The game of Kalooki 40 (Scala 40 or Scala a Chiusura in Italian) is a very famous card game which established itself in the early 1920s, taking over from Rummy, one of the most popular games of the time.

History of Kalooki 40

Kalooki 40 therefore replaced Rummy, which was a strange twist of fate given that Kalooki 40 inherited most of its rules from this game. However, it is now considered a game in its own right and is more widely played than Rummy. Kalooki 40 is played with two decks of 54 cards. This game uses poker cards, also known as Anglo-American cards. The number of players can vary from two to five (although it can also be played with more players) and there are no teams. Each player plays for him or herself, against all the others.

How to play Kalooki 40

Once the dealer (the player who distributes the cards) has been chosen, 13 cards will be dealt face-down to each player, in a clockwise direction, with a face-up card in the middle of the table, which acts as the discard pile.

As in the game of Burraco, the rest of the deck will remain face-down next to the discard pile. The deck of remaining cards is known as the “stock pile” in the jargon of Kalooki 40. When it is their turn, each player will take a card from the stock pile, placing it with the cards in their possession and discarding another, or will discard the card directly by placing it on the discard pile.

At the start of the game, when they receive the 13 cards, the players may only look at them after the dealer has turned over the first card in the discard pile.

If the cards have been dealt incorrectly, not dealing one card per head, the person who decides to scrap the round must point out the mistake before he or she discards his or her first card, therefore causing the cards to be dealt out again.

In order to meld, you need to form two or three sets of three and/or one or more sets of four, or runs, which must add up to a total of at least forty points.

The cards in the run must be ordered according to their nominal value (that is to say, from the Ace to the King). The cards have their nominal value.

Picture cards are worth ten points. The Ace is worth one point if it is in a run or before the Two, while it is worth 11 points if it forms a set of three or is placed in a run after the King.

As in Burraco, the aim of the game is to go out, that is to say to meld all your cards on the table, creating sets of three and four, or runs, and discarding the last card in your hand onto the discard pile.

The person who goes out first has won the round. Opponents must reveal the cards remaining in their hand and count the points.

Those who have lots of cards left in their hand, generating a leftover card score that exceeds the losing value, are eliminated from the table.

The losing score, which will cause a player to be eliminated from the game, is 101 points, although at the start of the game you can decide to take it up to 151, 201 or 501 points.

Before the start of the game, the players may also agree upon the right of a “losing” player to re-enter the game with a penalty and with the highest score from amongst those of the players still in the game. Biska has chosen not to adopt this practice as it could lead to never-ending games.

It is not possible to go out during the first round (or the first hand). In order to be able to go out, the first round must have been completed, with all the players having had their turn. This gives everyone a chance to try to meld.

Using the Joker

When you meld a combination on the table (set of three or four, or a run), a Joker can be used to replace any card you are missing from that combination.

After having melded, a player may decide to take a card from the discard pile, limited to the card discarded by the previous player. Those who have not yet melded may only take a card from the stock pile.

It is also possible to draw a card from the discard pile in order to meld straight away. You may meld at any time, even during the first hand. Moreover, once a player has melded, he or she may then lay off one or more cards onto other combinations already present on the table. Players may add cards after having drawn from the discard or stock pile.

If one of the combinations on the table includes a Joker and you possess the card that the Joker replaces, you may place your card in the combination and take the Joker, placing it in your hand.

At the end of play, the individual player who has not yet gone out, must discard a single card in his or her possession, obviously choosing one which he or she feels will be of no use in upcoming rounds.