The most widely-played card games round here seem to be Congo (similar to Rummy), Truco (a confusing game that involves a lot of secret sign language and tactics, and has both Uruguayan and Argentinian rules), and Poker (usually Texas Hold ‘Em). You’ll also come across plenty of places for bowling and pool, games which conveniently keep their English names.

las cartas / los naipes = playing cards

los palos = suits

  • las cartas españolas consist of four suits: el oro (gold), las espadas (swords), los bastos (clubs) and las copas (cups).
  • cartas de poker are those more commonly used in Northern Europe and North America, and consist of las piques (spades), los tréboles (clubs), los diamantes (diamonds), los corazónes (hearts).
  • When referring to the face cards, they don’t say king or queen – they use the letter (la Ka, la Qu, la Jota).

el as = ace

la pelota = ball

meter = to pot (in pool)

la tabla = board

la ficha  = piece (the marker you move round a board game like Monopoly)

barajar = to shuffle

repartir = to deal

apostar = to bet

agarrar = to pick up

tirar = to put down

ganar = to win

ganar(le) a alguien = to beat someone

perder = lose

un truco = a trick

tramposo / tramposa = cheater

un mal perdedor / una mala perdedora = sore loser

¿A quién le toca? = Whose turn is it?

Any questions? If you’re not sure about the content of today’s class or have something to add, leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Your questions and comments will help other students too. Our Spanish immersion programs at La Herradura in Uruguay and Spain teach you an international form of Spanish, but the teachers are all native speakers and will offer guidance on local expressions and words.

Coming up next… Class 28: Party | La fiesta

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