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italian card games - tressette
(more italian card games)

Download and start to play now with the freeware Tressette for PC's running Windows only.

Tressette is a partnership trick-taking game for four players, with partners sitting opposite. Variations for other numbers of players are listed at the end of the page. Like most Italian games, Tressette is played anticlockwise.

cards
A 40 card pack is used, usually with the Italian suits: swords, batons, cups and coins. In each suit the cards rank as follows: 3 (highest), 2, asso (ace), re (king), cavallo (horse), fante, 7, 6, 5, 4 (lowest). It is also possible to play with French suited cards: from a 52 card pack you need to remove the 10s, 9s and 8s, and the cards rank 3 2 A K Q J 7 6 5 4. The cards have point values and the object is to take tricks containing valuable cards. There is also a score for winning the last trick. The values are as follows:

     Each asso                          1 whole point
     Each 3, 2, re, cavallo or fante    1/3 of a point
     Winners of last trick              1 whole point

dealing
Deal (anticlockwise) 10 cards to each player, 5 at a time. Turn to deal passes to the right after each hand.

playing
There are no trumps. The player to dealer's right leads first. Any card may be led, and the other players must play a card of the suit led if they have one. A player with no card of the suit led may play anything. The highest card of the suit led wins the trick, and the winner leads to the next trick. There are certain card combinations which score points when held in the hand of one player. These are:


     Four 3's, four 2's or four aces         4 points
     Three 3's, three 2's or three aces      3 points
     Napoletana (3, 2 and ace of a suit)     3 points

A player with such a combination declares it at the end of the first trick, and scores for it immediately (it does not matter if one of the cards of the combination was played to the trick). When declaring a Napoletana you must specify the suit, and when declaring three of a kind you must say which suit is missing. It is possible to use the same card in a Napoletana and another combination - for example you could declare for a Napoletana in cups and four twos for 7 points. When leading to a trick, certain remarks or signals are allowed:

  • busso indicates that you want your partner to play his highest card in the suit you led, and lead the suit back if it wins. Instead of saying busso you can strike the table (or the led card) with your fist,
  • volo (or piombo) indicates that you have no further cards of the suit led. Instead of saying volo you can throw the card so that it glides onto the table,
  • striscio (or liscio) (not allowed by all players) indicates that you have, besides the card you are leading, one or more low cards (king or lower) of the suit led. Instead of saying striscio you can slide the card led onto the table.

Some players allow additional remarks, or elaborations of these remarks.

scoring
When all 10 tricks have been played each side scores the value of cards it has won in tricks, plus the point for winning the last trick if applicable. The total points available amount to eleven and two thirds, but fractions are disregarded in scoring, so the total points scored on each deal (apart from any points for declarations) are actually 11, two thirds of a point being thrown away. The side which first reaches 21 points wins. This will take several deals. A player can stop the play at any time and claim to have reached 21 points with the tricks already won up to that point. If the claim is correct that side wins (irrespective of the other side's total) and if it is incorrect they lose. There are some ways of winning the game outright, irrespective of the score, or in fact winning several games at once (by which I mean that supposing you were playing Tressette for a bottle of wine, then by winning two games you would get two bottles):

  • cappotto (or collada): if one team wins all 10 tricks, they win two games,
  • stramazzo: if one team wins all the points but not all the tricks - that is, if the trick(s) won by their opponents contains less than one point (the point for the last trick does not count in this case), they win three games,
  • cappottone (or colladone): if a single player wins all 10 tricks, that player's team wins six games,
  • stramazzone: if one player wins all the points, the opponents winning at least one trick but the other three players together winning less than one point (the point for the last trick does not count in this case), that player's team wins eight games.
variations and related games
There are quite a few of these, all having in common the unusual card ranking and values and the lack of trumps. Other versions for four players are:
  • Tressette con la chiamata del tre , in which the partnerships instead of being fixed are determined by the player right of the dealer calling a three,
  • Mediatore, a version with simple bidding and a monte (a talon of undealt cards which can be used by the winner of the bidding),
  • Quadrigliati, a version with bidding but no monte.

For other numbers of players there are:

  • Tressette in due , for two,
  • Terziglio, formerly also known as Calabresella, an excellent game for three, with bidding, one player playing against two on each deal,
  • Quintiglio, for five.

There is also Rovescino, also known as Traversone or Ciapan´┐Ż, a reverse version of Tressette in which the object is to avoid taking card points.

Tressette in due
Cards, play and scoring are the same as in the 4 player variant. The only difference is in the deal. Instead of dealing all the cards to the players, only 10 cards are dealt to each player, while the remaining 20 remain in a monte (face down pile) on the table. After each trick, each player, beginning with the player who won the trick, takes the top card from the monte, shows it to the other player, and puts it in their hand. Then the player who won the trick leads to the next. When there are no cards left in the monte, play continues without drawing cards until all the cards have been played.

For rules and information on hundreds of other card games, visit www.pagat.com

The card game description on this page is reproduced with permission from the card games web site www.pagat.com and is copyright © John McLeod, 1996-2004. No further copying or reproduction of this text in any form is allowed, except with prior permission from the copyright holder.


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