OBJECTIVE OF MUS: Reach 40 points with your partner first!
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players (2 partnerships)
NUMBER OF CARDS: 40 card Spanish deck
RANK OF CARDS: R or 3 (highest), C or 11, S or 10, 7, 6, 5, 4, A(1) or 2(lowest)
TYPE OF GAME: Vying
INTRODUCTION TO MUS
Mus is a card game originating from Basque country, which includes Spain and Southern France. Due to the nature of its geographical origin, it is widely played in Spain and France. The game’s objective is like that of Poker– drawing cards and betting on the best hand- the game is generally not played for money. The oldest known reference to the game was in 1795, when it was quoted in a trilingual dictionary (Basque-Spanish-Latin) by Manuel Larramendi, a philologist.
THE PLAYERS & CARDS
Mus is a 4 player game with fixed partnerships. Partners should sit opposite each other. The game moves counter clockwise.
The Spanish deck has 40 cards.
Suits: Swords, Batons, Cups, & Coins. Suits have no significance in Mus.
Within each suit are Rey (R) or 12, Caballo (C) or 11, Sota (S) or 10, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. The card ranking can be found above.
Point Value of Cards:
R or 3: 10 points
C: 10 points
S: 10 points
7: 7 points
6: 6 points
5: 5 points
4: 4 points
A or 2: 1 point
OBJECTIVE OF MUS
The game is won when a team hits 40 points. This typically takes several hands. Generally, players play for best 2 out of 3 games. Points are counted with Piedras or small stones. Players gain points by having the best hand in each of the categories: Grande (high), Chica (low), Juego (game), and Pares (pairs). Players increase points gained by betting on a category. The betting on these categories follows a strict order, and only after the four rounds is the showdown. At showdown, the hands are revealed and points determined.
A round is one betting round for one of the 4 categories. A hand is the play from the deal, the 4 betting rounds, to the showdown and scoring. A game is the amount of hands needed to reach the 40 point threshold. A match is 2 or 3 games. Win 2+ games to win the match.
THE DEAL & MUS
The dealer shuffles the cards and the player to their left cuts the deck. After, the dealer passes each player 1 card at a time until everyone has 4 cards. The dealer deals counter or anti clockwise. The player to the right of the dealer is the mano.
Players can agree to improve their hands by discarding and being dealt an equal number of new cards. However, all players must agree. This is called the Mus. The players declare one at a time, starting with the mano. The others can agree by also declaring “Mus,” or disagree by saying, “No hay Mus.” If anyone declines, there is no discarding, and the first round of betting begins.
If all agree to mus, each player, beginning with the mano, discards between 1 and 4 cards face-down and are dealt a new equal number of cards. After all the players have their new hands, they may Mus again. This continues until players are satisfied. If the dealer runs out of cards, they can collect the cards that were discarded, reshuffle, and continue.
The player with the highest ranking cards wins Grande. The hand which has the higher ranking first card (if cards are arranged in descending order) wins. If that ties, then compare the second highest card, and so on. Review the card rankings in any possible disputes.
The player with the lowest ranking hand wins Chica. Cards should be arranged in ascending order, with the lowest first card as the winner. Apply the same mechanism for ties as described under Grande.
If no players bet on Chica, the team with the best Chica wins a single stone.
Pares is a collection of 2+ cards of equal rank. There are three different kinds, mentioned below in ascending order:
- Par Simple. 2 cards of equal rank + 2 cards of different rank. The highest ranking pair wins. If pairs are equal, the earliest player to play it wins. The non-paired cards are irrelevant.
- Medias. 3 cards of equal rank + 1 card of different rank. The higher ranking three card set wins.
- Duples. Two pairs. For example, R-R-4-4. A four of a kind (four cards of equal rank) is not significant, it counts as two equivalent pairs.
If players do not bet on pares, players just score their hand’s in the following way:
Par Simple: 1 stone
Medias: 2 stones
Duples: 3 stones
Only the winner scores for Pares, their opponent scores nothing for any of their Pares.
For Juego, consider the card point values mentioned above (which are re-pasted below):
R or 3: 10 points
C: 10 points
S: 10 points
7: 7 points
6: 6 points
5: 5 points
4: 4 points
A or 2: 1 point
Score the cards you have in hand. Achieving Juego means the cards you have in hand are worth (at least) 31 points. That is the best Juego hand, the second best is 32 point. After, the rank in descending order as follows: 40, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33 (the lowest Juego). Points totaling 39 or 38 are impossible. If you have less than 30 points, no Juego! The Mano possessing a true 31 point Juego is considered unbeatable in the general rules.
