hist-games: Baraja Espanola

Víktor Bautista i Roca viktor at drac.com
Tue Jan 17 14:49:21 PST 2006

A Diumenge 15 Gener 2006 13:08, ADRIAN SEVILLE va escriure:
> 1. This is a normal Spanish pack ('baraja'=deck of cards) of 48 cards -
> numerals 1 - 9 and picture cards rey (king) caballo (horseman) and sota
> (valet) in each suit: bastos (clubs), espadas (swords) oros (coins) and
> copas (cups). The additional non-suited cards are for use as jokers
> (comodines).

	According to my passport, I myself am a Spanish, although I consider myself a 
Catalan. But, what has this political statement to do with cards?

	Well, a normal Spanish deck "in Catalonia" is a deck of 48 cards. But a 
normal Spanish deck "in Spain" is a deck of 40 cards... 1 to 7 and 10 to 12 
(8 and 9 are missing).

	I remember, being 14, first time out of Catalonia, I bought a card deck. Once 
out of the shop I openned it and found no 8 or 9. So, of course, I returned 
to the shop and told the seller there was something wrong with the cards! 
Well, they laughed at me, asked me where I came from, and told me that there 
that was the normal deck.

	Aside, usually card makers have two lines of cards, according to their 
design, Spanish style and Catalan style. Both have the same suits, and the 
same figures, but a different kind of artwork, more different than between 
English and French cards. Also, Spanish style decks include 40 or 48 card, 
usually 40, but Catalan style decks include always 48 card.

	By the way, in Catalan there's a saying used to qualify something as a 
nonsense. You can say something is "vuits i nous i cartes que no lliguen", 
"eights and nines and cards which do not match", because in many games you 
don't use eights and nines and the very first thing you do before playing is 
looking at all the cards and put aside eights and nines. I suppose that in 
Spanish games this tendence is so overwhelming that they decided to stop 
producing these cards.

	By the way, in France they sell what you call here a Spanish pack as "Cartes 
Catalanes", as there is a part of Catalonia also in France and of course they 
use the same cards as us. I think they use this kind of cards in other parts 
of Southern France.

	Also, in Italy, they use the same. One difference between the one used in 
Spain and France and the ones in Italy is that ours have a borderline around 
the card, like the one in English cards, but with a special meaning. The line 
is continuous only in "oros" (coins). On "copes" (cups) on top and bottom 
there is a discontinuity. On "espases" (swords), there are two 
discontinuities and on "bastos" (clubs) three. So looking just at the top (or 
bottom) of a card:

	1 _______ would be 1 of oros
	1 ___ ___ would be 1 of copes
	1 __ _ __ would be 1 of espases
	1 _ _ _ _ would be 1 of bastos

	Someone in the list suggested that Italian people using this card could be 
because of Bourbons being kings of Naples and Spain at the same time. Well, 
in fact, it was just half a century, during the XVIII century. But before, 
during two hundred years, the kingdom of Naples was part of the Aragon Crown 
(the one including Catalonia, and with Barcelona as the capital). 

	And about this kind of playing cards being older, or closer to the ones 
played on Middle Ages, at least here, it is believe that ours are the 
original cards, and French and Germanic ones are the derived ones, but, well, 
as far as I know, the documents show the three of them from the very 
beginings of card playing.

> [Spanish-design packs of 52 cards (with K Q J) called 'Poker
> espanol' are also in general use and there are also packs of 40 cards that
> omit the 8s and 9s].

	For me it was the first time I heard about this so called "poker español"! 
I've got to gogle a lot to find any references. I've found that two card 
makers produce them, but I would not say they are in "general use". At least 
not here. I've asked some people, people who play a lot, and none but had 
ever seen such a deck.



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