Card games in Portugal

French suited cards (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) are in general use. The special type of Latin cards with dragons on the aces, known to collectors as Portuguese pattern cards, have long been obsolete. However, the memory of these cards lingers in that some games (such as Sueca) rank the court cards in the order king-jack-queen instead of king-queen-jack, presumably because the jack and queen were thought to correspond to the knight and maid respectively in the Latin suited cards.

Popular Portuguese games include:

  • Sueca - a point-trick game of the ace-ten group for four players using a 40-card deck, and its variant with bidding: Sueca italiana.
  • Bisca - a related game usually played by two or six players.
  • King - a compendium game for four players, in which most of the contract involve avoiding taking certain cards in tricks.
  • Americana - a four player plain-trick game with bidding in which the 2 is the highest card if led but lowest if played to a trick.
  • Burro - a kind of trick-taking game in which a player unable to follow suit has to pick up cards and the aim is to run out of cards.
This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2000. Last updated: 4th June 2021