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Title: Foster's Complete Hoyle
       An encyclopedia of games

Author: R. F. Foster

Release Date: January 3, 2017 [EBook #53881]

Language: English

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FOSTER’S COMPLETE
HOYLE

AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GAMES

Revised and Enlarged to
October, 1914

INCLUDING ALL INDOOR GAMES PLAYED TO-DAY. WITH
SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY, ILLUSTRATIVE HANDS
AND
ALL OFFICIAL LAWS TO DATE

BY
R.F. FOSTER

Author of “Royal Auction Bridge with Nullos,”
“Cooncan,” and many other books
on card games

ILLUSTRATED WITH NUMEROUS DIAGRAMS
AND ENGRAVINGS

NEW YORK
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
PUBLISHERS

[ii]

Copyright, 1914, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company

Copyright, 1909, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company

Copyright, 1897, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company

All Rights Reserved

October, 1914


[iii]

PUBLISHERS’ NOTE.

This book is entirely original. It is the work of a single author, who has made the subject of games a life-long study, who keeps in touch with all new games, and with changes in old games. He has written the description of each game expressly for this book.

The treatment is systematic and uniform. The description of each game begins with the apparatus and the players, and then follows the natural course of play, step by step, until the end. Each part of the game is described in a separate paragraph, and every paragraph is preceded by catch-words in heavy-faced type, so that the entire work is in the nature of a dictionary, in which any part of any game can be found immediately.

All technical terms are accompanied by a full definition of their meaning, and are printed in full-face type.

All disputed points have been settled in an entirely original manner. Instead of taking any one person as an authority, the history of each game has been traced from its source to its present condition, and its rules have been carefully compared with those of other members of the same family. The times and the reasons for the various changes have been ascertained,[iv] and the rules given are not only in strict accord with the true spirit of the game, but are based upon common sense and equity. When official laws for any game exist they are given in full.

The list of technical terms is the most complete ever published.


[v]

CONTENTS.

[xiv]


[xv]

INTRODUCTION.

The word “Hoyle” has gradually come to stand as an abbreviation for an “Encyclopedia of Indoor Games.” The common expression, “played according to Hoyle,” usually means “correctly played,” or “played according to the standard authorities.” The original Edmund Hoyle wrote on very few games, but his work was the first attempt to put together the rules for the most popular indoor games in one volume. Although Hoyle died more than a hundred years ago, his work has been constantly added to as new games came into vogue, which has led many to believe that he is the authority for games that he never heard of, such as pinochle and poker.

Persons who have never given the subject much attention may be surprised to learn how little authority there is for the rules governing the majority of our popular games. If we except the table games, such as chess, checkers, billiards, backgammon and ten pins, and such card games as whist, bridge, auction, and skat, all of which are regulated by well-defined codes of laws, agreed upon by associations of prominent clubs, to govern championship contests, etc., we have very few games left which are not played in different ways in various localities.

This is undoubtedly because such games are learnt at the card table and not from books. A person who is shown a new game cannot remember all its details, some of which may not have been explained to him even. If he tries to teach it to others while his knowledge is in this imperfect state, he will naturally invent rules of his own to cover the points he has forgotten, or has never learnt, usually borrowing ideas from games with which he is more familiar.

The pupils of such a teacher pass on to others the game thus imperfectly learnt, and in a short time we have a number of corruptions creeping in, and the astonishing part of it is the[xvi] insistence with which some persons will maintain that they alone have the right idea of the rules, just because so-and-so showed them the game, or because they and their immediate friends have “always played it that way.”

This does not alter the fact that the fundamental principles of every game are known and can be readily found if one knows where to look for them. The author is in possession of several hundred works in various languages—English, French, German and Italian—on nothing but indoor games, comprising probably everything ever printed on the subject that is worth preserving.

By tracing the history of a game and its development through the various books in which it is described, the game will always be found to belong to some distinct family, which has certain well-defined traits which must be preserved, no matter how much they may be altered in minor details. All games follow certain general principles, and the surest mark of error in the local rules of any game is inconsistency.

Pinochle is a striking example of this. In many places the players will not allow the same cards to be counted twice in the trump sequence, so as to meld 190; but they will count them twice in four kings and queens. They insist on the rule of at least one fresh card from the hand for each additional meld in one case, but totally disregard it in another, as when they meld 240 for the round trip, instead of only 220.

These local errors have crept into many of the Hoyles now upon the market, the works having probably been compiled from the individual knowledge of the author, limited by his experience in a certain locality. Many of these works devote much space to a certain game, which is evidently the compiler’s pet, and which is accurately described; while other and equally important games are full of errors and omissions, betraying a lamentable want of care in consulting the literature of the subject.

While the author of this work does not believe it possible to compile a work that shall be universally accepted as the authority on all games, as a dictionary would be on spelling, he deems it at least possible to select what seems the most common usage, or the best rule, preserving the true spirit of the game, and to describe it accurately and bring the whole up to date.


[xvii]

THE WHIST FAMILY.

The most popular card games of the present day undoubtedly belong to the whist family, which embraces all those played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking from the ace to the deuce, one suit being trumps, and the score being counted by tricks and honours, or by tricks alone.

The oldest and most important of the group is whist itself. The game appears to be of English origin, its immediate parent being “ruff and honours.” This was an old English game in which twelve cards only were dealt to each player, the uppermost of the remaining four being turned up for the trump suit. Whoever held the ace of trumps could “ruff” or take in these four cards, discarding in their place any four he chose. As the game developed into whisk, or whist, this ruffing feature disappeared. There was no stock, the four deuces being discarded from the pack instead. Twelve cards were dealt to each player, and the last was turned up for the trump.

About 1680 a variation of the game known as “swabbers” came into vogue. The swabbers were the heart ace, club jack, and the ace and deuce of trumps. The players to whom these cards were dealt were entitled to a certain share of the stakes or payments, independent of the play for tricks and honours. This variety of the game did not long remain in favor, but gave way to make room for one of the most important changes, the restoration of the deuces to the pack, which introduced the feature of the[xviii] odd trick. This took place early in the last century, and seems to have so much improved the game that attention was soon drawn to its possibilities for scientific treatment.

About this time whist was taken up by a set of gentlemen who met at the Crown Coffee House in Bedford Row, London; chief among whom was Sir Jacob de Bouverie, Viscount Folkestone. After considerable experiment and practice this little whist school laid down the principles of the game as being: “to play from the strong suit; to study the partner’s hand; never to force partner unnecessarily, and to attend to the score.” It is generally believed that Edmond Hoyle was familiar with the proceedings of this set, and on their experiences based his celebrated “Short Treatise on the Game of Whist,” which was entered at Stationers’ Hall in London Nov. 17, 1742.

The only works previous to Hoyle touching upon whist were the “Compleat Gamester” of Cotton, which first appeared in 1674, and the “Court Gamester,” of Richard Seymour, 1719. One of Hoyle’s great points was his calculation of the probabilities at various stages of the rubber. This seems to have been looked upon as most important in guiding persons in their play, for we find that Abraham de Moivre, a famous mathematician, used to frequent the coffee houses, and for a small fee give decisions on questions of the odds at whist.

Bath seems to have been the great rallying-point for the whist-players of the last century; but the passion for the game soon spread all over Europe. In 1767 Benjamin Franklin went to Paris, and it is generally believed that he introduced the American variety of the game known as Boston, which became the rage in Paris some time after the war of independence.

So popular did whist become in Italy that we find the boxes at the opera in Florence provided with card tables in 1790. The music of the opera was considered of value chiefly as, “increasing the joy of good fortune, and soothing the affliction of bad.”

A code of laws was drawn up about 1760 by the frequenters of White’s and Saunders’ in London. These seem to have remained the standard until “Cælebs” published, in 1851, the code in use at the Portland Club. In 1863 John Loraine Baldwin got together a committee at the Arlington, now the Turf Club, and[xix] they drew up the code which is still in use all over the world for English whist. In the United States, laws better suited to the American style of play were drawn up by the American Whist League in 1891, and after several revisions were finally adopted, in 1893, as the official code for League clubs.

The literature of whist saw its palmiest days at the beginning of this century. 7,000 copies of Bob Short’s “Short Rules for Whist” were sold in less than a year. Mathews’, or Matthews’, “Advice to the Young Whist-Player,” went through eighteen editions between 1804 and 1828. After these writers came Admiral Burney, who published his “Treatise” in 1821; Major A. [Charles Barwell Coles,] gave us his “Short Whist” in 1835. Deschapelles published his “Traité du Whiste” in 1839, but it gave little but discussions on the laws. “Whist, its History and Practice” by Amateur, appeared in 1843. General de Vautré’s “Génie du Whiste,” in 1847. “Cælebs” [Edward Augustus Carlyon] wrote his “Laws and Practice” in 1851. Then in rapid succession came “Cavendish” in 1863, James Clay in 1864, Pole and “Cam” in 1865. Campbell-Walker’s “Correct Card” in 1876; Drayson’s “Art of Practical Whist,” with its new theories of trumps; Fisher Ames, “Modern Whist,” in 1879; “Whist, or Bumblepuppy?” by “Pembridge” [John Petch Hewby], in 1880; G.W.P. [Pettes], in 1881; Proctor’s “How to Play Whist,” in 1885; and the “Handbook of Whist,” by “Major Tenace,” 1885. Then began the long list of American authors (Pettes has already been mentioned): “Foster’s Whist Manual,” by R.F. Foster, appeared in 1890; “Practical Guide to Whist,” by Fisher Ames, in 1891; Hamilton’s “Modern Scientific Whist,” in 1894, and in the same year, Coffin’s “Gist of Whist,” and “Foster’s Whist Strategy.” In 1895, Milton C. Work’s “Whist of To-day,” and “Foster’s Whist Tactics,” giving the play in the first match by correspondence; and in 1896, Val Starnes’ “Short-suit Whist,” and Howell’s “Whist Openings.” In 1897, Mitchell’s “Duplicate Whist.” In 1898, Foster’s “Common Sense in Whist,” and in 1900, Fisher Ames’ “Standard Whist.” Since then whist literature has given place to bridge.

In periodical literature we find whist taken up in the pages of the “Sporting Magazine” in 1793. The London “Field” has had[xx] a card column since December 6, 1862. Proctor’s work first appeared in “Knowledge.” The “Westminster Papers” devoted a great deal of space to whist games and “jottings” every month for eleven years, beginning in April, 1868. “Whist,” a monthly journal devoted exclusively to the game, began publication in Milwaukee in 1891; but gave it up when bridge supplanted whist in popular favor.

Whist rapidly became a “newspaper game.” The New York Sunday Sun devoted two columns every Sunday to the discussion and illustration of moot points in whist tactics, and the analysis of hands played in important matches. In a series of articles begun February 23, 1896, this paper gave to the world the first systematic statement of the theory and practice of the short suit game. In 1898 there were at least forty whist columns published in the United States. Two magazines devoted to whist and bridge are now published, one in Boston and the other in New York.

While the parent game has been pursuing this prosperous course, many variations have been introduced. One of the most radical changes in the game itself has been cutting down the points from ten to five, which occurred about 1810. Mathews mentions it in 1813 as having occurred since the publication of his first edition in 1804, and Lord Peterborough, the unlucky gambler, for whose benefit the change was introduced, died in 1814. Another great change took place in America, where they played for the tricks alone, the honours not being counted at all. Turning the trump from the still pack was first tried by a Welsh baronet, and is mentioned by Southey in his “Letters of Espriella.” This custom was revived for a time by the Milwaukee Whist Club, and is still sometimes seen in Europe under the name of “Prussian Whist.”

Altogether we can trace nineteen games which are clearly derived from whist. Duplicate, Drive, and Progressive whist are simply changes in the arrangement of the players and in the methods of scoring. Prussian whist introduces the cutting of the trump from the still pack. Dummy and Double-dummy are simply whist with a limited number of players, necessitating the exposure of one or more hands upon the table. The French game of Mort is dummy with a better system of scoring introduced. Favourite[xxi] Whist simply changes the value of the tricks in scoring, according to the trump suit. Cayenne and Bridge introduce the first changes of importance. In Cayenne, the dealer and his partner have the privilege of changing the trump from the suit turned up; in Bridge they name the trump suit without any turn-up, and play the hands as at dummy. In Boston, and Boston de Fontainebleau, in addition to making the trump suit instead of turning it up, further departures are introduced by naming the number of tricks to be played for, allowing the player to take all or none without any trump suit, and by ‘spreading’ certain hands, without allowing the adversaries to call the exposed cards. French and Russian Boston are simply varieties of Boston. Solo Whist is an attempt to simplify Boston by reducing the number of proposals and the complications of payments, and eliminating the feature of ‘spreads.’ Scotch Whist introduces a special object in addition to winning tricks—catching the ten of trumps; that card and the honours having particular values attached to them. This variety of whist may be played by any number of persons from two to eight; and its peculiarity is that when a small number play, each has several distinct hands, which must be played in regular order, as if held by different players. Humbug Whist is a variety of double-dummy, in which the players may exchange their hands for those dealt to the dummies, and the dealer may sometimes make the trump to suit himself. German Whist is played by two persons, and introduces the element of replenishing the hand after each trick by drawing cards from the remainder of the pack until the stock is exhausted. Chinese Whist is double-dummy for two, three, or four persons, only half of each player’s cards being exposed, the others being turned up as the exposed cards are got rid of in the course of play.

All these varieties have been entirely supplanted and overshadowed by bridge. When they play whist at all, the English think there is nothing better than the original whist, counting honours, and playing to the score. The Americans think Duplicate superior to all other forms, especially when two tables are engaged, and four players are opposed by four others for a specified number of deals. We are inclined to agree with Clay that the French game of Mort is “charming and highly scientific.” He says English dummy is a “very slow game.”

[xxii]

Whether it is because the game has been found ‘slow,’ or because its more attractive forms are little known, it is certainly true that writers on whist pay little or no attention to dummy. The English authors mention it only in connection with laws and decisions. No American text-book makes any allusion to the game, and there is no reference to it in the American Whist League’s code of laws.

In the first edition of this work, written in 1895, the author ventured to prophesy that the day was not far distant when dummy would supersede all other varieties of whist among the most expert players; either in the form of the charming Mort or the fascinating Bridge. Very few persons who have played either of these games sufficiently to appreciate their beauties care to return to the platitudes of straight whist.

At that time, bridge was unknown in America except to the members of The Whist Club of New York and their friends. In the short space of ten years it has become the card game of the world; but in spite of its present popularity it has its defects, and it would not be surprising to see its place usurped by another game, not a member of the whist family, which has been steadily gaining ground among those who have the intellectual capacity for card games of the highest class, and that is skat.

The first text-book on bridge was a little leaflet printed in England in 1886, which gave the rules for “Biritch, or Russian Whist.” “Boax” came out with a little “Pocket Guide” in 1894, followed by “The Laws of Bridge” in 1895. The Whist Club of N.Y. published the American laws of bridge in 1897, and “Badsworth” came out with the English laws in 1898. In the following year, 1899, Archibald Dunn, Jr., gave us “Bridge and How to Play It,” and John Doe published “Bridge Conventions,” A.G. Hulme-Beaman’s “Bridge for Beginners” appearing in the same year. In 1900, “Foster’s Bridge Manual” appeared in America, reprinted in England under the title of “Foster on Bridge.”

In the years following, text-books on bridge came from the press by the dozen, the most notable authors being Dalton and “Hellespont” in 1901; Elwell and Robertson in 1902; Street and Lister in 1903. Many of the writers already mentioned published later and more complete works, embodying the results of time and[xxiii] experience. Foster’s Self-playing Bridge Cards were brought out in 1903. Elwell’s “Advanced Bridge” appeared in 1904 and Foster’s “Complete Bridge” in 1905.

While bridge has never been such a popular “newspaper game” as whist was in America, it has been much more so in England. Articles on bridge, for beginners chiefly, were published in 1905 and 1906 by the San Francisco Call, Pittsburgh Post Despatch, Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, Chicago Journal, St. Paul Despatch, Milwaukee Journal, Baltimore American, Houston Post, Indianapolis Star, and the N.Y. Globe. These were all edited by R.F. Foster.

Bridge Tournaments, offering prizes for the best play of certain hands were run by the N.Y. Evening Telegram, the N.Y. Globe, the N.Y. Evening Mail, and the Chicago Journal. A number of the weekly magazines offer similar competitions in England, but as a rule the problems in that country are of very poor quality.

About 1910 it became the fashion not to play spades, it being considered a waste of time to play a hand for such a small amount as 2 points a trick, so the dealer was allowed to score 2 for the odd and 4 for honours, regardless of how the cards were distributed, the hand being abandoned. The objection to this practice was that many hands were worth much more than 2 points, and in some cases the spade make would have gone game at the score. This led to the practice of playing “royal spades,” which were played at 10 and then at 9 a trick, sometimes with a penalty of 20 if the declarer failed to make the odd.

Shortly after this, later in 1910, there developed a decided rebellion against the dealer’s monopoly of the make, and in order to allow any player at the table who held good cards to get the benefit of them, whether he was the dealer or not, bidding for the privilege of making the trump came into vogue. This was the starting point of auction, its chief difference from the older game being that only the side that made the highest bid for the declaration could score toward game. The full number of tricks bid had to be made, and if they were not made, the adversaries scored in the honour column for penalties, the penalty being always the same, regardless of the trump suit.

The great disparity in the values of the suits as then played[xxiv] practically confined the bidding to the hearts and royal spades. This soon brought about another change, which was to raise the values of all the suits except spades and to cut down the no-trumper. This was done in 1912, and made it possible for any suit to go game on the hand. All the well known writers on whist and bridge came out with text-books on auction, and the newspapers took up the subject in weekly articles.

Although to many the game now seemed perfect, there were those that felt the helplessness of weak hands to offer any defence in the bidding against a run of no-trumpers or hearts and royals. To remedy this, F.C. Thwaites of the Milwaukee Whist Club suggested the introduction of the nullo. This was a bid to lose tricks, at no trump only, and its value was to be minus 10, that is, it was to be outranked only by a no-trumper to win. At first, this bid was largely used simply as an additional game-going declaration, and was strongly objected to by many leading players. But as its true place as a defensive bid became better understood it soon came into favour. In the nullo there are no honours, and the declarer scores the tricks over the book made by his opponents, which he forces them to take. Many interesting card problems have been built upon the nullo.

Toward the end of 1913 still another change seems to have suggested itself to some of the English players who were familiar with the Russian game of vint, and that is to play auction just as it is played up to the point of the lead to the first trick, but that no dummy is exposed, the four players holding up their cards and following suit just as they would at whist. Whether or not this game will ever become as popular as the combination of dealer and dummy, it is difficult to say, but appearances are against it.

There seems to be a growing tendency in America to adopt the English rule of cutting out the spade suit at 2 a trick, and making it always a royal spade, worth 9. The dealer is allowed to pass without making a bid, the lowest call being one club. If all pass, the deal goes to the left.

[xxv]

BRIDGE.

There are two principal varieties of this game; straight bridge, in which the dealer or his partner must make the trump, their opponents having nothing to say about it except to double the value of the tricks. The dealer’s partner is always the dummy, and either side may score toward game by making the odd trick or more. Auction bridge, in which the privilege of making the trump is bid for, the highest bidder playing the hand with his partner as dummy, regardless of the position of the deal, and his side being the only one that can score toward game, the adversaries scoring nothing but penalties in the honour column if they defeat the contract.

As this is the more popular form of bridge at the present time, it will be given first. Since the adoption of the higher value for the spade suit under the name of royal spades, and the change in the value of the suits, the game gradually came to be known as royal auction, but as that change is now universal, the name has slipped back to its original title.

AUCTION BRIDGE, OR AUCTION.

CARDS. Auction is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2, the Ace being the highest in play, but ranking below the deuce in cutting. Two packs should be used, the one being shuffled while the other is dealt.

[xxvi]

MARKERS suitable for scoring the various points made at Bridge have not yet been invented. Some persons use the bézique marker; but it is not a success. The score is usually kept on a sheet of paper, and it should be put down by each side, for purposes of verification.

PLAYERS. Auction is played by four persons, and the table is complete with that number. When there are more than four candidates for play, the selection of the four is made by cutting. These cut again for partners, and the choice of seats and cards.

CUTTING. The usual method of cutting for partners, etc., at auction, is to shuffle the cards thoroughly, and “spread” them face downwards on the table; each candidate drawing a card, and turning it face upwards in front of him. The four cutting the lowest cards playing the first game, or rubber.

SPREADING THE PACK.

The four having been selected, the cards are again shuffled and spread, and partners are cut for; the two lowest pairing against the two highest; the lowest of the four is the dealer, and has the choice of cards and seats.

TIES. As between cards of equal value in cutting, the heart is the lowest, diamonds next, then clubs and then spades.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. The four players at the bridge table are indicated by letters; A and B are partners against Y and Z; Z always represents the dealer, who always makes the first bid, A being the second bidder, Y the third and B the fourth.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

[xxvii]

DEALING. The cards having been properly shuffled the dealer, Z, presents them to the pone, B, to be cut. At least four cards must be left in each packet. Beginning at his left, the dealer distributes the cards one at a time in rotation until the pack is exhausted. When two packs are used, the dealer’s partner shuffles one while the other is dealt, and the deal passes in regular rotation to the left until the rubber is finished.

IRREGULARITIES IN THE DEAL. If any card is found faced in the pack, or if the pack is incorrect or imperfect, the dealer must deal again. If any card is found faced in the pack, or is exposed in any manner; or if more than thirteen cards are dealt to any player, or if the last card does not come in its regular order to the dealer, or if the pack has not been cut, there must be a new deal. Attention must be called to a deal out of turn, or with the wrong cards, before the last card is dealt, or the deal stands.

There are no misdeals in auction. That is to say, whatever happens the same dealer deals again. Minor irregularities will be found provided for in the laws.

The cards being dealt, each player sorts his hand to see that he has the correct number, thirteen; and the player or players keeping the score should announce it at the beginning of each hand.

STAKES. In auction, the stake is a unit, so much a point. The number of points won or lost on the rubber may be only two or three, or they may run into the hundreds. The average value of a rubber at auction is about 400 points. Any much larger figure shows bad bidding. In straight bridge the average is about 180. In settling at the end of the rubber, it is usual for each losing player to pay his right-hand adversary.

