3 decks of cards you need to know to blend in with the scenery on a trip to Spain

We know the traditional French 52-card decks with the figures of kings David, Caesar, Charles and Alexander. However, on the other side of the Pyrenees, we prefer to use the Catalan card games. Today, discover all the peculiarities of these traditional cards as well as the favorite games of the Spaniards.

What is a Catalan card game?

The specificities of Spanish card games

Spain is known for its toreadors, flamenco and for its traditional dishes with gourmet flavors. The country also has a unique Spanish card game, dubbed the Baraja Española. This game consists of 40 to 48 cards and 4 suits derived from Arabic cards: clubs (bastos), gold coins (oros), cups (copas) and swords (espadas). Much like the Italian cards, they were influenced by the Mamluk games. The Baraja Española is used both for traditional card games but also for fortune telling, like the Italian tarot. Due to their common borders, the traditional French and Spanish card games have been influenced by their neighbors. This explains why there are some similarities between the two games, especially with the figures.

Why play with Catalan cards?

During international games, the Spanish players will favor the French game without difficulty. However, like many traditions, Catalan maps endure throughout Spain. They are also found in Latin America as well as in the south of France and Italy. Depending on the region, small differences remain to be noted in their playing models (Cadiz, Piacentine, Madrid model etc.). barajas españolas are mainly used on the terrace of Spanish bars and in typical small villages. If you are planning a trip to Spain, it is ideal to know some traditional games that are played with the Baraja Española.

3 card games to know before your trip

The Spaniards like the Italians were the pioneers of card games in Europe. The manila, the brisca or the famous tute ... We owe the Spaniards many games that have subsequently evolved around the world.

The tute

The tute is surely one of the most famous Catalan card games. It is usually played by four, with participants forming pairs. The progress of the game may remind some of the French belote games. One color becomes the trump suit at the start of the game and is therefore superior to the others. The object of the game is to win the most tricks and thus accumulate the maximum number of points. The game ends when one of the players reaches 101 points. In other versions of the game, the game ends when one of the participants succeeds in reaching the number of winning tricks established at the start of the game.

Spanish 21

As explained in the book Blackjack Attack, Spanish 21 or Spanish 21 is a recreational variation of the traditional blackjack played in casinos. The game is played with a pack of 48 Catalan cards. The rules remain very similar to the rules of classic blackjack. The Spansih 21 is well known enough that we find this variant of the blackjack at an online casino like Betway. In this version, however, cards with a value equal to 10 are removed, which unfortunately brings some difficulties to the players. However, several advantages compensate for this inconvenience, as found Edward O. Thorp in Beat the Dealer. The player first has the option of drawing a new card, doubling their value or dividing the aces. The player can also win a game even if the dealer gets 21, if the latter gets the same score with three 7 cards. Finally, many bonuses allow you to double the stakes won by the player.

The ronda

The ronda, in addition to being popular in Spain, is also very popular on Moroccan soil in the cities of Tangier, Marrakech and Tetouan. In the same way as in tute, the game is played by two or four (the participants then forming pairs). Four cards are dealt to each participant. If the player has a pair of cards, then he must call "ronda" or "tringa" if he has a set. The goal for the players is to win the most tricks. The pair with 41 points wins the game. If you want to work out before you go, the Ronda app is available on the Google Play Store. About what spend time on your new smartphone In public transports.

The list of card games is obviously not exhaustive. Before you go, don't forget to memorize a few terms in Spanish such as Rey, Dama and Caballo that will be very useful during your games!