As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, we spend a little bit of time every day in class attempting to learn a traditional Argentine card game that is sort of like poker…but mostly not like poker. It is called truco which means trick, or deceive. It is played in partners with a Spanish deck of cards. The game is really complex and after more than a week of practicing; I think I finally understand most of the basic principles. The game is normally played in teams with the most common number of players being 4 and 6. Each player is given 3 cards. Each card has a “value” that allows it to either beat or be beaten by other cards. The ordered list that says which card beats which is difficult to learn as it does not necessarily go in order and certain cards with the same number have very different values depending on the suit. During each round it may become necessary for the team to communicate what cards they have, to do this signs are used. However, there are so many signs that each team plays with the same signs every time making it crucial that you pass the sign to your partner without the other team seeing. Some of the signals include: raising your eyebrows, winking, twitching your mouth to one side or the other, a silent kiss, biting your lip, blinking both eyes, or leaning your head to one side slightly. To make the game even more complicated add to the mix, that certain words are prohibited and you must only say them in very specific circumstances. Also, the game comes with its own phrases and lingo. Once you have learned to play, it really is a fun game as there are so many different ways that you can strategize with your partner or try to trick the other team. I would love to teach you all how to play when I get back…but somehow I just don’t think that I am patient enough!