Italian Card Game Rules: A Quick Start Guide

Jacob Frink
By Jacob Frink 3 Min Read

Welcome to the ultimate guide to mastering Briscola, a time-honored and beloved Italian card game that combines strategy, skill, and a bit of luck. Whether you’re a seasoned card player or new to the world of traditional card games, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Briscola, from its basic rules to advanced strategies that can help you win. So, gather your friends, grab a deck of Italian cards, and get ready to learn a game that is sure to become an instant favorite.

History and Basics of Briscola

Briscola is a classic trick-taking game that has been enjoyed by Italians for centuries. With its simple rules and engaging gameplay, it’s easy to learn but challenging to master, making it a staple in homes and cafes across Italy. The game can be played with 2 to 6 players, making it a versatile and social activity for all ages.

What You Need to Play

  • A standard 40-card Italian deck (or a French deck with the Jokers, 8s, 9s, and 10s removed)
  • 2 to 6 players

Understanding the Rules of Briscola

The aim of Briscola is to win as many points as possible by taking tricks. Points are scored based on the card values, with some cards worth more points than others.

Card Values and Point System

Card Points
Ace (Asso) 11
Three (Tre) 10
King (Re) 4
Horse (Cavallo) 3
Jack (Fante) 2
Others 0

Gameplay Overview

At the start of the game, each player is dealt three cards. The next card from the deck determines the Briscola, or the trump suit, for that game. Gameplay revolves around these basic steps: playing a single card, determining the winner of the trick, and drawing cards from the deck until it’s empty. Knowing when to play your high-value cards and when to save them is a key strategic element of Briscola.

Advanced Strategies and Tips

Mastering Briscola requires not only understanding the rules but also developing strategies. Observing opponent’s plays, counting cards, and strategic trump usage are vital skills that can give you an edge over your opponents.

Counting Cards and Strategic Play

  • Keep track of high-point cards that have been played.
  • Remember which suits have been “cleared” of their Briscola.
  • Use lower-value cards strategically to “burn” opponents’ higher-value cards.


Briscola is more than just a card game; it’s a cultural treasure that brings people together, offering endless hours of entertainment and mental stimulation. With this guide, you now have a solid foundation to start playing and enjoying one of Italy’s most popular card games. Remember, the key to becoming a skilled Briscola player lies in practice, observation, and strategic thinking. Happy playing!

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