MAKING THE TRUMP. In auction, the dealer begins by naming any one of the four suits, or no trumps, for any number of tricks he pleases. Each player in turn to the left then has the privilege of passing, bidding higher, or doubling. When three players pass a bid, it is the highest made and is known as the Winning Declaration or Contract.

In order to understand the principles that govern the players in their declarations, one should be thoroughly familiar with the values attached to the tricks when certain suits are trumps. The first six tricks taken by the side that has made the winning declaration do not count. This is the “book,” but all over the book count toward making good on the contract, according to the following table:

[xxviii]

When Spades are trumps, each trick counts 2 points.
Clubs 6
Diamonds 7
Hearts 8
Royal Spades 9
there are no trumps, 10

The game is 30 points, which must be made by tricks alone, so that three over the book, called three “by cards,” will go game from love at no trump, or four by cards at hearts or royals. These are called the Major or Winning Suits. As it takes five by cards to go game in clubs or diamonds, and on account of the difficulty of such an undertaking, these are called the Minor or Losing Suits. An original bid of one spade can be made only by the dealer, and it simply means, “I pass.” That is, the dealer has nothing to declare on the first round of the bidding. [See note at foot of page 58.]

RANK OF THE BIDS. In order to over-call a previous bid, whether of the partner or the opponent, the bidder must undertake to win the same number of tricks in a suit of higher value, or a greater number of tricks having the same aggregate value as the preceding bid. Players should restrict themselves to the same form of expression throughout, and all bids, even passing, must be made orally and not by gesture.

Let us suppose this to be the bidding: The dealer, Z, begins with “One spade,” second player, A, says, “I pass,” or simply, “No.” Third bidder, Y, says, “One club,” fourth player, B, “No trump.” The dealer, starting on the second round, says, “Two clubs,” supporting his partner’s declaration. Next player, A, who passed the first time, says, “Two royals.” Both Y and B pass, but the dealer, Z, says, “Three clubs.” Observe that while three clubs is worth no more than two royals, 18, the club bid offers to win more tricks than the royals and therefore ranks as a higher bid. A doubles three clubs. Y passes and B says, “Two no trumps.” As will be explained presently, doubling does not affect the value of the declaration in bidding, so two no trumps, worth 20, over-calls three clubs. Z, A and Y all pass, so two no trumps becomes the winning declaration and B is the declarer, A being the dummy, with Z to lead for the first trick.

In this example, had the bid been left at three clubs, doubled or not, that would have been the winning declaration, and the partner who first named that suit, Y, would be the declarer, Z being the dummy, although Z actually made the highest bid. It is only when the two players that have both named the winning suit are not partners that the higher bidder becomes the declarer.

[xxix]

DOUBLING. No player may double his partner, but he may redouble an opponent who has doubled. All doubling must be strictly in turn, like any other bid. Doubling does not affect the value of the bids, but simply doubles the value of the tricks or penalties when they are scored at the end of the hand. Suppose A bids two royals and Y doubles. B can take A out with three clubs, because, so far as the bidding goes, two royals are still worth only 18.

Any over-call annuls the double, or redouble. Suppose A says two hearts, Y doubles, B redoubles, and Z says two royals. The doubling is all knocked out, and if A were to go three hearts and get the contract, hearts would be worth only 8 a trick in the scoring unless Y doubled all over again. A double reopens the bidding, just the same as any other declaration, allowing the player’s partner, or the player himself in his turn, to take himself out of the double by bidding something else.

IRREGULARITIES IN DECLARING. If any player declares out of turn, either in bidding a suit or in doubling, either opponent may demand a new deal, or may allow the declaration so made to stand, in which case the next player to the left must bid, just as if the declaration had been in turn. If a player pass out of turn there is no penalty, and the player whose turn it was must declare himself. The player who has passed out of his proper turn may re-enter the bidding if the declaration he passed has been over-called or doubled.

If a player makes an insufficient or impossible declaration, either adversary may call attention to it. Suppose the last bid is three royals, and the next player says four clubs. This is not enough, as three royals is worth 27 and four clubs only 24. Unless the player in error correct himself at once, and make it five clubs, either adversary may demand that it be five clubs, and the partner of the corrected player cannot bid unless this five-club bid is over-called or doubled. A player correcting himself must stick to the suit named, not being allowed to say four diamonds when he sees that four clubs is not enough.

If an insufficient declaration is passed or over-called by the player on the left, it is too late to demand any penalty, and the insufficient bid stands as regular. Suppose A bids three royals and Y says four clubs, B and Z passing. A can repeat his bid of three royals if he likes, as that is enough to over-call four clubs.

If a player makes an impossible declaration, such as calling six diamonds over five no trumps, when it is clearly impossible to make any diamond declaration worth 50, either adversary may demand a new deal, or may insist that the last bid made by his own side, five no trumps, shall be the winning declaration, or he[xxx] may force the player in error to declare a grand slam in diamonds and play it, his partner being forbidden to take him out.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The winning declaration settled, whether doubled or not, the player on the left of the declarer leads for the first trick, and dummy’s cards go down, the declarer playing the combined hands. The declarer gathers the tricks for his side, but either adversary may gather for the other. The first six tricks taken by the declarer make a book, and all over the book count toward his contract. The adversaries have a book as soon as they reach the limit of the tricks they may win without “setting” the contract. If the contract is four hearts, the declarer must win ten tricks, so that his opponents have a book when they get home three tricks. All tricks should be laid so that they may be readily counted by any player at the table.

DUMMY. Until a card is led by the proper player, the declarer’s partner has all the rights of any other player, but as soon as the player to the left of the declarer leads and dummy’s cards are laid on the table, dummy’s duties and rights are restricted to the following:

He may call attention to few cards played to a trick; correct an improper claim of either adversary; call attention to a trick taken by the wrong side; ask his partner if he have none of a suit to which he renounces; correct an erroneous score; consult with the declarer as to which penalty to exact for a revoke; and, if he has not intentionally overlooked the hand of another player, he may call his partner’s attention to an established revoke made by the adversaries, or to a card exposed by them or a lead out of turn made by them.

The Revoke. Should a player fail to follow suit when able to do so, it is a revoke, and the revoke is established when the trick in which it occurs is turned down and quitted by the side that won it, or when the revoking player, or his partner, in his right turn or otherwise, has led or played to the following trick. If a player ask his partner if he has none of the suit led, before the trick is turned down, the revoke may be corrected, unless the player in error replies in the negative, or has led or played to the next trick.

Dummy cannot revoke under any circumstances.

The penalty for the revoke depends on the side in error. If the declarer revokes he cannot score anything but honours as actually held, while the adversaries take 100 points penalty in the honour column, in addition to any they may be entitled to for defeating the declaration. If an adversary revokes, they score honours only, and the declarer may either take the 100 points, or[xxxi] he may take three actual tricks and add them to his own. If he takes the tricks, they may aid him in fulfilling his contract, as the score is then made up as the tricks lie, but the declarer will not be entitled to any bonus in case he was doubled.

Suppose Z is the declarer, and is playing three hearts doubled. He wins the odd trick only, but detects a revoke, for which he takes three tricks. This gives him four by cards, doubled, worth 64 points toward game, but he does not get any bonus for making his contract after being doubled, or for the extra tricks, because they were taken in penalty and not in play.

Exposed Cards. After the deal but before the winning declaration is settled, if any player exposes a card his partner is barred from bidding or doubling, and the card is subject to call. Should the partner of the offending player prove to be the leader to the first trick, the declarer may prohibit the initial lead of the exposed suit.

All cards exposed by the declarer’s adversaries after the original lead are liable to be called and must be left on the table, face upward. Exposed cards are those played two at a time, dropped on the table face up, or so held that the partner might see them, or cards mentioned as being in the hand of the player or his partner. The declarer is not liable to any penalty for exposed cards.

Leading Out of Turn. If either adversary leads out of turn, the declarer may call the card exposed, or call a suit when it is the turn of either adversary to lead. If the declarer leads out of turn, from his own hand or dummy’s, there is no penalty, but he may not correct the error unless directed to do so by an adversary. If the second hand plays to the false lead, it must stand. If the declarer plays from his own hand or from dummy to a false lead, the trick stands. In case the dealer calls a suit and the player has none, the penalty is paid.

Cards Played in Error. If any player but dummy omits to play to a trick, and does not correct the error until he has played to the next trick, the other side may claim a new deal. If the deal stands, the surplus card at the end is supposed to belong to the short trick, but is not a revoke.

OBJECT OF THE GAME. The object in auction is for the declarer to fulfil his contract, and for the adversaries to defeat it. The highest card played to the trick, if of the suit led, wins the trick, and trumps win all other suits. At the end of the hand the declarer counts up the tricks he has won over the book[xxxii] and if he has made good on his contract he scores the value of those tricks toward game. As soon as either side reaches 30, it is a game, but the hands are played out, and all the tricks counted.

RUBBERS. Three games, 30 points or more each, make a rubber, but if the first two are won by the same partners the third game is not played. The side that first wins two games adds 250 rubber points to its score.

SCORING. Apart from the game score, which is made entirely by tricks won on successful declarations, there are several additional scores that have no influence in winning or losing the game, although they may materially affect the ultimate value of the rubber. These are all entered under the head of “honour scores,” or “above the line.”

Honours are the five highest cards in the trump suit, A K Q J 10; when there is no trump, they are the four Aces. The partners holding three, four or five honours between them, or four honours in one hand, or four in one hand and the fifth in the partner’s, or all five in one hand, are entitled to claim and score them, according to the following table. It will be seen that their value varies according to the trump suit; and it must be remembered that this value cannot be increased by doubling.

TABLE OF HONOUR VALUES.

Royal spades are indicated by “R.”

Declaration R No
trump
Each Trick Above 6 2 6 7 8 9 10
HONOURS { 3 Honours 4 12 14 16 18 30
4 Honours 8 24 28 32 36 40
4 Honours (All in 1 hand) 16 48 56 64 72 100
5 Honours 10 30 35 40 45
5 Honours (4 in 1 hand) 18 54 63 72 81
5 Honours (All in 1 hand) 20 60 70 80 90

Rubber 250, Grand Slam 40, Little Slam 20.

When one side has nothing but the odd honour, three out of the five, it is called simple honours. The value of simple honours is always the same as two tricks.

Slams. Little Slam is made by taking twelve of the thirteen tricks; it counts 20 points. Grand Slam is made by taking the[1] thirteen tricks, and it counts 40. Either score must be exclusive of revoke penalties.

PENALTIES. If the declarer succeeds in making his contract, he scores below the line for tricks and above the line for honours according to the table of values already given, and he scores for as many tricks as he wins, regardless of the smaller number he may have bid.

But if the declarer fails to make good on his contract he scores nothing but honours as actually held, while his adversaries score 50 points penalty in the honour column for every trick by which the declaration falls short, no matter what the declaration was, but they never score anything toward game, no matter how many tricks they win, because they are not the declarers. They may, however, score slams.

If we suppose the winning declaration to be three hearts, and the declarer makes the odd trick only, holding simple honours, he scores 16 above the line, while the other side scores 100 points above the line for defeating the contract by two tricks, worth 50 each.

If the dealer is left in with one spade, he cannot lose more than 100 points, even if he is doubled, provided neither he nor his partner redouble. If the adversaries set the contract for one trick, the declarer loses 50 only, and even if he is set for six tricks, he can lose only the 100.

If any other declaration is doubled and fails, the adversaries score 100 points, instead of 50, for every trick by which they defeat the contract. If it is redoubled, they score 200. But if the declarer succeeds after being doubled, he not only scores double value for the tricks toward game, but he gets 50 points for fulfilling a doubled contract and 50 more for any tricks over his contract if he makes them. These figures are 100 in each case if he redoubles.

Suppose the declaration is three no trumps, doubled, and the declarer makes five by cards. He scores 5 times 20 toward game, aces as held, and then 150 in penalties, 50 of which is for fulfilling his contract and twice 50 for the two tricks over his contract.

KEEPING SCORE. Two styles of score-pad are now in general use. In one the tricks and honours are entered in the same vertical column, one above the other, and are all added in one sum at the end. In the other style of pad the tricks are in one column and the honours and penalties in another, so that four additions are required to find the value of the rubber, which is always the difference between the total scores after giving the[2] winners of two games 250 points. The following illustration will show both styles of pad:

WE THEY
36
30
18 100
16
8
40
36
250
42 492
42
450
WE THEY
8 16
18 100
40 30
36 36
8 34 76 166
8 76
250
42 492
42
450

The scoring on which this rubber is won and lost was as follows: WE started with a contract to win one heart and made it, with simple honours, scoring 8 toward game and 16 above for honours. Then THEY set a contract for two tricks, getting 100 in penalties, against simple honours in royals, scored as 18 above for WE and 100 for THEY. Then THEY made four odd at no trump and 30 aces, winning the first game, under which a line is drawn.

On the next deal THEY made four odd in royals, with four honours, 36 each way, winning the second game and also the rubber, for which they add 250 points. Both scores are now added up and the lower deducted from the higher, showing that THEY win 450 points on the balance.

CUTTING OUT. At the conclusion of the rubber, if there are more than four candidates for play, the selection of the new table is made by cutting; those who have just played having an equal chance with the newcomers. The reason for this is that a Bridge table is complete with four, and that a rubber is usually too long, with its preliminaries of making the trump, and its finalities of settling the score, for players to wait their turn. A rubber at Short Whist is often over in two hands; but a carefully played rubber at Bridge sometimes occupies an hour.

CHEATING. Most of the cheating done at the bridge table is of such a character that it cannot be challenged without difficulty, although there is enough of it to be most annoying.

[3]

Some players will place an ace about four cards from the top when they shuffle the cards, so that when the pack is spread for the cut they can draw it and get the first deal. Second dealing is a common trick, especially on ocean steamers, marking the aces and slipping them back if they would fall to an adversary dealing them to the partner instead, who can go no trumps and score a hundred aces several times in an evening. Women are great offenders in trifling matters, such as asking the dealer if she passed it, when nothing has been said; looking over the adversaries’ hands as dummy, and then pushing dummy’s cards forward, as if arranging them, but in reality indicating which one to play. A great deal of petty cheating is done in putting down the score, and also in balancing it by cancellation. In large charity games, some women are so eager to win a prize that they will stoop to all manner of private signals, and some go so far as to make up a table and agree to double everything, so that some one of the four shall have a big score. Another common trick in so-called social games is to have a stool pigeon to overlook the hand of another and signal it up to the confederate who is playing.

There may be some remedy for this sort of thing, but so far no one seems to have found it; or at least they lack the courage to put it in practice and expose the offenders.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. The great secret of success in auction lies in sound bidding, so that no bid shall have a double meaning and the partner may be able to rely absolutely on the information which the bid should convey. The complications of the situation are so numerous, owing to the variations introduced by each succeeding bid as the players over-call one another, that it would be impossible to cover them in a work of this kind, and the student would do well to consult some such work as “Whitehead’s Conventions,” which covers every situation that could possibly arise in the bidding.

A few general hints may be of assistance in showing the principles that govern the more common situations.

The Dealer’s Bids may be divided into four parts; a spade, a losing suit, a winning suit, and no trumps. The one-spade bid simply means, “I pass,” but it does not signify that he will not be willing to bid on the second round. It has nothing whatever to do with the spade suit.

The dealer should never call any suit on the first round of bids unless he has two sure tricks in it. If it is a losing suit, he may have just those two tricks and nothing else, and the shorter the suit the better, but the tricks must be A K, or K Q J,[4] or A Q J. If it is a winning suit he must have at least five cards of it and a trick or two in some other suit to back it up.

If the dealer bids two spades, he shows two sure tricks in a short spade suit and a sure trick outside. If he bids three spades he shows five or more spades and strength enough outside for royals, but denies two sure tricks in the spade suit itself. The dealer should bid no trumps when he has not length enough to bid hearts or royals, but has a hand as good as three aces, well protected in three suits.

The Second Hand should declare just as if he were the dealer when the dealer starts with one spade. He may even go no trump on a lighter hand. When the dealer bids a suit, second hand should over-call only when he can make his contract or wishes to indicate a lead in case third hand should go to no trumps. Second hand should never take the dealer out of a losing suit with a winning suit unless he has seven tricks in his own hand. If the dealer bids no trump, second hand should pass, unless he is prepared to over-call any further bid for three tricks.

Third Hand is not obliged to take the dealer out of a spade, and should not do so unless he is a trick or two stronger than he would have to be to declare as dealer. But the dealer must never be left in with a two or three spade bid. If third hand cannot do any better, he should declare a royal. When the dealer bids no trump, third hand should take him out with any weak five card suit and nothing else, simply to warn him that there are no winning cards in the hand. Always take him out with five cards in a winning suit, no matter how strong the rest of the hand.

Take the dealer out of one suit with another suit only to deny his suit. Take him out of a winning suit with no trump, only to deny his suit and show strength in each of the three other suits. If the dealer bids no trump and second hand calls a suit, double if you can stop the suit twice, otherwise show any good suit of your own, but do not go two no-trumps unless you can do it all yourself. Leave that to your partner. Do not assist your partner’s suit bids with less than three tricks if second hand over-calls.

Fourth Hand bids on the bidding much more than on his cards. He should never take the dealer out of a spade that both second and third hand have passed unless he can go game. If the dealer bids a losing suit, second and third hands passing, leave him in unless you can go game and are not afraid of a shift. If the dealer bids a winning suit, second and third hands passing, make any sound declaration. If the dealer starts with no trumps,[5] show any suit that might save the game if led at once by your partner.

Subsequent Bids. Any suit bid on the second round but not on the first, shows length without the tops. When a winning suit is taken out by the partner, a losing suit bid on the second round shows tops in it. Any suit rebid on the second round, without waiting for the partner’s assistance, shows six or seven sure tricks in hand.

Never bid a hand twice, unless its strength is greater than indicated by the first bid. Having bid a club on ace king alone, that is the end of it. If you have an outside ace, which the club bid did not show, you can assist your partner once on that trick, but no more. Having assisted your partner’s suit bid with three tricks, do not bid again unless you have a fourth trick in hand, but if he rebids his suit without waiting for you, you may assist on one trick, especially a high honour in trumps.

Do not double unless you have a certainty and are not afraid of a shift. Do not give up a fair chance for going game yourself just to double an adversary, unless you are sure of 200 in penalties at least, and do not give up the rubber game for less than 300. Always remember that a double may enable an adversary to go game, and will often show the declarer which hand to finesse against.

Free Doubles are opportunities to double when the declarer will go game anyhow if he makes his contract, but they should never be made if there is any chance that he may shift.

Free Bids are anything better than a spade by the dealer, or anything that over-calls a previous bid, because no one is forced to bid on the first round. A Shout is a bid that is a trick more than necessary to over-call the previous bid. It shows a solid suit, or five or six sure tricks in hand. In a losing suit it is a loud call for the partner to go no trumps if he can. A free bid in a losing suit shows the high cards; in a winning suit it shows the tricks in hand.

A Forced Bid is one that is necessary to over-call, such as two diamonds over a heart. This does not mean that the caller would have bid two diamonds originally. A player who must indicate a lead against a no-trumper makes a forced bid.

The Original Lead. The first card must be played before dummy’s hand is exposed.

OPENING LEADS. The position which we have first to consider is that of the eldest hand, usually designated by the letter “A,” who sits on the declarer’s left.

[6]

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

Selecting the Suit to Lead. If your partner has declared a suit, lead the best card you hold of it, regardless of number, unless you have an ace-king suit of your own, in which case lead the king first and have a look at dummy. If partner has not declared anything, lead your own suit. With high cards not in sequence, such as ace-queen, king-jack, or even queen-ten, in every suit but trumps, lead the trump.

There is a great difference between playing against a trump declaration and against no-trumpers; because in the first case the leader is opposed to unusual trump strength and his object must be to make what he can of his winning cards, before the declarer gets into the lead and discards his weak suits, so as to be ready to trump them. But in the second case, there being no trumps, the leader’s object should be to get a suit established against the dealer, if he can, and the longer the suit is, the better. The dealer’s strength in a no-trumper is usually scattered, and he may often be found with a weak or missing suit, which is generally the suit in which the eldest hand or his partner is long.

We shall first consider the leads against trump declarations, because they are more common and are also the more useful. If a player makes a trump-hand lead against a no-trump declaration, he will not do nearly so much harm as if he make a no-trump-hand lead against a trump declaration. For that reason, if a player cannot master both systems of leading, it is better for him to learn the leads against trumps than those against no-trumps.

Rules for Leading High Cards. With such a suit as A K Q 2, no one need be told not to begin with the deuce. Whenever a player holds two or more of the best cards of a suit he should play one of them. If he holds both second and third best, playing one of them will force the best out of his way, leaving him with the commanding card.

The cards which are recognised by bridge players as high, are the A K Q J 10, and if we separate the various combinations from which a player should lead each of them, a study of the groups so formed will greatly facilitate our recollection of them.

In the first group are those containing two or more of the best cards. In this and all following notation, the exact size of any card below a Ten is immaterial.

[7]

🂡 🂮 🂭 🂫 | 🂱 🂾 🂻 🂷 | 🃁 🃎 🃍 🃆 | 🃑 🃞 🃔 🃓

So far as trick-taking is concerned, it is of no importance which of the winning cards is first led; but good players lead the King from all these combinations in order that the partner may be informed, by its winning, that the leader holds the Ace also.

In the second group are those containing both the second and third best, but not the best.

🂮 🂭 🂫 🂪 | 🂾 🂽 🂺 🂸 | 🃎 🃍 🃋 🃄 | 🃞 🃝 🃗 🃖

The King is the proper lead from these combinations. If it wins, the partner should have the Ace; if it loses, partner should know the leader holds at least the Queen.

Both these groups, which contain all the King leads, may be easily remembered by observing that the King is always led if accompanied by the Ace or Queen, or both. Beginners should follow this rule for leading the King, regardless of the number of small cards in the suit.

