In the game of spoons (aka "pig" or "tongue"), you can simply not look at your cards, passing them on directly, so as to be ready to pick up a spoon at any moment (fixated on the spoons, with your hand hovering near a spoon). Is this "cheap" or "cheating" in any way, or just sometimes a good strategy? My sister says it's bad sportsmanship, but I insist it's just part of the game.


  • I accept that keeping your hand near the spoons will incite violence, so let's assume I don't do that.
  • I only employ this strategy when it makes sense (when I'm unlikely to make a match of 4, and I'm furthest from the dealer)
  • It does not make sense for everyone to play this strategy, since the more people employ the strategy, the less benefit they get (it becomes a better strategy to try to make a match, since matching is more likely). I feel this adds an interesting element of game theory; you have to anticipate what strategy others are using, and do the opposite.

2 Answers 2


Given that this is a highly variable kitchen table game, most of the answers you'll get here are opinions. That said, I think that keeping your hand hovering next to the spoons is practically cheating, at the very least, it's a pretty cheap way to play. Not looking at your cards is fine, but everyone should have their hands in front of them unless they're actually grabbing a spoon.

While what you're doing may be within the rules in some circles, it may detract from the game. Imagine a game where everyone played with your strategy!

  • 4
    The interesting thing is that if everyone plays the strategy except one, then the one who doesn't play the strategy definitely gets all 4 cards first.
    – Brian Bien
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 13:54

It is not cheating and is allowed, but its not a very fun way to play for others when it is the only strategy only used.

If your intentions are to not be disliked and you want to invited to continue playing, maybe you should diversify your strategy.

  • It only makes sense to use this strategy when I'm furthest from the dealer, and it doesn't seem likely that I'm going to get a match.
    – Brian Bien
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 13:56

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