The only fishing game to gain popularity in English-speaking nations is casino. Despite being widely believed to have originated in Italy, at least under that name, there is no direct evidence of it being played there, even though many other Italian fishing games are well-known.
The term “casino” first appears in the literature on card games at the end of the eighteenth century in London, and then again in Germany not long after. It became popular in America in the late nineteenth century, and several fresh variations were created. The spelling of the name is disputed; the earliest sources spell it Casino, but later writers have developed a tradition of spelling it with a double “s”: Cassino.
Catching cards from a layout of face-up cards on the table is the object of the casino game. Playing a matching card from your hand allows you to capture a card. If their values add up to the value of the card played, it is also possible to capture multiple cards at once. At the conclusion of the play, captured cards are placed face down in front of the player who obtained them and scored. Additionally, hand and table cards can be combined into builds, which can only be taken as a unit.
The most popular Anglo-American variation of casino is described on this page, where picture cards, which lack a numerical value, can only capture an identical image. Picture cards can come in a variety of variations, with and without numerical values. This kind of game is known as “Royal Casino” in English-speaking nations, and interesting variations of it are well-liked all over the world. These things are described on other pages of this website:
- Different scoring is used in the endgame of the Dominican Republic version of the game and Royal Casino.Different scoring is used in the endgame of the Dominican Republic version of the game and Royal Casino.
- southern African casino (in Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa) where cards from opponents’ capture piles can be used to build;
- Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, and Finland) have casinos (kasinos), which are typically played outside of buildings;
- The object of the Swedish reverse variant Krypkasino is to not capture any cards.
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Cards and Players
The ideal number of players for the game is between 2 and 4, though in theory more could participate. One of the few games that will deal out equally to two, three, or four players, it has the distinction of doing so. Two-versus-two games can be played by four players seated across from one another.
It uses a standard 52-card deck. The value of each numeral card (aces through ten) is used to determine how many are played. At the end of the round, the collected cards are gathered into a pile and counted.
What’s UpWhat’s Up
Each player receives four cards from the dealer, who also places four cards face up in the center (these center cards are laid out separately so that all are visible). The deal is traditionally done in multiples of two: two cards to each player, two to the table, two to the dealer, and so on. However, some players favor dealing cards one at a time. It is temporarily setting aside the remaining portion of the deck.
No more cards are dealt to the table after the initial deal; instead, after each player has played their four cards, the remaining cards are dealt to each player in another hand of four. Another deal follows the playing of these cards, and so on until all 52 cards have been dealt (this takes 6 deals for 2 players, 4 deals for three players, and 3 deals for 4 players). When dealing the final cards, the dealer must say “last.” The deal shifts to the left for the following round once the final cards have been played and the hand has been scored.
Each player in turn must place one card from their hand face up on the table, starting with the player to the left of the dealer and moving clockwise. This card has the potential to remove one or more cards from the playing field.
- The player picks up the capturing card and any captured cards in the event of a capture after the other players have had a chance to see them and places them all face down in a pile.
- The played card remains face up on the table if there is no capture.
Whether or not a capture was made, the turn now belongs to the following player.
In detail, the possible types of play are as follows:
- Capturing with a face card
A face card on the table may be captured if the card played matches the rank of a face card on the table and is a face card (king, queen, or jack). With a face card, only this capture is feasible. Only one matching card can be taken if there are multiple matching cards in the table.
The Q is played, and the Q and Q are on the table. One of the queens on the table may be taken by the player, but not both.
- Capturing with a numeral card
With the following limitations, a numeral card (Ace, 2,…, 10) can capture any numeral cards on the table that are the same rank as the card played as well as any sets of numeral cards that add up to the rank of the played card:
- Only a card of the rank announced for that build can capture cards that are a part of that build (see below);
- Each captured card can only be counted as belonging to one set when a set is captured.
Example If an eight is played, one, two, or three other eights could be taken off the board. A four and two twos or a five and a three could also be caught. When the following cards are laid out face up: A 2 3 5 6 8 followed by an eight could take all six cards, but not 8 6 2 5 3 or 8 5 2.
A build can be created by playing a numeral card along with other cards already on the table. Any group of numeral cards that, in accordance with rule 2 above, can be captured by a single numeral card can be used to create a build. A numeral card that can later make the capture must be held by the player making the build, who must also announce the capturing number (for example, “building 5”). Single builds and multiple builds are the two different kinds of builds.
- A build is made up of two or more cards whose capture values add up to the build’s capture value, such as a 5-build made up of a 2 and a 3, or an A-4-5-10 build.
- A multiple build is made up of two or more cards or sets of cards, each of which is equal to the build’s capture value. For instance, a 5-build would be composed of a 2 and a 3, a 4 and an ace; a 5-build would be A-4 and 5; a 9-build would be two nines; and a 9-build would be composed of 6-3 plus 5-4 plus 9.
You cannot make a build entirely out of cards that were already on the table; builds must include the card you just played. Cards that have been combined into a build can then only ever be taken down as a single unit.
- A player holding a 3 and an 8 may place the 3 on a 5 and declare, “Building 8,” making this one build now only captureable by an 8.
- A player with two threes and a six could play one of the threes and choose from the following options if there is an ace and a two on the table:
- capture the ace and two;
- Combining the played three with the ace and two to form a single build, “building 6,” is announced.
- the played three, the ace, and the two are combined to form a multiple build, which is designated as “building 3”;the played three, the ace, and the two are combined to form a multiple build, which is designated as “building 3”;
- The player does not hold a four or a five, so it would be illegal to play the three on the ace, building four, or on the two, building five.