Updated: January 23, 2023Published: December 21, 2022
Did you know that there is a Spanish deck of cards? Many people do not know the Spanish deck of cards; most of them only know the French or English deck.
In Spain, card games are very popular! The Spanish deck of cards offers a great variety of games to entertain you and enjoy a fun afternoon. But, our deck of cards is a little different than the others, don’t let that worry you! You should just be concerned about whether you are skilled with the cards. 😜
In this post, I will explain to you what a deck of Spanish cards looks like and what each of them is called. I have also included a section with some of the best traditional Spanish card games to propose to your friends and family! Some simple and others a bit more complex. I’m sure you will have fun with all of them!
So if you’ve run out of ideas and don’t know how to fight boredom, don’t worry I got you covered!
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What does a Spanish deck of cards look like?
The Spanish deck consists of a deck of 40 or 48 cards. The number of cards will depend on the game you will play.
The most commonly used version is the 40-card deck, numbered from 1 to 7 and 10 to 12 (known as the “figure cards”). The 10 is known as the “jack” (“sota” in Spanish), the 11 as the “horse” (“caballo”), and the 12 as the “king” (“rey”). There are no eights or nines in the 40-card deck.
The cards of the Spanish deck are divided into four suits (“palos” in Spanish) or “families,” which are “oros” “copas,” “espadas” and “bastos.” The English translation would be “coins,” “cups,” “swords,” and “clubs.” Each suit has ten or twelve cards (depending on whether the deck is a 40-card or 48-card deck) with different artistic images.
Depending on the game, the suits can be divided into “short” (“coins” and “cups”) and “long” (“swords” and “clubs”).
Some 48-card versions may include two jokers introduced from the French deck; in that case, the deck would be 50 cards.
The Spanish deck is used in Spain but has also spread to Latin America, Equatorial Guinea, and the Philippines.
Name of the cards in Spanish
As de oros
As de copas
As de espadas
As de bastos
Dos de oros
Dos de copas
Dos de espadas
Dos de bastos
Tres de oros
Tres de copas
Tres de espadas
Tres de bastos
Cuatro de oros
Cuatro de copas
Cuatro de espadas
Cuatro de bastos
Cinco de oros
Cinco de copas
Cinco de espadas
Cinco de bastos
Seis de oros
Seis de copas
Seis de espadas
Seis de bastos
Siete de oros
Siete de copas
Siete de espadas
Siete de bastos
Ocho de oros
Ocho de copas
Ocho de espadas
Ocho de bastos
Nueve de oros
Nueve de copas
Nueve de espadas
Nueve de bastos
Sota de oros
Sota de copas
Sota de espadas
Sota de bastos
Caballo de oros
Caballo de copas
Caballo de espadas
Caballo de bastos
Rey de oros
Rey de copas
Rey de espadas
Rey de bastos
5 Spanish card games and how to play them
Let me introduce you to the quintessential Spanish card game! This is one of the most popular games in Spain; even championships are organized! It is a game with more than two hundred years of history and whose origin is mostly accepted to be in the Basque Country.
It is also a trendy game in Latin American countries, such as Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and some southern France regions.
The “Mus” uses a Spanish deck of 40 cards. The game is played in pairs (one pair plays against the other). The game aims to win eight “amarrakos” (40 stones) in one or more partial games. You can also play six “amarrakos” (30 stones).
The order of the cards, from highest to lowest, is as follows: king or three, knight, jack, seven, six, five, four, and two or ace. There is no trump or suit distinction.
The value of the cards in any of the four suits is as follows: each king, three, knight, or horse is worth 10 points; the other cards, their natural value represented by the index, except the deuces, which, like the aces, are worth one point. The kings have the same value as the threes, and the deuces have the same value as the aces, which is equivalent to playing with 8 kings and 8 aces. However, it can also be played with only 4 kings, and 4 aces, wherein the threes and deuces retain their natural value.
Players have to raise the bet, i.e., offering a certain number of points to be won in their turn. If they do not comply with the bet, they lose points. There are four different sets or betting opportunities:
“Big” or “Grande”: consists of having cards as high as possible, according to their order. The more pairs or significant figures you have, the more chances of winning.
“Small” or “Chica”: the inverse of “Grande,” which consists of holding cards as low as possible. The more pairs or small cards of lesser value you have, the more chances of winning.
“Pairs” or “Pares”: when you have two or more identical cards.
Pair “Par”: if you have only 2 cards that are the same.
Half “Medias”: when you have 3 identical cards.
“Duples”: consists of having 2 pairs.
“Game” or “Juego”: a game is played when the sum of the value of the four cards of the hand is 31 or more, being the best game 31, followed by 32, and from this, it jumps to 40, descending to 37, 36, 35, 34 and 33, which is the worst. The winner is the one with the best game. If no player has “Game” that is, if the sum of the value of the four cards in each player’s hand is less than 31, the game is played to see who has the best point. The best point is 30 and goes down to 4, which is the worst.
The game is a bit complicated to explain, so the best thing to do is to put it into practice!
For this game, you will need two decks of Spanish cards.
Seven cards are dealt to each player, and one card is placed face up in the center of the table. The rest of the deck is placed next to that card face down so players can draw from there.
The game consists of making combinations of 3 and 4 cards with the same value (i.e., three 2, or four 3) or forming a straight. For example, you can make a straight with cards with the numbers 1, 2, and 3 but are of the same suit and have 4 fives. You can also have a complete straight with all 7 cards, known as a “chinchón.” If you make that combination, you win the game!
This is one of the simplest Spanish card games and can be played by children and adults.
The number of players can go from 2 to 6 people.
The game aims to make ladders of the same suit, both ascending and descending. A straight will always start when a 5 is placed on the table. All the cards are dealt, and the person who has the “five of coins” (“Cinco de oros”) is the one who starts the game. If, when it is your turn, you cannot position any of the cards, you will have to take a turn.
The first player to run out of cards wins the game!
Siete y media
The objective of this game is to make seven and a half. There must be a banker who will be the one who deals with the cards. The dealer deals only one card per player. The player will ask for more cards or not, depending on the number he gets.
Each card has the value indicated by its number in the card, except for the jack, the horse, and the king, which are worth half a point.
The first player to get 7 and a half or the closest without going over will be the banker in the next round.
In this game, you can bet with chips or coins! It is like a kind of Blackjack.
The objective of this game is to reach the maximum number of points previously agreed upon at the beginning of the game.
Eight cards are dealt among the players while the others are put aside, although they can be picked up during the game.
Each player must show the last card he receives, which will be essential to winning.
Aces are worth 11 points, threes 10 points, kings 4 points, knights 3 points, and jacks 2 points.
If you have a knight and a king of the same suit, you can score 20 points by taking the trick or 40 points if they correspond to those of the showdown.
If you are a game fanatic like me and want to know 5 more card games, plus other typical games that are played in Spain; check out this article!
Jimena Bolívar is a seasoned travel writer with a unique passion for Spanish Food & Recipes. With a background in business and marketing, she brings a strategic and innovative approach to her writing, making her the perfect guide for those looking to truly experience the Authentic Spain. Jimena is also a Mother of 4, and is a huge fan of knitting her own clothes.