There is only one combination from which the Queen is led,

🃝 🃛 🃗 🃖

when it is accompanied by the Jack, and there is no higher card of the suit in the hand. Whether the ten follows the Jack or not, does not matter. With any two high cards in sequence, the lead is a high card when playing against a declared trump.

The Jack is never led except as a supporting card. It is always the top of the suit, and the suit is usually short. The object of[8] making such an opening is to avoid leading suits headed by two honours which are not in sequence. These are good Jack leads:

🂻 🂺 🂹 🂴 | 🂫 🂧

The Ten is led from one combination only:—

🃎 🃋 🃊 🃆

The Ace should not be led if it can be avoided; but it is better to lead it from suits of more than four cards, so as to make it at once. If the Ace is accompanied by the King, the King is the card to lead, not the Ace. If the Ace is accompanied by other honours, such as the Queen or Jack, it is better to avoid opening the suit, unless you have five or more cards of it. But if you do lead a suit headed by the Ace, without the King, be sure that you lead the Ace, when playing against a trump declaration, or you may never make it.

All such combinations as the following should be avoided, if possible, as more can be made out of them by letting them alone:—

🃑 🃝 🃚 🃔 | 🃞 🃛 🃘 🃔 | 🂱 🂻 🂺 🂴 | 🂽 🂻 🂶 🂴 | 🂮 🂨 🂧 🂤 | 🂫 🂪 🂩 🂤 | 🃍 🃆 🃅 🃄 | 🃊 🃉 🃈 🃄

But with three honours, A Q J, the Ace should be led.

Rules for Leading Short Suits. It will sometimes happen that the only four-card suit in the leader’s hand will be trumps or a suit headed by honours not in sequence, which it is not desirable to[9] lead. In such cases, if there is no high-card combination in any of the short suits, it is usual to lead the highest card, unless it is an Ace or King. Many good players will not lead the Queen from a three-card suit, unless it is accompanied by the Jack. All such leads are called forced, and are intended to assist the partner, by playing cards which may strengthen him, although of no use to the leader. The best card should be led from any such combinations as the following:—

🃝 🃛 🃖 | 🃊 🃉 🃄 | 🃋 🃊 🃅 | 🃙 🃘 🃔 | 🂫 🂥 🂣 | 🂷 🂶 🂴

Small-card Leads. If the suit selected for the lead does not contain any combination of high cards from which it would be right to lead a high card, good players make it a rule to begin with the fourth-best, counting from the top of the suit. This is called the “card of uniformity,” because it indicates to the partner that there are remaining in the leader’s hand exactly three cards higher than the one led.

Should the player be forced to lead any of the undesirable combinations shown on the last page, he would begin with the Ace if he held it; otherwise he would lead the fourth-best. In each of the hands shown this would be the four, and this card would be led, even if there were five or six cards in the suit. From this hand, for instance, the five is the proper lead:—

🃎 🃈 🃆 🃅 🃄 🃃 🃂

Rules for Leading Second Round. If the leader wins the first trick, having the best of the suit in his hand, he should follow with the winning card; but if he has several cards which are equally winning cards, he should lead the lowest of them. This is an indication to the partner that the card led is as good as the best; therefore the leader must hold the intermediate cards. When a[10] King wins, your partner knows you have the Ace, if he does not hold it. Then tell him what he does not know, that you have the Queen also.

Suppose you have led the King from these combinations:—

🂱 🂾 🂽 🂻 | 🂡 🂮 🂭 🂢

Your partner knows you have the Ace, because your King wins. From the first, go on with the Jack, which is just as good as the Ace, but tells your partner you have not only the Ace but the Queen, still in your hand. From the second, go on with the Queen, the card your partner does not know, which tells him you still have the Ace, but not the Jack. If you have not the Queen, you will have to go on with the Ace, and your leading the Ace will deny the Queen.

If you have not the best, lead one of the second and third-best, if you hold both:—

🃞 🃝 🃛 🃚 | 🂾 🂽 🂻 🂲

From the first of these, having led the King, if it wins, go on with the ten, whether you have any smaller cards or not. From the second, if the King wins, go on with the Jack, which denies the ten, but tells your partner you still have the Queen. No mistake is more common among beginners than leading a low card on the second round, on the assumption that the partner must have the Ace. If you have led from King and Queen only, you must go on with the fourth-best; because you have not both the second and third-best. This fourth-best is the card that was the fourth-best originally. Having led the King from this:—

🃎 🃍 🃈 🃆 🃅 🃃

the card to follow the King is the six, if the King wins the first trick.

The Fourth-best. From any combination of cards, if you have not the best, or both the second and third-best, in your hand for the second round, lead your original fourth-best. From[11] all the following, the proper lead on the second round would be the fourth-best, in each case the four of the suit:

🂡 🂭 🂧 🂤 🂢 | 🂾 🂽 🂸 🂴 | 🃁 🃋 🃉 🃄 🃃 | 🂮 🂭 🂧 🂤 | 🃑 🃙 🃘 🃔 🃓 | 🃎 🃋 🃊 🃄

Leading Trumps. A trump lead is sometimes adopted when all the plain suits are bad ones to lead away from, such as A Q, or A J, or K J in each and no length. If a player holds high cards which are not in sequence, such as the major tenace, ace and queen, it is very probable that the declarer holds the king. By refusing to lead such suits, and waiting for them to come up to the tenace, the declarer’s high card may be caught and a valuable trick saved. When a good player opens his hand with a trump, right up to the declaration, his partner should lead his best supporting cards boldly up to dummy’s weak suits.

The Pone’s Leads. When the pone gets into the lead, if he does not return his partner’s suit, he should open his own suits according to the rules already given for all the high-card combinations. If he has no high-card combination, it is usually better for him to lead some card that will beat Dummy than to lead his fourth-best. Suppose he wishes to lead a diamond, in which he holds Q 10 8 4 3; Dummy having the 9 and 6 only. It is better to lead the ten of diamonds than the fourth-best, because if the declarer does not follow with an honour, your partner will not have to sacrifice an honour to keep Dummy from winning the trick with the 9.

After the opening lead, when Dummy’s cards are exposed, the knowledge of his cards may change the aspect of the game greatly; but the proper cards to lead to and through Dummy will be better understood in connection with the play against no-trumpers.

No-trump Leads. The chief difference in the leads against no-trumpers is, that there is no hurry to make your aces and kings, the chief thing being to make some of the smaller cards[12] good for tricks. When you are long in a suit, if you lead out the winning cards first, your partner may have none to lead you later on, and if you cannot make every trick in the suit before you lose the lead, you may never make anything but your one or two high cards.

The difference in the leads at no-trump is covered by a very simple rule; if you have only two honours in sequence, do not lead either of them, but begin with the fourth-best, even if your honours are the Ace and King. But if you have three honours in the suit, two of them in sequence, always lead an honour against a no-trumper.

The exception to this rule is, that when you are so long in the suit that you may catch some high cards with your high cards, you lead them first. With six or seven in suit to the A K, for instance, lead the King, on the chance of dropping the Queen. With seven in suit headed by the Ace, lead the Ace, but never with less than seven without the King. With six in suit, you may lead the King from K Q, without either Jack or 10; but with less than six in suit never lead the King from K Q unless you have the 10 or the J also.

THIRD HAND PLAY. The leader’s partner must do his best to inform his partner as to the distribution of his suit. The method of doing this is entirely different when there is a trump from that which is adopted when there is no trump. In the first case, all your partner wants to know is, who is going to trump his suit if he goes on with it. In the second case, what he wants to know is his chance for getting his suit cleared or established.

With a Trump. When third hand makes no attempt to win the trick, either because his partner’s or Dummy’s card is better than any he need play, he plays the higher of two cards only, the lowest of three or more. This is called playing down and out. Suppose third hand holds 7 and 2 only, and the lead is a King. The 7 is played. The leader goes on with the Ace, denying the Queen, and the third hand plays the deuce. If the Queen is not in the Dummy, the declarer must have it. In any case, the leader knows that if he goes on, his partner, the third hand, can trump that suit.

With three cards, the lowest falling to the first round, followed by a higher card, will show the leader that the third hand still has another of that suit.

It is not necessary to play down and out with an honour, because the leader can read the situation without it. Suppose third hand holds the J 5. He plays the 5 to the first round, because one of his two cards is an honour. The leader goes on with the Ace, and[13] the Jack falls. Now the third hand must have the Queen or no more, and no matter which it is he can win the third round, with the Queen or with a trump.

Against No-Trumpers. When there is no trump, the third hand uses what is called the Foster echo. This consists in playing always the second-best of the suit, when no attempt is made to win the trick. Suppose the leader begins with the King. Third hand holds 10 8 7 4, and plays the 8. This marks him with only one card higher than the 8, and is a great exposer of false cards played by the declarer.

On the second round, the rule is, always to keep the lowest card of the suit until the last. If third hand held four originally, 10 8 7 4, his play to the second round is the 7, keeping the 4. If he held 10 8 7 only, his play to the second round would be the 10, keeping the 7. This makes it clear to the leader how many and what he holds.

High Cards Third Hand. When the third hand tries to win his partner’s lead, he does so as cheaply as possible. That is, holding both King and Queen, he plays the Queen, not the King. If his cards are not in sequence, he should always play the best he has. With Ace and Queen, for instance, he must play the Ace if the King is not in the Dummy. To play the Queen would be to throw it away if the declarer has the King. If the leader has the King, third hand gets out of his way by giving up the Ace.

FOSTER’S ELEVEN RULE. In trying to win tricks as cheaply as possible, third hand may often be guided by the Eleven Rule, which can be applied to any lead of a small card.

By deducting from eleven the number of pips on any low card led by his partner, the pone may ascertain to a certainty how many cards there are higher than the one led, which are not in the leader’s hand. This rule, which was invented by R.F. Foster in 1881, in connection with the game of whist, is now used by everyone with any pretensions to being a bridge player. The rule itself is this:—

When the eldest hand leads any card which is not an honour, deduct the spots on it from eleven. From the remainder thus found, deduct the number of cards, higher than the one led, which are not in your own hand nor in Dummy’s in that suit. This final remainder is the number of cards which are in the declarer’s hand which are higher than the card led. The principal thing to remember is, that it is only the cards higher than the one led that you need trouble about. To illustrate:—

[14]

Suppose you are third hand, and your partner leads the seven of clubs, Dummy lays down the Q 9 2, and you hold A J 3, thus:—

Leader 🃗 Dummy 🃝 🃙 🃒 Third hand 🃑 🃛 🃓

Deducting seven from eleven, you find it leaves four. These four cards, higher than the one lead, are all in sight, Q 9 in Dummy; A J in your own hand, therefore the declarer cannot have any card higher than the seven. If he has, your partner’s lead is not his fourth-best, as you will see if you lay out the cards.

RETURNING SUITS. When the third hand returns his partner’s suit, he should lead the higher of two cards, and the lowest of three, unless he has a card which will beat anything Dummy may hold in the suit, in which case he should always beat Dummy.

PLAYING AGAINST DUMMY. Some of the fine points in bridge arise in situations which require a careful consideration of the Dummy’s cards.

There are three great principles in playing against Dummy:—

1st. Lead through the strong suits, and up to the weak.

2nd. Do not lead through a fourchette.

3rd. Do not lead up to a tenace.

These rules must not be blindly followed in every instance. They are simply general principles, and some of the prettiest coups arise from the exceptional cases.

Leading Through Dummy. The eldest hand, when he does not deem it advisable to go on with his own suit, may be guided in his choice by the strength or weakness of certain suits in Dummy’s hand. The play against Dummy is especially important at no trumps.

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Suits which it is good policy to lead through are A x x x, K x x x, or any broken sequences of high cards.

Suits in which Dummy is long, or holds any of the regular high-card combinations, should be avoided; winning or high sequences being especially dangerous. To lead such suits through Dummy’s strength is an invitation to partner to force you in the suit led.

It is not necessary for you to be strong in a suit which you lead through Dummy; and if you are both weak, is often advantageous; especially if it avoids leading one of his strong suits.

With A Q 10 x; Dummy having J x x x; play the 10. If partner has the King you make every trick in the suit.

With A Q 10 x; Dummy having K x x; play the Q. If Dummy passes, you make two tricks; if he covers, you have tenace over the Jack.

With A 10 9 x; Dummy having J x x x; play the 10. If partner has the K, your A 9 is tenace over the Q.

With A J 10 x; Dummy having Q x x x; if the suit must be led, play the Jack; but such positions should be avoided, except in the end game, or when you play for every trick.

With A J 10 x; Dummy having no honour in the suit; if you must lead the suit, play the 10.

In trumps, with K Q x x; Dummy having A J x x; play the Queen. If Dummy wins with A, play a small card for the second round, and he may refuse to put on the J. The declarer not having the 10, would make Dummy cover; but nothing is lost if he does, and it marks the 10 with your partner.

With King and others of a suit in which Dummy has not the Ace; avoid leading the suit until the Ace has fallen.

With King alone, play it if Dummy has the Ace; keep it if he has not.

Trumps. If a player in this position is strong in trumps, he should keep quiet about it and let the maker of the trumps develop the suit. False-carding is perfectly legitimate in trumps, and will deceive the declarer more than your partner.

End Games. There are cases in which it is necessary to play as if partner was known to possess a certain card, for unless he has it the game is lost. For instance: You want one trick, and have Q 10 x x, Dummy having K x x, of an unplayed suit. The Queen is the best play; for if partner has any honour you must get a trick; otherwise it is impossible.

You have K x in one suit, a losing card in another, and a winning card. You want all four tricks to save the game. Play the King, and then the small card; for if your partner has not the Ace and another winning card you must lose the game.

You have a losing trump, and Q x x of a suit in which Dummy has K 10 x. If you want one trick, play the losing trump, counting on partner for an honour in the plain suit. If you must have two tricks, lead the Queen, trusting your partner to hold Ace.

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Leading up to Dummy. The best thing for the third hand, or pone, to do, when he does not return his partner’s suit, and has no very strong suit of his own, is to lead up to Dummy’s weak suits, and to lead a card that Dummy cannot beat, if possible.

The general principle of leading up to weakness suggests that we should know what weakness is. Dummy may be considered weak in suits of which he holds three or four small cards, none higher than an 8; Ace and one or two small cards; or King and one or two small cards. In leading up to such suits, your object should be to give your partner a finesse, if possible; and in calculating the probabilities of success it must be remembered that there are only two unknown hands, so that it is an equal chance that he holds either of two unknown cards. It is 3 to 1 against his holding both, or against his holding neither. Of three unknown cards, it is 7 to 1 against his holding all three, or none of them; or about an equal chance that he holds two of the three; or one only.

If Dummy holds any of the weak suits just given, you holding nothing higher than the Ten, you should lead it. Suppose you have 10 9 6; Dummy having A 3 2. The K Q J may be distributed in eight different ways, in any of which your partner will pass your Ten if second hand does not cover. In four cases, second hand would cover with the King, and in one with the Queen and Jack. In the remaining three your partner’s hand would be benefited.

If Dummy has King and one or two small cards, it is not so disadvantageous to lead up to the King as would at first appear; because it is forced out of his hand on the first round, unless declarer plays Ace, and it is usually good policy to force out Dummy’s cards of re-entry early in the hand.

In leading from high-card combinations, the usual bridge leads should be followed; but exceptions must be made on the second round when certain cards are in Dummy’s hand. For instance: With A K J and others, it is usual to stop after the first round, and wait for the finesse of the Jack. This is obviously useless if the Queen is not in Dummy’s hand. So with K Q 10, unless Dummy has the Jack; or K Q 9, unless Dummy has the 10. The lead from A Q J should be avoided if Dummy has the King.

With A Q 10 and others, J in Dummy’s hand, begin with the Queen.

With A J 9 and others, 10 in Dummy’s hand, lead the Jack.

With A J 10, Dummy having K Q x, play the Jack, and do not lead the suit again.

In trumps, with K Q and others, if Dummy has the J singly guarded, begin with the King as usual, but follow it with the Queen instead of the smallest; for declarer may have passed in the hope of making a Bath coup with both Ace and Jack. In[17] plain suits this is a dangerous lead, as declarer having Ace, and wishing to force Dummy, would hold his Ace as a matter of course.

With short suits, such as K x, Q x; or even with King or Queen alone, the honour is a good lead if Dummy has no court cards in the suit. The Queen is rather a better lead than the King, the only danger being that second hand holds fourchette.

With Q J x, or J 10 x, one of the high cards should be played. With Q 10 x, Dummy having Ace or King, the Queen should be led.

With K 10 x, Dummy having Jack, the suit should not be led.

With such combinations as K x x x, Dummy having Q x, the suit should not be led.

When you have a suit which is both long and strong, such as A K x x x, and Dummy has no honour in the suit, it is a common artifice to underplay, by beginning with the smallest, if playing against no-trumps and you have a card of re-entry. This should not be done unless you have the general strength to justify such a finesse.

If you open a long suit, Dummy having only small cards, and your partner wins with Q, J, or 10, and does not return it, he has evidently a finesse in the suit and wants it led again.

End Games. In the end game there are several variations which are made possible by the fact that the cards on your right are exposed.

With A J x, Dummy having Q x x, the small card should be led.

With Q x, and an odd card, Dummy having K x x of the first suit; it is better to play the odd card; but if for any reason this should not be done, lead the Q, hoping to find A 10 with your partner.

The state of the score must be a constant guide in all end games. For instance: You hold Q 10 x, Dummy having J 9 x. If you want only one trick, play the Queen; but if you want two, play the small card.

SECOND HAND PLAY. The easiest position to play as second hand, is, of course, with the Dummy on your left, because Dummy’s cards will show what is best to be done. If a small card is led, you having King, put it on if Dummy has not the Ace; unless you want partner to get the lead. If Dummy has only two cards of the suit, neither of them the Ace, always play your King.

When the declarer leads a suit it is often important to count how many he and your partner can possibly hold. For instance: You have four, K x x x; Dummy has four, A J 10 x, and declarer leads the Queen. It is useless to play your King; for either the Queen is a singleton, and the declarer cannot continue the suit, which will compel Dummy to lead it to you eventually; or, the third round[18] will be trumped, perhaps by your partner. If you have only two small cards with the King, put it on the Queen. You cannot save it, but you may establish your partner’s 9.

In the last three tricks, if you find yourself with a doubtful card, and the best and a small card of a suit which the declarer leads through you, win the trick and lead the doubtful card, for if the declarer held the best of that suit he would have led it first, to be sure of a trick.

Dummy on the Right. When Dummy leads through you, your skill in avoiding any traps the declarer may be setting for you will depend on your knowledge of how he manages his hand, and your ability to infer what he holds.

As a general principle, it may be assumed that any high card led by Dummy forms part of a combination, the unseen part of which is in the declarer’s hand. If Dummy leads a Queen from Q x x, you holding A J x, it is almost a certainty that the declarer holds the King. If you have A K x, the dealer must have J 10 and several others. If you have K x x, the declarer probably holds Ace, or a long suit headed by J 10.

When Dummy leads strengthening cards, they must be to give the declarer a finesse. If he leads a small card from small cards, some high-card combination must be in the declarer’s hand. In such cases it is useless for you to finesse. If you have any sequence superior to the card led, cover with the lowest. There should be no false-carding in this, because your partner is the only one that can be deceived.

With A K and others, play the King, whatever Dummy leads.

With A Q and others, Dummy having nothing higher than the 9, play the Ace.

With K Q 10, play the Queen on a small card led, unless Dummy has the Jack.

With A J 10 x, play Ace if Dummy has no honour in the suit. But if Dummy leads the 9, cover with the 10; if it loses, you lie tenace over the declarer.

With A J x, play the Jack on a 9 led. This prevents the finesse of the 9, and retains command of the suit. If Dummy has both K and Q, play your Ace. It is useless to play the Bath coup, for the declarer knows your cards, and your partner only is deceived.

With K x x, if Dummy has not the Ace, do not play the King, no matter what is led.

With Q x x, unless Dummy has both A and K, do not play the Queen. If your partner has the Jack guarded, one of you must make a trick. If Dummy has A J, and leads J, put on the Queen; it may make the 9 or 10 good in your partner’s hand.

With A x x, Dummy leading Jack, play the Ace.

With any fourchette, cover the card led.

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If Dummy remains with one or two small cards of a suit that has been led, and you have the best, play it on the second round. Dummy’s play is evidently for the ruff, and if the declarer has not the second best, your partner has.

If you have King, and only one or two small cards, Dummy leading Queen from Q 10 x x, play your King. You cannot save yourself; but you may make the 9 good in partner’s hand. If you have three or more small cards, do not play the King, for either partner or the declarer must be short in the suit. So if Dummy leads Jack from J 10 and others, play the King with a short suit. If partner has Queen you establish it; if not, you cannot make a trick in the suit.

With short suits it is usually best to cover an honour with an honour; but with several small cards, such as K x x x, Dummy leading a singleton Queen, you should pass.

With K 10 x, Dummy having J and others, play honour on honour; small card on small card, whichever Dummy leads.

It is often important for the second hand to cover with what is called an imperfect fourchette. A true fourchette is the card immediately above and below the one led; such as K J over the Q, or Q 10 over the J. An imperfect fourchette is the card above the one led, and another next but one below it; such as K 10 over a Q led, or Q 9 over a J led. Covering forces the opponents to play two honours to win one trick, and will often make an intermediate card good in your partner’s hand.

THIRD HAND PLAY. In addition to the methods of echoing on the partner’s leads of high cards in the suit first opened, third hand must be ready to adapt himself and his play to any change of suit and will require constant practice in putting himself in his partner’s place, asking himself what the object is in leading certain cards through Dummy’s hand. The inferences from the conventional leads should be sufficiently familiar to need no further explanation; but even good players occasionally overlook indications that partner holds certain cards. For instance: A leads a small card; Y, Dummy, holds Q x x, and plays Q. You play the King and win the trick. This marks not only the Ace, but the Jack in partner’s hand; because the declarer would not play a twice guarded Queen from Dummy’s hand if he had the Jack guarded himself.

False cards should be avoided by the third hand as much as possible. The declarer will give your partner enough to puzzle over without your adding to the confusion. There are some exceptions in trumps. For instance: You have K Q x; Dummy has A J x x, and your partner leads. Unless Dummy plays Ace, you should put on the King, and change the suit.

