This game is played with a small deck, having only the cards from 1 through 6, ace low.
Players try to make the highest-three card combination, as described below.
At the beginning of a hand, a single card is dealt to each player. A betting round starts, without raises. At first, players can either pass, or bet one counter. If someone bets, then the other players, each in their turn, can either match the bet, or fold. That's done until all players have been given their opportunity to see the bet. If all players pass on this first card, the hand is void, and the cards are shuffled back into the deck.
A second card is dealt to each active (non-folded) player. A second betting round ensues, also without raises; only passes, bets, calls and folds are allowed. In this round, the bet is fixed to two counters, making the total stake risked by each active player 3 counters (counting the previous bet). It is possible that everyone passes on the second card; in that case, the pot is still one counter per active player, and the game continues with the third card.
Once the betting round of the second card is finished, a third card is dealt to each active player; the third and last betting round starts, with all active players placing their bets in order. Bets and raises are now allowed with no more limit than the total number of counters still in the hand of each player (the resto). If two or more players are still active at the end of this third betting round, a showdown ensues; and the best combination wins.
List of combinations:
In case two or more combinations of the same kind and point value
are tied, the eldest player wins. I believe that this is
intended to compensate
the advantage that the ``younger'' players have by being able to bet
or call based on previous knowledge of the actions taken by their
Note: it might be that the premium for the three-card flush is 30 instead of 20. This does not change the ordering of combinations, or the strategy of the game. While this would be a more ``logical'' choice than that presented in the reconstruction, the choice presented above has the universal agreement of modern descendents on its side.
This game is played with the full 40-card deck, with the same game mechanics, betting system, and tie-resolution as Cacho. Only the combinations and their point-value differ.
The combinations are, Three-card flush (Flor), followed by
the Two-card flush, and finally the single best single
For this purpose, the point-value of the cards follows (according
to the Diccionario de Autoridades) a quite unusual schedule,
that I haven't seen used in any other game:
Court cards: 10.
The youngest player has a special advantage: the first card taken, if it is shown to all the other players, acquires automatically the point value of 10, even if its natural value was less.
The combination of the better class wins.
In case two combinations of different class are compared,
the higher point value wins.
In case two or more combinations of the same kind and point value
are tied, the eldest player wins.
This reconstruction does not take into account certain evidence suggesting that if someone has Flor, a player who does not have Flor cannot participate in the betting round. Enforcing this rule would require each player having Flor to truthfully announce his good luck; compare with a similar situation attested in the game of Pechigonga described below. The evidence for this consists in modern games known to descend (at least in part) from Flor, and comparison with the games of the Primiera family.
This is a variant of the famous Italian game of Primera. It is attested in the late 17th century, and said to be of very early Spanish American origin. The rules presented here are based on the Diccionario de Autoridades (1737).
The objective of the game is betting on combinations, as usual in all variants of Primera. The combinations are made with four cards, and they are, in increasing order:
Some players of Primera accept a last, even higher combination, Four Things, the Four-of-a-kind, four cards of the same rank. This combination is not accepted by all players of Primera; those who reject it, consider that a Four-of-a-kind is simply a Primera. This seems to be the case for Pechigonga.
Of two combinations of the same name, the highest is the one
with the higher value. For this purpose, the values
of the cards participating in the combination are added.
These values are typical of many different Italian games,
both modern and ancient.
They are as follows:
Seven: 21 = 7×3
Six: 18 = 6×3
Five: 15 = 5+10
Four: 14 = 4+10
Three: 13 = 3+10
Two: 12 = 2+10
Court cards: 10.
In case these rules are not enough to decide, the eldest competing hand wins.
These card values imply that the highest two-card point (a six and a seven) has a value of 39, beating the lowest three-card point, three court cards, which has a value of only 30.
The sources I've read up to now do not say which is the point-value of these wildcards if they happen to be present in a combination of Flor, Cacho, or Pechigonga. Comparison between some modern relatives of these old games suggests that it was a very high value - no nonsense of giving the wildcard zero points, as it is done as in the modern game of Scrabble.
Based on a more-or-less arbitrary comparison of three modern games using this kind of wildcards (Venezuelan, Uruguayan, and Jaenese Truco) I will rule that the point-value of the Pendanga and the Pericón is that of the highest card of the game, plus one point of premium for the Pendanga, and two for the Pericón.
Using wildcards in Cacho, it seems possible to tie on the highest combination of the game; I'll rule that in that unusual case, the Pericón wins over the Pendanga. There is some gender-related symbolism here, of the kind attested in the original sources.
Not only the oldest, but also quite vital; many popular games of today are played with this mechanism. Most well-known in the USA are Bridge and Hearts.
In a trick-taking game, each player in turn lays down a card on the table. The highest card wins the trick, and the player who laid down that card picks up the cards in the trick. In deciding who has won the game, some trick-taking games give points to special cards (counterproductive points in the case of Hearts), some to each trick captured, some to a combination of both.
Restrictions to the kind of cards to be played to a trick are frequent. The most familiar, is that there is a duty to follow the suit of the card that has started the trick.
It is also the general rule, that in all tricks after the first, the winner of each trick leads to the next: that's not always an advantage.
In the games presented here, the eldest player has the first lead.
This game is played by an even number of players in two teams; the most common numbers are four and six, but the literature also mentions games with two and eight players. The standard 40-card deck is used.
