ITALIAN CARD GAME

Published December 27, 2013 by Tony

SEVEN AND A HALF

 


“7 and 1/2” is a popular Italian card game that can be ranked among gambling games.
The game is played using Neapolitan cards (forty cards), but you also can use other regional Italian cards or even French cards (but in this case you should remove all the cards numbered 8, 9 and 10). Therefore, you must have four different suits for each value between ace and 7, plus the twelve figures (see the pics below).
The ideal number of players for this game is 4-6 , but you can already play with 2 players up to a maximum of 10-12 . One of the players get the function of the dealer, which is not fixed, but changes during the game. In turn, the dealer plays one at a time with the other players.
The maximum score to be reached just is “7 and a half” and the purpose of the game is precisely to achieve the highest score possible without ever busting, ie without exceeding the value of 7 and 1/2. The dealer must try to match or exceed the score of the challengers, of course without going bust. The dealer collects the amount wagered by the players if they go busting or getting a score lower or equal to his own. Conversely, the dealer pays the equivalent of the bet to players who surpass his score. The rating is calculated by adding the value  of all the cards that each player has got.

GAME’S RULES

• The cards from Ace to 7 are worth as many points as their numeric value. That is, the Ace is worth 1 point, the 2 is worth 2 points … until to get 7  which is worth 7 points.
• The figures  are worth half a point each [in Neapolitan cards they are: 8 (the woman), the 9 (the horse) and 10 (the king)].
• The 10 (the king), if it has the “seed of coins” (golden) assumes the role of “crazy” or “wild card” (it is the “King of Diamonds” in French cards), and it can take the VALUE of any other card to the discretion of the player who receives it.
The game begins with a single card that the dealer gives to each player (to keep covered on the table and only the player can see). Now the player must play trying to achieve a score of 7 and 1/2 (or a value closest to it), asking dealer for other cards, which this time must be shown (uncovered on the table), and whose value has to be added (algebraic number) to the first received card. In this way, no one knows the player’s score. When the value of the received cards reaches half past seven or values close to 7 , the player will not ask for any more cards and will say, “I’m fine“, “I stop“,  or “I see” and let the dealer to play with his (covered) card. 

Examples of seven and a half are:  one “3” + one “4” + one figure, one “5” + one “2” and a figure, one “7” +  one figure, or  the “crazy” and one “7” (the best!). If the “Seven and a half” is reached using only two cards (7 + one figure), even if using the “crazy” card, we talk about the creation of “Real Seven and a half” or a “legitimate” one. In this case it is worth more than any other “7 and 1/2” reached with different cards. The player who achieves this score receives from the dealer a sum equal to double gambled and the player also becomes the next dealer. If more players make SEVEN and HALF in the same hand, everyone will be paid double, and the player who sits closest to the dealer’s right will become the next dealer, unless the dealer also made a “Real 7 1/2”. On the contrary, if the dealer is who reaches a “Real seven and half”, he collects the double gambled from all the players, except those who also made “Real 7 and 1/2” and those who were offside because busted, from which the dealer receives only the gambled sum. If one of the players realized a “Real 7 and 1/2”  having the “crazy” and a figure, the dealer wins only if he got the same. If the dealer makes a  “seven and half” by using more than two cards, it  is “not legitimate”, and he wins even if the players get the same, except towards the “Legitimate 7 and ½ ”.

THE GAME

At the beginning, each player draws a card from the deck and the one who choses the card with the highest value will be the dealer. In the event that two or more players draw a card of the same value, these ones will repeat the draw. At the beginning of the hand the dealer deals one card face down to each player, and the game begins. Starting from the player seated to his right, the dealer will proceed clockwise. In turn, each player then performs the following operations :
• Look at the own card.
• Make a bet by placing the corresponding amount of money near the covered card. Of course, the stake will depend on the card’s value. At this point, the player decides whether to ask for more cards or stop (to stay). The player may request as many cards as he wants and stop at any time. One at a time, all the cards, subsequent to the first, are dealt face up on the table, so the dealer can see them and realize the score that the player possibly has got. If the player “goes bust” he has to show the card face down and give the money to the dealer, who will proceed to play with the next player.
• If a player busts or achieves 7 and Half must immediately point it out and discover the first card received. When someone goes bust, the bet is immediately withdrawn from the bank, then the game proceeds and the turn passes to the next player.
The maximum score achievable is 7 ½ and in the event of a tie between players and the dealer, this one always wins.
• The Dealer will win the wager to all players who have reached a score lower than his and all the players who went bust, otherwise he must pay the equivalent of the amount played by each player who beat his score.
Once all participants have performed their play, it is the turn of the Dealer, who publically discovers his own card and decides whether “to stay” or take other cards. If the dealer busts, he must pay all the sums bet  from the players still in game. When the dealer decides to stay or is Ok with his cards,  each player has to discover the cards and see who has a higher score (winning) or lower (losing) compared with the dealer’s. Obviously, those who have achieved a higher score will receive the payment of the “bet” on the part of the dealer, who, on the other hand, collects the share played by those who have reached a lower value.
At the end of the round, the Dealer will pass his role to the player sitting to his right, unless the players have not decided a priori that the Dealer loses the role only at the end of the cards in the deck.
As said, who has got the “seven and half” also acquire the right to become the new dealer, bypassing the natural rotation between players.
If more than a player got the real Seven and a half during the same hand, they have not pay the double, and the new Dealer becomes the player closest to the Dealer’s right.
If, however, the Real Seven and a half is made by the Dealer, he will collect a double post by each player at the table, as he will maintain the role to the next round.

seeds

Here you can see the four seeds referring to the 12 figures (coins or suns,  clubs, cups, swords) that are equivalent to the French card’s seeds hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades). These figures are worth half a point each. The King of Suns is the most important card because the player can easily make “Seven and a half”.

Carte_napoletane_al_completo%20WikiCommons Here’s the other cards, from ace to seven.

EXAMPLES

seven and a half  sette e mezzoExamples of “Real 7 and 1/2”

sevenAn example how the king of suns can be used to achieve the maximum value possible (7) with the received card (2), assigning the value 5 to the King.

6 and a halfA player who reaches such a score should stop and stay. If you receive a card from 1 to 5, it is almost obligatory groped in asking for more cards, while it is reasonable “to stay” if you receive one 6 or 7, risking to bust.

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