I love playing Italian Card Games for lots of reasons. It puts me in touch with my heritage. It reminds me of Sunday’s at my grandparents apartment. It’s a way for me to enjoy time with friends. There are also mental benefits to playing cards.
In my book Gioca Te! you will learn how to play Tresette, which means three sevens. Tresette is a trick taking game. The most powerful card during play is the 3, then the 2, then the Ace, then the King.
The person taking the trick leads the next hand. In Tresette you must follow suit. If you cannot follow suit you will lose even if you play a card of a higher value. (Unlike Briscola, which is also taught in my book, there are no trumps.)
In Tresette who ever takes the last trick of the hand earns a point. Many players will try to keep a 2, and an Ace or a 3 and an Ace, for their end game.
Let’s suppose you have the 3, Ace, and 4 and it is your lead. How do you play your cards? How do you win the last hand? You have a lowly 4, which you play. Now no matter what card your opponent plays, he will win the trick. What have you accomplished? It is now his lead. No matter which card he plays you can take the trick. If he plays his 3 you play your 2. Then you play your ace and take his king. If he plays his kind you play your ace and then your three. This was made possible by having a card of a low rank, ‘a pawn’ to sacrifice. That sacrifice of 1/3 of a point lead to your taking 2 2/3 points.
If it were the last two hands and your lead things would be much different. If you lead your Ace, your opponent could take it with his 2. If you lead your 3 you opponent could sacrifice his king and then take your ace with his 2. So, keeping a card of a low rank, and being able to make your opponent play first is a very powerful end game technique.
I hope it gives you many hours of enjoyment!
D. Angelo Ferri