Seven and a Half

Seven and a Half

OBJECTIVE OF SEVEN AND A HALF: Total seven and a half with your hand, or as close as possible, without exceeding it.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4-6 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 40-card deck (52 card deck without 8s, 9s, and 10s.)

TYPE OF GAME: Gambling

AUDIENCE: Adult


INTRODUCTION TO SEVEN AND A HALF

Seven and a half is a Spanish gambling game that uses packs of 40 or 48 cards. The Spanish pack of cards has four suits: oros (coins), bastos (sticks), copas (cups), and espadas (swords). The three picture cards are: sota (jack or 10), caballo (horse or 11), and rey (King or 12). Generally, Seven and a Half is played with the 40 card deck. In this game, players play against the bank.

Card Values

Aces: 1 point (each)

2-7: Face value

Face Cards: 1/2 a point (each)

THE BETTING & THE DEAL

Prior to starting the game, a minimum and maximum bet must be decided upon.

The banker acts as the dealer, this person may be chosen randomly. This player continues to deal until a player scores exactly 7.5, this player claims the bank.

The dealer shuffles and cuts the cards. All players, except the banker, place a bet within the predetermined limits. The banker/dealer then deals each player a single card, face-down. The deal starts to the right of the dealer and passes counter-clockwise, so that the dealer ends with themselves. Keep cards secret during play.

THE PLAY

Starting to the dealers right, on each player’s turn they may ask for extra cards to improve their card total.

  • If a player is satisfied with their total, they stay- they do not receive an extra card and play passes to the next player.
  • If a player wishes to increase their total, they can ask for an additional card from the dealer.
    • If the cards exceed 7.5 points, they have gone bust, show your cards and forfeit your bet.
    • If the cards are exactly 7.5 points, show your hand. Your turn is finished and you will most likely win, unless the dealer has a better hand.
    • If the cards are still less than 7.5 points, you may ask for another card. You may ask for as many cards as you like, so long as you don’t bust.

Additional cards are dealt face-up, while the initial card remains face-down. Once players finish their turns, the dealer reveals their hand. The dealer may take extra cards as well but they still cannot see other player’s face-down card.

  • if a dealer goes bust, they owe each player who hasn’t gone bust their stake plus an additional equal amount.
  • If the dealer stays at 7.5 points or lower, the dealer wins the stakes of players who have hands of equal or lesser value. Players with a higher total are paid out their stake plus and equal additional amount.

The dealer/banker wins all ties.

If a single player scores 7.5 points, they win and control the bank on the next hand. If more than one player reaches 7.5 points in the same hand, not including the dealer/banker, the player closest to the right of the dealer controls the bank in the next hand.

VARIATIONS

Italian Rules

Seven and a Half in Two Cards (sette e mezzo d’embleé)

If a player scores 7.5 with two cards, a seven and a face card, they beat 7.5 hands with multiple cards. They receive double their stake during payout. However, if the dealer creates 7.5 with two cards they do not collect double the stake from each player.

Wild Card

One picture/face card designated as the wild card. The value may be 1-7 or 1/2.

Pairs of Sevens (sette e mezzo triplé)

A hand with two 7s, and nothing else, beats all other hands. This hand must be shown once it is made. Players who have this hand receive triple their stake from the banker. A dealer with this hand only takes the stakes from every player, that is all. Players with this hand control the bank in the next deal.

Spanish Rules

Asking for face-down cards

Players may ask for cards face-down. However, only one card may remain face-down at a time, so the card the player currently has face-down must be flipped over. This must be done before receiving the new card face-down.

Splitting Pictures

Hands with two picture/face cards may be split. This means they may be separated and played as two different hands. If you choose to split, you must place a stake for the second hand that is at least equal to the stake placed for the first hand. You may split hands indefinitely.

 

REFERENCES:

http://www.ludoteka.com/seven-and-a-half.html

https://www.pagat.com/banking/sette_e_mezzo.html

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