Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

BASSETTA, Basset, Barbacole, Hocca

A simple and mean game, big fortunes were dilapidated on it ...

Bassetta was invented in 1593 from the noble Venetian Pietro Cellini and quickly became the most popular card game.

It is a simple game for 3-4 players and the banker, with two 52 cards' decks: each player would receive 13 cards and would show one or more on which he would put the bet.

If the banker would display a card of the same value (type of suit is not important) the Bank wins, and the opposite is true.

There is no real skill involved, and there is the big risk of raising and raising the bets, thus opening the possibility to high losses.

The game in itself is totally defined by chance, but the way of playing it with the Banker - who has several advantages - makes it a thrill in which the player thinks he is in control.

It was intended for persons of the highest rank because of the great losses or gains that might be accrued by the players.

Here is the opinion of Flavio Alberto Lollio - Ferrarese, in the booklet: "Invettiva contra il Gioco del Tarocco" (1590), in which he is comparing how the two games, Tarocco and Bassetta, are bad and dangerous for men:

"Giuoco maligno, perfido, e bugiardo:
Giuoco, che mette
i tuoi danari à squarzo:
Giuoco da impoverire Attalo, e Mida,
Perch' egli è cugin della Bassetta:
E dove l'huomo spera haver piacere,
Lo fa star sempre in duol,
sãpre in timore."

"Malicious game, deceitful and lying,
Game that squanders your money:
Game that could pauperize
Attalo, and Mida,
Because it's a cousin of the Bassetta:
And where man hopes to find pleasure,
He's always made to stay in pain,
as much as in fear."

Venetian cards, 52 card's deck
Venetian cards, 52 card's deck - full suit of Denari (Coins)
(18th century) Museo Civico Correr, Venezia

The Passionate Bassetta, namely
the Bassetta is not a game - Book by Giovanni Antonio Querin
"La Bassetta Convinta, ossia la Bassetta non e' un Gioco"
(The Passionate Bassetta, namely
the Bassetta is not a game)
by Giovanni Antonio Querini - Venetian Lawyer (18th century)
Calculations over the Bassetta and Faraone Games - book first page
"Calcolo sopra i Giuochi della Bassetta e del Faraone"
(Calculations over the Bassetta and Faraone Games)
printed in Venice
by Giambattista Pasquali
(18th century)

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