If a player "sticks" the knife in his own foot, he wins the game by default, although few players find this option appealing because of the possibility of bodily harm. The game combines not only precision in the knife-throwing, but also a good deal of bravado and proper assessment of one's own skills.
A variant of mumblety peg has evolved as a drinking game where several matches of mumblety peg are played successively. At the end of each, the loser must take a penalty—generally taking a shot of alcohol. Consequently, the precision with which the knife is thrown often decreases as the game progresses. Whichever player backs away from the game first is declared the loser.
Another variant of the game called Split or Split the Kipper involves each player throwing the knife at the other player.