Card Games: The Beast

If you behave like this, you will make me go to Beast!”

How many times have we heard this expression, perhaps from grandmother, mother or girlfriend?

Many might think that this saying was simply passed down by generations of women, instead it owes its luck to a phase of a card game . Just to the game of the Beast .

The beast

The first evidence of the game of the Beast dates back to France in 1739, so about 250 years ago! In fact, it is part of a collection of games described in a sort of encyclopedia that classified all the games in the country, of cards and otherwise, called “Académie Universelle des Jeux – Paris”.

The first Italian testimony is about 15 years later, thanks to the writings of Raffaele Bistenghi in his “practical game” of 1753, in which he described a game of declarations and tricks called, in fact, “Beast”.

Today the game is not exactly the same as it was three centuries ago, although some common features have been preserved. The Beast, today, is a different game, which is played mainly at home, perhaps in the family (for many it is one of those typical “Christmas” games, such as seven and a half or bingo ), or online , thanks to game that give you the opportunity to compete from your PC.

The rules and phases of the game

Beast has many traits in common with Trump and tressette , starting from the deck of cards used: it is played with a deck of forty Neapolitan cards . The value of the cards sees the Ace as the highest card, followed by the Three, King, Knight, Jack and down 7 to 2. As with trump, at the beginning it is decided which suit is trump .

The very first phase of the game sees all participants pay an invitation , a small amount of chips to participate in the round. This sum will be divided equally to the winners of each round.

Afterwards, the dealer deals with the distribution of three cards to each player. The participants in the game can be from three to ten .

Counterclockwise, starting from the dealer’s right, each player faces the first choice of their game: decide whether to withdraw and not participate in the round with those cards, putting them back on the table, or to ” knock “, a gesture that means the intention to participate to the deal, taking the obligation to make at least one hold. Those who initially refused to play can receive three new cards and play with those. This phase is called ” declaration “.

At this point the actual game begins. The player to the right of the dealer discards any card, and the rest of the players will have to “respond” with a card of the same suit . If money is played, money must be played; if the card is clubs, clubs must be played, and so on. If one does not have that suit, he can play a trump. The player who played the highest card (or the highest trump) will win the round and take the trick.

This procedure is repeated for two more rounds, corresponding to the two cards left in the players’ hands.

Once the tricks have been made, the pot is divided among those who have made the three tricks: one third each, equally divided. However, if one of the players has not made any tricks, in the jargon it is said that he ” goes mad ” and will be forced to pay the entire amount of the pot, which will be shared in the following rounds!

The variants

There are variants of the classic Beast, that is, as we have seen it: in particular, among the most widespread there is the 4-card one (in which the fundamental difference is that the player “goes to the Beast” if he does not make at least two tricks, not plus one); the Beast ” in the dark “, in which the dealer pays an amount before the distribution that forces all the other players to pay it, if they want to participate in the upcoming round, to then play the round without the possibility of withdrawing. In the ” Cuckoo ” mode , players must decide whether to play before even seeing the trump, risking having three very strong cards in their hand as well as three not very useful cards.


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