If you hold Ace and others in a plain suit, partner leading Jack,[20] pass it if Dummy has no honour. Perhaps by winning the second round you can give the invited force. With any other honours than the Ace, pass a partner’s Jack led.

If partner leads you a suit of which he knows, or should know, you have not the best, he must have a good finesse in the suit which he does not lead, and you should take the first opportunity to lead that suit to him.

In returning partner’s suits, some modification may be suggested by the condition of Dummy’s hand. For instance: With K x x; Dummy having A Q J x; if you win, third hand, on Dummy’s finesse, you may be sure your partner’s lead was a weak suit. If Dummy is weak in the two other plain suits, your partner may have a good finesse in one or both of them.

When your partner wins the first round of an adverse suit, and immediately returns it, he is inviting a force.

Dummy on the Left. When the player is third hand with Dummy on his left, his chief care will be to divine his partner’s object in leading certain cards up to Dummy.

The general principles of inference are the same as in the preceding case, and cards may often be inferred in the same manner from the evident intention of partner. For instance: You hold K x x; partner leads J, declarer covering with Queen. A glance at Dummy’s cards shows him to have 10 x x; so your partner may be credited with A 9. You have x x; your partner leading Q, covered by declarer with K, and Dummy having J x x. You may credit your partner with A 10. You have x x; your partner leads Q and declarer wins with Ace; Dummy holding 10 x x. Your partner must have J 9 and others, and the declarer has the King.

There are several cases in which you should not allow Dummy to win the trick. If you have only one card of a suit in which your partner leads Ace then Queen, and Dummy has the King twice guarded, trump at once, if you can to prevent Dummy from getting into the lead. Your partner leads Queen; you holding A 10 x, and Dummy having K x x. Let the King make on the first round.

If your partner leads a small card up to strength in Dummy’s hand, he is either inviting a force, or trying to establish a long suit. Under such circumstances, if you have the Ace, play it, and lead a second round of the suit immediately, which will settle the question.

If you have Q J 10 of a suit in which partner leads King, play the Jack, so that he will count you for Q or no more, and will not go on with the Ace.

IN GENERAL. Both the adversaries of Dummy should adopt the usual tactics for unblocking, etc., especially in no-trumpers,[21] and in some cases Dummy’s exposed cards will make the matter more simple. For instance: You hold A Q alone, of a suit which partner leads. If you are the pone, and Dummy has not the King, play Ace and return the Queen.

FOURTH HAND. There is only one difference from the usual methods in playing fourth hand, and that is in indicating sequences by winning with the best and returning the lowest to show the intermediate cards. For instance: Fourth player, holding K Q J x, wins with King and returns the Jack. Or with A K Q, wins with Ace and returns the Queen. The reason for this is that the declarer gains nothing by the information, for he knows from the first what cards are out against him; but the information may be valuable to your partner, the second hand. If it is not the intention to return the suit at once, the lowest of the sequence should be played.

PLAYING TO THE SCORE. This is a most important element, and there is no surer indication of a careless or weak player than his inattention to the score.

One cannot be too early impressed with the importance of saving the game before trying to win it; although great risks may be taken to win a game that cannot be lost that hand.

Never risk a sure contract in the hope of making more; unless the two will win the game, and the odd trick will not win it. Never risk a trick that will save the game in the hope of winning more, and always set a contract while you can.

DISCARDING. This is one of the still unsettled questions of bridge tactics, some believing in discarding the weak suit always; others the strong suit always, and others one or the other according to the declaration. Against a trump declaration almost every one agrees that it is best to discard the best suit, so that if your partner gets in before you do, he may have something to guide him as to what your best chance is for any more tricks.

Against no-trumpers, the majority of players hug every possible trick in their long suit and discard their weak suits, on the ground that it is folly to throw away cards that might win tricks. While this is true, it is also true that in discarding their weak suit they too often enable the declarer to win tricks that they might have stopped. For this reason, many players discard the suit they are not afraid of; that is, their best protected suit, and keep what protection they have in the weak suits, even if it is nothing but three to a Jack or ten. Unfortunately, no one has yet been able to advance any argument sufficiently convincing for either system to demonstrate that it is better than the other. Some of the best teachers of the game advocate the discard from strength against no-trumps; others teach the weak discard.

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ENCOURAGING DISCARDS. In order to distinguish between discards from weakness and those from strength, many players use what is called an encouraging card. This is anything higher than a six, if they have protection in the suit, or want it led. A player with an established suit, and A 8 2 of another suit, for instance, would discard the 8, to encourage his partner to lead that suit and put him in. In case there is no card higher than the six, the reverse discard is used. With A 4 2, the play would be the 4 and then the 2. Some use this reverse or encouraging card to induce the partner to continue the suit he is leading, but the practice is confusing.

THE DECLARER’S PLAY. The chief difference between the play of the Dummy and partner, and that of their adversaries, is that there is no occasion for the former to play on the probability of partner’s holding certain cards, because a glance will show whether he holds them or not. There is no hoping that he may have certain cards of re-entry, or strength in trumps, or that he will be able to stop an adverse suit, or anything of that sort, for the facts are exposed from the first. Instead of adapting his play to the slowly ascertained conditions of partner’s hand, the declarer should have it mapped out and determined upon before he plays a card. He may see two courses open to him; to draw the trumps and make a long suit, or to secure such discards as will give him a good cross-ruff. A rapid estimate of the probable results of each line of play, a glance at the score, and his mind should be made up. Several examples of this foresight will be found in the example hands.

Another point of difference is, that the declarer should play false cards whenever possible. He has not a partner who, if he plays the King, might jump to the conclusion that he can trump a suit, or has not the Queen. The more thoroughly the adversaries are confused, the greater the advantage to the declarer, especially in the end game.

With a Trump. When the winning declaration is a suit for trumps, the declarer’s first consideration upon getting into the lead must be whether or not to lead trumps. As a rule, the trumps should be led at once, so as to exhaust the adversaries; but there are exceptional cases, the principal ones being:—

Do not lead trumps from the strong trump hand if it would be to your advantage to put the other hand in the lead with a plain suit, so as to let the trump lead come from the weaker hand to the stronger, as when a finesse in trumps is desirable.

Do not lead trumps if you have no good plain suit, and can make more tricks by playing for a cross-ruff.

Do not lead trumps if the weaker hand can trump some of your losing cards first. It often happens that a losing trump can be used to win a trick before trumps are led.

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At No-trump. The declarer’s first care in a no-trumper must be to select the suit that he will play for. Four simple rules cover this choice:—

1. Always lead from the weak hand to the strong if the suit is not already established.

2. Play for the suit in which you have the greatest number of cards between the two hands, because it will probably yield the greatest number of tricks.

3. If two suits are equal in number, play for the one in which you have the greatest number of cards massed in one hand. That is, if you have two suits of eight cards each, select the one that has six of those cards in one hand, in preference to the suit with four in each hand.

4. Everything else being equal, play for the suit which is shown in the Dummy, so as to conceal from the adversaries as long as possible the strength in your own hand.

A suit is said to be established when you can win every remaining trick in it, no matter who leads it. As it is very important that the hand which is longer in the suit should be able to lead it without interruption when it is established, good players make it a rule always to play the high cards from the shorter hand first, so as to get out of the way. With Q 10 and three others in one hand, K J and one other in the other hand, the play is the K and J from the short hand, keeping the Q 10 in the long hand.

If there is any choice, that suit should be selected which contains the longest sequence, or the sequence with the fewest breaks. It should be noticed that the sequence need not be in one hand; for it is almost as valuable if divided, and it is especially advantageous to have the higher cards concealed in the declarer’s hand. Its continuity is the chief point. For instance: Declarer and Dummy hold between them one suit of K J 9 7 5 4 3, and another of Q J 10 9 8 7 5. The latter should be selected, because two leads must establish it.

In establishing a long suit it is very important to note the fall of the missing cards in the sequences. In the first of the two combinations just given, the declarer should be as careful to watch for the fall of the 8 and 6 as for the A Q and 10.

Leading. It is quite unnecessary to follow any system of leads, further than to distinguish between the combinations from which high or low cards are led. But it is important to remember that although a high-card combination may be divided, it should be played as if in one hand. For instance: The declarer holds Q J x x x of a suit; Dummy having A x x. By leading Q or J, Dummy is enabled to finesse, as if he held A Q J. The declarer holds K J x x x; Dummy having Q x x. The play is to force the Ace, as if the combination of K Q J x x were in one hand.

Many opportunities arise for leading the Ace first from a short suit, in order to secure a ruff on the second or third round.

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Second Hand Play. If any card is led by the adversaries which the fourth hand cannot win, the second hand should cover it if possible; for unless he does so, his weakness will be exposed, and the suit will be continued. This is especially true of cases in which the second hand holds single honours, such as Jack and others, or Queen and others. Even the King should be played second hand in such cases, unless it is so well guarded that the Ace must fall before the King can be forced out.

If the fourth hand can win the card led, it is seldom necessary to cover second hand. For instance: If the Jack of trumps is led, the dealer holding Q 9 7 4, and Dummy having A 6 3 2; there is no need to play the Queen. If the King is in third hand, such play would establish the Ten. If the King is with the leader, it or the Ten must make. If Dummy were second hand with the same cards, Jack being led, he should not play the Ace, for third hand must play the King to shut out the Queen.

With A Q 9, partner having K and others, it is best to play A on J led.

If the dealer has Ace and several others of a suit led, Dummy having only two small cards, a force may be certainly secured by passing the first round. If Dummy has the Ace, and passes second hand, the dealer failing to win the trick, the adversaries will of course see that the play is made in order to force the dealer on the third round.

If Dummy is weak in trumps, and has only one card of a suit in which the dealer has Ace and others, the Ace should be played, and Dummy forced, unless there is a better game.

It is a disadvantage to play in second hand from suits in which each has a guarded honour. If the dealer has Q x x, and Dummy has J x, they must make a trick in that suit if they play a small card second hand, and avoid leading the suit. The same is true of the adversaries; but they must play on the chance that the partner has the honour, whereas the dealer knows it.

Finessing. This is a very important part of the strategy of the game for the dealer. The adversaries of the dealer never finesse in bridge; but the dealer himself relies upon finessing for any extra tricks he may want.

A finesse is any attempt to win a trick with a card which is not the best you hold, nor in sequence with it. Suppose you have Ace and Queen in the hand which is longer in the suit and lead from the shorter hand a small card. If you play the Queen, that is a finesse, because you hope to take a trick with it, although the King is against you.

It is usually bad play to finesse when there are nine cards of the suit between the two hands, dealer’s and Dummy’s, because there is a good chance that the card you wish to finesse against may fall.

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When it will be necessary to take two finesses in the same suit, the lead must come twice from the weaker hand. Suppose the dealer holds A Q J and others. If the first finesse of the Jack wins, he should put Dummy in again, so as to take a second finesse of the Queen. Suppose the dealer holds A J 10, and finesses the ten the first time. If it falls to the Queen, he should get Dummy in again, so as to take the second finesse with the Jack. The idea is to take advantage of the fact that the odds are against both King and Queen being in one hand. If they are both on the right, one of them will be played on the small card led from Dummy, and then the dealer can win it with the Ace and force out the other high card with his Jack, which will have become one of the second and third-best of the suit.

Re-entry Cards. After a suit has been cleared, or established, it will be necessary to get into the lead with it. For this purpose the dealer must be careful to preserve a re-entry card in the hand which is longer in the suit. Suppose that Dummy’s long suit is clubs, but that the Ace is against him, and that his only winning card outside is the Ace of diamonds. If diamonds are led, and the dealer has the Queen, he must let the lead come up to his hand so as to keep Dummy’s Ace of diamonds for a re-entry to bring the clubs into play after the Ace has been forced out and the suit established. Many of the prettiest plays in bridge are in the management of re-entry cards.

Underplay. When the dealer is afraid of a suit which is opened against him, and has only one winning card in it, such as the Ace, he should hold up that card until the third hand has no more of the suit to lead to his partner. The original leader will then have to get in himself, because his partner cannot help him; but if the dealer gave up the Ace on the first trick, it would not matter which partner got into the lead, they would return to the suit first opened.

Ducking. This is a method of play by which the dealer hopes to make his own suit even when the hand that is longer in it has no re-entry card. Suppose Dummy holds six clubs to the Ace King, and not another trick in his hand. The dealer has two small clubs only to lead. If the two winning clubs are led right out, it is impossible to catch the Q J 10, no matter how those cards lie, therefore the dealer leads a club, but makes no attempt to win the first round. No matter what is played by the adversaries he ducks the first round, keeping his Ace and King. Next time the dealer gets in, he leads another club, and now he is able to win the second and third rounds of the suit, and will probably catch all the adverse cards and establish it.

The dealer’s play always requires careful planning of the whole hand in advance.

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THE NULLO. Although not yet in the official laws of the game, this bid seems to be a popular one with many players. It is a contract to lose tricks instead of winning them, and is primarily a defence against overwhelmingly strong no-trumpers. A bid of three nullos means that the declarer will force his opponents to win nine tricks, he winning four only, so that each trick under seven counts for the nullo player on his side.

SCORING. There is some difference of opinion as to the proper value for the nullo, but the general verdict seems to be to put it just below the no-trumper at 10 a trick, no honours. Two no-trumps will outbid two nullos. If the adversaries of a nullo revoke, the declarer can give them three of his tricks, or take 100 in honours as penalty. If he revokes, they take 100 penalty as usual.

SUGGESTIONS FOR BIDDING. The dealer should never bid a nullo originally, as it gives his partner no information as to the distribution of the suits. When any player has one long suit good for either no trumps or nullos, such as A K Q 6 4 2, he should “shout,” bidding a trick more than necessary. Singletons and missing suits are valuable parts of a nullo hand, as they afford opportunities for discards. It is always dangerous to bid a nullo without the deuce of the longest suit. If the dealer bids a spade, his partner may safely bid one nullo, because the contract is seldom or never obtained for less than two or three, but he should not persist in the nullo if his partner does not assist it. The greater the opposition from a no-trumper, the more probable that the nullo will succeed, but it is a dangerous declaration in any case. The player with aces and kings is sure to win tricks, regardless of his partner’s hand, but deuces and treys are not sure to lose, as the partner may have all high cards, although not the tops.

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE PLAY. The declarer should count up the tricks he must win, and as a rule win them early, bunching his high cards as much as possible. Suits with two small cards and two high ones must win one trick, but should escape with that. The great point is to lead losing cards from one hand and discard dangerous cards in other suits from the other hand whenever possible.

The opponents of a nullo should lead their shortest suits, so as to get discards later, keeping their eyes on the dummy and forcing it to win tricks whenever possible, but never allowing it to get a discard. The partner’s leads should be returned unless a singleton can be led at once. It is usual to lead the top of two cards, the intermediate of three or more, and to avoid leading suits that are safe, with small cards at the bottom.

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ILLUSTRATIVE AUCTION HANDS.

Z is the dealer in both instances, but Y makes the winning declaration, so that B leads for the first trick. The first illustration is straight auction; the second is a nullo. The underlined card wins the trick and the card under it is the next one led.

A Y B Z A Y B Z
Q♠ 2♠ 9♠ ♣2  1 A♢  Q♢  J♢ 9♢
A♠ 6♠ 8♠ ♡3 2 K♢ 6♢ 8♢ 5♢
K♠ 10♠ 4♠ ♡7 3 10♢ 4♢ ♡A 3♢
5♠ J♠ 3♠ ♡J 4 J♠ 3♠ 9♠ A♠
2♢ Q♢ 4♢ 5♢ 5 5♠ Q♠ K♠ 6♠
10♢ 9♢ 7♢ J♢ 6 ♣Q ♣6 ♣J ♣K
♡4 3♢ 8♢ A♢ 7 7♢ ♡J ♡5 ♡10
7♠ ♡5 ♡9 K♢ 8 10♠ ♡7 ♡Q ♡9
♡8 ♣3 ♡2 6♢ 9 ♣5 ♣4 ♣2 ♣3
♣4 ♣Q ♣10 ♣9 10 7♠ 2♠ 4♠ ♡K
♣5 ♣A ♡6 ♣7 11 ♣10 ♡4 ♣A ♡8
♣8 ♣K ♡10 ♡Q 12 ♣8 ♡3 ♣9 ♡6
♣J ♣6 ♡A ♡K 13 ♣7 2♢ 8♠ ♡2

In the first example the dealer, Z, bids a heart. A says one royal and Y two clubs. This bid of Y’s denies any support for his partner’s hearts, but shows a supporting minor suit, in case Z is strong enough to go on with the hearts. B bids two royals as he can stop the hearts twice and ruff the clubs. Z cannot pursue the hearts, but shows his supporting minor suit, bidding three diamonds. This says to Y, “Go no trumps if you can stop the spades.” When A passes, having bid his hand on the first round, Y goes two no trumps and makes game. B leads the top of his partner’s declared suit, and A leads a fourth round, hoping to get in with the club jack. At tricks 8 and 9, B signals control in hearts. A keeps the protection in clubs to the end and saves a trick by it. Y keeps two clubs in dummy, so that if club is led, he will have one to return after he has made his diamonds.

In the second example, they are playing nullos, Y declaring. The points in the play are holding the spade queen, so as to lead a diamond or a spade at trick 6. This B prevents, hoping to force two clubs on Y and Z and set the contract. At trick 7, if the hearts are split, the queen must win the ten. If not, Z must win one heart trick. Y makes his contract, losing four odd.

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BRIDGE.

The difference between straight bridge, as it is sometimes called, and auction is in the method of selecting the trump, which must be declared by the dealer or his partner, the opponents having nothing to say except to double the declaration if they think it will not win the odd trick. Another point is that either side can score toward game by getting the odd trick or more, there being no penalties for failure to make the odd except losing the value of the tricks because the dealer never declares to make any given number of tricks on the hand.

There are some irregularities which are peculiar to straight bridge that would not apply to auction. These are fully covered by the following description of the game, all other matters, such as the correct card to lead and the manner of combining the hands, have been fully described in connection with auction.

MAKING THE TRUMP. This is the chief peculiarity in bridge. The trump is not turned up, but the suit is named by the dealer or his partner, after they have examined their cards. In order properly to understand the considerations which guide them in making the trump, one should first be familiar with the values attached to the tricks when certain suits are trumps. The first six tricks taken by one side do not count; but each trick above that number counts toward game according to the following table:—

When Spades are trumps, each trick counts 2 points.
Clubs 4
Diamonds 6
Hearts 8
there is no trump, 12

Better to understand the importance of this variation in value, it should be noticed that the game is 30 points; so that if two partners won 3 by cards with no trump, or 4 by cards with hearts for trumps, they would win the game in one deal. On the other hand, if either of the black suits were trumps, they could not lose the game, even if a slam were made against them.

It will thus be evident that two considerations influence the player whose privilege it is to make the trump: First, to win as much as possible, if he has the cards to do it. Second, to save himself, if he is weak; or the game, if it is in danger. As a general proposition, it may be said that his decision will be indicated by the colour of the trump he names. If it is red, he is strong, and plays to win; if it is black, he is taking to the woods. A further[29] element may enter into his calculations, the state of the score. If he feels sure of the few points necessary to win the game or the rubber with a black trump, there is no necessity to risk making it red. This is a part of the subject which we shall go into further when we come to the suggestions for good play.

The dealer has the first say in making the trump. If he does not feel himself strong enough to make it no trump, or red, although his hand may be black enough to promise a good score in clubs or spades, he should transfer to his partner the privilege of making the trump by saying: “I leave it to you, partner.” Guided by this indication, his partner must fix on some suit for the trump or go no-trumps, and must announce it.

Either the dealer or his partner may elect to play without a trump, if he has sufficient strength in all the suits to do so.

IRREGULARITIES IN DECLARING. If the dealer’s partner makes a declaration before being asked to do so, either adversary may demand that the declaration shall stand, or that there shall be a new deal. In England, only the eldest hand, A, may exact the penalty. If the dealer’s partner passes the declaration to the dealer, either adversary may claim a new deal or may insist that the player in error shall make the declaration. In England, the eldest hand exacts this penalty.

Should an adversary of the dealer make a declaration, the dealer may, after looking at his own hand, either have a new deal or proceed as if nothing had been said.

SETTLING THE VALUE OF THE TRICKS. The trump suit having been announced, the first hand or leader, A, before he plays a card, has the privilege of doubling the value of the tricks if he thinks the opponents cannot win the odd trick with the trump named. To do this, he simply says: “I double.” If he does not feel justified in doubling, he transfers the opportunity to his partner, by asking him: “Shall I play?” That is to say, “shall we play without doubling?” If his partner will not double, he answers: “Yes.” Either A or B having doubled, it becomes the privilege of the player who made the trump to double him again; making the value of the trick four times greater than that given in the table. If he does not do so, he says: “I pass”; and his partner then has the privilege. If either the dealer or his partner doubles, the adversary who first doubled may repeat it; or if he passes, his partner may double. This doubling may be continued until the value of each trick over the book is 100 points, when it must cease.

IRREGULARITIES IN DOUBLING. If the pone doubles before his partner has asked him “Shall I play?” the maker of the trump shall say whether or not the double shall stand. If he allows it to stand it may be redoubled. Should a player redouble out of turn, the one whom he redoubles shall have the right to say whether or not the redouble shall stand.

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Any consultation between partners as to doubling or redoubling will entitle their adversaries to insist on a new deal.

If the eldest hand leads without asking his partner’s permission to play, the pone cannot double without the consent of the maker of the trump. Should the pone ask the eldest hand, “Shall I play?” that does not deprive the eldest hand of the right to double.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The trump suit and the value of the tricks settled, the player on the dealer’s left begins by leading any card he pleases. After he has played, the second player, Y, lays his hand face up on the table, and takes no further part in the play beyond availing himself of the privilege of asking his partner if he has none of a suit to which he renounces. From the moment that Y’s cards are exposed the game becomes Dummy, the dealer, Z, playing Y’s cards for him.

The dealer gathers the tricks for his side; either adversary may gather for the other. The first six tricks taken by one side make a “book” and all over six count toward game. The tricks should be so laid that they can be readily counted by any player at the table.

