Burraco tournaments: rules and penalties

Burraco is a popular and widespread card game derived from the pinochle family and of dubious origins. Yes, some say he was born in Uruguay in the 1940s and some say he saw his origins a few years later in southern Italy.

Read more: History of Burraco

Whatever its origins, it remains a card game that has spread rapidly and widely, remaining, to this day, one of the most widely played in the world.

This is certainly also due to its strong versatility, donating the ability to play in two or more players, in pairs or alone. The widespread popularity of the game has led to the emergence of federations to regulate the game and subsequent tournaments, both physical and held, today, on online platforms as well.

To do a general review of the game itself before going into its rules, let us recall the fundamentals. First, the game is played with two decks of French cards, and the ultimate goal is to discard the cards that the player has in his or her hand, increasing one’s score according to the discards, but only after making a burraco, which is a sequence of seven cards in a straight.

The penalties for irregularities

Now that we understand what we need to do with the cards in our hands during burraco, let’s go over the rules. The rules of the game, despite its various modes, are almost the same and concern in a series of penalties following irregularities.

This is leaving out the basics, such as that you are dealt 11 cards, that there is a discard pile, that the wells are 2 decks each of 11 cards, and that the heel is the remaining uncovered cards in the middle of the table.

Obviously, some of the penalties involve misbehavior such as revealing or touching the opponent’s cards, or making wells (mentioned above) with the wrong number of cards, taking wrong wells or dropping and showing cards.

Ultimately, leaving the table during the course of the game also carries penalties, as does any other misconduct. Enforcing the rules and sanctioning or not sanctioning penalties will be a referee, in the case of an official tournament match, otherwise it is left to the good conscience of amateur players.

The purpose of the game, beyond any goals, rules or penalties, is to have fun, like any other game in the world. In order to prevent total anarchy from reigning, rules are always set to be enforced so that one can play while having fun, in serenity and peace of mind, despite the fact that card games especially are known to lead to the continuous use of a mixture of laughter, shouting and swearing.

Often, in addition to the rules of the game itself, the rest is more of a code of conduct necessary for the game of burraco to be played from start to finish without any hiccups whatsoever.

This is also because burraco, like almost (but not all) games, is something that takes place in contact with other people, so if the behaviors to be kept in the course of the game are not regulated, there is a risk that it will degenerate and not be completed.

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