Cabo Card Game

Translated from French by Steve ThorsTen (2018)


A deck of 52 cards, without the Joker

Number of players

Two or more


Win fewer than five points, or fewer points than your opponents

Number of cards for each player 

Four cards arranged in a square in front of each player with the face down


Cabo originated in the Middle East. A player gives each player four cards and puts the deck in the middle, revealing one card next to it, where all the discarded cards will go. Each player takes a peak at the first two cards in front of him or her. Players must remember their cards before returning them.

At their turn, a player can:

1) A player takes a card from the discard pile and exchanges it for one of his own

2) The player draws a card and exchanges it for one of its own, dropping the other in the discard pile

3) The player draws one card and places it in the discard pile, unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • If the card is 7 or 8, the player can look at one of the cards he owns
  • If the card is 9 or 10, the player can look at a card that the enemy owns
  • If the card is a Jack or Queen, the player can blindly switch a card with an opponent
  • If the card is a club or spades King, then the player can replace one of his own cards with that of an opponent while looking at the card.

If a player misuses a “card power,” then they must draw a card and place it next to the four cards they already have in front of them.

During the game, regardless of whose turn it is, a player can discard a card that is of the same value as the card already placed on the discard pile. The quickest player here wins and discards their card. If a player is mistaken about the value of the card they discard, they need to take back their card and draw an additional card.

At the end of the game, a player with a result of 5 or fewer points calls Cabo at his turn. The game finishes when the player who had called Cabo is reached again. However, if a player has fewer points than he does, then the player with the fewest points is the winner. If there is a tie, the caller always loses.

If a player manages to discard all his cards, he must announce Cabo, too.

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