Card games in Finland

The French suited 52 card pack is in general use. The usual Finnish design of this has indices 1, 13, 12, 11 on the ace, king, queen and jack. Some games are played with a 32 card pack formed by removing the 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's and 6's fromm the full pack.

Marjapussi (also known as Marjassi) and its bidding variant Huutopussi are played in southern Finland with 32 (sometimes fewer) cards. There are many variations of this game described in the book Marjapussissa Porvooseen by Pekka Ranta (WSOY, Porvoo, 1993) ISBN 951-0-18597-3.

In Finland several interesting beating games are played, such as Mustamaija, Kitumaija, Turakki and also Paskahousu, which is related to the international game Shithead and its bluffing variant Valepaska. Myllymatti and Koira (Dog) are beating games related to and perhaps ancestral to the popular Swedish game Skitgubbe.

Along with Sweden, Finland has its local version of Kasino in which the capture values of the kings, queens and jacks helpfully correspond to the numbers printed on them. The reverse variation in which players try to avoid capturing cards is especially popular.

Tuppi, a plain-trick game similar to Scandinavian (or Minnesota) Whist, is popular especially in northern Finland.

In the game Ristikontra, played in lumber camps, tricks are taken by playing a card equal in rank to the lead. It is thus related to - perhaps an ancestor of - the Czech game Sedma and other similar East European games.

In the Swedish-speaking province of Österbotten, there is a strong tradition of playing Pidro, which is almost identical to the south-west American game Pedro. It is unclear how this gamme came to be popular in two such widely separated places.

The local version of Cucumber, in which the aim is to avoid having the highest card in the last trick, is known as Kurkku, Mätäpesä or Rassi.

A small but enthusiastic group continues to play Skruuvi, a complex Bridge-like game for four players which evolved from the old Russian game Vint.

Sökö is a Finnish variant of 5-card Stud Poker with some extra combinations.

Mikko Saari's Finnish language web site Korttipeliopas has rules and information for Finnish and other card games.

Cristian Seres' page Korttipelien sääntöjä (archive copy) gave rules (in Finnish) for card games played in Finland and elsewhere.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2000, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015. Last updated: 11th July 2020