What Is A "Spanish Deck"?

Spanish DeckThe earliest game in the Rummy family is believed to be Conquian, the original version of which used a 40-card Spanish-style deck.

The following is a detailed description of the Spanish deck (from Wikipedia):

The traditional Spanish deck (referred to as baraja espa?ola in Spanish) uses Latin suit symbols, similar to Italian suited Tarots. However, the Spanish deck kept only the suit cards (with the exception of the 10s and the queens of each suit, which were dropped), while all of the trump cards from the Tarot deck were discarded. Being a Latin-suited deck (like the Italian deck), it is organized into four palos (suits) that closely match those of the Italian suited Tarot deck: oros ("golds" or coins, copas (beakers or cups), espadas (swords) and bastos (batons or clubs). Certain decks include two "comodines" (jokers) as well.

The cards (naipes or cartas in Spanish) are all numbered, but unlike in the standard Anglo-French deck, the card numbered 10 is the first of the court cards (instead of a card depicting ten coins/cups/swords/batons); so each suit has only twelve cards. The three court or face cards in each suit are as follows: la sota ("the knave" or jack, numbered 10 and equivalent to the Anglo-French card J), el caballo ("the horse", horseman, knight or cavalier, numbered 11 and used instead of the Anglo-French card Q; note the Tarot decks have both a queen and a knight of each suit, while the Anglo-French deck uses the former, and the Spanish deck uses the latter), and finally el rey ("the king", numbered 12 and equivalent to the Anglo-French card K). Many Spanish games involve forty-card decks, with the 8s and 9s removed, similar to the standard Italian deck.

The box that goes around the figure has a mark to distinguish the suit without showing all of your cards: The cups have an interruption, the swords two, the clubs three, and the gold none. This mark is called "la pinta" and gave rise to the expression: "le conoc? por la pinta" (I knew him by his markings).

Article text based on the Wikipedia, licensed under the GFDL. See "Playing Card" at Wikipedia.org.

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