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A card game for four to six players.

Primero is played with a 40 card deck. the 8s, 9s, and 10s must be removed from a normal deck, or a 40 card Spanish primero deck can be used.


All players ante into the pot.


The deal is counter clockwise, starting with the dealer. Two cards are dealt each player, then there is a pause for the first wagering. Two more cards are dealt each player, then eight cards are laid out face down on the table or the remaining cards are left out as a draw pile.

DRAW: There are two ways of playing the draw. The first is to draw from the deck and discard to a separate discard pile. The other is to lay out 8 cards and draw and discard from only those 8 cards.


The play always moves counter-clockwise, starting with the dealer. Each player, in turn may draw and discard one card from the eight cards on the table. When a player is satisfied with the cards he holds, he may knock on the table calling out "Vada". A player may either knock or draw in his turn, but not both. Once a player knocks, he may no longer draw. When two players have knocked, the play stops, and hands are shown.


Wagers start after the first two cards have been dealt, and may be placed after the next two cards have been dealt, and then at every round just before the dealer's turn. the dealer always has the first opportunity for wager, then each player in turn, counter-clockwise, until no player wishes to increase the wager. Players may match, raise, or fold any time during wagering. If all players refuse a bet, it must be withdrawn. The players who have refused the bet have a chance to meet the bet if it is accepted by at least one other player. Players can meet the wager and attempt to raise it. If one player refuses a raise then it must be withdrawn. If all but one player folds, the player to the right of the one still in MUST stay and see the bet, unless another player is willing to take his place.


royal cards = 10 2=12 3=13 4=14 5=15 A=16 6=18 7=21 The Knave (Jack) of Cups (Hearts) may be wild.

HANDS, High to Low:

Chorus - Four of a kind. Fluxus - a flush, all cards in the same suit Punto - A, 6,7,J cards in any suit Supremus - A, 6,7 and one card from any other suit. Primero - one card from each suit Numerus - 2 or 3 cards in the same suit, value of the hand is the sum of the cards making up the Numerus, i.e. two 7's (42 points), beats 3 face cards (30 points). Ties and games with no hands are decided in points.


Primero was the most popular card game in the Renaissance, especially with Ladies and Gentlemen of middle class or higher rank. It is still played in Spain and Hispanic countries. Spanish primero decks are available from some game stores. According to the Merry Gamester, by Walter Nelson, the earliest mention of Primero is in 1526 from an Italian source.

Note: There are no existing written rules for 16th century Primero, only written descriptions. The conventions of play were playtested by the members of the Renaissance Military Society. The rules for games varied from place to place in the 16th century, so various versions of Primero rules can be found.

These rules originally developed by Nicholas Worthington and were rewritten by Julie Adams. Another set of rules can be found in the Merry Gamester by Walter Nelson