Replica of a Spanish deck printed in Valencia, in 1778, from the Fournier Museum, Alava, Spain.
|Playing time||25 min.|
|Truco, Put, Aluette|
Truc, pronounced [tʁy(k)] in France and [tɾuk] in Spain, is a 15th-century bluff and counter-bluff trick-taking card game which has been likened to poker for two. It is played in Occitania, Sarthe (where it is known as trut), Poitou (tru) and the Basque Country (truka), and is still very popular in the Valencia region (joc del truc). More elaborate versions are widely played in Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Paraguay and Brazil under such names as Truco, Truque and Truquiflor.
The game of Truc probably originates from the end of the Middle Ages in Spain, regarding the etymology of the word, which means "trick" (or to trick into false announcements), later migrating to France.
The Diccionario de Pompeu Fabra states that Truc is a game of cards usually played by four players, each receiving three cards and scoring points for winning two of the three tricks, and whose bluffing objective is to trick the opponent into conceding the number of points summed by the point value of two cards of the same suit under a vie, and in some variants of Truquiflor, by having Flor or a winning Flor (a group of three consecutive cards of the same suit) whose point value is higher than another.
Francesc de Borja i Moll, in his Diccionari Català, offers a similar definition, recalling the hierarchy of the cards as: 3 2 A K Q J 9 8 7 6, and a brief entry on the Matarrata variant, a similar game in which the 7 ♦ ranks higher than 7 ♠, A ♣ and A ♠.
Two players use a 32-card pack ranking 7 8 A K Q J 10 9 in each suit. A rubber is the best of three games, and a game is 12 points, which may require several deals to reach. Players deal in turn with the first dealer being chosen by any agreed means.
Players receive 3 cards dealt in 1s. The aim in each deal is to win two tricks, to win the first trick if it comes to be that both players win one and the third is tied, by making the opponent fold to a raise. Non-dealer may also propose a redeal if dealer agrees. The hands are put aside and each receives 3 new cards. Only one redeal may be made, and only if both players agree.
Non-dealer leads to the first trick and the winner of each trick leads to the next. As Truc is a no-trump game, any card may be played by either player and tricks are taken by the highest card led regardless of the suit played. If both play cards of equal ranks, the trick is then considered "spoilt", belonging to none of the players, and the same leader leads to the next.
Theoretically, the winner scores one point to every game. However, before playing to a trick, either player may offer to increase the score for a win by asking: "Two more ?". The first such increase raises the value from 1 point to 2, and subsequently increases add 2 more each, raising the game value from 2 to 4, than 6, and so on. If the other says: "Yes", play continues, if not he throws his hand in, play ceases and the challenger scores whatever it was worth before he offered to raise. It is possible for both players to raise in the same trick (the leader before leading to a trick and, if accepted, the follower before replying). It is also legal to concede at any time, even if the other has not just offered to double.
An even more drastic raise may be made if either players on his turn to play may declare: "My remainder (Mon reste), thus jump-raising the game value to whatever he needs to make 12. To this, however, the opponent may either concede, in which case the increase does not take effect, or may himself announce "My remainder", in which whomever wins the deal wins the game. The round finishes when one player concedes or when trick tricks have been completed. Whoever took three tricks, or the first if each took one, scores the point, or whatever value it may have been increased to. If all three tricks were spoilt, neither player scores.
Four players sit crosswise in partnerships. The turn to deal and play is counter-clockwise. The dealer acts as governor for his partnership and eldest hand as governor for his. Only eldest may propose an exchange, and only dealer may accept or refuse it. Eldest leads to the first trick, and each subsequent trick is led by the winner of the last, or by the previous leader if the trick is spoilt. Similarly, only the governor may accept or concede when an increase is proposed.
Throughout play, governor's partner may indicate what card or cards he holds by means of conventional code or gestural signals, and the governor for his part may tell his partner what to play. Players may not reverse these roles. The holding of a Seven is indicated by a grin, an Eight by a wink, an Ace by a shrug. Naturally, the signaller will attempt to signal when his governor is looking and his opponents are not. An instruction may take the form: "Play the Seven", "Play low", "Leave it to me", and so on. Signals must be truthfully made, and instructions obeyed.
A trick is spoilt if the highest card played by one side is matched in rank by the highest card played by one of the other. In case of a tie-winning trick played by two partners, whichever of them led to it first, leads two the next, and if neither of them two led, the trick is then spoilt just as if one of the tied cards were played by the other side.