Scopa Simplified: Mastering Italy’s Beloved Card Game


Welcome to the ultimate beginner’s guide for mastering Scopa, the classic Italian card game that has captivated players for centuries. Whether you’re seeking a fun family game night option or wish to indulge in traditional card games with friends, Scopa offers simplicity, strategy, and enjoyment. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the basic rules, scoring, and strategies of Scopa, to ensure you’re well-prepared to win your next game night.

The Basics of Scopa

Scopa, which means “sweep” in Italian, is usually played with a standard Italian 40-card deck, divided into four suits: cups, coins, swords, and clubs. The game can be played by two to six players, making it a versatile choice for gatherings of any size.

Setting Up the Game

  • Deck: Use a 40-card Italian deck or a standard 52-card deck by removing 8, 9, and 10s.
  • Dealer: Choose a dealer randomly for the first game; afterwards, the deal rotates.
  • Dealing Cards: Deal three cards to each player and four face-up cards in the middle of the table.

Gameplay and Rules

The goal of Scopa is to capture cards from the table that equal the value of the card played from your hand. Players take turns in clockwise order, with each turn consisting of playing a card from their hand and capturing cards, if possible. If a player cannot make a capture, they place one of their cards face-up on the table.

Capturing Cards

Card Played Possible Captures
2 of coins Any single 2 card on the table
7 of swords Multiple cards that add up to 7 (e.g., 5 and 2)

Scoring in Scopa

In Scopa, points are awarded based on specific criteria achieved during gameplay. The first team or player to score 11 points wins the game.

Scoring Criteria

  1. Scopa: Sweeping all table cards grants one point.
  2. Most Cards: The player with most cards at the end earns one point.
  3. Most Coins: Owning the most coin cards gives one point.
  4. Settebello: Holding the 7 of coins awards one point.

Winning Strategies

Mastering Scopa not only requires understanding the rules but also developing strategies. Keep track of what cards have been played, prioritize capturing coin cards, and aim to claim the 7 of coins, also known as Settebello, early in the game. Additionally, paying attention to your opponent’s moves and anticipating their strategy can give you an upper edge.


Scopa is more than just a card game; it’s a bridge to Italian cultural traditions and a fun way to strengthen mental agility and strategic thinking. With this guide, you’re now equipped to dive into the world of Scopa, enjoy its rich history, and bring zest to your game nights. Gather your friends or family, set the table, and get ready for an enthralling game of Scopa!

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