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As a card game called Burraco is known to be rummy type game but with fixed partnerships also defined as part of the canasta family.


Burraco has a large following in Italy and Brazil and is a game for four persons played in partnership in foursomes. It is mostly considered a variation of Canasta.

The Deal

Two packs of cards are used, with the jokers and two’s being wild. The deck is cut by the players with the lowest card dealing to the highest card. Dealer then shuffles the cards and the player to their right cuts the deck. After this dealer then deals eleven cards to each player using the bottom half of the cut pack in a clockwise rotation. The player on the dealers right, using the top half of the cut pack, deals two sets of eleven cards. These stacks (called ‘POTS’) from the bottom of the the pack which are ‘crossed’ and placed on a corner of the table. At the end of the deal the balance of the cards are placed in the center of the table. The top card turned over and placed next to it. This forms the ‘discard pile’.

Beginning the Game

The game begins with the first player either taking the card from the ‘discard pile’, or from the top of the deck in the center of the table. As the game progresses players wanting cards from the ‘discard pile’ have to pick up all cards in the ‘discard pile’. The idea is to form sets (cards of the same value), or runs (cards of the same suite that run sequentially), and put them on the table with a minimum of three cards. Twos and jokers can be used as substitutes as they are wild. At the end of each turn the player must discard a card on the discard pile. No other play is allowed ie. putting down cards, substituting or changing the discard until the next turn.

Taking the Pot

The player that puts down all eleven cards (plus what they may have picked up from the discard pile), may then take the ‘pot’ of eleven cards placed earlier on the corner of the table. Taking the pot can be done in two ways

You may put down your eleven cards and discard the last card on the discard pile. At that point you would wait until your partners’ turn before picking up the pot.

Known as “in flight”, where the player uses all their cards with out discarding and may then pick up the pot and continue playing, all in one turn.

Forming a Canasta

You form a ‘CANASTA’ is when a seven card set or run is formed. A canasta can be either one of two types. The first type is referred to as ‘dirty’, which has jokers or twos in the make up of the seven cards. Second type is known as ‘pure’, which does not contain jokers or twos. A dirty canasta has half the points value of a pure canasta. Jokers or twos may be replaced in canasta’s by the card they represent.

Goal of Burraco

The aim of the game is to finish any combinations of sets or runs you and your partner have. The game finishes when the following three criteria are met:

  • One of the players can take the pot by finishing their first hand of eleven cards.
  • Their couple have taken the pot.
  • At least one canasta (pure or dirty) has been made.

Card Values and Points System

  • Jokers = 30 points
  • Wild card = 20 points
  • Aces = 15 points
  • 3,4,5,6,7 of any suite = 5 points
  • 8,9,10,J,Q,K = 10 points
  • Dirty Canasta = 100 points
  • Pure canasta = 200 points
  • Closing the game = 100 points
  • Failing to take the pot = minus 100 points

Final Tally

At the end of the game all cards on the table are positive points, and all cards still in the hand are negative. You then add all the positive points, less all the negative points gives you a net point value. The first to reach 20 wins.