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How to Play ‘Casino’ the Card Game

  • Written By Kevin Parker
  • Edited
  • Reading 8 minutes

Casino, otherwise referred to as Cassino is a fishing card game whose origins can be traced back to Italy. That is, it is based on the traditional Italian game of Scopa which is still played even today.

While there may be conflicting ideologies regarding the origins of Casino as well as the correct spelling of its name. We can all agree that it is a highly respected game that boasts of a rich history and massive following.

The game has been in existence for centuries which goes to show just how popular it is among gamers from all over the world.

Anyone can enjoy playing Casino and this simply because it is a pretty straightforward game with a fairly reasonable learning curve when compared to card games such as Blackjack and Pai Gow.

Once you get the hang of the gameplay as well as the rules you will be all set to begin your highflying gaming adventure. Not only is it a lot of fun to play due to its competitive nature but it is also a great bonding game since it involve more than one player.

Whats in This Guide:

Get Started with Casino

As I mentioned earlier, Casino is a simple game and this can be seen right from the guidelines of how its played. Its simple rules are one of the things that make it so easy to grasp.

To begin with, the game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards – no jokers are used for the game so they are removed from the deck.

Next, the game has to be played with at least 2 players and a maximum of 4 players. However, in case you choose to play with the maximum number of 4 players, you will play it as a partnership game sort of like bridges or spades.

The Objective

When playing Casino, the objective is to score as many points as possible by winning specific cards – you will want to win as many of these cards as possible.

Very straightforward, right?

This is enough to give you a rough idea of how the game works and it becomes even easier if you are familiar with other fishing card games.

Scoring – How Points are Awarded

Casino Card Game Scoring System

Now I’ve explained the objective of the game, its time to get to know the scoring system. Points are acquired at the end of each round (once all cards have been played in the deck) and awarded as follows:

  • 3 points for the most cards (Usually more than half of the 52 cards in the deck)
  • 1 point for the most spades (Usually more than half of the 13 Spades)
  • 2 points for the Big Casino or The Good Ten (Both refer the 10 of Diamonds)
  • 1 point for the Little Casino or The Good Two (Both refer to the 2 of Diamonds)
  • 1 point for each of the Aces

This comes to a total of 11 points per deck. The 3 points for the most cards are counted if there is a tie. If this happens, the total score of the game arrives at only 8.

With a total of 11 points for each deck, shuffling again and starting the game over again brings the total number of points to 21.

How the Cards Are Dealt

Just like it is with most other card games, the game begins with a dealer shuffling the deck while the other player gets to cut the deck.

The players will be alternating between themselves when it comes to shuffling and dealing the cards.

Once the cards are shuffled, two cards are dealt to the dealer’s opponent, two are dealt face-up on the table and two are deal dealt to the dealer – this is repeated once after which each player will have been dealt a total of four cards and there are four open cards face up on the table.

The remaining cards in the deck are set aside and only dealt again after the players have played all four cards that were initially dealt.

The dealer will deal out 4 new cards just to the players and not the table until all of the cards have been used.

Before dealing the last 8 cards, the dealer is required to announce that the deal is a “last”.

How to Play the Casino Card Game

How to play Casino the card game

The player to the left of the dealer will traditionally take the first turn and this continues in a clockwise manner. There are three gameplay options for the player who kicks off the game:

  • Capture/ Take In,
  • Build, or
  • Trail.

There are, of course, multiple ways of executing all of these moves during the game.

Capturing or Taking In cards from the table is the aim of the game – you will obviously need to target the most valuable cards in terms of points in order to stand a chance of beating your opponent – see scoring section above.

Capturing With a Face Card or Capturing by Pairing

This occurs when any card from the player’s hand matches the number or rank of any of the face-up cards on the table.

casino game capture pair

The player collects the matching pair after placing his card on the table. Only one face card can be collected from the table even if there are multiple face cards.

Capturing With a Numerical Card or Capturing by Combining

This is possible when any numerical card on the player’s hand is of the same rank as any card on the table.

casino game combining cards

This is also done when any set of numerical cards on the table add up to the rank of the player’s card. It is worth noting that any cards that are part of a build can only be captured by the cards announced for that build.

Moreover, in cases where sets have been captured, each of the cards in that set is only counted as belonging to one of the captured sets.

Lucky players will be able to capture cards by both pairing and combining so long as the cards on the table allow for such a move.

Building

Building is another option that the players have when playing Casino. This is where a numeral card is played and combined with the other cards on the table to form a build.

Building Cards

Builds can be made through the combination of any collection of numeral cards that can be captured by combining.

The player that is making a build is required to announce the capturing number – in this case 10 (shown above). They must also have a numeral card which can later make the capture. They will have the option of two kinds of builds:

  • Single build – Is where two or more cards’ values add up to the capture value of the build.
  • Multiple builds – When multiple cards or sets of cards each have values that equate to the capture value of the build.

Building on Builds or Capturing Builds

This option gives a player the opportunity to build upon another player’s build. This is on condition that they have a card that will total the value of the three cards in the build.

It is basically “stealing” a build that has been created by an opponent.

The player who is capturing a build will also be able to capture any loose cards on the table that add up to the same rank.

There is also the option of adding to a build which typically happens in two ways.

First, the player can add a card to a single build thus increasing the capturing number. This is on condition that the player has a card that will capture the new build.

Secondly, the player may add to single or multiple builds by playing any card from their hand. The condition is that any card added must match with a capture card in the players hand. Moreover, the card that is in the player’s hand should be able to capture the combined build.

The Final Option in Casino: Trailing

This is where the player places a card from their hand on the table making it another open card. You are allowed to trail your cards even if a capture could be made. This mostly happens at the end of a round if no combination, capture or build can be made.

The Rules of the Game

As mentioned earlier, the rules of Casino are very simple and straightforward. Just the guidelines that elaborated how the cards are dealt and how the game is played. The rules however are quite clear and most people will not struggle to understand them.

The rules will vary depending on the variation of Casino that you are playing, but the most common rules are:

  • Only a single card can be played from a player’s hand during a turn.
  • The player who was last to take any cards will gain all remaining open cards.
  • Kings, Queens, and Jacks cannot be used as part of any combinations. Instead, they can only be paired and taken.
  • Call combinations remain at their initial value and cannot be raised by any of the players.
  • The player that creates a combination is not allowed to trail a card on their next turn. This is in case the combination is not changed before it is their turn to play again.

The Variations

Some of the variations of Casino that you may want to check out include:

  • Five-Player Casino
  • Pluck Cassino
  • California Casino
  • Diamond Casino
  • Tablanette
  • Callabra
  • Draw Casino
  • Spade Casino
  • Portuguese Casino
  • African Casino
  • Nordic Casino
  • Krypkasino
  • Royal Casino.

In terms of the rules variations, the available titles include:

  • Sweeps
  • Faces cards
  • Sudden-death scoring
  • Initial Pairs.

Why not give Casino a go with friends or family the next time you see them?

Kevin was raised on sports since a young teen and following a (fortunate) injury pursued new hobbies in table games such as Blackjack and Poker. Since 2009 Kevin has been writing for casino sites for various big names in the industry and CasinoSites.us is but one of his latest passion projects.