively. This process continues until an Ace appears or any other face card. Once any of these cards are placed up the next player gets a chance to play another ace or face card. In fact the player is given a number of choices which includes four tries to get an ace, three tries to get a king, two for a queen and one for the jack face card.
This is the basic game play for the Egyptian Rat Screw card game although a number of different variants exist where the order of the chances that the players get may be reversed.