Truco is a loud and lively game, which is widely played in South America, usually as a partnership game for four players, playing counter-clockwise. There are significant differences between the forms of Truco played in different countries and regions. Detailed rules for some versions are given on the pages for Argentinean Truco, Brazilian Truco and Uruguayan Truco.
Truco is descended from the simpler game Truc, which is played in parts of Spain and Southern France. Each player is dealt three cards, which are played out in tricks. In some versions, before the tricks are played points are also scored for holding combinations of cards in the same suit. Players can bet to increase the scores, both for the tricks and for combinations. The bluffing, talking and joking that goes with this are an important part of the game.
Truco is normally played with a 40-card Spanish or French suited pack, lacking 10's, 9's and 8's, or a subset of this pack. The basic ranking of the cards is, from high to low, 3-2-A-pictures-7-6-5-4, but in most versions some special cards are promoted to rank above the threes.
- Spanish suited cards are used, and there are four cartas bravas ranking above the threes: the aces of swords and batons and the sevens of swords and coins. Points are scores for flor, if a player's three cards are all the same suit. If no one has a flor, the best two cards or single card of a suit score for envido. Finally the truco point is scored by the side than wins more tricks. DEtailed rules are given on the Argentinean Truco page.
- At least three different versions of Truco are played in Brazil.
- Truco Mineiro and Truco Paulista are described in detail on the Brazilian Truco page. In these versions there are no scores for combinations, only for the tricks. These games are often played with French suited cards, though Spanish suited cards are sometimes used. The main difference between them is in the four top cards that rank above the threes. in Truco Mineiro these are the 4, 7, A and 7, while in Truco Paulista they are four cards of the same rank, determined by turning a card face up after the deal.
- In the southern province Rio Grande do Sul they use Spanish cards to play Truco Gaucho, which is essentially the same game as Argentinean Truco.
- The ranking of the cards is the same as in Argentina, but some of the rules are different. The game is played clockwise, and there are some differences in the deal, the combinations, the signals, the betting, the language for accepting bets and the scoring.
- This differs from the Argentinean game in that a card is turned after the deal to choose a special suit, the muestra, and the 2, 4, 5, horse and jack of this suit become the highest cards for trick-taking, ranking above the normal cartas bravas. These five special cards of the muestra suit also act as wild cards when making combinations for flor and envido. There are further details on the Uruguayan Truco page.
- The site El Juego de Truco describes the version of the game that is played in Venezuela. In this game a card is turned up after the deal to determine the Perico and the Perica - the horse (11) and the jack (10) of the turned up suit, which are the highest cards, followed by the aces of swords and batons and the sevens of swords and coins.