At the beginning of each round of the game, players receive three cards, and a final card is shown face-up. The suit of that card is trumps; those are the highest cards in the game, and the only ones with the power of capturing a card that is not of the same suit. The order of the cards in the trump suit is, from high to low: Two, King, Knight, Valet, Ace, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. In the other suits, the order is the same, except that the Two is the lowest card instead of the highest.
The first card led to a trick defines the suit of the trick, and only cards in that suit or trump cards can win.
If the first card led to a trick is a trump, everybody
must play trumps (if they have them); this is called
the sweep (arrastre).
This is the only case where there is any obligation to follow suit (while this fact is known from modern variants, it is compatible with the early data). In one of the modern variants of Rentoy, played in the Spanish region of Ávila, sweeps not only force players to play trumps, but also force them to place a card higher than all cards previously played to the trick, if they have it; this is reminiscent of some Tarot games.
Whichever team wins at least two of the three tricks, gets one point, which is the base value of the hand; and the game is played to twelve points.
However, the value of the hand can be raised; the first player to
make a raise, raises the value of the hand to 3 points.
The opposite team may either stay, raise, or fold.
If a team stays, they keep the right to raise again at any later time.
This is conceptually similar to the rules for the doubling cube
The successive values the hand can take are
1 point (the base value), 3
points (first raise), 6 (second raise), 9 (third raise), and 12 points
(the full game staked on a single hand).
Let's suppose Team A has already collected 4 points, and Team B has 5. Cards are dealt, and a new hand begins, with its base value of 1 point. Let's suppose that team A raises the value to 3 points, and team B answers accepting it, and raising it further to 6 points.
The possible results are: A may fold, in which case the score is A:4--B:8; A may accept the raise, in which case the final score will be either 10--5 or 4--11, depending on who wins two tricks; or, A may answer (then or later) with its own raise to nine points. If B refuses this raise, the score is 10--5. If B accepts, the tricks are played out, and whoever wins two tricks has won this whole game of Rentoy, because both 9+4 and 9+5 are at least 12 points. It would be pointless for Team B to answer with a raise to twelve points, because nine points are enough for either side to win; the only possible reason to do so would be a hope to find Team A distracted.
In this same Canarian variant, the highest trump enjoys the advantage that the player holding it is not required to play it to a sweep; this can be very advantageous, for instance if one's teammates have already won the trick with a lower trump.
It is customary that these signals are passed only to one of the players,
an informal leader of the team. It is convenient
to choose the ``youngest'' player of the team for this.
List of signals:
Three of Clubs: raise the nose, lower the eyebrows
Knight of Clubs: twist the mouth to one side, without opening it, as if contracting one cheek.
Valet of Coins: wink one eye
Two of Trumps: show the tip of the tongue. This curious gesture is attested in early sources
King of Trumps: raise the eyebrows.
One single lower trump in hand: raise one finger.
Two lower trumps in hand: slide the tip of the thumb over the tips of the next two fingers in the hand.
Three trumps: fill up the cheeks.
Bad cards: close both eyes.
Lowest card of the trump suit: raise the shoulders.
This game is probably of Catalan or Valencian origin; although the existence of a 17th century English variant (called Put), together with ancient and modern French variants, is suggestive of other possibilities.
The game mechanics and betting system are identical to those of Rentoy. The difference is in the capturing order of cards, and in the way tricks are made.
Using the 40-card deck, the basic order of the cards is 3-2-1-King-Knight-Valet-7-6-5-4. Variants where 4s and 5s were discarded were frequent and standard. The English variant uses the full French deck, with the order 3-2-1-King-Queen-Knave-10-9-8-7-6-5-4. Variants with special high cards were known; one of the oldest and most successful, was called Rat-slayer in Castile (Matarrata) and also Truc-of-the-Sword (Truc d'Espaseta) in Catalonia. It has the following four high cards: the Ace of Swords, the Ace of Clubs, the Seven of Swords, and the Seven of Coins.
When capturing tricks, suits are completely irrelevant. There is no trump suit. There is no concept of suit led to a trick, and any card of any suit can capture any card of inferior rank, no matter its suit; for instance, a Three of Cups can capture a Two of Clubs. This means that tied tricks are possible. What to do with them?
The earliest written rules for this game that I know of, are those for English Put, a two-player game (Cotton, 1674). There the rule is set forward, that if each player makes a trick and a tie, the hand as a whole is tied. However, this contradicts all modern versions of the game; in all versions, nowadays played in places so diverse as Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Jaén, Valencia, Catalonia, and France, ties are decided in favor of the earliest trick made. In the improbable case of three tied tricks, some of the modern rules keep it as a tie; but more of them give the game to the eldest team.
Following Cotton's rules (but no others I know of) there is also
the question of who has the lead to the third trick in case the second was
tied. Cotton does not answer this question, but the most probable
answers are that it must be either the eldest player,
or the winner the first trick.
This question does not appear in other variants, because there if a team has won the first trick and tied the second, it is the assured winner, and the third trick is not played.
I believe that the universal agreement of all modern versions against Cotton on this point is a strong hint that the rules for ties described by Cotton are specific to the English variant, perhaps even an idiosyncratic invention of Cotton. More research is needed...
Modern versions are more varied; some have a large array of special high cards, many have side-bets derived from the games of Flor and Cacho, etcetera.