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Mus – Basques’ favorite card game

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Mus – Basques’ favorite card game

Junior mus players battle for first place

Junior mus players battle for first place

Junior mus players battle for first place

Junior mus players battle for first place


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Mus is a card game that involves smarts and bluffing and is very popular in the U.S. Basque community.

The history of mus in the U.S. Basque community

Almost every Basque club sponsors an annual mus tournament, which is sometimes the most popular event of the year. Some people enjoy the game so much that they will join several clubs in order to play in the club’s mus tournament.

The winners of the different U.S. tournaments play against each other in an annual tournament sponsored by the North American Basque Organizations (NABO).

The winner of the NABO tournament goes on to play in an international tournament that takes place in a different country every year. The countries that host tournaments besides the U.S. are France and Spain and several countries in South America.

See the tournament schedule below.

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Jaialdi 2010 has Junior Mus too

The NABO tournament started in 1977, and the international tournament started in 1979. The tournaments have increased interest in the game, which continues to grow in popularity. Some clubs joined NABO simply so the winners of their tournament could participate in the national tournament. New tournaments are added every year. See this year’s schedule below.

Clubs sponsor mus lessons. Currently, the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco is offering lessons the first Friday of every month at 7 p.m.


Watch this 30-minute video by Joe Goyhenetche for great instructions.



NABO sponsors an annual two-week Basque summer camp, Udaleku, for kids ages 10 to 15 to help promote the culture. The students learn folk dances, sports and other cultural traditions. Mus, taught by the all-knowing Monique Heguilestoy Flesher, is one of the campers’ favorite activities.

NABO also sponsors an annual youth tournament, known as Junior Mus, to encourage clubs to promote the playing of mus by young people.

How to play
Two teams of two people play against each other, and the goal is for a team to win bets on individual hands in order to be the first team to reach a certain number of points (usually 40). Team members cannot show their cards to each other, so they devise facial expressions to reveal their hand to their partner. There are standard expressions that people use in the game.

There is also a basic vocabulary of more than 30 words in Basque that are used to play and bet a hand. Most players easily learn the vocabulary, even if they don’t speak Basque.

Links

Rules, scoring, mus vocabulary and the history of mus from the Ontario Basque Club

Here is another set of instructions, which attributes the origin of the game of mus to the Basques.

The Basque Cultural Center’s mus page with simplified instructions

NABO’s mus page

Global mus, the group that sponsors the international tournament


2016 NABO Mus Tournament Schedule

Dates will be added as they are confirmed

Instructions for the popular mus game at Udaleku.

Instructions for the popular mus game at Udaleku.

Sunday, January 24th
San Francisco Basque Club tournament

Sunday, January 31
Basque Cultural Center Tournament

Saturday, February 6
Anaitasuna Mus Tournament, South San Francisco
Chino Basque Club Tournament

Saturday, February 27

Fresno Mus Tournament

Saturday, March 5
Los Banos Tournament
Reno Mus Tournament

Sunday, March 13
SCBC Mus Tournament
Marin Sonoma Mus Tournament

Saturday, March 19
Gardnerville Mus Tournament

Saturday, May 14
Rocklin Mus Tournament

Saturday, June 11
NABO Mus Finals with Dinner & Dance
Rocklin, Calif.

International Mus Finals
Spain
Date TBA

The late Jaime Brown was captured in this photo at the Jaialdi 2010 Junior Mus tournament.

The late Jaime Brown was captured in this photo at the Jaialdi 2010 Junior Mus tournament in Boise, Idaho.


 

Josh Pese and Alex Goyhenetche play against each other in the junior mus tournament.

Josh Pese and Alex Goyhenetche play against each other in the junior mus tournament.

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