The Revoke. Should a player fail to follow suit when able to do so, it is a revoke. Dummy cannot revoke under any circumstances; but the penalty for any other player is the loss of three tricks for each revoke made, which are taken from the side in error at the end of the hand. In England, the penalty may be exacted in any of three ways; three tricks, or the value of three tricks in points, or the addition of a like amount to opponent’s score. A slam cannot be scored if the tricks necessary to make it were taken for the revoke penalty. The side making a revoke cannot win the game that hand, no matter what they score; but they may play the hand out, and count all they make to within two points of game, or 28. Players cannot score a slam in a hand in which they have revoked.

Exposed Cards. If the dealer or his partner exposes a card before the declaration has been made, either adversary may claim a new deal. If any player exposes a card before the first card is led, his partner forfeits the right to double or redouble. If the pone exposes a card in this manner, the dealer may call it an exposed card, or he may require the eldest hand not to lead that suit.

If, during the play of the hand, either adversary of the dealer exposes a card, by playing two cards at once, dropping one face up on the table, or holding it so that his partner can see any portion of its face, the card so exposed must be left face upward on the table, and is liable to be called.

Exposed cards can be called by the dealer at any time, but he cannot compel the play of a card which would constitute a revoke.

Leading Out of Turn. If either of the dealer’s adversaries lead out of turn, the dealer may either call the card exposed, or may call a suit when it is the turn of either adversary to lead. If[31] the dealer leads out of turn, there is no penalty, but he cannot correct the error if the second hand has played.

Cards Played in Error. If any player but the Dummy omits to play to a trick and does not correct the error until he has played to the next trick, his adversaries may claim a new deal. If any one, excepting Dummy, plays two cards to a trick and does not discover it, he is responsible for any revokes that he may make in consequence of not having the card in his hand.

OBJECT OF THE GAME. As in all members of the whist family, the object in Bridge is to win tricks, the highest card played of the suit led winning, and trumps, if any, winning against all other suits. At the end of each hand the side that has won any tricks in excess of the book, scores them, after multiplying their number by the unit of value settled upon by the doubling, if any took place. As soon as either side reaches or passes 30, they win the game; but the hand must be played out, and all tricks taken must be counted. The total is written on the score-sheet; the score of the losers standing to their credit until the final accounting at the end of the rubber.

RUBBERS. Three games, of 30 points each, constitute a rubber; but if the first two are won by the same players, the third is not played. The side winning the majority of the games adds 100 (rubber) points to its score.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. The points which the beginner may profitably study in Bridge are chiefly in making the trump, and in the methods by which the hands of the partners are combined, so as to work together.

Making the Trump. The bridge player’s first consideration should be the state of the score, which will show how many points he needs to win the game. Let us suppose this number to be 12, he having already scored 18. These 12 points can be made by winning six by cards with spades for trumps; three by cards with clubs; or two by cards with diamonds or hearts. But if the hand can be played without a trump, the odd trick wins the game.

It is hardly necessary to say that a player would be very foolish to engage himself to win six by cards if the odd trick would equally answer his purpose; nor would he undertake to win three by cards with clubs for trumps, if he had as good a chance of making two by cards with diamonds or hearts. In other words, the player should not make the trump which promises the greatest number of tricks, but should select that which will yield the largest number of points.

It is for this reason that every good player first considers the advisability of making it “no-trump,” and if he thinks that injudicious, hearts or diamonds, leaving the black suits as a last resort.

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It is the custom invariably to make it no-trump with three Aces, unless the hand is strong enough for a heart make, or holds great honour value in red.

In estimating the probabilities of trick-taking, it is usual to count the partner for three tricks on the average. Conservative players do not depend on him for more than two. Generally speaking, the maker of the trump should have four pretty certain tricks in his own hand.

The dealer should seldom announce a black trump unless he has a certainty of the game in his own hand, without any assistance from his partner, or unless he has such a poor hand that he must make it a “defensive spade.” If he cannot safely make it no-trump or red, he should pass, and allow his partner the chance. With such a hand as seven clubs, including four honours, and absolutely worthless cards otherwise, the dealer should make it clubs, except when the adversaries have won the first game, and are about 20 points in the second. This makes it not unlikely that they will win the rubber on the next hand with their deal. Under such circumstances the dealer must invariably leave it to his partner, in the hope that he can save the rubber by making it no-trump.

The dealer’s partner should be aware that there cannot be any reasonable hope of four tricks in red in the leader’s hand, or a red trump would have been announced; and unless he has at least five probable tricks in his own hand he should not make it red. With three Aces he should make it no-trump. Four Aces is always a no-trumper, no matter what the rest of the hand may be. If he is obliged to make it black, and has three or four probable tricks, he should announce whichever suit he is best in. Attention should be paid to the score; for in many instances the suit must be selected so that the adversaries cannot win the game with the odd trick, even if they double.

Doubling. The dealer or his partner having announced the trump, the adversary should carefully consider the score before doubling or playing. Most players consider themselves justified in doubling when they have six reasonably certain tricks in their own hands, trusting partner for one only. Great caution should be used in doubling no-trumpers, the position of the lead being carefully studied; because the odd trick usually settles the fate of the game when a no-trumper is doubled. While a player with the lead, and seven certain tricks in one suit, should double a no-trumper, his partner would be very foolish to do so, unless he had, in addition to his long suit, the heart ace; for it is a conventionality of the game for A to lead hearts if B doubles a no-trumper.

The original maker of the trump should be very strong to justify him in redoubling the adversary. If he had four probable tricks originally, he may count the adversary who doubles for five, and of the four doubtful tricks remaining, the odds are against partner having the three which would be necessary to win the odd trick.

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Opening Leads. The first lead must necessarily be made in the dark, but the selection of the suit will often depend on the trump, and whether it was named by the dealer or by his partner.

If the dealer has made it red, and A has the A K of any plain suit, he should play the King, so as to retain the lead until Dummy’s hand is exposed.

If the dealer passes it to his partner, he is probably weak in red. If Y makes it hearts, A should lead a supporting diamond, unless he has strength in another suit. If Y has made it diamonds, A should lead a supporting heart. But in either case, if A has in his hand such cards as A K, even of a black suit, he should play the King, and wait to see the Dummy’s hand. If Y has made it black, A must be guided by his own cards, but should give a red suit the preference for his opening lead.

Details as to the correct card to lead and the play after the opening lead have been fully covered in connection with auction bridge, which see.

The discard is usually coupled with the system of opening against a doubled no-trumper. If your partner says he is “heart and strong” he means that if you double a no-trumper and he is eldest hand, he will lead you his best heart, and that he will discard his strong suit when playing against a no-trumper. If he says he is “heart and weak,” he will lead the top heart; but he will discard his weak suit. If he says he is “weak and weak,” he means that he will lead the shortest or weakest suit in his hand, if you double no-trumps, that being the almost universal custom in England.

All the situations which have been covered in the play of the second, third and fourth hands at auction can be studied with advantage by the bridge player, as the manner of securing the best results from certain distributions of the cards is the same in both games. The chief difference lies in the value of the tricks, because at bridge the opponents of the declaration can score toward game, and it is therefore frequently advisable to take a finesse or make a play that would be quite unjustifiable at auction, if there is any chance that such a play may win a game that would be otherwise impossible.

Close attention to the score is an important factor in bridge which does not operate in auction, because in that game any previous score toward game is seldom of any use, eighteen out of every twenty deals being game hands or nothing, and the dealer having no more advantage in the selection of the trump than any other player. In bridge, one always calculates that the dealer will go out if he is 18 or 20 up on the score, as almost any suit will do. This prompts the side that has the deal, or a chance to go game, to lose no opportunity to win at once, before the other side gets a chance at it.

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ILLUSTRATIVE BRIDGE HANDS.

The dealer is Z in both instances. In the first example, he makes it no-trump. In the second, Dummy, Y, makes it no-trump. A leads in both cases:—

A Y B Z A Y B Z
7♢ 3♢  J♢ K♢ 1 ♡6 ♡A ♡7 ♡3 
♣Q ♣2 ♣K ♣J 2 ♣5 ♣K ♣3 ♣2
A♢ 8♢ 6♢ 2♢ 3 ♣8 ♣10 ♣7 ♣J
4♢ Q♢ 2♠ 5♢ 4 5♢ 3♢ ♣A ♣4
♣4 ♣3 ♣A ♣10 5 ♡K ♡2 ♡9 ♡J
♡3 ♡5 ♡J ♡A 6 ♡5 ♡4 6♢ ♡Q
8♠ ♣9 ♡2 ♣8 7 5♠ 3♠ 6♠ ♣Q
9♠ ♣7 3♠ ♡4 8 7♢ 4♠ 8♠ ♣9
♡6 ♣6 4♠ ♡Q 9 9♢ 4♢ 10♠ ♣6
♡9 ♣5 ♡8 7♠ 10 A♠ 9♠ J♠ 7♠
9♢ J♠ 5♠ Q♠ 11 ♡10 Q♠ 8♢ 2♠
10♢ ♡7 6♠ A♠ 12 ♡8 K♠ 10♢ 2♢
♡K ♡10 K♠ 10♠ 13 K♢ A♢ Q♢ J♢

The first of these examples shows the importance of playing for the suit which is longest between the two hands. Observe that the dealer plays the high cards from the hand which is shorter in the suit, and on the second round of clubs is careful to give up the higher of two cards, so as to get out of Dummy’s way and clear, or establish, the suit. B, hoping to get his partner into the lead again, leads a heart up to Dummy’s weakness, and leads a heart which will beat Dummy’s best heart. At the eleventh trick, unless the dealer can make two tricks in spades by the finesse, he cannot win the game.

The second example shows the importance of preserving a re-entry card in the hand which is longer in the suit the dealer intends playing for. If the dealer lets the heart come up to him, it is true that he will make win the first trick with the Jack; but he will never win a trick with the Queen, and therefore he can never get in to make his clubs, even if he establishes them. By putting up the Ace of hearts, and keeping both Q and J in his own hand, he is certain of a re-entry in hearts. On the second round of clubs, the adversary still holding up or underplaying, the dealer must be careful to overtake Dummy’s ten with his own Jack, so as to continue the suit without losing the lead.

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VARIETIES OF BRIDGE.

THREE HAND AUCTION. This is a game for three active players only, but four may form a table. Each player is for himself, there being no partnerships except the temporary combination against the declarer for each deal. The player who cuts the lowest card chooses his seat and cards and the player with the next lower cut sits on his left, the other on his right.

The cards are dealt one at a time into four packets, of thirteen each, just as in the ordinary game of auction, the odd hand remaining untouched until the winning declaration is decided. The dealer makes the first bid and then each bids in turn until two pass. The penalty for bidding out of turn is 50 points added to the score of each opponent, for doubling out of turn it is 100. If both pass the irregularity there is no penalty, but if only one passes, the third may call attention to it.

The highest bidder takes up the dummy hand, sorts it and lays it on the table opposite him, face up, as soon as the eldest hand leads a card. If there is a player sitting opposite the highest bidder, he moves to the vacant seat.

The game is 30 points, and the winner of a game adds 125 points to his score at once. The first player to win two games not only adds the 125 for the second game, but 250 more for winning the rubber. Honours are scored by each player separately, every honour being worth as much as a trick in that suit. Four or five in one hand count double. At no trump, the aces count for 10 each to the holders, four in one hand 100. The declarer scores his dummy’s honours.

At the end of the rubber, each wins from or loses to each of the others. The score is usually made up in this way, the final amounts to the credit of each being shown in the top line:

A, 240 B, 980 C, 456
-740 +740 +215
-215 +524 -524
-955 +1264 -309

DUPLICATE AUCTION. This game may be played in any of the ways described for the movement of trays and players under the head of duplicate whist. Tricks and honours are scored as usual, but there are no games or rubbers. Should the declarer make 30 or more points on a single hand he gets 125 points bonus in the honour column. This game is now covered by the official laws for auction, which see.

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BRIDGE FOR THREE. Sometimes called Dummy Bridge, or Cut-Throat. The lowest cut deals the first hand and plays the Dummy. If the dealer will not declare on his own cards, he passes, and Dummy must declare according to a fixed schedule. With three or four aces; no-trumps, no matter what the rest of the hand may be. With less than three aces, Dummy cannot make it no-trumps under any circumstances; but must name the longest suit. If two suits are equal, the pips on each are counted, reckoning aces as 11 each, other honours at 10 each, and the larger number of pips is the suit. If this is still equal, the more valuable suit must be declared.

No one but the eldest hand may double, and no one but the dealer may redouble. In order to make this fair for both sides, it is usual to let the pone sort and declare on Dummy’s cards, so that the dealer shall not see them until the first card is led.

No matter what points are made for tricks, the dealer only can score them below the line, to count toward game. If the adversaries make the odd trick, they score above the line, in the honour column, so that no one can go out except on his own deal.

After the deal is finished and scored, the players move, so as to bring about a change of partners. The one on the left of the vacant place moves into it, and the player on his right deals. Three of these movements bring about the original position.

Each player’s score is kept individually, and when one of the three has won two games, the scores are added up and balanced, after giving the winner 100 rubber points. Each then pays the difference to the others. Suppose the winner to be A, with 320; B having 80 and C 64. A wins 240 from B and 256 from C; while B wins 16 from C.

BRIDGE FOR TWO. Sometimes called “Chinese Bridge.” The dealer gives his adversary four cards face down, and then deals four to himself, also face down. He then distributes the remainder of the pack by dealing to his adversary and himself alternately, one card at a time, keeping them separate from the first four. Without lifting or looking at any of these twenty-two cards, each player places eleven of them in two rows, face down, and then the other eleven on the top of the first, but face up. This gives each player eleven cards face up on the table, covering eleven face down under them, and a separate hand of four cards.

The dealer looks at his four cards, without showing them to his adversary, and after due consideration of what he sees on the table, declares. His adversary can double if he likes, or he can simply play a card. Tricks and honours count as in the ordinary rubber.

The declaration made, the non-dealer leads any card he pleases, from the four in his hand or from the eleven face up on the table,[37] and the dealer must follow suit if he can, either from his hand or from the table. The moment a card is played from the table, the card under it must be turned face up, and becomes playable; but no card which is on the top of another card can be shifted, so that the card under it cannot be turned up until its covering card is legitimately played away.

The second player having played to the trick, the original leader must play to it in his turn, and then his adversary plays the fourth card, completing the trick. The winner of the trick takes it in, turns it down, and leads for the next trick, and so on until all thirteen tricks have been played. The winner of the rubber scores 100 points extra.

MISERY BRIDGE. This is a game for two players, who sit opposite each other. Four hands of thirteen cards each are dealt, the dealer beginning on his left. Before declaring, the dealer may discard any number of cards from one to four, laying them on the table at his left, but face up, where they so remain during the play of the hand.

In place of this discard, the dealer takes an equal number of cards from the top of the hand on his left. These are not shown to the adversary. Having discarded and drawn, the dealer declares. There is no doubling; but the dealer himself may undertake to win at least eight of the thirteen tricks, and if he announces “eight tricks,” he can score them at double value if he succeeds. If he fails to get the full eight, his adversary scores ten points penalty, the dealer scoring nothing at all. No matter what the trump suit, the penalty of ten points remains the same.

After discarding, drawing and declaring, the stock hand is laid aside, still face down, and the non-dealer takes up and sorts the hand on his left, turning it face up on the table, like a Dummy. This hand belongs to the non-dealer, who leads first and plays both hands, so that the dealer is practically opposed to two hands of thirteen cards each.

If the dealer does not want to discard and draw, he can play misery, which is a no-trumper, but played to lose tricks, instead of to win them. If the dealer takes more than one trick, his adversary scores five points penalty for each so taken. But if the dealer succeeds in taking only one trick, or none at all, he scores five points for every trick his adversary has taken over the book of six.

PIVOT BRIDGE. This is simply a movement of the players, very popular in social games, which requires that the four originally seated at a table shall remain at that table until the game is ended, and shall not cut for partners after the first rubber, but change in regular order. The usual way is for the first dealer to[38] sit still all the time, the three other players moving round her in a circle at the end of each rubber. This will compel the player on her left to pass behind her and take the seat on her right. At the end of three rubbers, each will have had each of the others for a partner. When there are a number of tables in play, it will be necessary to have a prize for each, giving the first choice to the player who has the highest score in the room.

When this method is adopted, it is not necessary to deduct the lower score from the higher at the end of each rubber, so that each player can keep what she gets, the comparative result being the same if the players remain at the same table. This method is open to the objection that if two strong players are opposed to weak ones all the time, it is a great advantage. It is also liable to abuse, if four players agree to double everything, so that some one at the table shall be high score.

PROGRESSIVE BRIDGE. This is simply a movement of the players from table to table, much as described under the heading of compass whist. The players may either agree that all the N & S pairs shall sit still, all the E & W pairs moving one table; or they may arrange for the winners to move in a certain direction. In all progressive games, sometimes called Drive Bridge, there are no rubbers or games, as one table would keep all the others waiting. An even number of deals, usually four, is the rule for each round before moving.

DUPLICATE BRIDGE. This is bridge with the hands kept separate and put into trays to be carried from table to table. The methods will be found fully described under the titles for duplicate whist. In order to prevent the players from giving too much attention to the honours in declaring, it is sometimes the rule to add a certain number of points to the trick scores, as a bonus. This is called Bridge to the Score. Four deals is a round, before changing adversaries, and fifty points are added to the score of the side having the greater trick score. Another method is to add fifty points to the side winning a game, if a game is won before moving, and then to add a definite number of points for every trick point that one side may be ahead of the other on unfinished games; or as many points as the higher score below the line.

None of these methods have proved attractive enough to be popular, however, although the first is the one commonly adopted for club tournaments, adding fifty points bonus for the higher trick score, regardless of any games or rubbers. All the additions of percentages require special score cards and the services of some alleged expert to run the game, and even then they are not attractive. The problem of duplicate bridge remains as yet unsolved, so far as a popular game is concerned.

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SIX-HAND BRIDGE. This is played by six persons, sitting with two card tables pushed together so as to make one. Each dealer sits at the long end of the table, the two dealers being partners. On each side of one sits a pair of adversaries so that the initial arrangement, if pair A had the deal, would be this:—

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

Numbers are placed on the tables to indicate the positions to which the players shall move after each deal. The player at 6 goes to 5; 4 to 3; 3 to 2; 2 to 1, and 1 to 6. Each pair of partners, as they fall into the end seats, have the deal.

If the dealer at either end will not declare on his own cards, he passes it, and the Dummy hand opposite him must be handed to the dealer that sits at the other end of the long table, who must declare for his partner. The usual four hands are dealt and played at each table, and scored as usual.

Three scores must be kept, because there are three separate rubbers going on at once,—that between A and B; between A and C, and between B and C. If one pair wins its rubber against one of the others, three players will be idle at one end of the table for one deal, but then all will come into play again, for the next deal. Some persons think this is better than four playing a rubber while two look on.

DOUBLE DUMMY BRIDGE. In this form of the game, the dealer always deals for himself. His adversary sits next him on the left for the first deal, and leads for the first trick before the Dummies are exposed. There is no doubling. On the next deal, the adversary must sort his Dummy’s hand and must lead from it, before looking at his own. If the declaration is passed, Dummy must make it on the lines laid down for passed makes in Bridge for Three, which has already been described. There is no penalty for a revoke made by either Dummy; but otherwise the laws of bridge govern.

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DRAW BRIDGE. This is double Dummy; but instead of laying Dummy’s cards face up on the table, each player is provided with a holder in which he places his partner’s cards in such a manner that his adversary cannot see them. As it comes to Dummy’s turn to play to each trick, a card is drawn from the holder. All four hands are responsible for revokes.

KING’S BRIDGE. This is sometimes called Four Hand Bridge, each player being for himself. The movements of the players are the same as those described in Pivot Bridge, one player sitting still all the time, while each of the others in turn becomes his partner for four deals.

The dealer declares. If he passes, the player sitting opposite him must make it according to the mechanical rules given in Bridge for Three. There is no doubling. The score of each player is kept in a separate column, and the trick and honour score is put down in one lump, plus or minus, the new score being added to or deduced from the previous one. It is simpler, however, to put down nothing but the plus scores, so that when the declaration is defeated, the points are credited to each of the three other players. Suppose the dealer wins 16 and 16. He is put down as 32 plus. If he should lose 12 and 30, his score would not be touched, but each of the others would be put down 42 plus.

There are no games or rubbers. At the end of four deals the players change partners by the pivot system. At the end of twelve deals, each has played four deals with each of the others. The scores are then added up and balanced by the method described in connection with the game of Skat.

REVERSI BRIDGE. This is playing bridge to lose, and the object of the declaration is to pick out the make which is likely to win the least tricks. At the end of the hand, each side scores what the other makes; so that if the dealer declares no-trumps, and loses two by cards, and finds thirty aces against him, he scores 24 and 30 to his own credit. The adversaries can double if they wish to, and all the rules of regular bridge apply, except that if a revoke is made the usual penalty is reversed, the player in error taking three tricks instead of losing them.

SHORT BRIDGE. This is bridge without any doubling or rubbers, and is played for so much a game instead of for so much a point, the winners being the side that has the higher score for tricks and honours combined when either side reaches thirty points below the line. It is a good game for occasions upon which the players may be interrupted at any time, or have not time to finish a full rubber.

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THE AMERICAN LAWS OF BRIDGE.

Revised to November, 1913.

Reprinted and Copyrighted, 1913, by permission of The Whist Club of New York.

THE RUBBER.

1. The partners first winning two games win the rubber. When the first two games decide the rubber, a third is not played.

SCORING.

2. Each side has a trick score and a score for all other counts, generally known as the honour score. In the trick score the only entries made are points for tricks won (see Law 3), which count both toward the game and in the total of the rubber.

All other points, including honours, penalties, slam, little slam, and under-tricks, are recorded in the honour score, which counts only in the total of the rubber.

3. When the declarer wins the number of tricks bid or more, each above six counts on the trick score; two points when spades are trumps, six when clubs are trumps, seven when diamonds are trumps, eight when hearts are trumps, nine when royal spades are trumps, and ten when the declaration is no trump.

