Card games in Romania

The standard 52 card French suited pack is in general use. The suits are known as treflă or cruce (clubs), caro (diamonds), cupă or inimă (hearts) and pică (spades). The king is called rege or popă, the queen damă and the jack juvete, valet or (slang) juve.

32 card German suited packs of the William Tell design are also generally available. The suits are ghindă (acorns), verde (leaves), roşu (hearts) and duba (bells); The king is called pătrar or cal (horse, since the king is mounted in this pattern), the upper jack is treiar (three, since in many games it is worth 3 points) and the lower jack doiar (two, because often worth 2 points).

Popular games include:

  • Whist - which is not classic whist but a game players try to take the exact number of tricks that they bid.
  • Macau - the local version of Crazy Eights, played with a 52-card pack to which two jokers may be added.
  • Şeptică - a game of the Sedma group, similar to Hungarian Zsíros, played by 2-4 players with 32 cards or 3 players or 30 cards (for 3 players, only 2 of the eights are used). 4 players can play in partnerships.
  • Renţ (sometimes transcribed into Germanic spelling as 'Rentz') - which is a compendium game in which most of the contracts involve avoiding taking certain cards in tricks - similar to Barbu or King.
  • Şaizeci şi şase is the Romanian equivalent of 66 or Schnapsen, for 2, 3 or 4 players.
  • Cruce is another variation of 66, for 2, 3 or 4 players.
  • Filicău is a game of the Schafkopf group, played with 32 German suited cards.
  • Kemps - a four-card partnership commerce game in which the aim is to announce correctly when your partner has collected four of a kind.
  • Popa Prostul - a version of Pig played with four cards per player plus an extra card (joker) named Popa Prostul.
  • Tabinet is a fishing game, similar to the Serbian game Tablić.
  • Trombon is the local name for the bluffing game known in Russia as Verish' ne verish' (trust - don't trust).
  • Repezita - All cards are dealt equally to the players. The game begins by placing an Ace on the table (there is no order, whoever is fastest will place the card). On that Ace a 2 or a K must be played, and so on (you can place the next higher or lower card, in cyclic order ...-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K-A-2-...). There are no turns - any player can play the required card on the pile, but a player who plays a wrong card must pick up all the whole play pile and the game restarts with an Ace. The first player to discard all cards wins and the last player with cards in hand loses.
  • Război is a Romanian variation of War, where wars are fought by dealing a number of cards equal to the value of the card on the table.

Attila Ördög has provided some information about card games played in Transylvania (Erdély, Ardeal). Prior to 1920 this region was part of Hungary and in it several aspects of Hungarian culture are preserved, including some card games. Most of these games use the 32-card William Tell pack; these cards are known here as magyar kártya (Hungarian cards).

  • Filkó is the Hungarian name for Filicău. The similarly named Filkós, probably now obsolete, is a version of the Hungarian game Felsős, a Jass game in which the upper jack of the trump suit is highest, followed by the 9.
  • Csapd le csacsi (drop it donkey) is a popular children's game related to Pig, in which players hold eight cards each and simultaneously pass a card to the right. The objective is to collect eight cards of the same suit. Whoever does this first drops his or her cards on the table and says "csapd le", at which point the other players must also drop their cards. The last player to do so is the donkey.
  • Ferbli is a vying game in which each player is dealt four cards and the player with the highest combination wins the pot. As in poker, players can try to raise the stake either to win more or to scare the opponents into folding.
  • Amerikai hét (American sevens) is the Transylvanian version of Crazy Eights, the seven being the card that can be used to change suit in this case. Although this game is usually played with Hungarian cards, it can also be played with French cards.

A few people play a special version of Tarok, using the Austrian 54-card French suited Tarok pack. In most parts of the country it is not very well-known, but it thrives in the Suceava region in the north-east of the country.

Tile Rummy is played with a set of 106 numbered wooden tiles.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010. Last updated: 4th June 2021