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Sette E Mezzo: Italy’s Timeless Card Game

Staff Writer 01/15/2024 Blog 1 views

Sette e Mezzo, a name most of you probably heard whispered around the casino floor, is a classic Italian card game. Though we cannot say it’s blackjack, the two games share many, many similarities.

Translating to “Seven and a Half’ in English, Sette e Mezzo mixes in elements of both fortune and strategy, skill and luck to deliver a potent experience. You will not only have lots of fun, but also enjoy an engaging game of cards.

Here’s a deep dive into the history of Sette e Mezzo and let’s learn the rules of the Italian card gem.

The History of Sette e Mezzo

As previously stated, Sette e Mezzo is an Italian card game that dates back to the 17th century. One of the earliest versions of the game is Siete y Media, and the two game are very similar – they even share a name – but they are decidedly not the same.

The key thing with Sette e Mezzo is the game’s simplicity as it’s exceptionally easy to play and enjoy. Moreover, it’s quite entertaining so players keep coming back to it year after year.

With the appearance of online casinos, Sette e Mezzo remained a bit back to wait for its turn to appear in online terms. However, a couple of years ago, Playtech announced a new live table that bears the name Sette e Mezzo.

Indeed, Playtech’s Sette e Mezzo live is the first-ever live dealer Sette e Mezzo table in online gaming.

Sette e Mezzo Rules

Sette e Mezzo has very simple rules, which remind us of blackjack rules. The point is more than straightforward – but we must start from the deck in order to get a good introduction.

So, the shoe consists of four decks of cards, but not the ones you are used to play. Instead, the used decks are Neapolitan cards, consisting of:

  • Cups (Coppe)
  • Coins (Denari)
  • Clubs (Bastoni)
  • Swords (Spade)

Every suit has 10 cards each, so the entire shoe consists of 40 cards in total. A suit has 2-7 low cards, Jacks, Cavaliers, Kings, and Aces. As you can see, there are no 8s, 9s, and 10s in Neapolitan cards.

Game Values

An important note: all cards have specific values!

Low-value cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 have their face value. On the other hand, Jacks, Cavaliers and Kings are worth half a point each. Finally, the Aces are worth 1 point.

The card set also includes the King of Coins, which is the game’s Wild. If you have it in your hand and reach the 7.5 points, you will strike the Sette e Mezzo Royal hand (which is like the ultimate win and also very rare).

Scoring & Dealing

  1. The goal is to get 7.5 points to win and get the Sette e Mezzo.
  2. Going over 7.5 points is called going ‘bust’.
  3. The player with the hand closest to 7.5 or equaling it is the winner.
  4. Cards are dealt 2 to every player (face-down).
  5. Players pick to either Hit (get a new card) or Stand (keep only the dealt cards).
  6. Hitting the 7.5 points with the two cards in the hand is a special kind of win.

How to Play Sette e Mezzo

Let’s talk about the actual gameplay.

Here is how a typical round of Sette e Mezzo plays out, for example at the Playtech Sette e Mezzo live dealer table.

The dealer deals two cards to each player at the table. Taking a look at the cards dealt, players calculate how many points they have. If they think they have a very low count, they can ask for the Hit in the next phase, or if the hand is high and close to 7.5, then they typically choose to Stand.

The dealer will then ask each player for a decision and, depending what they say, deal more cards or not. Players with a King of Coins as their first card receive automatically another card, without consideration of whether they want to Hit/Stand.

If the King of Coins appears in the dealer’s hand, players receive cards until they reach 7 points. Going over 7 points means you are bust and so the round is over for you.

If the dealer and players both get 5 as the first card, they are dealt another right away. A tie is a loss for the player.

At the end of the day, the goal of the game is to beat the dealer by reaching 7.5 faster without going over the target. You can also place side bets if you want to have extra fun.

Sette e Mezzo Side Bets

Side bets in Sette e Mezzo are similar to Blackjack side bets. The first one is called the Partita Perfetta, which translates into Perfect Pairs. The RTP for this side bet is 96.15% and is quite popular at most Sette e Mezzo tables.

The other one is called Mano di Poker, which means Poker Hand. this one is quite close to the famous 21+3 side bet. It has a slightly better RTP than Partita Perfetta – 96.32%.

You must participate in the round to place side bets!

Similarities with Blackjack

So, what are the main similarities with Blackjack?

Turns out, there are many things that connect the two.

  1. Both are played against the dealer
  2. The goal is to reach a certain number of points before the dealer
  3. Going over the selected target results in a bust
  4. Dealers have a rule where they draw until a certain point total and then must stop
  5. Side bets are included in the mix
  6. Players decide to Hit or Stand when they see their first two dealt cards
  7. RTP is quite high
  8. Both side bets are nearly identical in both game variants

The list goes on! While Sette e Mezzo is quite similar to blackjack, these two games are still two different games. The beauty of that is that you can switch to the other when you get bored of the first game.

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