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Title: Scarto  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nine of Swords, Tarot card games, Three of Swords, Italian card games, Paul Foster Case
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Origin Italy
Type Trick-taking
Players 3
Skills required Tactics, Strategy
Cards 78
Deck Tarocco Piemontese
Play Counter-clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) Trump suit: 20, 21, 19-1
Long suits: K Q C J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Round suits: K Q C J 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Random chance Moderate
Related games
French Tarot

Scarto is a three player trick-taking tarot card game from Piedmont, Italy.[1] It is a simple tarot game which can serve as an introduction to more complex tarot games. The name comes from the discard pile which is also the origin of the name for the Skat card game.


  • Deck 1
  • Rules 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


The 78-card Italian suited Tarocco Piemontese is used to play this game but the French suited Tarot Nouveau deck can be a substitute. The deck should contain 56 cards divided into four suits each with ten ranks of pip cards and four ranks of face cards plus a suit of 21 trumps and one suitless card, the Fool.

The order of the long (swords and batons) or black (spades and clubs) suits goes from King, Queen, Cavalier, Jack, 10 ... 1 while the round (cups and coins) or red suits (hearts and diamonds) goes from King, Queen, Cavalier, Jack, 1 ... 10. Trump 20 also outranks 21 in most Piedmontese games.

Card Points:

  • Kings and Trumps 1 and 20: 5 points
  • Queens and the Fool: 4 points
  • Cavaliers (Knights): 3 points
  • Knaves (Jacks): 2 points
  • All others: 1 point


The dealer hands everyone packets of five cards. After the deal, everyone should have a total of 25 cards with three remaining cards as the scarto. The dealer will take these three cards and discards three cards into his trick pile which will count towards him. The dealer can't discard any card worth 5 points or the Fool. Trump 1 can be discarded if the dealer has no other trump (including the Fool).

Play is counter-clockwise; the player to the right of the dealer plays to the first trick. Players must follow suit otherwise they must play a trump if possible. The winner of each trick leads to the next until all cards are played.

The Fool can be played at any time. It is not part of any suit but excuses the player from following suit; it can't win any tricks. If the Fool is the first card of the trick, the next player's card sets the trick's suit. When using the Fool, the player simply shows the card and puts it back to his own trick pile. Unlike in more advanced tarot games, the player does not need to exchange the Fool with a worthless card.

After the hand has been played, the player's trick pile cards are counted in batches of threes. Add up the points in each batch then subtract 2 points from it.[2] The Fool is counted separately; the player who won the trick that had the Fool should have a batch of two. An extra point is added to this batch, then subtract two as usual. There should be 78 points divided between the three players so each player will have to subtract 26 from the their total point count to get their game score. The player to the right of the dealer is the next dealer; the game continues until all players have dealt. The loser is the one with the lowest cumulative score and has to pay the winners, traditionally with a drink.

See also


  1. ^ Dummett, Michael (1980). The Game of Tarot. Duckworth. p. 276.  
  2. ^ Scoring in tarot games at
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