How to Play Con Quien

Con Quien is a card game that appears to have originated in Mexico (although some think it has Chinese roots). In Spanish, con quien? means, "with whom?"

Number of players: Two

Object: To "go con quien," or meld all your cards, plus an extra card you pick from the draw or discard pile.

The cards: A 40-card pack, with all 10s, 9s, and 8s removed, is used. This leaves the jack and 7 in sequence. Aces are the low card.

Con Quien Terminology
Here's a quick reference for some of the card language you will find in this article.

Hit (noun): A card laid off on a meld.

Hit (verb): To lay a card off on a meld.

Hole: A hand you can't go coon can with.

Long Spread: Suit sequence meld.

Meld: A combination of cards with scoring value, generally three or more cards in sequence in one suit or all of the same rank; also, to show or play such a combination.

Pluck: To pick a card from the stock.

Short Spread: Meld of the same rank.

Sleep it: To purposely overlook a play.

Switch: To move a card from one meld to another.

For a complete listing of card terminology, click here.
Melds in Con Quien must have at least three cards and are left on the table. You may meld cards in long spreads (suit sequences) or short spreads (same rank) -- see illustration below.

To play: Deal ten cards each and leave the rest face down as a draw pile. Nondealer begins by plucking (turning up) and showing the top card from stock. You cannot add a plucked card to your hand, so if this card is not used in a meld, it must be discarded. Each player in turn then must either take the top discard and meld it or turn up the top card from stock and meld or discard it. If the player takes and melds a discard, that player must discard a card.

During one turn, you may hit your own spreads with any number of cards, but when you hit your opponent's spread, that's considered your discard. When your spread is hit by your opponent, you must discard from your hand instead of plucking a new card.

You may shift your own melds around to create new melds as long as you leave only valid melds. For example, a
7 may be removed from a long spread (shown in the illustration below) and added to two other sevens, creating a three-card set.

If you go con quien (have all 11 cards in revealed spreads), the game ends and you win the agreed stake. Occasionally, if the stock is exhausted and no one goes coon can, the stake is added to the next game.

Tips: A good amount of skill is involved in hitting your opponent with the intent of forcing a discard from his or her hand. This discard may be a card you can use, or it may spoil your adversary's plans. Also, you may be able to force your opponent into a hole -- a hand that can't go con quien. For instance, a hand that's a ten-card-long spread (a spread of an entire suit, for example) can't go con quien, since an eleventh card is required.

Sleeping it: Discarding a card that could match one's own spread may often be a good strategy, but it can be stopped. When you see your opponent sleeping it, you may force your opponent to hit with it instead, forcing a further discard.

A game that appears to have originated down South, Coon Can comes from the Spanish con quien?
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Short spread melds (top); Long spread melds (bottom)

Variations: People who are uncomfortable with placing a 7 and jack in sequence may instead use a 40-card pack, aces through 10s, removing all face cards.

©Publications International, Ltd.