The Chinchón card game is a member of the Rummy family showing close similarities to Gin Rummy. The game is extremely popular in Argentina, Spain (in the Basque region referred to as Txintxon, Uruguay (referred to as Conga) and Cape Verde.
The objective of the game is to be the first to expose all of your cards at once by binding them into straight flushes or sets of matching cards. Alternatively, you should strive to be the only one to stay within the predetermined point limit.
How to Play Chinchón?
Chinchón is normally played with 2-8 players. Each player is on it’s own, there are no teams.
The game requires a 40- or 48-card deck of Spanish playing cards. In the case of playing with 40 cards, all of the Eights and Nines are removed. When playing with more than 4 players you will need 2 decks.
The cards are arranged as follows, going from highest to lowest: Joker, King, Horse, Jack, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two and Ace. The Joker serves as a wild card. The exact card point values can be seen below.
It is important to note that the Ace of Coins/Pentacles also represents a wild card, meaning that you can use it instead of any other card. So it is similar to a Joker, making it a unique card in this game.
To choose who will deal the first hand of cards, a draw is conducted first. In every game of Chinchón, the player sitting to the right of the person who just dealt the cards will make the deal. Play is counter-clockwise.
As soon as it is their turn, a player can select either the top card of the deck or pick a card from the discard pile. In order the end their turn the player is supposed to get rid of one card in their hand. This is done by leaving it face up on the discard pile.
Turns will keep passing to the player on the right up until player a closes (more on this below). In the case of running out of cards before someone is able to close, the discard pile will be reshuffled and cut. If this happens a second time, the game ends and all the players will have to play their hands.
The plays you can make are as follows:
- Match at least 3 cards of the same value (for example 3 Kings)
- Make a straight of at least 3 cards of the same suit (suits are Swords, Cups, Coins and Clubs)
A straight in Chinchón constitutes to at least 3 cards of sequential rank. The best straight you can make is one of 7 cards, this is called “Chinchón” and it is the best move in the game.
It is also important to note that a regular Ace can not match with a King, only with a Two. The Ace of Coins like mentioned before, serves as wild card and can match with anything.
Closing of the hand can only happen after at least 1 full round is played. After that the player can close in the following scenario’s:
- If the player melded all of the cards in their hand.
- The player melded all but one of the cards in their hand, and that card has a maximum score of 3 or 5 (depending on the deck you are playing with).
The discard card must be placed on the discard pile with its face down in order for the player to close.
There are multiple scenarios which we listed below:
- The winner is the one who doesn’t go over the points limit.
- If everyone goes over, the person with the fewest points gets the win.
- In the event of a tie, the person with the fewest re-entries will win the game.
- If there is still a tie after multiple rounds, all of the players will split the pot’s points as winners.
The rules of Chinchón are summarized as follows:
- A point limit must be decided upon by the players prior to play.
- Who starts dealing is decided by a draw.
- Players are dealt 7 cards.
- Player on the right side of the dealer gets the next deal, so counter-clockwise.
- The deck can only be reshuffled once.
- Combinations need to consist out of at least 3 cards.
- Regular Aces can not match with Kings, only with Twos.
- Ace of Coins and Jokers are wild cards
- Closing can only happen after the 1st round
- The winner is the one who doesn’t exceed the set points limit, or the one with the fewest points.
- The total of the other players’ points will be distributed to the winner as a ‘prize’.
Scoring & Points
As we already know, the goal is to remain within the predetermined point-limit (70 or 100 are the most common).
The final score of a player is determined by the value of the cards left in their hand. If they manage to close their hand by playing all their cards, 10 points are subtracted.
If they manage to close with a “Chinchón”, they will immediately win the game. In the case of a “Chinchón” including a Joker, 25 points will be subtracted.
Card Values Chart
|Ace of Coins||25|
Strategy & Tips
Crucial to Chinchón strategy is to observe and keep track of each player’s discards in addition to the cards they remove from the pot. This will enable many things, like for example:
- By being aware of the cards that have been removed by other players or lost in the pot, you may determine which combinations are viable and which are not.
- To be aware of which of your melded cards can be used in the game’s final moves by other players.
- Always try to dispose of the cards with a high point value so they don’t add up to your final score.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many cards do you get in Chinchón?
Each player receives 7 cards in Chinchón.
When can you cut the deck?
After the game runs out of all the cards and no one has been able to close.
What happens when you end up with a Joker?
You can not close your hand with a Joker left in your hand as it counts for 25 points. On the other hand, when the game ends and you are left with a Joker, 25 points will be added to your score.