If players do not bet on Juego, the side with the best score scores for both of their hands: 3 stones for 31 point Juego, 2 stones for any other Juego. The opponents score nothing.
However, if neither side has a Juego, players compete for the best Punto. A Punto is a hand which totals 30 points or less. If it is not bet on, the player with the best Punto earns 1 stone and the other side nothing.
There is a round of betting for each category discussed above. The order of the betting follows a strict routine and are each initiated by the mano and moves to the right. If all players pass, there is no bet on that category.
Grande & Chica Betting
The round starts with the Mano, who either passes (paso) or bets (envido). If they pass, the player to the right may also pass or bet. If all pass the mano starts the betting on the next category.
Bets are stakes of stones, with a minimum of two, on a category. If a player only says, “I bet,” it is an assumed bet of 2 stones. Once someone bets, the opponents have 3 options:
- Fold (No Quiero). The betting side wins that category, opponents forfeit that category. Lose 1 stone.
- See (Quiero). Bet an equal amount, agree the best hand will win the stones staked.
- Raise (Reenvido). Raise the stakes.
Partners may discuss in a disagreement. A partner may override the other by saying, “we fold,” or “we see,” for example.
If one team folds, the other team wins 1 stone for that alone. However, if the bet is seen, the scoring is put off until the showdown. A raise increases the bet by at least 2 stones. Once a team raises, the other side must fold, see, or raise further.
Betting continues until one side folds or sees the final raise. If a partnership folds, the opponents gain the number of stones staked in the first raise.
Pares & Juego Betting
The mechanism for betting in these final two rounds is slightly different than what is described above.
Prior to betting on Pares, each player must announce if they have Pares by saying wither, “yes” or “no.” If at least one player from each team says yes, then there is a round of betting which follows the same procedure described above for Grande and Chica.
If only one team has pares, there is not betting and they will be scored at the end.
Prior to betting on Juego, all the players must declare if they have a Juego. If at least one partner from each team says yes, there is a round of betting following the betting procedure described above. If only one team has a Juego, there is no betting and it will be scored in the end. If everyone says no, there is no scoring for Juego, and the competition for Punto begins. Use the same procedure of betting above for Punto.
An Órdago is a special kind of bet, it is an immediate proposal for a showdown. They stake the outcome of the entire game on a particular category. This may happen in any of the 4 betting rounds. The opponents may fold, losing in the category, or see it for a showdown which decides the game. The word is derived from the Basque word hor dago, which means “here it is.”
THE SHOWDOWN & SCORING
Once the last round of betting concludes, the four players reveal their hands and they are scored. This is done in the same order as betting.
Scoring – Grande & Chica
If any side folded in the betting round it is not scored further, stones were earned in the betting round. Otherwise, the hands are compared to see who has the best hand in that category. The player with the best hand wins the staked amount of stones.
Scoring – Pares
If one team folded during the betting, the other side wins stones despite their hand not necessarily being better. They also score for their pares themselves according to the point structure described above.
If the betting rounds end in a seen bet, players compare their hands, and the best pares win the agreed stake PLUS the value of the pares.
In the event there was no betting, hands are compared, and points are scored based on the scoring mechanism described above which is: Par Simple: 1 stone Medias: 2 stones Duples: 3 stones
Scoring – Juego or Punto
This is similar to scoring pares. If one side folds, the other side wins and takes stones. If there was betting on Juego and one side folded, both players of the winning team take the appropriate amount of stones (3 stones for 31 point Juego, 2 stones for any other Juego).
If the betting round ended with a bet being seen, all players score their hands. If there is a Juego, that team takes the stake PLUS the value of both Juegos in their hands. However, if they are scoring Puntos, the winner takes the stake PLUS 1 stone.
Keep score with small stones or any small object, you will need 22 total. All stones are left in a saucer or bowl in the middle of the playing table and are taken to record score. Players must decide who will score the ones or the piedras and the other holds the fives or ammarroacos.
When a player with the 5s has 7 stones, or 35 singles, they must warn their opponents by declaring “dentro,” meaning they’re 5 points from winning.
Partners can use the following signals to reveal what their hand is while the opponent’s aren’t paying attention. Here are the general signs, although they vary in practice.
Close both eyes: bad cards
Bite your lower lip: 2 Kings, twice for 4 Kings
Show tip of the tongue: 2 Aces, twice for 4 Aces
Distort your mouth to 1 side: you have medias
Raise eyebrows: you have duples
Wink: 31 point Juego