Spanish suited playing cards are a subtype of the Latin suited deck. It bears a strong resemblance to the Italian suited deck and some smaller similarities to the French-suited deck. It’s used in many games, often originating from Spain, Italy or even France. They are stilled played in these regions of the world but have also become popular in the Hispanic American regions, the Philippines and even some areas of North Africa. 

Originally the deck was a 48-card version, and while some versions can be bought that still include all 48 cards, the deck has slowly morphed into a common 40 card deck. This happened due to a rise in popularity of games only involving 40 cards to play. 


The deck of Spanish suited playing cards has 4 suits, much like the 52-card decks most people are familiar with. The suits are cups, swords, coins, and batons. In the full 48 card deck, it has numerical cards ranging from 1-9 in these suits. There are also the knaves, cavaliers, and kings of each suit, usually assigned the respective numerical values of 10, 11, and 12.

After the rise in popularity of the 40-card version though the deck has been significantly altered to the point where it is more common to buy the modified deck than the full version. In this version, the 8s and 9s are removed. Leaving the numerical cards of 1-7 and the face cards of knaves, cavaliers, and kings. The most interesting thing I find though is though the 8s and 9s are removed the values of the knaves, cavaliers, and kings remain the same. Leaving a gap between the highest numerical value of 7 and the lowest face value of 10. 


The Spanish deck is used in many games, but here are a few that are popular and have easy to follow rules on our site.

L’Hombre: This game is believed to have been the major cause of the shift to a 40-card deck.

Aluette: A trick-taking card game using the full 48 card deck. Players are partners trying to score points for their team by winning the most individual tricks.

Alcalde: another trick-taking card game, this one using a 40-card deck. 2 players try to defeat a single player known as the Alcalde by winning more tricks.


The Spanish suited deck has been around for a long time and has birth many fun and interesting games to learn and play. Its Latin suited deck roots and its similarities between the Italian and French-suited decks allow this deck to not just span countries and regions but over oceans and around the world. A fun and new experience to some, that has an interesting history to learn as well. That is what makes the Spanish suited deck worth learning, not just for new games but a new experience of playstyle and strategies. You can never be bored of card games because they are ever-changing and almost infinite, and the Spanish suited games are evidence as much as the deck is itself. 

Nakoa Davis