Normally a game of jacks will start with each player picking up one jack on the first toss, two on the second, and so on until on the last throw all the jacks are snatched up. Then the play moves on to the next player. The winner is the one who made it the furthest into the sequence.

Also, all throws and snatches should be made one handed, traditionally the right hand.

Most youth of today recognize jacks not as a game of throwing and snatching, but as bouncing an snatching; the modern jacks kit usually comes with a super ball; one bounces the ball and attempts to snatch up the jacks and catch the ball before it falls back to ground. This does not substantially change game play.

Jacks are also known as: fivestones, knucklebones, dibstones, hucklebones, checkstones, dibbs, dallies, and pentalithia.