• Briscola, my cousin, Gianni Morandi

    "Do you want to play Briscola?" 

    These are six words which inflicts a paralysing fear into my body without much effort. I rarely accept the offer to play Briscola, for I know, humiliation is only minutes away. 

    It's not talking to women or some religious thing

    It's much worse. Briscola, for those of you who aren't aware, is a traditional Italian card game. Now how can I, a man who is an adrenalin junkie be scared of a card game you all wonder? 

    Put it this way, I don't have a clue how to play it. I have been taught over years, literally 20 + and I still don't have a clue what the game is about. To be honest, I genuinely think, someone is making up the rules on the spot. It's like a great big conspiracy, everyone against me. 


    The game that is most currently played today is more in line with the version that the Spaniards created in the 1500's. Before that however it is presumed to have come from France, where the word Brisque was the actual name of the game. Brisque means 'Old Soldier' and it was the elder soldiers who would take time out to play the game. 

    However, the cards themselves and the style date back even further, to 500ad where in ancient Arabia these games were once again used by the military but to help strategise the armies. 

    It's introduction into Italy seems to have happened through the region of Friulli Venezia Giulia, like with coffee, and it developed a life of it's own on the peninsula. 

    It seems, the game is actually simple, although I challenge you to understand it! There are 40 cards, two players take three cards each... I shouldn't really try to explain because I don't really know. But you can check it out here.

    My cousin, a game and Gianni Morandi... 

    My cousin has been in England the last fortnight, yesterday he challenged me to a game. Whilst I refused, he coaxed me. He explained the rules for the thousandth time, at no point did I think this was going to end well. But something very strange to started to happen. Apparently I was winning, and by a good margin. My confidence grew, my cockiness with it. 

    The problem is, I'm a bit of a gambling man, therefore any bet proposed on a winning streak will make me just say, yes. When the outcome of you losing a bet is to potentially perform a song on camera to take back and show Nonna, and now potentially the youtube world, that's when the brain should have stepped in and say, NO. 

    It didn't. 

    It seems dear friends, I was hustled. Hustled good. 

    So later today, I will be performing a Gianni Morandi favourite, because my cousin thought 'everyone likes Gianni Morandi'. 

    The moral of the story is, learn to play Briscola, learn it well, and never, ever, play with my family. 

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