Scopa is an old Italian card game going back about 400 years and is played with a deck
of Piacentine, Napolitane, or Triestine cards.
The word Scopa means literally to sweep or broom and confers the object of the game
which is to sweep the cards off the table.
As always each region in Italy has it's own specific dialectic word for the game as well
as variations in style of cards and without a doubt their own regional way to play which
is according to them always the correct and only way.
The deck consists of 40 cards that are divided into four suits Denari (coins), Coppe,
(cups), Spade (swords) and Bastoni (clubs). Each suit has values that range from 1 to
10, with 1 through 7 being numbered cards and 8, 9 and 10 being the Knave or Jack,
the Horse and the King respectively.
A minimum of three players are needed but up to six players can participate at the same
time. Teams of players can also be formed when many wish to play.
The cards are shuffled and then dealt. However they are not dealt one at a time as we
do in America. Rather each player gets three cards dealt to him or her each round unless
three players are participating and in that case each player receives four cards each
round. In Scopa the deal goes from right to left not left to right.
When the dealing is over, the dealer places four cards face up side by side in the center
of the table.
The person to the right of the dealer is the first to act (Player One). Player one takes a
card from one of the four community cards that are face up. If for example player one
sees a four face up and happens to have a four in hand, he takes the four along with the
four in his hand and places them together off to the side to form what is called his
Another way to take cards is in multiples. For example let's imagine you have a four in
your hand and you see there are two 2's face up, then you would take those two cards
because they add up to four. The object is to "sweep" as many cards as you can.
In order to make a Scopa you must be the person that removes the last face up card
from the table. Each time you succeed in doing this you receive one point.
When you cannot take a card or cards you must place one of your cards face up in the
community cards for the other players.
Each round ends when the players have exhausted their cards and the dealer deals a
new round with the remaining talon. The game ends and the deal changes when the
cards are all exhausted.
When the game is over the scoring of points proceeds as follows:
1 Point for the player or team with the most cards.
1 Point for the player or team with the most cards of the Coins or (Denari) suit
1 Point for the player or team with the most sevens in his or her hand.
1 Point for the person or team with the 7 of Coins (Denari) in his or her hand.
In the event of a tie in a particular category no score is awarded in that category. The
winner is the first person to reach a total score of 21.