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How to Play Truco

Truco is a popular card game that owes its most origins to the straightforward card game of ‘Truc.’ It’s widely played in South American countries such as Valencia, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil.

What is Truco?

It’s a trick-taking card game. Its unique selling point is the excitement generated through bluffing and trick-taking, as the players take turns to outplay each other. The game is often accompanied by loud laughter, playful intimidation, and a jovial environment.

How to Play

It uses lingo that will require a clear understanding before you can show off your game skills to the world. Take a look at everything you need to know to start playing like a maestro!

1. Speak Like A Pro

Any player must understand the essential jargon and terms of the game. Take a look at a few terms used in the game, and speak like a pro player in no time!

What Is A Spanish Deck?

This is a pack of 40 or 48 cards. They are also called ‘naipes’ or ‘cartas.’

What Are The Suits In A Spanish Deck?

Conventional 52-card decks contain 4 suits made of 13 cards each. These suits are the hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds. A Spanish deck is divided into 4 suits as well, but these are the:

  • Oros, or golden coins
  • Copas, or glasses
  • Bastos, or sticks
  • Espadas, or swords

What Are the Face Cards of a Spanish Deck?

The picture cards of a Spanish deck are:

  • Sota, or, Jack with a rank of 10
  • Caballo, or, horse, with a rank of 11
  • Rey, or, king, ranked 12


What Is A Chico?

Chico is the name given to around in a game of Truco. There is usually a pre-set number of points per chico or round of the game.

2. What Will You Need?

Here’s what you need to organize a game:

  • Contact your players. These may range from 2, 4, 6 or 8 players.
  • The game is played in pairs or teams most often. Three player variants also exist in some games.
  • Find a comfortable setting and arrange for music or food, and get ready for a time of relaxation and companionship.
  • This game uses a Spanish or French deck of cards with suits of oros, copas, bastos and espadas and picture cards of sota, caballo, and rey. You can also use a traditional 52 deck of cards, and customize it to the game by removing the cards that are ranked 8, 9, and 10.

3. Deal Away

The card dealing of Truco varies from other trick-taking games. Take a look at how to deal like an ace:

  • The dealer shuffles the cards in a single riffle shuffle method. Three cards are dealt out to each player, starting with the player on the dealer’s right side.
  • The person who receives the 3 cards from the dealer, may accept, pass on or reject the cards.
  • If he or she accepts the cards, the dealer then deals to other players.
  • If the cards are passed on, fresh cards are dealt to the player in question. However, if a player rejects the dealt cards, these are placed face-up and not used for the rest of the hand.
  • Once the cards are dealt to all players, the remainder of the card deck or the deck stub is put aside and not used further in the game.

4. Are All Cards Born Equal?

The cards are arranged in an unusual hierarchy as follows:

  • Ace of Swords or Espadas
  • Ace of Sticks or Bastos
  • Seven of Swords or Espadas
  • Seven of Golds, or Oros
  • 3’s, 2’s and false aces, in order
  • False Aces (Oros and Copas)
  • Kings or Rey
  • Knights or Caballos
  • Jacks or Sotas
  • False 7’s (Copas and Bastos)
  • 6’s, 5’s, 4’s in order

5. Get Your Game On

So how do you play the game? Read on for the rules and tricks of the game:

  • The person seated on the right of the dealer kick-starts the game by playing a card. He or she is followed by the other players, and each plays a card.
  • Three tricks are played and the winner of each trick is the person with the highest ranked card.
  • The winner of each trick initiates the next trick.
  • The person or team to win two of three tricks is the winner of the hand.
  • If a trick results in a draw, the chance at winning the hand despite this, depending on which trick a player or team wins.
  • Even so, if a player wins the first trick and draws in the next two, he or she will win the hand.
  • Though, if a draw occurs in the first trick but the player or team goes on to win the second trick, he or she will win the hand.
  • In case, if by a stroke of fate, all three tricks end in a draw, the player who set off the first trick will win the entire hand.

The person who wins the trick gets to collect all cards that are face-down in the nest and accumulates all their points as well. He or she then leads the next trick. To win the trick, the card should be –

Tips, Strategies, & More

There are three play strategies. Read on to know more about tips and more about each-


  • Here, the players secure points by playing tricks. A player, who is also called a ‘trucador’, calls ‘truco’ to increase the win from 1 to 2 points.
  • The other players choose to respond to this call be accepting the bet (‘quiero’), raising it (‘vale cuatro’) or rejecting it (‘no quiero’).
  • The trucador waits for their response before he or she plays out the card. On condition, if the opposing players reject the bet, the trucador scores 1 point and the next trick is started.
  • Seeing that, if the opposing team members accept the truco challenge, may respond further with a ‘retruco’ and raise the bet to 3 points. Even so, if the trucador’s team rejects this bet, the team presenting a retruco bet wins the trick with 2 points.
  • In case, if the trucador’s team decides to accept the retruco bet, by giving them a ‘vale cuatro,’ the winning score now become 4. While, if the trucador’s team refuses this bet, the opposing team will win the round.


  • An Envido play is made by trying to win the trick if a player has 2 cards belonging to the same suit of the highest rank. This game play is made prior to a truco call. The highest value card is a 7, and the highest Envido score is 33.
  • In case, if a player presents an Envido bet, the other players can respond by accepting (‘quiero’), raising or rejecting the bet (‘no quiero’). While, if the Envido play is accepted, the player with the maximum points wins the Envido. Seeing that, if the bet is rejected, the person or team who calls the bet gets a score of 1 point.
  • Envido is scored as follows
  • In case, if all 3 cards belong to the same suit, the lowest value card is not counted, and the rest 2 are added. Even so, if all 3 cards are from differing suits, the highest ranked card is considered. Even so, if 2 of 3 cards belong to the same suit, then the score becomes the value of these 2 cards plus 20. The picture cards are valueless.
  • The player who wins Envido gets a score of 2 points.
  • You can add a dimension to the game by calling real envido or falta envido. Here, the player who calls real envido accepts 2 points gained from the prior envido bet. In a falta envido, the players receive as many points as needed by the winning team to achieve a score of 30.


  • This play is called when a player has 3 cards that all belong to the same suit. The following scenarios may come into play
  • Calling flor allows the player or team with the highest score of flor to win 3 points if accepted, for each flor.
  • If you call con flor me achico, then it means you have decided to surrender and the flor play is over. The opposing team gets 4 points in total.
  • Contraflor al resto – Here, the team or player announces flor, and raises the bet as well to equal the points required by the leading team to win and a score of 3 added to this per flor.
  • You may call contraflor and ask opposing members to respond. The opposing team may respond with Con flor quiero – which means that the other players accept that the flor is for 3 points each. Con flor me achico or contraflor al resto have the same implications as flor.


Therefore, Truco relies on the suspense of calling bets and bluffs, leaving you guessing about your opponent’s next move. You can look forward to a more fun-filled and fulfilling card game experience with friends and family with Truc!

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