How to play POGs

Adapted from 'The Unofficial POG and Cap Players Handbook' by Jason Page

All you need is a packet of caps, a Slammer and a friend. You can pick up the whole works for less than a pound - always assuming you don't have to buy the friend. So, how's it done? Let's go through the game step by step.

  1. Decide how many people are going to play

    There's nothing to stop you from lining up your whole street and letting everyone have a go. The only problem with really big games is that the last player is at a big disadvantage. By the time they get their go, there may only be a couple of caps left - and the last ones are the hardest to flip.

  2. Find a good surface to play on

    Anywhere smooth and flat is a good place for a game. If you're playing on a really hard surface (like a concrete playground), it's a good idea to put the stack on top of something else. That way, if you miss, you won't chip your Slammer. You can buy special mats for this - but a school book works fine!

  3. Decide if you're playing for keeps

    Before you start playing, all the players must agree whether, at the end of the game, everyone gets to keep the caps they've won or just gets their old caps back.

  4. Decide who goes first

    There are different ways to do this. You can toss a Slammer like flipping a coin. Or you can see who has the most of one kind of cap, for example you may want to choose who starts by counting up Skulls or Poisons. Or you can get everyone to pick a cap with their eyes closed and see who chooses the one with the highest number or points value.

  5. Stack the caps

    Make a stack of caps to play with by putting the caps on top of each other. Each player must donate the same number of caps to the stack to make it fair. It is traditional to stack the caps face up, but I would recommend to stack them face down. This means that when the Slammer hits the stack, it will not damage the picture on the face of the cap.

    Roughly twelve caps altogether makes a good stack. Not enough caps and the game will be over too quickly. Too many caps make it hard to get the all important 'thwack' when you slam, and instead of flipping, the stack just collapses. Experiment with different stack sizes until you find the size that is right for you.

  6. Whack the stack

    The first player throws the Slammer at the stack and - thwack!- sends caps flying everywhere. Well, at least that's the idea. If a player does miss the stack, it counts as a go anyway.

    There are many different methods of throwing the Slammer, to check them out see below section on Slamming Techniques

  7. Score and restack

    All the caps that land face up go to the player. The rest are restacked face down as before and the next player has a go with the Slammer. This cycle continues until all the caps have been flipped over and won.

  8. Who's the winner?

    The player with the most caps at the end of the game is the winner. Remember if you're not playing for keeps to give the other player their caps back.

Slamming Techniques

Taken from 'The Unofficial POG and Cap Players Handbook' by Jason Page

When It comes to slammer style and perfect Kini control, you need to read this next section to get it perfect. Prepare to flip out as you get to grips with different slamming methods. Each one is rated according to accuracy, difficulty and (most important of all) the flip factor. This measures the flipping ability of each shot once you've mastered it.

There are two sorts of slam shot - long range and short range. You'll need to master both styles, for each one has it's own advantages.

  • Long range

    Long range shots are taken standing up. This gives them maximum power. The downside is that what you gain in strength, you lose in accuracy. Long range shots are most effective at the end of the game for picking off the final caps. You'll often find a direct hit with a short range shot just doesn't have the power to flip the last cap.

  • Short range

    Short range shots are taken kneeling or crouching. Although not as powerful as long range slamming, they allow you to be more accurate with your aim. With practice you can be sure of hitting the stack. These shots are particularly useful at the beginning of the game when the stack is full and a hit will almost guarantee you a few flips.

    Remember! You must always let go of the Slammer in time. If you are touching the Slammer when it hits the POGs, or if you touch the stack with your hand, your go doesn't count.

  • Dart hold


    This is the basic standard all-purpose shot. It can be used either as a long range or a short range slam. Learning it is a must. The grip is simple - just hold the Slammer between your thumb and forefinger as though it were a dart. No prizes for guessing how this shot got its name! Although fairly accurate and powerful, the dart does have a drawback. It doesn't give the Slammer much spin, and therefore not much good at flipping the last few caps in a stack.

    Accuracy: 6/10 Flip Factor: 5/10 Difficulty: Easy

  • Slap shot hold

    Slap shot

    This is a very useful slam, particularly at short range. Lay the Slammer flat on your fingers and hold it in place with your thumb. Now go as if you were slapping the stack with your hand and at the last moment release the Slammer. As a long range shot it is accurate but lacks the power of other styles. At close range, however, this is extremely accurate. It is particularly useful against a full stack.

    Accuracy: 9/10 Flip Factor: 7/10 Difficulty: Medium

  • Googlie hold


    To the untrained eye this shot looks like a dart - but there's an important difference. The Slammer is held between the thumb and third finger while the second finger lies on top. As the Slammer is released, the second finger is flicked down to spin the Slammer. This slam may take time to master but it's well worth the effort. It is most effective as a long range shot, when the combination of power and spin is devastating.

    Accuracy: 5/10 Flip Factor: 8/10 Difficulty: hard

  • Whammie hold


    This is the next shot up from the googlie. The Slammer is held between the thumb and first two fingers. It has even more spin than a googlie, but is harder to control and less accurate. As a result, most cap fans prefer the whammie for close-range slamming, and "google" (use a googlie) for long-range shots. The whammie is particularly useful at flipping the last remaining cap.

    Accuracy: 4/10 Flip Factor: 8/10 Difficulty: hard

  • Tournament hold


    This was the only grip allowed in official POG competitions in America. It is similar to the flat slam but the Slammer rests on only two fingers and you are not allowed to use your thumb to support it. It's well worth trying. For everyday games, though, stick to the slap shot grip, which is more powerful, more accurate and easier to perform.

    Accuracy: 5/10 Flip Factor: 6/10 Difficulty: Medium hard

  • Slide shot hold

    Slide shot

    This is an easy and surprisingly accurate shot, but not popular. And with good reason! The Slammer is held face up between the thumb and forefinger and skimmed rather than slammed. The idea is to hit the ground just in front of the stack, making the Slammer bounce into the caps. Although it is fairly easy to hit the stack in this way, the number of flips is very low. This slam style is best avoided.

    Accuracy: 6/10 Flip Factor: 1/10 Difficulty: easy

  • Kini kung fu

    This shot looks very impressive if you can do it well - but you'll look silly if you miss. It uses either the dart or the googlie grip. Jump in the air, using your non-throwing hand to help you line up your aim. Go for the slam as your feet touch the ground. This is tremendously powerful and a direct hit guarantees a flip, but it takes hours of practice.

    Accuracy: 4/10 Flip Factor: 10/10 Difficulty: Very hard

  • Drop shot

    Definitely one of the most useful techniques, this is a long range shot that becomes a short range shot. You can use all the popular grips, but the slap shot style is particularly effective. Start standing up as though for a long range shot, but as you bring the Slammer down, bend your knees and drop to a crouch. With practice, this will allow you to combine both power and accuracy.

    Accuracy: 8/10 Flip Factor: 8/10 Difficulty: medium

  • Boomerang

    This is not actually a shot at all - just a flash technique. You'll find, especially with powerful long range shots, that the Slammer bounces quite high. Be prepared to try and catch it. If you can, you've got yourself a boomerang! If you catch the Slammer again after you've thrown it, it's called a boomerang.