El Pumba

Pumba, is a highly amusing game whose purpose is very different from the rest of games we know. Rather than win tricks or make combinations with the cards, in Pumba you try to be the first to discard all of the cards in your hand, making you the winner of the game.

Pumba deck

Aim of the game

The goal is to be the first to get rid of all the cards you hold and in so doing making Pumba.

Deck of cards

It is played with a 40 card Spanish deck.

Number of players

Two to six players can play the game.

Order and value of the cards

The value of the cards is given in the table below:

Ace 1 Point
Three 3 Points
Four 4 Points
Five 5 Points
Six 6 Points
Seven 7 Points
Knight 9 Points
King 10 Points
Deuce 10 Points
Jack 10 Points

Dealing the cards

The player in charge of dealing the cards must first be determined by drawing a card. The dealer deals out 5 cards to the player on their right, the “hand”, and 4 cards to the other players.


The player to the right of the dealer places a card face up on the table. The next player must match the suit or play a card of another suit but of the same number, in which case the suit changes to that of the new card.

If you cannot play a card then you miss a turn. The cards that have been played must be stacked neatly, with only the last card played being visible.

Players have to announce that they only have one card left by saying “Pumba” out loud before putting down their last but one card. If a player forgets to say “Pumba” and someone mentions this, then this player has to take two more cards from the deck. The game ends when a player puts down their last card. At this point, the remaining players show their cards, tallying all the points from the value of their cards.

There are 6 cards that have a special meaning:

  • The Ace or one. With this card, everyone should remain silent and any player who speaks must draw two cards from the deck.
  • The Deuce. This card forces the next player to take 2 cards. The Two cards are cumulative, i.e. another Two card can be played to escape the penalty, as a result the next player will have to steal 4 cards, and this could happen with up to 4 Twos in a row, meaning 8 cards would have to be stolen. These can be played at any time and the suit changes to that of the two played.
  • The Seven. This card changes the direction of play.
  • The Jack. This is the wild card. Meaning that this card can be played at any time, except in response to the Two, and it allows that player to change the suit to whatever they want.
  • The knight. This card skips a player, meaning that the player immediately next misses a turn.
  • The king. With this card you can discard another of the same suit.


Each player scores the sum of the points that they have left in their hand, so that a player who scores 100 or more is eliminated from the game, the other players continue until there is only one who does not reach 100 points, and this player wins the match. This score of 100 points may be changed by mutual agreement before starting the game. Whoever wins an individual round deducts 5 points from their score.

Pumba play

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