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In this post, I’m sharing with you an Italian card game for Christmas: Sputo. I learned about this fun, easy, endlessly repeatable card game this summer from my Neapolitan/Apulian mother-in-law.
“We used to play for hours and had so much fun back in the sixties,” she said to convince us to compete in a small family tournament. I must admit she was absolutely right. The rules are easy, the fast pace is challenging and euphoria-boosting, and each match lasts a couple of minutes, leaving place to the next defier.

CARD DECKS NEEDED TO PLAY SPUTO

The Sputo card game is played with two fifty-two decks of the standard French-suited cards.

italian card game for Christmas

SETTING THE CARDS FOR PLAYING SPUTO

The players sit at a table, one in front of the other.
The two decks are shuffled and divided into two equal decks (more or less), one for each player.

italian card game for Christmas
italian card game for Christmas

The players set the cards in front of them in seven small piles, starting from the right, as follows:

  • 6 cards face-down, and one on top, face-up;
  • on the left of this pile, another with 5 cards face-down, and one on top, face-up;
  • then 4 cards face-down and one on top, face-up;
  • then 3 cards face-down and one on top, face-up;
  • another pile of 2 cards face-down and one, on top, face-up;
  • another pile of 1 card face-down and one, on top, face-up;
  • finally, one sole card face-up.
Italian playing card game
Italian Christmas playing card game
Italian Christmas card game
italian card game
Italian Christmas game
Italian playing card game

The remaining cards are placed in front of the player, centered between his and the other player’s row. A bit on the right.
The other player does the same but on his side.

Italian Christmas card game sputo

PLAYING

Once the cards are set, and the players are ready, they both shout “Sputo” (which translates into spit, I guess referring to the suddenness and velocity) and, at the same time, turn the first card on both their central piles.

Sputo italian card game

From now on and as fast as possible, they can both place their cards – only the ones facing up, of course – on one or the other central pile, in ascending or descending order, so:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, and 2 again
or
A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and A again

Italian Christmas card game
sputo card game from Italy

RULES

First come, first served – you have to be fast. And think fast!

You can flip the cards of each pile only once the previously flipped has been placed.

Jokers can go anywhere and can be topped with anything.

The winner is the one that first finishes his cards first. Next up!

italian Christmas card game easy
playing cards italy

A time will come when both players are blocked, not having cards to place on either of the central piles. In this case, they’ll flip one more card from each of their – covered- piles simultaneously. And repeat if necessary.

Italian christmas activities
Italian christmas game
playing cards in Italy

That’s it, my dear Italophiles. Enjoy this and all the other fun activities of a noisy, messy, foodie Italian Christmas!

Claudia