Burraco originated in Uruguay in the mid-forties and is named after its meld of 7 or more cards, which players require to win the game. The game is usually played by two individual players, or four players divided into teams of two. Two decks of cards with two jokers are used in the game.
Objective of the game
The aim of the players is to achieve or surpass the predetermined target or to get the highest score by the end. A round comes to an end when a player melds all his cards and makes a Burraco meld. The game can also end if the stack of cards gets over and there is no side pile to take its place. The scores are given based on the value of the melds that are laid down during the rounds. You can lay down melds whenever you want unlike other games that require a certain score to be achieved first.
The value system of cards
Any 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 card yields five points; 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen and King give ten points each; an Aces yield 15 points; 2 gives 20 and a joker gives 30 points. One set is made up of a minimum of three cards that have the same ranking. Suit can be repeated and only one wild card or joker can be included. A run comprises of a minimum of three cards that are of the same suit and are consecutive. Only one wild card or joker can be included.
Clean Burraco is formed from a meld of 7 or more cards. It has no wild cards or jokers and can be a run or a set. Dirty Burraco also has a minimum of seven cards, which can be either a run or a set, but it has a wild card or a joker.
Playing the game
Each player is given 11 cards, after which 22 cards are made into 2 side stock piles. The remaining cards are placed facing down to make the stock pile. The topmost card of this pile is placed face up to form the discard pile.
Players are given a choice between picking up the entire discard pile and drawing the first card from the stock pile. You can add cards to melds that already exist, as long as they are your cards. This is known as building. At the end of turn, a player is required to discard one card from his hand onto the discard pile. This is called discarding.
When the stock pile finishes, stock reserves are used. When a player finishes his cards and is given cards from the side stock (if available), it is called hand refill. A player can take just one side stock per round.
Jokers and wild cards
Any cards that hold a value of 2 are considered wild cards and can represent any value in runs and sets. A meld can have only one wild card. For instance 2-3-4-2 is valid but 2-4-5-6-2 is not. Similarly, only one joker can be used at a time. Jokers and wild cards can be moved up or down a meld. A wild card or joker can be switched and reused in the same meld after the meld is laid down.
The winner gets the total value of melds and a bonus or a penalty. Opponents get the value of the total melds minus the value of the cards remaining. Bonuses or penalties are added to this amount. A clean Burraco yields a 200 point bonus, while a dirty one gives 100 points. Players who can get rid of all the cards in their hand after using up the side stock also get a 100 point bonus known as a "winning bonus". Not using the side stock results in a penalty of 100 points.