How do you pronounce Balatro? We asked the developer

How do you pronounce Balatro? We asked the developer

During a recent Polygon meeting, I realized something: I have no idea how to pronounce Balatro, the name of developer LocalThunk’s incredible roguelite poker game that’s occupied every one of my evenings since it was released. None of my colleagues knew the answer, either, so I did what any reporter would do. I sent an email to ask.

Balatro is not only the name of the game, but it’s also the Latin word for a professional jester or buffoon. (If you don’t know about Balatro, which has grossed more than $1 million within mere hours of its release, here’s a quick explanation: You’re looking to make increasingly high scores by playing poker hands, improving your deck between each round by buying and upgrading cards. Joker cards can be purchased or unlocked to bend the rules of poker even further.)

The easy answer for how to pronounce Balatro is by looking to the pronunciation of the Latin word, which is (/ˈbɑːlɑːtroʊ/ BAH-lah-troh), according to Wikipedia. For reference, I have been pronouncing it ball-troh, because I didn’t realize the Ace of Spades card in the logo stood in for an actual A. But when I did see the word spelled in regular text, I started calling it ball-uh-troh. There were a couple minor variations on the Latin pronunciation during the Polygon meeting where this question arose, including the correct Latin way.

But it turns out, we’re all right. A representative from PlayStack, the publisher of Balatro, said that there are three ways to look at this.

The first is from the developer, LocalThunk, who said he doesn’t actually know either — “whatever makes people happy.” The second answer is the Latin pronunciation, which we already know is BAH-lah-troh. The third way, the representative said, comes from Latin teachers: “As long as you pronounce it with confidence, it is correct!”

There you have it! We’re all free to say Balatro in any way we’d like.