The Cassino Card Game, also known as Casino, is a 2-4 player fishing card game.
Players aim to match cards in their hand with public cards in the play area. If they are unable to make those matches, they may build combinations, adding cards together in order to match them with another card in the hand.
How to Play Cassino?
Cassino is played using the standard 52-card Anglo-American deck pattern.
In order to set-up the game, the Dealer will deal two cards to each Non-Dealer Player, and then two cards into the public play area. The cards dealt to Players should be kept face-down, but cards dealt into the play area should be dealt face-up, with no cards overlapping one another.
Afterward, the Dealer will deal themselves out two cards face-down, as the Dealer will be considered a normal Player outside of the Dealing phase. This process is repeated, such that each Player, and the play area, has 4 cards.
Starting the Game
With these cards dealt, the game may begin with the Dealer taking the first turn. During the course of the game, Players will take turns attempting to match cards in their hand to the face-up community cards in the play area. Cards are matched only when they are the same rank. For example, if there is a 5♣ in the play area, and a 5♠ in the hand, then you may match them even though they are different suits.
To match a card, a Player should place their matching card face-up on top of the matching card in the play area, and then remove both of them from the play area, keeping separate piles of matched cards.
If there is space available, the piles should be separated in order to act as a sort of tally system, where it can be immediately obvious how many pairs a Player has made.
Otherwise, in limited space, one simple pile of cards will suffice.
Players may also match multiple cards onto the same community card, during their turn, if those cards from their hand add up to the value of that card’s rank. For example, if there is a 5♥ on the board, then a 2♦ and 3♠ from the hand could be used simultaneously to match all three cards.
Players can add together as many cards as necessary, such that a 6 could be matched with three 2s, or a 9 could be matched with a 2, 3, and 4.
However, Players are only allowed one match per turn.
Combinations: Builds and Calls
Furthermore, in Cassino, Players have the ability to form “Combinations”. Multiple combinations of different types can be formed in a single turn without repeating the same combination twice. Imagine the following scenario:
You have a 2♠ and a 7♣. There is a 5♣ in the play area. You cannot match the 2 or 7 with the 5, nor can you add the 2 and 7 together in order to match the 5. However, you are not hopeless in this situation.
You are able to form what is called a “Build Combination.” By laying the 2♠over the 5, such that both cards are still visible, and declaring that you are “Building 7”, you have for all intents and purposes turned that 5 and 2 into a single 7 card.
However, keep in mind that this will end your turn, without matching this newly created “7” to the 7 in your hand. You will have to wait until it is your turn to match it again. As it is a card in the play area, other Players are free to match their own cards with your combination, if they are able to do so. Furthermore, they are also able to build upon your combination as though it were a natural card.
There is another type of combination, the “Call Combination.” Calls are different from builds, and are rarer due to their strict activation rules.
In order to form a Call combination, you must have a card that can match with the call when it is made. For example, there is an 8♦ in the play area. In order to make a call build, you must have two 8s in your hand. Alternatively, a call can be formed from component parts, from the hand or pool. However, when doing this, an extra copy of the natural card must still be in the hand in order to pick up the call.
So, for example, Player 1 places a 3 and 4 on top of a 7 in the play area, and declares “Calling 7.” Afterwards, Player 1’s turn ends. The other players at the table are able to steal the called 7, if they have a 7 in their hand. However, they must have a natural 7. A call combination can only be picked up by a natural card from the hand. No other players are able to take the Call, so Player 1 plays their 7 and picks up their Call combination in full.
Trailing, or Discarding
If you are unable to form builds or are otherwise unable to match a card to another with its equivalent in the play area, there is a final option available to you as a Player. Trailing. When trailing, a Player adds a card to the Play area, discarding it from their hand. Players can trail any cards from their hand that they wish, though they can only trail one card at a time.
Furthermore, Players cannot trail any cards that can be used to pick up cards. If you place a card in the play area as a trail, it cannot match with any other card in the play area.
Players continue until their hand is emptied of all four cards. Once that happens, the Dealer will deal out 4 new cards to that Player’s hand. Players can only draw when their hand is completely empty, and all other cards in their hand were played in the play area.
