Cuarenta: how to play this Ecuadorian card game

“40” is a traditional card game of Ecuador. There are “40” tournaments, competitions and prizes during the Quito holidays. So here the rules, as we know them, some may vary.

It takes 2 persons or 2 couples (4 people max).


A playing card of 52 is used, but the number 8,9,10 cards are separated to use them as points or “perros” (dogs) , and the remaining 40 are used to played.


If 2 couples play, each one sits in front of their teammate; When 2 people play among them, they sit straight ahead.


To win by getting to 40 points, defeat the rival team in 2 out of 3 games. To win each game you must get to 40 points before the other team.


  • The 8,9,10 cards are separated to turn them into dogs (points).
  • 1 dog face up = 2 points
  • 1 dog face down = 10 points
  • Of the 40 cards, each player draws one, the highest one starts distributing.
  • The one with the highest card shuffles the cards and splits the card to the player on their left and then distributes 5 cards to each player starting on the right.
  • If she/he makes a mistake in the distribution, the rivals can call her/him out by saying “2 por shunsho” and gets a “dog” (2 points).
  • If a player has 3 of the same card they say “dos por guapa/o” and the team receives 2 points
  • The player to the right of the dealer starts by throwing a card.
  • The next player may say “caída”(fall) if they have the same card (2 points per fall), if not they can throw any card they wish.
  • When a card of the same number is thrown, they can take other consecutive cards available, Ex: 3 on 3 and takes 4 and 5
  • You can also add the cards on the table and if you have in your cards the number with the answers (Ex: with a 5 it takes 2 and 3 or 4 and A) it takes the cards with the numbers that add to their card.
  • If you “clean” the table (leaves no cards on the table) you take 2 points.
  • At the end of the two rounds (after the cards are finished in the first round, you deal again) the number of cards that have been lifted by each couple are counted.
  • If they exceed 20 cards, they start counting from 6 Ex: 18, 19, 20, 6, 7, 8 (these numbers represent the number of points taken. If it is an odd number, you take the next number in account ex: 7 which gives 8)
  • If the couple reaches 38 points, they will not be able to reach 40 by adding cards or in any other way than by CAIDA (fall). When they reach 38 points they say “38 que no juega” (38 that doesn’t play) and announces to the rivals that with a CAIDA (fall) the game ends and they win.