Cajun Poker: Bourre

Now in the backwoods of Louisiana – from Lafayette, to New Iberia, up to Cottonport, and then over to Houma – Cajuns know and love a little game called Bourre.

 

Bourre – pronounced (BOO-RAY) is well loved in these parts of Louisiana, yet unknown to the rest of the world. Let Razzoo’s Cajun Café fill you in on one of the best kept Cajun secrets.

 

What is Bourre?

Just about everything in Louisiana has French and Spanish roots, and bourre is no different. It is a derivative of a French card game played in the 20th century, and that game likely has roots in a Spanish game called Burro, which means “donkey.”  Similar to hearts, spades, or even poker, the object of the game is to get as many tricks as possible. Get no tricks, and you are “bourre.”

 

How do you play Bourre?

The game is simple, and yet, the kicker with bourre is that you must declare your ante before the cards are even dealt. While house rules abound, here are the general rules of play:

 

Before you Start

·      Players: Grab at least 5 friends – and up to 8 – and you’re set. Technically, less than 5 people can play, but the game gets a little boring and turns into a snooze-fest. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

·      Deck: Standard 52- card deck is used; just discard the jokers.

 

Playing the Game

·      Each player contributes an ante to the pot.

·      Dealer deals out 5 cards to each player, then flips the last card (the 5th card dealt to himself) over. This determines the trump suit.

·      Before play begins, each player looks at their cards and determines if they will pass or play. If you “pass,” then you are forfeiting your right to win, but can’t lose anymore. If you “play,” read on.

·      Anyone who chooses to play can then discard as many cards as they’d like and receive replacement cards. Once all players have their 5 cards, players play a card in order clockwise. The highest card wins and takes the hand. If no card of that suit is available, the trumps suit may be played.

·      At the end of 5 rounds, or after all 5 cards have been played, the player with the most tricks wins the pot.

 

Complete rules can be found here and here, because frankly there are just too many nuances to explain here!

 

Ready to play bourre? Grab some friends and a card deck, and head over to Razzoo’s – the best Cajun restaurant in Texas – where the patio is always open and we welcome a friendly game of cards. Whoever wins buys!