This cycle of gameplay continues, with Players matching what cards they can, and building and calling upon cards that they cannot, until the deck is completely emptied. When the deck is depleted, gameplay continues as normal until all Players have no more cards in their hand.
The last Player to be able to match cards in the play area is given the right to take all the remaining cards in the play area. For example, Player 1 empties their hand with a match. Player 2 is forced to trail their last card. Player 1 therefore takes all the remaining cards in the play area, as Player 2 did not match but instead was forced to trail.
Once all cards have been depleted from the hands of every Player, and all cards have been depleted from the deck, Players will count up the cards in their piles and score themselves points based on special scoring conditions that will explained below, in the “Scoring” section.
The winner of a given round is the Player that was awarded the most points according to the table below.
Cassino Card Game Rules
You can find a summary of the rules below:
- Cards must be matched in order to be taken and added to the pile of cards won by an individual Player.
- Players that cannot match their cards can build or call instead. When building, Players cannot build above a matchable number (i.e. 10). When Calling, Players must have another copy of their calling card in their hand. So, to call a 7, you must have at least one more 7, and the components to call a 7 in the hand and in the play area.
- Players are able to build, call, or trail only once. Players are not able to build, call, or trail, and then match a card.
- If you manage to completely clear the Play area, you are forced to trail cards as there are no cards in the play area to match. Cards will never be dealt from the deck to the Play Area after the initial deal.
Scoring & Points
Once the round has finished, Players will be awarded special points for achieving specific conditions during the course of the game. These points are added up at the end of a round based on the pile of matched cards, with only matched cards contributing to the score total.
|Scoring Criteria||Points Awarded|
|Most cards in match pile||3|
|Most Spade cards||1|
|Each Ace matched||1|
|10 of Diamonds (Big Cassino)||2|
|2 of Spades (Little Cassino)||2|
- The Player with the most cards in their match pile wins 3 points.
- The Player that wins the most spade cards wins 1 point.
- Every Ace a Player matches is worth 1 point.
- The 10 of Diamonds, known as Big Cassino or the Good 10, awards 2 points.
- The 2 of Spades, known as Little Cassino, or the Good 2, awards 2 points.
Every time a Player is able to clear the whole play area, such that it is empty at the end of their turn, they should flip up one of their piles, or flip up the top card of their pile if they only keep one pile, and move that face-up card above the other piles.
This face-up card is used as a marker to keep track of “Sweeps”. When a Player clears the whole Play Area, or a “Sweep”, they are awarded 1 point per Sweep.
The first Player to 21 total points wins the whole game. As it is not possible to win 21 points in a single round, multiple rounds will have to be played.
If two Players reach 21 points in the same round, the Player with the highest point total will be the winner. If there is a tie, play continues until one Player has the highest point total in the game, and that total is greater than 21. This makes them the winner.
Imagine the following is your hand in a game of Casino:
4♦ 2♥ 5♠ 6♠
And now suppose the following is in the Play Area:
2♠ 10♥ 9♥ A♠
The 2 in your hand can be matched with the 2 on the board. It is more important for you to take this 2 during your first available opportunity, even though building the 6 and 4 onto the 10 gives you the ability to potentially match 3 cards.
- Firstly, the risk is there as any other Player with a 10 could take your card, though they cannot build it further.
- However, secondly, and more importantly, the 2♠ is the Good Two. By taking the 2♠, not only are you guaranteed a point at the end of the round, the 2 is a spade and contributes to the Most Spades award.
Taking the 2♠ not only guarantees a point, but it works towards winning another point as well.
Below you find our tips for the Cassino card game:
- Try not to trail a card unless it is absolutely necessary. At least when discarding through a build combination, there is a chance that you are able to combine and form a match for that larger number. When simply trailing, you are not proactively setting yourself up to discard more cards in the future. Trailing does not increase your probability of matching at all, whereas building usually does.
- Smaller numbers are less likely to be matched because there are fewer cards that can be matched with it. However, smaller numbers are also more likely to be built upon, as Players wish to set themselves up for a match and do not wish to merely trail a card.