OBJECTIVE OF CALABRESELLA: The objective of Calabresella is to score the most points in a round. 


MATERIALS: One modified 52-card deck or a 40-card Italian suit deck, chips or money, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Point-Trick Card Game



Calabresella is a point-trick game playable by 3 players. The game traditionally uses an Italian deck of 40 cards, but a modified 52-card deck is a good replacement. Calabresella is unusual as a point-trick game because it has no trump suit.

Each player is trying to score the majority of the points in a round. The player who completes this will win the bids made by other players. Points are earned by winning cards in tricks and winning the last trick. 

This is also a bidding game meaning chips or money will be exchanged for winning rounds. 


To set up a 52-card deck will need to be modified. Players will need to remove the 8s, 9s, and 10s from the deck. This will leave the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 7s, 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s, and 2s. 

Players should also determine the stakes for the bids, and what amount is equivalent to 1 in the Scoring section below.

A dealer should be chosen at random and this will pass counterclockwise each new round. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal each player 12 cards in batches of 4 cards. The remaining cards are placed in the center and used later. After this, the bidding will begin.

Card Rankings and Values

In Calabresella there is a ranking and values attached to the cards. There are no trumps in this game, so all cards of the same rank are equal in suit as well. 

The ranking for Calabresella is 3 (high), 2, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 7, 6, 5, and 4 (low). 

There are values attached to some cards these values are as follows. The aces are worth a point each. 3s, 2s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks are all worth 1/3 of a point. There is also a point given to the player who wins the last trick. 


After the cards are dealt a round of bidding begins. Players will be bidding to see who will play alone against the other two players on a team. the player who bids the highest will be playing solo. The bidding will go counterclockwise from the player on the dealer’s right. 

Players have three options for bids and may bid or pass on their turn. The bids are ranked from lowest to highest in this order Chiamo, Solo, and Solissimo. 

Chiamo means a player may both call a certain card the opponents hold and gets to exchange cards from the monte, which are the remaining cards that are not dealt out. Solo means the player will exchange from the monte but will not call a card. Solissimo means the bidder will not call a card or exchange from the monte. 

Each player may bid higher than the last bid or pass. If all three players pass before a bid is made, cards are collected and redealt to restart the round. If a bid of Solissimo is made the round of bidding is over. Otherwise, the bidding will end once 2 players have passed on bidding higher than the last bid. 

The winner of the bid will now be allowed to exchange and call a card if their bid allows them to. 


First if allowed, the bidder will call a card they do not possess. The will name rank and suit and if either player on the opposing team has the card, they will pass it to the dealer faceup. If neither has it then no cards are passed. 


If the bidder is allowed, they will then exchange cards from the monte. The 4 cards remaining on the table are flipped faceup. These will be placed in the bidder’s hand and if the bidder called a card previously and was given a card from the opposing team, the bidder must now pass a card from their hand to that player. Then four cards from the bidder’s hand will be placed facedown as the new monte. These will be used in scoring later. Each player now has 12 cards in hand again. 


In Solissimo the bidder does not call or exchange cards, but they may increase the stakes. They may call Dividete or Scegliete. A call of Dividete means the opponents will get to draw two cards each from the monte and discard any two cards from their hands they wish back in. Scegliete means the monte is flipped and the opponents may then choose which player receives which cards and then discard back into the monte facedown 4 cards. 


The game is lead by the right of the dealer unless Solissimo was called. In this case, the bidder will lead. The game is played counterclockwise. Any card may be led, and players are not required to follow suit. The player who plays the highest card of the suit led wins the trick and leads the next. This continues until all tricks are won.


Once all tricks have been won the scoring can begin. The player who won the last trick collects the monte to score as well. Players then will score their points and the opponents will total theirs together. 

If the bidder won the majority of the points, 6 or more, the bidder has won the round and is plaid an amount determined by the bid. If the bidder failed to score the majority of the points, they must payout to each opponent the amount determined by the bid. 

The amount the bids should payout is as follows. A Chiamo is worth 1. A solo is worth 2. A Solissimo is worth 4, and if increased to Dividete is worth 8 and if Scegliete is worth 16. 

The scores can be affected if the bidder wins all the tricks or if the bidder wins or loses all the points, and this is done without winning or losing all the tricks. These are called Cappotto and Stramazzo respectively. Cappotto means the amount paid is doubled and Stramazzo means the amount paid out is tripled. 


The game ends when players wish not to bid anymore. 

Nakoa Davis