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How to play Buraco Fechado STBL - game rules

Buraco is a traditional card game which come from Uruguay and Argentina. It was invented in 40's of the 20th century. To this day the most popular is in South America, especially in Brazil. It is a rummy type card game from the canasta family. It is worth to mention that Portuguese buraco means a hole, which is associated with the feeling of sadness after a failure. Buraco has several variants, the basic division is to Buraco Aberto (“open”), called also Buraco classic, and Buraco Fechado (“closed”).

Buraco Fechado can be played by 2 or 4 players. With two players the game is played in 1 on 1 mode, with four players in 2 on 2 mode. On the second mode points of allies are summing up. The game is played with 2 decks of cards with two jokers in each. Total number of cards is 108.

Goal of the game

The main goal of the game is to have as high score as it is possible and throw all cards away. It is not enough to discard first 11 cards to finish the game, like in for example classic rummy. After that player gets another 11 cards from the dead pile. Now, throwing all cards away causes ending of the game. The winner is the player who has more points, not necessarily the one who threw all the cards first. The main actions during the game are melding and discarding.


For every card melded player receive points. Additional points can be achieved by melding special sequences (canastas). Negative points also exist in the game.

Positive points are awarded for:

  • melding the last card and finishing the game (100 points),
  • melding cards, sequences and canastas:
    - 2 (10 points),
    - Joker (50 points),
    - Ace (15 points),
    - K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8 (10 points),
    - 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 (5 points),
    - dirty (mixed) canasta (100 points),
    - clean canasta (200 points),
    - 500 canasta (500 points),
    - real canasta (1000 points)

Negative poinst can be receive for:

  • cards remaining in player's hand at the end of the game,
  • not collecting the dead pile by a player (or one of players in 2 on 2 mode) before the end of the game (-100 points).


Sequences are sets of at least 3 cards of the same suit, which players meld, for example: J , 10, 9.


In the game there are canastas – sequences composed of at least 7 cards of the same suit in consecutive order. They give the player extra points. Melding canastas in proper and considered way has a significant impact on the final score.

Players can meld several variants of canastas, as follows:

  • clean canasta (without wild cards)
  • dirty (mixed) canasta (with wild cards)
  • 500 canasta (from Ace to King – A, 2, 3, 4... K – without wild cards) – cards must be melded in one move
  • real canasta (from Ace to Ace – A, 2, 3, 4... A – without wild cards) – cards must be melded in one move

Wild cards (2, joker)

In the game there are special cards, called wild cards, that can replace any other card – Jokers and Twos. Sequence or canasta with wild card is called dirty or mixed. Player receive less points for dirty canastas than for clean canastas.

Both Jokers and Twos can be moved within a sequence or canasta. For example, when sequence :J, 2, K is melded, we can add to it Q in next rounds. After adding the card the sequence would look like 2, J, Q, K. (2 starts to replace 10♠). The same applies to the joker.

But Twos can be also just a normal cards. It means that if we use (as a wild card) Two in the same suit as the rest of the cards in a sequence, it can become a clean sequence. (Also dirty canasta can become clean canasta). For example if we add 4 to sequence 3, 2, 5 the Two will move to the beginning and the sequence will look as it follows: 2, 3, 4, 5.

How to start

In the beginning players receive 11 cards. Two dead piles are formed (11 cards each). Every dead pile is assigned to one player (1 on 1 mode) or one team (2 on 2 mode). Other cards form a stock pile.

First of all, the starting player draw one card from the stock pile. Now the player can meld cards if it is possible to form sequences with them. If not (or if the player does not want to do it now) he discards one card to the discard pile (called „trash”). Discarding a card ends the round.

In 1 on 1 mode every player has own melds and is adding cards only to them. In 2 on 2 mode allies play together – they can add cards to those melded by their partner.


During next rounds players draw cards from the stock pile or from the discard pile („trash”). Rules describing drawing cards from the discard pile are listed below. After drawing players meld sequenses and add cards to those already melded or simply discar one card. They need to care about melding cards in the best way as it is possible – to get higher score.

After discarding all 11 cards from the player's hand he receive another 11 cards from the dead pile. Now, if player get rid of them, the game is finished. To discard last card players need to have at least one clean canasta.

The discard pile ("trash")

The main difference between Buraco Aberto (classic Buraco) and Buraco Fechado STBL is the „trash”. There are a few rules about it, as it follows:

  • It is forbidden to take only one card from the discard pile – if a player decide to take card from this pile he receive all of cards from there
  • Only last card is visible in the „trash” (if player remember, what was below, has an advantage)
  • To take cards from the discard pile the player need to use the first card immidiately
  • Only after using the first card player receive other cards from the discard pile
  • If the first card is a wild card (Joker or Two) player need to form with it a new sequence (if he can't do that, he can't draw from the discard pile)
  • Players know how many cards is in the discard pile – there is a number of them visible beside the pile

The end

The game is finished if one of the following situations happen:

  • getting rid of all cards by a player (or a team) if the dead pile was already taken and the clean canasta were melded
  • getting rid of all cards if both dead piles were used
  • using all cards from the stock pile if dead piles were used

At the end of the game the player, who threw away the last card, gets 100 points. His opponent gets negative points for every card left on a hand – in accordance with values described above. The winner is the player (or the team) with highest score.