Inside: My favorite Italian card games that are easy enough for the whole family to enjoy and crazy fun to win!

Card games are something that connects us all. Different cultures around the globe have been playing them since…well since cards were created.

Each place has its own awesome card games that hold meaning for its home and people. incorporating card games from different places is a great way to bring some diversity into your life, even if it’s just in a small way.

If you are interested in doing so, then keep reading. 

Bow to play famous Italian card games

Today we are going to be discussing the Italian Card Games. They are very similar to American card games, but with their own twists that make them unique to the region, they were played. Many Italian-Americans who are trying to get in touch with their ancestral roots will learn these games to become more connected to where they came from.

They are also great to know if you are planning a trip to Italy any time soon.

That way if you see a group of people playing you could have the opportunity to join in seamlessly, how cool would that be?

What are the best ones to play?

Regardless of your reasoning, whether it be any of the reasons above or you simply just want to play some good old-fashioned Italian card games, it is an honorable pursuit. I’ve created a list of 8 fun Italian card games for you to look at. For the top 3 most popular games I made sure to include general instructions on how to get started playing. You may have to invest in a special deck of cards but I promise you it is well worth it. These games are a blast! And a good bonding experience for the people around you that you’ll be playing with. Learning something new, having a challenge, is always a good thing for character growth, after all! Check these out.

1. Scopa

An Italian deck of cards is used. One of the favorite card games in Italian culture. Scopa translates to broom because you are supposed to sweep the board. For this game, the dealer gives 3 cards to the player face down and then puts 4 cards face up. The player that is to the right of the person who deals the cards is up first. They can either place a card on the table or play one for a scopa trick. A scopa trick is when you match a card from your hand to one of the ones placed face-up on the table. The cards tricked will be taken off and placed face down in front of the person playing. After each player runs out of their cards, the player will deal 3 more. Though the table will be bare at this part of the game, so you will have to discard a card to put face up onto the board. This way you have cards to trick. Points are counted at the end of each deal.

The value system looks like this:

  • Coins: 1-7
  • Swords: 1-7
  • Baton: 1-7
  • Cups: 1-7
  • Fante(jack): 8
  • Callao(queen): 9
  • King: 10

2. Briscola 

An Italian Deck is also used during this game. Each player is dealt 3 cards and then one is put face up on the table, the rest placed face down. Sometimes the dealers will place the face-down deck halfway on the face-up card. The card that is face-up is considered Briscola, it’s the winning suit for the game. Like the first game, the player that is sitting on the right side of the dealer will go first. They place one card face up. Every player goes around the table placing one of their cards up. The winner of the round is decided by who has the highest valued Briscola card. If a Briscola card was not played then whoever has the highest card is declared the winner.

The value system looks like this:

Ace: 11

Three: 10

King: 4

Knight: 3

Jack: 2

Primero Cards

3. Primero

This is one of the most played card games in Italy. Primarily played on a 40-card Spanish deck, the goal of this game is to match, similar to poker. So if you are a fan of poker then it is likely that you will enjoy Primero. This is also a gambling game. You can have anywhere from 2 to 6 people playing. You are trying to get the highest value out of a 4 card hand. So you deal each person 4 cards. Unlike most common card games, the royal suite has the least point value. The value system looks like this: 

  • Ace – 16 points.
  • 2 –12 points.
  • 3 –13 points.
  • 4 –14 points.
  • 5 –15 points.
  • 6 –18 points.
  • 7 – 21 points.
  • King, Jack, Queen – 10 points.

Different Hands:

Chorus: 4 cards of a kind

Fluxus: All cards are from the same suit

Supremus: Ace, 6, and 7

Primero: One card from each suit

Numerous: 2 to 3 of the same suit.

Fun deck of cards games

More Italian Card Games

This next list consists of some of the other popular card games to come of Italy. I figured you may be busy with the first three, but it wouldn’t hurt to include them. Perhaps one day when you’ve gotten good at the others you can look back to these to continue your journey! Take a look.

4. Tressette

5. Ombre

6. Marianna

7. Sette E Mezzo

8. Cassino

And there you have it, an overview of popular Italian card games. I hope you enjoyed learning about them, as well as found another thing that connects us as a race: games! Games are not only important to individual cultures, but to all human beings collectively. And I think that is pretty awesome.

Italian Card Games

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