4. A game consists of thirty points made by tricks alone. Every deal is played out, whether or not during it the game be concluded, and any points made (even if in excess of thirty) are counted.

5. The ace, king, queen, knave, and ten of the trump suit are the honours; when no trump is declared, the aces are the honours.

6. Honours are credited to the original holders; they are valued as follows:

When a Trump is Declared.

3[1] honours held between partners equal value of 2 tricks.
4 4
5 5
4 in 1 hand 8
4 ” 1 5th in
partner’s
9
5 ” 1 10

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When No Trump is Declared.

3 aces held between partners count 30
4 40
4 in one hand 100

7. Slam is made when partners take thirteen tricks.[2] It counts 40 points in the honour score.

8. Little slam is made when partners take twelve tricks.[3] It counts 20 points in the honour score.

9. The value of honours, slam, or little slam, is not affected by doubling or redoubling.

10. At the conclusion of a rubber the trick and honour scores of each side are added and 250 additional points added to the score of the winners of the rubber. The size of the rubber is the difference between the completed scores. If the score of the losers of the rubber exceed that of the winners, the losers win the amount of the excess.

11. When a rubber is started with the agreement that the play shall terminate (i.e., no new deal shall commence) at a specified time, and the rubber is unfinished at that hour, the score is made up as it stands, 125 being added to the score of the winners of a game. A deal if started must be finished.

12. A proved error in the honour score may be corrected at any time before the score of the rubber has been made up and agreed upon.

13. A proved error in the trick score may be corrected at any time before a declaration has been made in the following game, or, if it occur in the final game of the rubber, before the score has been made up and agreed upon.

CUTTING.

14. In cutting the ace is the lowest card; between cards of otherwise equal value the heart is the lowest, the diamond next, the club next, and spade the highest.

15. Every player must cut from the same pack.

16. Should a player expose more than one card, the highest is his cut.

FORMING TABLES.

17. Those first in the room have the prior right to play. Candidates of equal standing decide their order by cutting; those who cut lowest play first.

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18. Six players constitute a complete table.

19. After the table has been formed, the players cut to decide upon partners, the two lower play against the two higher. The lowest is the dealer, who has choice of cards and seats, and, having made his selection, must abide by it.[4]

20. The right to succeed players as they retire is acquired by announcing the desire to do so, and such announcements, in the order made, entitle candidates to fill vacancies as they occur.

CUTTING OUT.

21. If, at the end of a rubber, admission be claimed by one or two candidates, the player or players who have played the greatest number of consecutive rubbers withdraw; when all have played the same number, they cut to decide upon the outgoers; the highest are out.[5]

RIGHT OF ENTRY.

22. At the end of a rubber a candidate is not entitled to enter a table unless he declare his intention before any player cut, either for partners, for a new rubber, or for cutting out.

23. In the formation of new tables candidates who have not played at an existing table have the prior right of entry. Others decide their right to admission by cutting.

24. When one or more players belonging to an existing table aid in making up a new one, which cannot be formed without him, he or they shall be the last to cut out.

25. A player belonging to one table who enters another, or announces a desire to do so, forfeits his rights at his original table, unless the new table cannot be formed without him in which case he may retain his position at his original table by announcing his intention to return as soon as his place at the new table can be filled.

26. Should a player leave a table during the progress of a rubber, he may, with the consent of the three others, appoint a substitute to play during his absence; but such appointment becomes void upon the conclusion of the rubber, and does not in any way affect the rights of the substitute.

27. If a player break up a table, the others have a prior right of entry elsewhere.

SHUFFLING.

28. The pack must not be shuffled below the table nor so the face of any card be seen.

29. The dealer’s partner must collect the cards from the preceding deal and has the right to shuffle first. Each player[44] has the right to shuffle subsequently. The dealer has the right to shuffle last, but should a card or cards be seen during his shuffling or while giving the pack to be cut, he must reshuffle.

30. After shuffling, the cards, properly collected, must be placed face downward to the left of the next dealer, where they must remain untouched until the end of the current deal.

THE DEAL.

31. Players deal in turn; the order of dealing is to the left.

32. Immediately before the deal, the player on the dealer’s right cuts, so that each packet contains at least four cards. If, in or after cutting and prior to the beginning of the deal, a card be exposed, or if any doubt exist as to the place of the cut, the dealer must reshuffle and the same player must cut again.

33. After the pack has been properly cut, it should not be reshuffled or recut except as provided in Law 32.

34. Should the dealer shuffle after the cut, his adversaries may also shuffle and the pack must be cut again.

35. The fifty-two cards must be dealt face downward. The deal is completed when the last card is dealt.

36. In the event of a misdeal, the same pack must be dealt again by the same player.

A NEW DEAL.

37. There must be a new deal:

(a) If the cards be not dealt, beginning at the dealer’s left into four packets one at a time and in regular rotation.

(b) If, during a deal, or during the play the pack be proved incorrect.

(c) If, during a deal, any card be faced in the pack or exposed, on, above, or below the table.

(d) If more than thirteen cards be dealt to any player.[6]

(e) If the last card does not come in its regular order to the dealer.

(f) If the dealer omit having the pack cut, deal out of turn or with the adversaries’ cards, and either adversary call attention to the fact before the end of the deal and before looking at any of his cards.

38. Should a correction of any offence mentioned in 37 f not be made in time, or should an adversary who has looked at any of his cards be the first to call attention to the error, the deal stands, and the game proceeds as if the deal had been correct, the player to the left dealing the next. When the deal has been[45] with the wrong cards, the next dealer may take whichever pack he prefers.

39. If, prior to the cut for the following deal, a pack be proved incorrect, the deal is void, but all prior scores stand.[7]

The pack is not incorrect when a missing card or cards are found in the other pack, among the quitted tricks, below the table, or in any other place which makes it possible that such card or cards were part of the pack during the deal.

40. Should three players have their proper number of cards, the fourth, less, the missing card or cards, if found, belong to him, and he, unless dummy, is answerable for any established revoke or revokes he may have made just as if the missing card or cards had been continuously in his hand. When a card is missing, any player may search the other pack, the quitted tricks, or elsewhere for it.

If before, during or at the conclusion of play, one player hold more than the proper number of cards, and another less, the deal is void.

41. A player may not cut, shuffle, or deal for his partner if either adversary object.

THE DECLARATION.

42. The dealer, having examined his hand, must declare to win at least one odd trick,[8] either with a specified suit, or at no trump.

43. After the dealer has declared, each player in turn, beginning on the dealer’s left, must pass, make a higher declaration, double the last declaration, or redouble a declaration which has been doubled, subject to the provisions of Law 54.

44. A declaration of a greater number of tricks in a suit of lower value, which equals the last declaration in value of points, is a higher declaration; e.g., a declaration of “three spades” is higher than “one club.”

45. A player in his turn may overbid the previous adverse declaration any number of times, and may also overbid his partner, but he cannot overbid his own declaration which has been passed by the three others.

46. The player who makes the final declaration[9] must play the combined hands, his partner becoming dummy, unless the suit or no trump finally declared was bid by the partner before it was called by the final declarer, in which case the partner, no matter what bids have intervened, must play the combined hands.

47. When the player of the two hands (hereinafter termed “the[46] declarer”) wins at least as many tricks as he declared, he scores the full value of the tricks won (see Law 3).[10]

47a. When the declarer fails to win as many tricks as he declares, neither he nor his adversaries score anything toward the game, but his adversaries score in their honour column 50 points for each under-trick (i.e., each trick short of the number declared). If the declaration be doubled, the adversaries score 100 points; if redoubled, 200 points for each under-trick.

48. The loss on the dealer’s original declaration of “one spade” is limited to 100 points, whether doubled or not, unless redoubled. Honours are scored as held.

49. If a player make a declaration (other than passing) out of turn, either adversary may demand a new deal, or may allow such declaration to stand, in which case the bidding shall continue as if the declaration had been in turn.

If a player pass out of turn, the order of the bidding is not affected, i.e., it is still the turn of the player to the left of the last declarer. The player who has passed out of turn may re-enter the bidding in his proper turn if the declaration he has passed be overbid or doubled.

50. If a player make an insufficient or impossible declaration, either adversary may demand that it be penalized. The penalty for an insufficient declaration is that the bid is made sufficient in the declaration named and the partner of the declarer may not further declare unless an adversary subsequently bid or double. The penalty for an impossible declaration is that the bid is made seven in the suit named and the partner of the declarer may not further declare unless an adversary subsequently bid or double. Either adversary, instead of penalizing an impossible declaration, may demand a new deal, or that the last declaration made on behalf of his partnership become the final declaration.

50a. If a player who has been debarred from bidding under Laws 50 or 65, during the period of such prohibition, make any declaration (other than passing), either adversary may decide whether such declaration stand, and neither the offending player nor his partner may further participate in the bidding even if the adversaries double or declare.

50b. A penalty for a declaration out of turn (see Law 49), an insufficient or impossible declaration (see Law 50), or a bid when prohibited (see Law 50a) may not be enforced if either adversary pass, double, or declare before the penalty be demanded.[11]

50c. Laws which give to either adversary the right to enforce a penalty, do not permit unlimited consultation. Either adversary[47] may call attention to the offence and select the penalty, or may say, “Partner, you determine the penalty,” or words to that effect. Any other consultation is prohibited,[12] and if it take place, the right to demand any penalty is lost. The first decision made by either adversary is final and cannot be altered.

51. At any time during the declaration, a question asked by a player concerning any previous bid must be answered, but, after the final declaration has been accepted, if an adversary of the declarer inform his partner regarding any previous declaration, the declarer may call a lead from the adversary whose next turn it is to lead. If the dummy give such information to the declarer, either adversary of the declarer may call a lead. A player, however, at any time may ask what declaration is being played and the question must be answered.

52. A declaration legitimately made cannot be changed after the next player pass, declare, or double. Prior to such action a declaration inadvertently made may be corrected. If, prior to such correction, an adversary call attention to an insufficient or impossible declaration, it may not thereafter be corrected nor may the penalty be avoided.

DOUBLING AND REDOUBLING.

53. Doubling and redoubling doubles and quadruples the value of each trick over six, but it does not alter the value of a declaration; e.g., a declaration of “three clubs” is higher than “two royal spades” doubled or redoubled.

54. Any declaration may be doubled and redoubled once, but not more; a player may not double his partner’s declaration nor redouble his partner’s double, but he may redouble a declaration of his partner which has been doubled by an adversary.

The penalty for redoubling more than once is 100 points in the adverse honour score or a new deal; for doubling a partner’s declaration, or redoubling a partner’s double it is 50 points in the adverse honour score. Either adversary may demand any penalty enforceable under this law.

55. Doubling or redoubling reopens the bidding. When a declaration has been doubled or redoubled, any one of the three succeeding players, including the player whose declaration has been doubled, may, in his proper turn, make a further declaration of higher value.

56. When a player whose declaration has been doubled wins the declared number of tricks, he scores a bonus of 50 points in his honour score, and a further 50 points for each additional trick. When he or his partner has redoubled, he scores 100[48] points for making the contract and an additional 100 for each extra trick.

57. A double or redouble is a declaration, and a player who doubles or redoubles out of turn is subject to the penalty provided by Law 49.

58. After the final declaration has been accepted, the play begins; the player on the left of the declarer leads.

DUMMY.

59. As soon as the player on the left of the declarer leads, the declarer’s partner places his cards face upward on the table, and the declarer plays the cards from that hand.

60. The partner of the declarer has all the rights of a player (including the right to call attention to a lead from the wrong hand), until his cards are placed face upward on the table.[13] He then becomes the dummy, and takes no part whatever in the play, except that he has the right:

(a) To call the declarer’s attention to the fact that too many or too few cards have been played to a trick;

(b) to correct an improper claim of either adversary;

(c) to call attention to a trick erroneously taken by either side;

(d) to participate in the discussion of any disputed question of fact after it has arisen between the declarer and either adversary;

(e) to correct any erroneous score;

(f) to consult with and advise the declarer as to which penalty to exact for a revoke;

(g) to ask the declarer whether he have any of a suit he has renounced.

The dummy, if he have not intentionally looked at any card in the hand of a player, has also the following additional rights:

(h) To call the attention of the declarer to an established adverse revoke;

(i) to call the attention of the declarer to a card exposed by an adversary or to an adverse lead out of turn.

61. Should the dummy call attention to any other incident in the play in consequence of which any penalty might have been exacted, the declarer may not exact such penalty. Should the dummy avail himself of rights (h) or (i), after intentionally looking at a card in the hand of a player, the declarer may not exact any penalty for the offence in question.

62. If the dummy, by touching a card or otherwise, suggest the play of one of his cards, either adversary may require the declarer to play or not to play such card.

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62a. If the dummy call to the attention of the declarer that he is about to lead from the wrong hand, either adversary may require that the lead be made from that hand.

63. Dummy is not subject to the revoke penalty; if he revoke and the error be not discovered until the trick be turned and quitted, whether by the rightful winners or not, the trick must stand.

64. A card from the declarer’s hand is not played until actually quitted, but should he name or touch a card in the dummy, such card is played unless he say, “I arrange,” or words to that effect. If he simultaneously touch two or more such cards, he may elect which to play.

CARDS EXPOSED BEFORE PLAY.

65. After the deal and before the declaration has been finally determined, if any player lead or expose a card, his partner may not thereafter bid or double during that declaration,[14] and the card is subject to call.[15] When the partner of the offending player is the original leader, the declarer may also prohibit the initial lead of the suit of the exposed card.

66. After the final declaration has been accepted and before the lead, if the partner of the proper leader expose or lead a card, the declarer may treat it as exposed or may call a suit from the proper leader. A card exposed by the leader, after the final declaration and before the lead, is subject to call.

CARDS EXPOSED DURING PLAY.

67. After the original lead, all cards exposed by the declarer’s adversaries are liable to be called and must be left face upward on the table.

68. The following are exposed cards:

(1) Two or more cards played simultaneously;

(2) a card dropped face upward on the table, even though snatched up so quickly that it cannot be named;

(3) a card so held by a player that his partner sees any portion of its face;

(4) a card mentioned by either adversary as being held in his or his partner’s hand.

69. A card dropped on the floor or elsewhere below the table, or so held that it is seen by an adversary but not by the partner, is not an exposed card.

70. Two or more cards played simultaneously by either of the declarer’s adversaries give the declarer the right to call any one[50] of such cards to the current trick and to treat the other card or cards as exposed.

70a. Should an adversary of the declarer expose his last card before his partner play to the twelfth trick, the two cards in his partner’s hand become exposed, must be laid face upward on the table, and are subject to call.

71. If, without waiting for his partner to play, either of the declarer’s adversaries play or lead a winning card, as against the declarer and dummy and continue (without waiting for his partner to play) to lead several such cards, the declarer may demand that the partner of the player in fault win, if he can, the first or any other of these tricks. The other cards thus improperly played are exposed.

72. If either or both of the declarer’s adversaries throw his or their cards face upward on the table, such cards are exposed and liable to be called; but if either adversary retain his hand, he cannot be forced to abandon it. Cards exposed by the declarer are not liable to be called. If the declarer say, “I have the rest,” or any words indicating the remaining tricks or any number thereof are his, he may be required to place his cards face upward on the table. He is not then allowed to call any cards his adversaries may have exposed, nor to take any finesse not previously proved a winner unless he announce it when making his claim.

73. If a player who has rendered himself liable to have the highest or lowest of a suit called (Laws 80, 86, and 92) fail to play as directed, or if, when called on to lead one suit, he lead another, having in his hand one or more cards of the suit demanded (Laws 66, 76, and 93), or if, when called upon to win or lose a trick, he fail to do so when he can (Laws 71, 80, and 92), or if, when called upon not to play a suit, he fail to play as directed (Laws 65 and 66), he is liable to the penalty for revoke (Law 84) unless such play be corrected before the trick be turned and quitted.

74. A player cannot be compelled to play a card which would oblige him to revoke.

75. The call of an exposed card may be repeated until it be played.

LEADS OUT OF TURN.

76. If either adversary of the declarer’s lead out of turn, the declarer may either treat the card so led as exposed or may call a suit as soon as it is the turn of either adversary to lead. Should they lead simultaneously, the lead from the proper hand stands, and the other card is exposed.

77. If the declarer lead out of turn, either from his own hand or dummy, he incurs no penalty, but he may not rectify the[51] error unless directed to do so by an adversary.[16] If the second hand play, the lead is accepted.

78. If an adversary of the declarer lead out of turn, and the declarer follow either from his own hand or dummy, the trick stands. If the declarer before playing refuse to accept the lead, the leader may be penalized as provided in Law 76.

79. If a player called on to lead a suit have none of it, the penalty is paid.

CARDS PLAYED IN ERROR.

80. Should the fourth hand, not being dummy or declarer, play before the second, the latter may be required to play his highest or lowest card of the suit led, or to win or lose the trick. In such case, if the second hand be void of the suit led, the declarer in lieu of any other penalty may call upon the second hand to play the highest card of any designated suit. If he name a suit of which the second hand is void, the penalty is paid.[17]

81. If any one, except dummy, omit playing to a trick, and such error be not corrected until he has played to the next, the adversaries or either of them may claim a new deal; should either decide that the deal stand, the surplus card (at the end of the hand) is considered played to the imperfect trick, but does not constitute a revoke therein.[18]

82. When any one, except dummy, plays two or more cards to the same trick and the mistake is not corrected, he is answerable for any consequent revokes he may make. When the error is detected during the play, the tricks may be counted face downward, to see if any contain more than four cards; should this be the case, the trick which contains a surplus card or cards may be examined and such card or cards restored to the original holder.[19]

THE REVOKE.[20]

83. A revoke occurs when a player, other than dummy, holding one or more cards of the suit led, plays a card of a different suit. It becomes an established revoke when the trick in which it occurs is turned and quitted by the rightful winners (i.e., the hand removed from the trick after it has been turned face downward on the table), or when either the revoking player or[52] his partner, whether in turn or otherwise, leads or plays to the following trick.

84. The penalty for each established revoke is:

(a) When the declarer revokes, he cannot score for tricks and his adversaries add 100 points to their score in the honour column, in addition to any penalty which he may have incurred for not making good his declaration.

(b) When either of the adversaries revokes, the declarer may either add 100 points to his score in the honour column or take three tricks from his opponents and add them to his own.[21] Such tricks may assist the declarer to make good his declaration, but shall not entitle him to score any bonus in the honour column in case the declaration has been doubled or redoubled, nor to a slam or little slam not otherwise obtained.[22]

(c) When, during the play of a deal, more than one revoke is made by the same side, the penalty for each revoke after the first is 100 points.

The value of their honours is the only score that can be made by a revoking side.

85. A player may ask his partner if he have a card of the suit which he has renounced; should the question be asked before the trick be turned and quitted, subsequent turning and quitting does not establish a revoke, and the error may be corrected unless the question be answered in the negative, or unless the revoking player or his partner have led or played to the following trick.

86. If a player correct his mistake in time to save a revoke, any player or players who have followed him may withdraw his or their cards and substitute others, and the cards so withdrawn are not exposed. If the player in fault be one of the declarer’s adversaries, the card played in error is exposed, and the declarer may call it whenever he pleases, or he may require the offender to play his highest or lowest card of the suit to the trick, but this penalty cannot be exacted from the declarer.

87. At the end of the play the claimants of a revoke may search all the tricks. If the cards have been mixed, the claim may be urged and proved if possible; but no proof is necessary and the claim is established if, after it is made, the accused player or his partner mix the cards before they have been sufficiently examined by the adversaries.

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88. A revoke cannot be claimed after the cards have been cut for the following deal.

89. Should both sides revoke, the only score permitted is for honours. In such case, if one side revoke more than once, the penalty of 100 points for each extra revoke is scored by the other side.

GENERAL RULES.

90. A trick turned and quitted may not be looked at (except under Law 82) until the end of the play. The penalty for the violation of this law is 25 points in the adverse honour score.

91. Any player during the play of a trick or after the four cards are played, and before the trick is turned and quitted, may demand that the cards be placed before their respective players.

92. When an adversary of the declarer, before his partner plays, calls attention to the trick, either by saying it is his, or, without being requested to do so, by naming his card or drawing it toward him, the declarer may require such partner to play his highest or lowest card of the suit led, or to win or lose the trick.

93. An adversary of the declarer may call his partner’s attention to the fact that he is about to play or lead out of turn; but if, during the play, he make any unauthorized reference to any incident of the play, the declarer may call a suit from the adversary whose next turn it is to lead.

94. In all cases where a penalty has been incurred, the offender is bound to give reasonable time for the decision of his adversaries.

NEW CARDS.

95. Unless a pack be imperfect, no player has the right to call for one new pack. When fresh cards are demanded, two packs must be furnished. When they are produced during a rubber, the adversaries of the player demanding them have the choice of the new cards. If it be the beginning of a new rubber, the dealer, whether he or one of his adversaries call for the new cards, has the choice. New cards cannot be substituted after the pack has been cut for a new deal.

96. A card or cards torn or marked must be replaced by agreement or new cards furnished.

BYSTANDERS.

97. While a bystander, by agreement among the players, may decide any question, he should not say anything unless appealed to; and if he make any remark which calls attention to an oversight affecting the score, or to the exaction of a penalty, he is[54] liable to be called upon by the players to pay the stakes (not extras) lost.

[1] Frequently called “simple honours.”

[2] Law 84 prohibits a revoking side from scoring slam, and provides that tricks received by the declarer as penalty for a revoke shall not entitle him to a slam not otherwise obtained.

[3] Law 84 prohibits a revoking side from scoring little slam, and provides that tricks received by the declarer as penalty for a revoke shall not entitle him to a little slam not otherwise obtained. If a declarer bid 7 and take twelve tricks he counts 20 for little slam, although his declaration fails.

[4] He may consult his partner before making his decision.

[5] See Law 14 as to value of cards in cutting.

[6] This error, whenever discovered, renders a new deal necessary.

[7] A correct pack contains exactly fifty-two cards, one of each denomination.

[8] One trick more than six.

[9] A declaration becomes final when it has been passed by three players.

