The rules and how to play Buraco in 3 players

The most common way to play Buraco is with 4 players but, if needed, it is possible to play with only 3 players. But because of this asymmetric situation it is necessary to change some game rule.

This variation is not so different from the original version, so so we suggest you to learn that rules. Here we will only explain the differences between the two versions.


In this variation it is convenient for players to sit around the table with equal distances between players. The main difference with the original Buraco si the fact than couples will be formed only during the game and will change from one round to the next. So, without knowing who will form the couple, you cannot place in front of a player as usual.

As in the original version the dealer let cut the cards stock by the player at his right and deal 11 card to each of the 3 players. The player at the right of the dealer will form the two "pots", the first of 18 cards (that's important), and the second of 11.

The remaining cards will be placed as usual on the table to form the "stock". The first stock card will be turned and used as "pile" card and the game can start.

Playing phase

At this point the game proceed as in the 2 player version, so every players plays for his own, taking card from stock or pile, creating new runs or adding cards to existing ones in front of him.

The first player to quit his hand will take the 18 cards pot. So the other two players became mates, merge their runs, try to take the remaining 11 cards pot and play against the single player.

The game will go on the usual way until the singole player or the couple quits again, obviously having at least a Buraco!


Scoring is computer in a similar manner as the classic Buraco version. The difference is that the single player of that round will receive all the scored points, meanwhile the couple players have to divide in 2 the points.

The game will and as always when 1000 points are exceeded.

A addictional variation is to introduce an extra round when 1000 points are reached, but with 3 pots of 11 cards and with no couple creation. Who finally scores the most points after this extra round will win the game.

Differences in game strategies

As told before the 3 players game is a middle between the 2-player and the 4-player Buraco.

The first part of the round is the egoistic Buraco as in the 2-player version. Each player will not place his runs on the table to avoid to give useful informations to his opponents.

After the first 18-cards pot has taken the single player will continue to play in egoistic mode, but not too much to risk to pay all cards he still has in his hand. Meanwhile to couple players have to play open, but with the great advantage of no opponents between them and so with the opportunity to pass cards at least from the first player to the second one.