[10] For amount scored by declarer, if doubled, see Laws 53 and 56.

[11] When the penalty for an insufficient declaration is not demanded, the bid over which it was made may be repeated unless some higher bid have intervened.

[12] The question, “Partner, will you select the penalty, or shall I?” is a form of consultation which is not permitted.

[13] The penalty is determined by the declarer (see Law 66).

[14] See Law 50a.

[15] If more than one card be exposed, all may be called.

[16] The rule in Law 50c as to consultations governs the right of adversaries to consult as to whether such direction be given.

[17] Should the declarer play third hand before the second hand, the fourth hand may without penalty play before his partner.

[18] As to the right of adversaries to consult, see Law 50a.

[19] Either adversary may decide which card shall be considered played to the trick which contains more than four cards.

[20] See Law 73.

[21] The dummy may advise the declarer which penalty to exact.

[22] The value of the three tricks, doubled or redoubled, as the case may be, is counted in the trick score.

ETIQUETTE OF AUCTION.

In the game of Auction slight intimations convey much information. The code succinctly states laws which fix penalties for an offence. To offend against etiquette is far more serious than to offend against a law; for in the latter case the offender is subject to the prescribed penalties; in the former his adversaries are without redress.

1. Declarations should be made in a simple manner, thus: “one heart,” “one no trump,” “pass,” “double”; they should be made orally and not by gesture.

2. Aside from his legitimate declaration, a player should not show by word or gesture the nature of his hand, or his pleasure or displeasure at a play, bid, or double.

3. If a player demand that the cards be placed, he should do so for his own information and not to call his partner’s attention to any card or play.

4. An opponent of the declarer should not lead until the preceding trick has been turned and quitted; nor, after having led a winning card, should he draw another from his hand before his partner has played to the current trick.

5. A card should not be played with such emphasis as to draw attention to it, nor should a player detach one card from his hand and subsequently play another.

6. A player should not purposely incur a penalty because he is willing to pay it, nor should he make a second revoke to conceal a first.

7. Conversation during the play should be avoided, as it may annoy players at the table or at other tables in the room.

8. The dummy should not leave his seat to watch his partner play. He should not call attention to the score nor to any card or cards that he or the other players hold.

9. If a player say, “I have the rest,” or any words indicating that the remaining tricks, or any number thereof, are his, and one or both of the other players expose his or their cards, or request him to play out the hand, he should not allow any information so obtained to influence his play.

10. If a player concede, in error, one or more tricks, the concession should stand.

11. A player having been cut out of one table should not seek admission in another unless willing to cut for the privilege of entry.

12. A player should not look at any of his cards until the end of the deal.

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THE LAWS OF THREE HAND AUCTION.

The Laws of Auction govern the three-hand game except as follows:

(1) Three players take part in a game and four constitute a complete table. Each plays for himself; there are no partners, except as provided in Law 7.

(2) The player who cuts lowest selects his seat and the cards with which he deals first. The player who cuts next lowest sits on the dealer’s left.

(3) The cards are dealt in four packets, one for each of the three players and one for the dummy.[23] The dummy hand is not touched until after the final declaration has been made.

(4) The dealer declares, and the bidding continues as in Auction, except that each player bids exclusively on his own account.

(5) The penalty for a declaration out of turn is that each of the other players receives 50 points in his honour score. A declaration out of turn does not affect the right of the player whose turn it is to declare, unless both he and the other player, either by passing or declaring, accept the improper declaration.

(6) If a player declare out of turn, and the succeeding player either pass or declare, the third player may demand that the mistake be corrected as is provided in Law 5. In such case the player who first declared out of turn is the only one penalized.

(7) The player making the final declaration, i.e., a declaration that has been passed by both of the others, plays his own hand and that of the dummy against the two others, who then, and for that particular hand, assume the relationship of partners.

(8) It is advisable that the game be played at a round table so that the hand of the dummy can be placed in front of the declarer without obliging any player to move; but, in the event of a square table being used, the two players who become the adversaries of the declarer should sit opposite each other, the dummy being opposite the declarer. At the end of the play the original positions should be resumed.

(9) If, after the deal has been completed and before the conclusion of the declaration, any player expose a card, each of his adversaries counts 50 points in his honour score, and the declarer, if he be not the offender, may call upon the player on his left to lead or not to lead the suit of the exposed card. If a card be exposed by the declarer after the final declaration, there is no penalty, but if exposed by an adversary of the declarer, it is subject to the same penalty as in Auction.

(10) If a player double out of turn, each of his adversaries[56] counts 100 points in his respective honour score, and the player whose declaration has been doubled may elect whether the double shall stand. The bidding is then resumed, but if the double shall be disallowed, the declaration may not be doubled by the other player.

(11) The rubber continues until two games have been won by the same player; it may consist of two, three, or four games.

(12) When the declarer fulfils his contract, he scores as in Auction. When he fails to do so, both of his adversaries score as in Auction.

(13) Honours are scored by each player separately, i.e., each player who holds one honour scores the value of a trick; each player who holds two honours scores twice the value of a trick; a player who holds three honours scores three times the value of a trick; a player who holds four honours scores eight times the value of a trick; and a player who holds five honours scores ten times the value of a trick. In a no-trump declaration, each ace counts ten, and four held by one player count 100. The declarer counts separately both his own honours and those held by the dummy.

(14) A player scores 125 points for winning a game, a further 125 points for winning a second game, and 250 points for winning a rubber.

(15) At the end of the rubber, all scores of each player are added and his total obtained. Each one wins from or loses to each other the difference between their respective totals. A player may win from both the others, lose to one and win from the other, or lose to both.

[23] This hand is generally dealt opposite to the dealer.

THE LAWS OF DUPLICATE AUCTION.

Duplicate Auction is governed by the Laws of Auction, except in so far as they are modified by the following special laws:

A. Scoring. In Duplicate Auction there are neither games nor rubbers. Each deal is scored just as in Auction, with the addition that whenever a pair makes 30 or more for tricks as the score of one deal, it adds as a premium 125 points in its honour column.

B. Irregularities in the Hands. If a player have either more or less than his correct number of cards, the course to be pursued is determined by the time of the discovery of the irregularity.

(1) When the irregularity is discovered before or during the original play: There must be a new deal.

(2) When the irregularity is discovered at the time the cards are taken up for overplay and before such overplay has begun: It must be sent back to the[57] table from which it came, and the error be there rectified.

(3) When the irregularity is not discovered until after the overplay has begun: In two-table duplicate there must be a new deal; but in a game in which the same deals are played at more than two tables, the hands must be rectified as is provided above and then passed to the next table without overplay at the table at which the error was discovered; in which case, if a player have less than thirteen cards and his adversary the corresponding surplus, each pair takes the average score for that deal; if, however, his partner have the corresponding surplus, his pair is given the lowest score and his opponents the highest score made at any table for that deal.

C. Playing the cards. Each player, when it is his turn to play, must place his card, face upward, before him and toward the centre of the table. He must allow it to remain upon the table in this position until all have played to the trick, when he must turn it over and place it face downward, nearer to himself; if he or his partner have won the trick, the card should point toward his partner and himself; otherwise it should point toward the adversaries.

The declarer may either play dummy’s cards or may call them by name whenever it is dummy’s turn to play and have dummy play them for him.

A trick is turned and quitted when all four players have turned and ceased to touch their respective cards.

The cards must be left in the order in which they were played until the scores of the deal have been recorded.

D. The Revoke. A revoke may be claimed at any time before the last trick of the deal in which it occurs has been turned and quitted and the scores of that deal agreed upon and recorded, but not thereafter.

E. Error in Score. A proved error in the trick or honour score may be corrected at any time before the final score of the contestants for the deal or deals played before changing opponents has been made up and agreed upon.

F. A New Deal. A new deal is not allowed for any reason, except as provided in Laws of Auction 36 and 37. If there be an impossible declaration some other penalty must be selected.[24] A declaration (other than passing) out of turn must stand;[25] as a penalty, the adversaries score 50 honour points in their honour column and the partner of the offending player cannot thereafter participate in the bidding of that deal.

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The penalty for the offence mentioned in Law 81 is 50 points in the adverse honour score.

G. Team Matches. A match consists of any agreed number of deals, each of which is played once at each table.

The contesting teams must be of equal size, but each may consist of any agreed number of pairs (not less than two). One half of each team, or as near thereto as possible, sits north and south; the other half east and west.

In case the teams are composed of an odd number of pairs, each team, in making up its total score, adds, as though won by it, the average score of all pairs seated in the positions opposite to its odd pair.

In making up averages, fractions are disregarded and the nearest whole numbers taken, unless it be necessary to take the fraction into account to avoid a tie, in which case the match is won “by the fraction of a point.” The team making the higher score wins the match.

H. Pair Contests. The score of a pair is compared only with other pairs who have played the same hands. A pair obtains a plus score for the contest when its net total is more than the average; a minus score for the contest when its net total is less than the average.

Note.—Some players in America are adopting the English rule, which allows the dealer to pass, without making any declaration. The usual expression is, “No bid.” Each player to the left may then pass in turn, and if no bid is made the deal passes to the left. The lowest declaration is one club, as spades have a constant value of nine and are always “royals.”

The English rule is to score 50 for little slam and 100 for grand slam, and some American players have adopted that rule.

[24] See Law 50. The same ruling applies to Law 54.

[25] This includes a double or redouble out of turn. See Law 57.

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TEXT BOOKS.

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WHIST.

CARDS. Whist is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2; the Ace being the highest in play, but ranking below the deuce in cutting. Two packs are generally used, the one being shuffled while the other is dealt.

MARKERS are necessary to keep the score. The most common are red and white circular counters; the white being used for the points in each game, and the red for the games themselves, or for rubber points. It is better to have two sets, of different colours, each set consisting of four circular and three oblong counters, the latter being used for the rubber points, or for games.

PLAYERS. Whist is played by four persons. When there are more than four candidates for play, five or six may form a “table.” If more than six offer for play, the selection of the table is made by cutting.

The table being formed, the four persons who shall play the first rubber are determined by cutting, and they again cut for partners, and the choice of seats and cards.

CUTTING. The methods of cutting are the same as those described in connection with Bridge, and ties are decided in the same manner.

PLAYERS’ POSITIONS. The four players at a whist table are usually distinguished by the letters A, B, Y, Z; the first two letters of the alphabet being partners against the last two, and their positions at the table being indicated as follows:—

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

Z is always the dealer; A the original leader, or first hand; Y the second hand; B the third hand; and Z the fourth hand. After the first trick, some other player may become the leader; the one on his left being the second hand; his partner the third hand, and the player on his right the fourth hand. B is the pone.

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DEALING. The cards having been properly shuffled, the dealer presents them to the pone to be cut. The American laws require that after separating the pack, the pone shall place the cut part, which he lifts off, nearer the dealer. Beginning at his left, the dealer distributes the cards one at a time in rotation, until the pack is exhausted. The last card is turned face up on the table, and the suit to which it belongs is the trump for that hand.

When two packs are used, one is shuffled by the dealer’s partner while the other is dealt, and the shuffled pack is placed on the left of the player whose turn it will be to deal next. Each player deals in turn until the conclusion of the game or rubber.

IRREGULARITIES IN THE DEAL. The following rules regarding the deal should be strictly observed:—

If any card is found faced in the pack, the dealer must deal again. Should the dealer turn over any card but the trump, while dealing, the adversaries may, if they please, demand a new deal. A player dealing out of turn may be stopped before the trump card is turned; but after that, the deal must stand, afterwards passing to the left in regular order. On the completion of the deal, each player should take up and count his cards to see that he has thirteen; if not, it is a misdeal, and unless the pack is found to be imperfect, the deal passes to the player on the misdealer’s left. The dealer loses the deal:—if he neglects to have the pack cut; if he deals a card incorrectly, and fails to remedy the error before dealing another; if he counts the cards on the table, or those remaining in the pack; if he looks at the trump card before the deal is complete; or if he places the trump card face down, on his own or on any other player’s cards.

STAKES. When stakes are played for, it should be distinctly understood at the beginning whether the unit is for a game, for a rubber, for rubber points, or for tricks. The English game is invariably played for so much a rubber point; sometimes with an extra stake upon the rubber itself. In America, it is usual to play for so much a game; but in some cases the tricks are the unit, deducting the loser’s score from seven, or playing the last hand out and then deducting the loser’s score. A very popular method is to play for a triple stake: so much a trick, playing each hand out; so much a game; and so much a rubber. These three stakes are usually in the proportion of 10, 25, and 50. In clubs it is customary to have a uniform stake for whist, and to fix a limit for all betting on the game beyond the “club stake.” Good usage demands that those at the table should have the refusal of any bet made by a player, before it is offered to an outsider.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The player on the dealer’s left begins by leading any card he chooses, and the others must all follow suit if they can. Failure to follow suit when able is called[62] revoking; the penalty for which, under the American laws, is the loss of two tricks; under the English laws, three tricks or points. Any player having none of the suit led may either trump it or throw away a card of another suit, which is called discarding. When it is the dealer’s turn to play to the first trick, he should take the trump card into his hand. After it has been taken up it must not be named, and any player naming it is subject to a penalty, (see Laws;) but a player may ask what the trump suit is. If all follow suit, the highest card played wins the trick; trumps win against all other suits, and a higher trump wins a lower. The winner of the trick may lead any card he pleases for the next trick, and so on until all thirteen tricks have been played.

Cards Played in Error, or dropped face upward on the table, or two or more played at once, are called exposed cards, and must be left on the table. They can be called by the adversaries; but the fact of their being exposed does not prevent their being played when the opportunity offers. Some persons imagine that the adversaries can prevent an exposed card from being played; but such is not the case.

Leading out of Turn. Should a player lead out of turn, the adversaries may call a suit from the player in error, or from his partner, when it is next the turn of either of them to lead. American laws require the call to be made by the player on the right of the one from whom the suit is called. The English laws give the adversaries the option of calling the card played in error an exposed card. If all have played to the trick before discovering the error, it cannot be rectified; but if all have not played, those who have followed the false lead must take back their cards, which are not, however, liable to be called.

Revoking Players cannot win the game that hand, no matter what they score; but they may play the hand out, and score all points they make to within one point of game.

Any player may ask the others to draw cards in any trick, provided he does so before they are touched for the purpose of gathering them. In answer to this demand, each player should indicate which of the cards on the table he played.

In the English game, any player may look at the last trick turned and quitted; in the American he may not.

Taking Tricks. As the tricks are taken, they should be neatly laid one upon the other in such a manner that any player at the table can count them at a glance. There are several methods of stacking tricks; the first shown being probably the best.

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Diagram of various methods of stacking tricks

When six have been taken by one side they are usually gathered together to form a book; any subsequently taken being laid apart, as they are the only ones that count. It is customary for the partner of the player winning the first trick on each side to gather the tricks for that deal. In some places it is the custom for the partner of the winner of each trick to gather it, so that at the end of the hand each player has tricks in front of him. Although this method saves time, the practice is not to be recommended, as it hinders the players in counting the tricks already gained by each side.

Immediately upon the completion of the play of a hand, the score should be claimed and marked. Any discussion of the play should be postponed until this has been attended to. The adversaries must detect and claim revokes before the cards are cut for the following deal.

The laws of whist should be carefully studied.

OBJECT OF THE GAME. The object of all whist play is to take tricks, of which there are thirteen in each hand or deal. The first six tricks taken by one side are called a book, and do not count; but each trick above that number counts one point towards game. The seventh trick is called the odd; and two or more over the book are called two, three, etc., by cards. At the conclusion of each hand, the side that has won any tricks in excess of the book, scores them; the opponents counting nothing. As soon as either side has scored the number of points previously agreed upon as a game, which must be 5, 7, or 10, the[64] cards are again shuffled and spread for the choice of partners, etc., unless it has been agreed to play a rubber.

SCORING. There are several methods of scoring at whist. The English game is 5 points, rubbers being always played. Besides the points scored for tricks, honours are counted; the games have a different value, according to the score of the adversaries; and the side winning the rubber adds two points to its score.

In scoring, the revoke penalty counts first, tricks next, and honours last.

The Revoke. Should the adversaries detect and claim a revoke before the cards are cut for the following deal, they have the option of three penalties: 1st. To take three tricks from the revoking player, adding them to their own. 2nd. To deduct three points from his game score. 3rd. To add three points to their own game score. The penalty cannot be divided. A revoke may be corrected by the player making it before the trick in which it occurs has been turned and quitted. The card played in error must be left face up on the table, and must be played when demanded by the adversaries, unless it can be got rid of previously, in the course of play. In America, the revoke penalty is two tricks.

The Honours are the four highest trumps, A, K, Q, and J; and after tricks have been scored, partners who held three honours between them are entitled to count two points towards game; four honours counting four points. If each side has two honours, neither can count them. It is not enough to score them; after the last card has been played, they must be claimed by word of mouth. If they are not claimed before the trump is turned for the following deal, they cannot be scored. Partners who, at the beginning of a deal, are at the score of four, cannot count honours; they must get the odd trick to win the game. Should one side be out by tricks, and the other by honours, the tricks win the game, the honours counting nothing.

Rubber Points. At the conclusion of each game, the rubber points are scored, either with the oblong counters, or on the small keys of the whist-marker. If the winners of a game are five points to their adversaries’ nothing, they win a treble, and count three rubber points. If the adversaries have scored, but have one or two points only, the winners mark two points, for a double. If the adversaries have reached three or four, the winners mark one, for a single. The rubber points having been marked, all other scores are turned down. The side winning the rubber adds two points to its score for so doing. The value of the rubber is determined by deducting from the score of the winners any rubber points that may have been made by their adversaries. The smallest rubber possible to win is one point; the winners having scored two singles and the rubber, equal to four; from which[65] they have to deduct a triple made by their adversaries. The largest rubber possible is eight points, called a bumper, the winners having scored two triples and the rubber, to their adversaries’ nothing.

It is sometimes important to observe the order of precedence in scoring. For instance: if, at the beginning of a hand, A-B have three points to Y-Z’s nothing, and A-B make two by honours, Y-Z winning three by cards, Y-Z mark first; so that A-B win only a single, instead of a treble. On the contrary, should A-B make two by cards, Y-Z claiming four by honours, A-B win a treble; as their tricks put them out before it is Y-Z’s turn to count.

In America, where rubbers are played without counting honours, it is not usual to reckon rubber points; but simply to add some agreed value to the score of those winning the odd game.

Where single games are played, whether 5, 7, or 10 points, some persons consider the game as finished when the agreed number of points is reached. Others play the last hand out, and count all the tricks made; so that if two partners were at the score of 6 in a 7-point game, and made five by cards, they would win a game of 11 points. When this is done, it is usual to deduct the score of the losers from the total, and to call the remainder the value of the game. In the American Whist League, the rule is to stop at seven points, and to determine the value of the game by deducting the loser’s score from seven.

When long sittings occur without change of partners or adversaries, it is a common practice to count the tricks continuously, and on the conclusion of the play, to deduct the lower score from the higher, the winners being credited with the difference.

CUTTING OUT. If rubbers are played, there is no change of partners, or of rotation in the deal, until one side has won two games, which ends the rubber. If the first two games are won by the same partners, the third is not played. If more than four players belong to the table, those who have just played cut to decide which shall give place to those waiting; those cutting the highest cards going out. If six belong to the table, there will be no further cutting out; as those who are out for one rubber re-enter for the next, taking the places of those who have played two consecutive rubbers. If five belong to the table, the three who remained in for the second rubber must cut to allow the fifth player to re-enter. At the end of the third rubber, the two cut that have not yet been out; and at the end of the fourth rubber, the one who has played every rubber goes out without cutting. After this, it is usual to spread the cards, and to form the table anew. In all the foregoing instances, partners and deal must be cut for, after the cut has decided which are to play.

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MARKING. There are various methods of using the counters. At the beginning of the game they may be placed at the left hand, and transferred to the right as the points accrue. Another method is to stack the four circular counters one upon the other at the beginning of the game, and to count a point by placing one of them beside the others; two points by placing another upon the first; three points by placing a third beyond these two, and four points by placing them all in line.

Nothing. One. Two. Three. Four.

In the seven point game, the score is continued by placing one counter above, and to the right or left of the other three, to indicate five points; and above and between them to indicate six.

Five. Or this. Six.

When counters are not used, one of the standard forms of whist-marker is employed, the most legible and convenient being the “Foster Whist Marker,” in which the counting keys are always level with the surface and can be seen equally well from any position at the table.

The Foster Whist Marker.

The four large keys on one side are used to count single points, the single large key on the opposite side being reckoned as five. The three small keys are used for counting rubber points, or games.

In ten point games, the scoring to four points is the same; but beyond four, a single counter placed below two or more others, is reckoned as three; and above two or more others, as five.

Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine.

When proper markers are not obtainable, many persons cut eight slits in a visiting card, and turn up the points.

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Visiting-Card Marker.

Whatever the apparatus employed, it should be such that every player at the table can distinctly see the state of the score without drawing attention to it.

METHODS OF CHEATING. Whist offers very few opportunities to the card-sharper. When honours are counted, he may be able to keep one on the bottom of the pack until the completion of the deal by making the pass after the cards have been cut. A greek who possessed sufficient skill to do this without detection would be very foolish to waste his talents at the whist table; for, however large the stakes, the percentage in his favour would be very small.

When whist is played with only one pack, a very skillful shuffler may gather the cards without disturbing the tricks, and, by giving them a single intricate shuffle, then drawing the middle of the pack from between the ends and giving another single intricate shuffle, he may occasionally succeed in dealing himself and his partner a very strong hand in trumps, no matter how the cards are cut, so that they are not shuffled again. A hand dealt in this manner is framed on the walls of the Columbus, Ohio, Whist Club; eleven trumps having been dealt to the partner, and the twelfth turned up. In this case the shuffling dexterity was the result of fifteen years’ practice, and was employed simply for amusement, the dealer never betting on any game, and making no concealment of his methods.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. Although whist is a game of very simple construction, the immense variety of combinations which it affords renders it very complicated in actual practice; there being probably no game in which there is so much diversity of opinion as to the best play, even with the same cards, and under similar conditions. It has been repeatedly remarked that in all the published hands at whist which have been played in duplicate, or even four times over, with the same cards, no two have been alike.

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It would be useless to formulate rules intended to cover every case that might arise, because the conditions are frequently too complicated to allow the average human intellect to select the exact rule which would apply. All that can be done to assist the beginner is to state certain general principles which are well recognised as fundamental, and to leave the rest to experience and practice at the whist table.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES. Nothing obstructs the progress of the beginner so much as his attempts to cover all the ground at once. The more ambitious he is, the greater his necessity for keeping in view the maxim; “One thing at a time: all things in succession.” One must master the scales before he can produce the perfect melody.

The novice should first thoroughly understand the object, and the fundamental principle of the game.

The Object is to win tricks. Not to give information, or to count the hands, or to remember every card played; but simply and only to win tricks.

The Principle is to secure for certain cards a trick-taking value which does not naturally belong to them; either by getting higher cards out of the way of lower, or by placing the holder of intermediate cards at a disadvantage with regard to the lead.

If any person will take the trouble to deal out four hands, and after turning them face up on the table, count how many tricks each side will probably take with its high cards and trumps, he will find that the total will hardly ever be exactly thirteen tricks. Let us suppose the following to be one of the hands so dealt; Z turning up the ♡6 for trumps:—

Diagram of the table, players and hands

On looking over this hand it would appear that A could only make one trick in Clubs, of which the second round would be[69] trumped. His partner can count on five tricks: the two best and the fourth trumps; the ♢A, and the ♠K; a total of six tricks. On counting the adversaries’ probable tricks, Y should make one of his three trumps, and the ♠A. Diamonds will not go round twice without being trumped, so we cannot count on his ♢K. We cannot see any sure tricks for Z. Where are the five other tricks necessary to bring our total up to thirteen? They must be there, for there are thirteen tricks taken in every hand played.

If we play over the hand, we shall find that A-B may make six, seven, nine, or ten tricks, according to their good management, and the good or bad play of their adversaries. In Foster’s Whist Tactics, Illustrative Hand No. 13, may be found the various ideas of sixteen of the best players in the American Whist League with regard to the proper management of this hand. They played it in four different ways, and with very different results in the score.

This must show that the accidental distribution of the Aces, Kings, and trumps is not everything in whist, and that there must be ways and means of securing tricks which do not appear on the surface.

There are four ways of taking tricks at whist:

1st. By playing high cards, the suit of which the others must follow. This A does, in the example, on the first round of the Club suit.

2nd. By playing low cards, after the higher ones have been exhausted, and the adverse trumps are out of the way. This Y will do with his Diamonds, or A with his Clubs, according to circumstances.

3rd. By trumping winning cards played by the adversaries. This Y will do if Clubs are led a second time, or A will do if Diamonds are led twice.

4th. By being able to take tricks with cards which are not the best of the suit, the player who holds better cards having already played smaller. This B will do with the ♡10 if A leads trumps, and Y does not play either Q or J. If B leads trumps he will lose this advantage.

These four methods of winning tricks suggest four systems of play, which are those in common use by experts at the present day:

1st. Playing high cards to the best advantage, so as to secure the best results from such combinations as may be held. This is the basis of all systems of leading.

2nd. Leading from the longest suit, in order that higher cards may be forced out of the way of smaller ones, leaving the smaller ones “established,” or good for tricks after the adverse trumps are exhausted. This is called the long-suit game.

3rd. Trumping good cards played by the adversaries. This is[70] called ruffing. When two partners each trump a different suit, it is called a cross-ruff, or saw.

4th. Taking advantage of the tenace possibilities of the hand by placing the lead with a certain player; or by avoiding the necessity of leading away from tenace suits. For example: A player holds A Q 10 of a suit, his right hand adversary holding K J 9. These are known as the major and minor tenaces. Whichever leads makes only one trick; but if the holder of the major tenace can get the suit led twice, he makes all. This is called the short-suit game, or finesse and tenace. Its resources may be added to by finessing against certain cards. For example: Holding A Q 3 of a suit led by the partner, to play Q is a finesse against fourth hand having the King.

Each of these systems has its advantages, and almost every hand will offer opportunities for practice in all of them.

The most important thing to impress on the beginner is that whist cannot be played by machinery. Some authorities would have us believe that certain theories alone are sound; that certain systems of play alone are good; and that if one will persevere in following certain precepts, in such matters as leading, management of trumps, etc., that the result will be more than average success at the whist table.

Nothing can be further from the truth. As in all other matters largely controlled by chance, there is no system, as a system, which will win at whist. One cannot succeed by slavish adherence to either the long or the short-suit game; by the invariable giving of information, or the continual playing of false cards. The true elements of success in whist lie in the happy combination of all the resources of long and short suits, of finesse and tenace, of candour and deception, continually adjusted to varying circumstances, so as to result in the adversaries’ losing tricks.

HOW TO STUDY WHIST. Any person, anxious to become an expert whist player, may attain to considerable proficiency in a short time, if he will content himself with mastering the following general principles one at a time; putting each into practice at the whist table before proceeding to the next.

The science of modern whist may be divided into two parts: 1st. Tactics; or the purely conventional rules for leading, second and third hand play, returning partner’s suits, etc., all of which may be learnt from books, or gathered from more experienced players. 2nd. Strategy; or the advantageous use of the information given by the conventional plays. This is largely dependent on personal ability to judge the situation correctly, and to select the methods of play best adapted to it.

CONVENTIONAL PLAYS. These may be divided into two parts: those used by the partners who attack, either with[71] their strong suits, or by leading out trumps; and those employed by their adversaries, who are defending themselves against such suits, or wishing to prevent their trumps being drawn. We shall first consider the conventionalities used in attack.

Leading. The player with the original lead should have a double object in view; to secure the best results for his own hand, and to indicate to his partner where he is in need of assistance.

The first matter for his consideration will be whether to begin with a trump or with a plain suit. There are two principal uses for trumps. The most attractive to the beginner is that of ruffing the adversaries’ winning cards; and the most important to the expert is leading trumps to prevent this. No matter how strong or well established a plain suit may be, it is of uncertain value as long as the adversaries have any trumps with which to stop it. A suit is established when you can probably take every trick in it. If a player with a good established suit is sufficiently strong to make it probable that he can, with his partner’s assistance, exhaust the adverse trumps, he should do so by leading trumps. If they are probably stronger than he, he must force them, by leading the established suit which they will be compelled to trump, weakening their hands and gradually reducing their trump strength until it is possible to exhaust what remains by leading. It being to the advantage of the player with a good suit to exhaust the trumps, it must be desirable to his adversaries to keep theirs, if possible, for the purpose of ruffing this good suit.

Trumps are also useful as cards of re-entry, when a player has an established suit, but has not the lead; their most important use, however, is in defending or stopping established suits.

Rules for Leading Trumps. With five or more trumps, the beginner should always begin by leading them, regardless of the rest of his hand. With three or less he should never lead them, unless he has very strong cards in all the plain suits. With four trumps exactly, he should lead them if he has an established suit and a card of re-entry in another suit. A card of re-entry in plain suits is one which is pretty sure to win a trick, such as an Ace, or a guarded King. The following are examples of hands from which trumps should be led originally by a beginner;—

Hearts are trumps in every case.

♡ J 8 6 4 2; ♣ K 3 2; ♢ 10 9 2; ♠ 7 5.
♡ Q 10 2; ♣ A K 5; ♢ K Q 10 9; ♠ A Q 3.
♡ K J 8 3; ♣ A K Q 10 7 3; ♢ 3; ♠ A 7.

The following are examples of hands from which trumps should not be led:—

♡ A K Q; ♣ J 8 7 5 3; ♢ Q 4; ♠ K 4 2.
♡ Q J 10 2; ♣ 5 2; ♢ A K Q 2; ♠ 6 4 3.
♡ A Q 5 4; ♣ K Q J 6 3; ♢ A 9 2; ♠ K.

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If at any later stage of the hand, a player finds himself with an established suit and a card of re-entry, he should lead trumps if he has four. For instance: The player with the last example should lead trumps if the first round of Clubs either forced the Ace out of his way, or found it with his partner.

Rules for Leading Plain Suits. It is safest for the beginner to select his longest suit for the original lead; unless he has a four-card suit which is much stronger. Length and high cards, the two elements of strength, are often very nearly balanced. In the following examples the player should begin with the longest suit:—

♡ A 4 3; ♣ J 10 9 8 3; ♢ A K Q; ♠ K 2.
♡ K 10 8 3; ♣ 4 2; ♢ K Q 10 8 2; ♠ A Q.

In the following the four-card suit should be selected:—

♡ J 3; ♣ 6 5 4 3 2; ♢ J 10 5 3; ♠ Q 8.
♡ Q 4 2; ♣ 7; ♢ 10 6 4 3 2; ♠ A K Q 10.

The principle which should guide in the selection of a plain suit for the original lead is, that if there are a number of small cards in one suit, and a few high cards in another, by leading the long suit first, the higher cards in it are forced out of the way, and the high cards in the shorter suit will then bring the holder of the established small cards into the lead again. But if the high cards of the short suit are first led, the long suit of small cards is dead.

Having determined whether to lead the trump or the plain suit, the next point is to select the proper card of the suit to lead. At first the beginner need not trouble himself about making any distinction between trumps and plain suits; that will come later.

Rules for Leading High Cards. Having a strong suit, but without cards of re-entry or trump strength to support it, the best policy is to make tricks while you can. With such a suit as A K Q 2, no one need be told not to begin with the deuce. Whenever a player holds two or more of the best cards of a suit he should play one of them. If he holds both second and third best, playing one of them will force the best out of his way, leaving him with the commanding card.

The cards which are recognised by whist players as high, are the A K Q J 10, and if we separate the various combinations from which a player should lead each of them, a study of the groups so formed will greatly facilitate our recollection of them.

In the first group are those containing two or more of the best cards. In this and all following notation, the exact size of any card below a Ten is immaterial.

[73]

🂡 🂮 🂭 🂫 | 🂱 🂾 🂻 🂷 | 🃁 🃎 🃍 🃆 | 🃑 🃞 🃔 🃓

So far as trick-taking is concerned, it is of no importance which of the winning cards is first led; but for the past hundred years it has been the custom for good whist players to lead the King from all these combinations, in order that the partner may be informed, by its winning, that the leader holds the Ace also.

In the second group are those containing both the second and third best, but not the best.

🂮 🂭 🂫 🂪 | 🂾 🂽 🂺 🂸 | 🃎 🃍 🃋 🃄 | 🃞 🃝 🃗 🃖

The King is the proper lead from these combinations. If it wins, the partner should have the Ace; if it loses, partner should know the leader holds at least the Queen.

Both these groups, which contain all the King leads, may be easily remembered by observing that the King is always led if accompanied by the Ace or Queen, or both. Beginners should follow this rule for leading the King, regardless of the number of small cards in the suit, unless they hold the sequence of K Q J, and at least two other cards.

🂮 🂭 🂫 🂪 🂤 | 🃎 🃍 🃋 🃄 🃃

From this combination the Jack is the usual lead, in order to invite partner to put on the Ace, if he has it, and get out of the way, thus establishing the suit in the leader’s hand. This is the only high-card combination from which the Jack is led.

There is only one combination from which the Queen is led, regardless of the number of the small cards.

[74]

🂭 🂫 🂪 🂦 🂥

This may be remembered by observing that there is no higher card in the suit than the one led, and that it contains a sequence of three cards, Q J 10. This lead is an indication to the partner that the leader holds neither Ace nor King.

There is only one combination from which the Ten is led, regardless of the number of small cards.

🂾 🂻 🂺 🂵

The Ten led is an indication to partner that both Ace and Queen are against the leader.

Combinations from which the Ace is led contain at least five cards in suit, or both Queen and Jack.

🂱 🂷 🂶 🂴 🂲 | 🃑 🃝 🃛 🃖

This lead is an indication to partner that the leader has not the King, and that the suit is either long, or contains three honours.

Rules for Leading Low Cards. If the suit selected for the lead contains none of the combinations from which a high card should be led, it is customary with good players to begin with the 4th-best, counting from the top of the suit. This is called the card of uniformity; because it indicates to the partner that there are remaining in the leader’s hand exactly three cards higher than the one led. From any of the following combinations the proper lead would be the Four:—

🃞 🃛 🃘 🃔 🃓 | 🃑 🃝 🃚 🃔 | 🂽 🂻 🂶 🂴 🂲 | 🂱 🂻 🂺 🂴

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🂫 🂪 🂩 🂤 🂢 | 🂮 🂨 🂧 🂤 | 🃊 🃉 🃈 🃄 🃃 | 🃍 🃆 🃅 🃄

Rules for Leading Short Suits. It will sometimes happen that the only four-card suit in the leader’s hand will be trumps, which it is not desirable to lead. In such cases, if there is no high-card combination in any of the short suits, it is usual to lead the highest card, unless it is an Ace or King. Many good players will not lead the Queen from a three card suit, unless it is accompanied by the Jack. All such leads are called forced, and are intended to assist the partner, by playing cards which may strengthen him, although of no use to the leader. The best card should be led from any such combinations as the following:—

🃝 🃛 🃖 | 🃊 🃉 🃄 | 🃋 🃊 🃅 | 🃙 🃘 🃔 | 🂫 🂥 🂣 | 🂷 🂶 🂴

All these rules for leading apply equally to any position at the table when a player opens his own suit for the first time.

Rules for Leading Second Round. On the second round of any suit, the player holding the best card should play it; or having several equally the best, one of them. If he is Fourth Hand, he may be able to win the trick more cheaply.

If the original leader has several cards, equally the best, such as A Q J remaining after having led the King, he should continue with the lowest card that will win the trick. This should be an indication to his partner that the card led is as good as the best, and that therefore the leader must have the intermediate cards.

[76]

Following King, which has been led from these combinations:—

🂡 🂮 🂭 🂫 | 🂱 🂾 🂻 🂷 | 🃁 🃎 🃍 🃆 | 🃑 🃞 🃔 🃓

Leading the Jack on the second round would show both Ace and Queen remaining. Leading Queen would show Ace, but not the Jack. Leading Ace would show that the leader had not the Queen.

In combinations which do not contain the best card, the lead may be varied in some cases to show the number remaining in the leader’s hand, or to indicate cards not shown by the first lead.

Following King, which has been led from these combinations:—

🃎 🃍 🃋 🃊 | 🃞 🃝 🃛 🃖

Leading the Ten on the second round would show both Queen and Jack remaining. Leading the Jack would show the Queen; but not the ten.

Following the Jack, led from this combination:—

🂾 🂽 🂻 🂷 🂶

Leading King on the second round would show five cards in the suit originally. Leading the Queen would show more than five.

Following the Queen, led from this combination:—

🃍 🃋 🃊 🃄 🃃

Leading Jack on the second round shows the suit to have originally contained only four cards; the Ten would show more than four.

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Following the Ace, led from these combinations:—

🃑 🃝 🃛 🃖 | 🂡 🂭 🂫 🂦 🂥

Leading the Queen shows the suit was short. Leading the Jack shows that it contained at least five cards.

When a player holds both the second and third-best of a suit on the second round, he should always play one of them, whether he is First, Second, or Third Hand. This protects him, by forcing the command of the suit, if it does not win the trick. Having led the Ten from K J 10 x, if the Ace or Queen wins the first trick, the K should be next led. Having led the Four from Q J 6 4 2, if Ace or King falls to the first trick, the Queen should be led. If the Jack, Queen, and Ace fall to the first trick, a player holding both Ten and Nine should lead the Ten.

After leading high cards from some combinations, and winning the trick, they may no longer contain either the best or the second and third best. Such are the following:—

🂡 🂭 🂧 🂤 🂢 | 🂾 🂽 🂺 🂴 | 🃁 🃋 🃉 🃄 🃃 | 🂮 🂭 🂧 🂤 | 🃑 🃙 🃘 🃔 🃓 | 🃎 🃋 🃊 🃄

The rule in all such cases is to follow with the card of uniformity, the original fourth-best.

If the combinations are those from which the fourth-best had been led originally, and the leader has neither the best, nor both second and third best to go on with, he should continue with the lowest card in his hand, unless he had six or more in suit; in which case he may go on with the remaining fourth-best.

AVOID CHANGING SUITS. A player having once begun with a suit, either for the purpose of establishing it, or of taking tricks in it, should not change it until he is forced to do so. Running off to untried suits is one of the beginner’s worst faults. There are five good reasons for changing suits, and unless one of them can be applied, the suit should be continued:

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1st. In order to lead trumps to defend it.

2nd. In order to avoid forcing partner.

3rd. In order to avoid forcing both adversaries.

4th. Because it is hopeless, and there is some chance in another.

5th. To prevent a cross ruff, by leading trumps.

Simple Inferences from the fall of the cards usually supply the best guide in the matter of changing suits.

If the Jack is led from K Q J x x, and wins the trick, partner may be credited with the Ace; and if the original leader has four trumps, and a card of re-entry, he should quit his established suit, and lead trumps to defend it.

If the King and Ace have been led from A K x x, partner dropping the Queen on the second round, the suit should be changed, unless the original leader is strong enough to risk weakening his partner by forcing him to trump the third round. Four trumps are generally considered to be sufficiently strong to justify a force in this position. Some players will force, even with a weak hand, if the two cards played by the partner are small, and he has not availed himself of an artifice known as calling for trumps, which we shall consider presently.

If the King and Ten have been led from K Q J 10, and on the second round one adversary has dropped the Eight, the other the Nine; the suit should be changed, as partner must have the Ace, and neither of the adversaries have any more. To lead such a suit again is called forcing both adversaries; as it allows one to make a small trump and the other to get rid of a losing card.

If the Four has been led from J 8 6 4, and the adversaries have won the first trick with the Nine or Ten, A K Q must be against the leader and his partner, and the suit should be abandoned as hopeless, unless it is feasible to force the partner.

If at any time there is a strong indication that the adversaries will have a cross-ruff, it is usually best to stop leading plain suits, and attempt to get out the trumps.

THE LEADER’S PARTNER, or the Third Hand, has several conventional plays to remember; the most important of which are the following:

When Partner Leads High Cards, the Third Hand has usually little to do but to play his lowest of the suit. The exceptions are:

If he holds A J alone, on a King led, the Ace should be played.

If he holds A Q alone on a Ten led, the Ace should be played. With A Q x, the Ten should be passed. With Ace and small cards, the Ace should be played on the Ten. With Queen and small cards the Ten should be passed. When Third Hand plays[79] Queen on a Ten led, it should be a certainty that he has no more of the suit.

If he holds A K and only one small card, the King should be played on a Queen led.

If he holds Ace and only one small card, the Ace should be played on the Jack led. If Third Hand has four trumps and a card of re-entry, the Ace should be played on Jack led, regardless of number, in older to lead trumps at once, to defend the suit.

When Partner Leads Low Cards, the Third Hand should do his best to secure the trick. If he has several cards of equal trick-taking value, such as A K Q, or K Q J, he should win the trick as cheaply as possible. The only finesse permitted to the Third Hand in his partner’s suit, is the play of the Queen, when he holds A Q and others; the odds being against Fourth Hand having the King.

Foster’s Eleven Rule. By deducting from eleven the number of pips on any low card led, the Third Hand may ascertain how far his partner’s suit is from being established. For instance: if the card led is the Seven, Second Hand playing the Eight, and Third Hand holding A J 6 3, from which he plays Ace, Fourth Hand playing the Five; the only card against the leader must be the King or Queen; he cannot have both, or he would have led one. If the Second Hand has not the missing card, he has no more of the suit. The number of inferences which may be made in this manner by observant players is astonishing. A great many examples and exercises in them are given in Foster’s Whist Manual.

Third Hand having None of the Suit, should trump anything but an Ace or a King on the first round. On the second round, if there is only one card against the leader, his partner should pass with four trumps, and allow the suit to be established. For instance: If the leads have been Ace, then Jack, Third Hand holding only one of the suit; he should pass if the Second Hand does not play King.

Third Hand on Strengthening Cards. Unless Third Hand has both Ace and King of the suit, he should pass any forced or strengthening lead which is not covered by the Second Hand. This obliges the Fourth Hand to open another suit, or to continue at a disadvantage.

Third Hand winning first round has the choice of four lines of play:

1st. To lead trumps, if he is strong enough.

2nd. To return the best card of his partner’s suit if he has it. This is imperative before opening any other suit but trumps.

3rd. To lead his own suit, if he can do anything with it. It is considered better play for the Third Hand to return the original[80] leader’s suit than to open a long weak suit of his own such as one headed by a single honour.

4th. To return his partner’s suit even with a losing card, in preference to changing.

When the original lead is a trump, it should be returned in every case, either immediately, or as soon as the player can obtain the lead.

The same reasons for changing suits as those given for the original leader will apply to the Third Hand.

RULES FOR RETURNING PARTNER’S SUITS. When the original leader’s suit is returned by his partner, either immediately or upon his regaining the lead, it is usual to show, if possible, how many cards remain in the Third Hand, so that by adding them to his own, the leader may estimate the number held by his adversaries. This consideration is secondary to the return of the best, or one of the second and third best; but in the absence of such cards, the Third Hand should always return the higher of only two remaining, and the lowest of three or more, regardless of their value.

In addition to the foregoing conventionalities, which are proper to the leader of a suit and his partner, there are two usages which apply equally to any player at the table. These are discarding and forcing.

Discarding. When a player cannot follow suit, and does not wish to trump, his safest play is to discard whatever seems of least use to him. It is not considered good play to unguard a King or to leave an Ace alone; but this may be done if the partner is leading trumps, and there is a good established suit to keep. Beginners should be careful to preserve cards of re-entry, even if they have to discard from their good suit in order to do so.

When the adversaries have shown strength in trumps, or are leading them, there is little use in keeping a long suit together. It is much better to keep guard on the suits in which they are probably strong, letting your own and your partner’s go.

A player having full command of a suit, may show it to his partner by discarding the best card of it. Discarding the second-best is an indication that the player has not the best; and in general, the discard of any small card shows weakness in that suit.

Forcing. We have already observed that a player who is weak himself should not force his partner. An exception may be made in cases where he has shown weakness, or has had a chance to lead trumps and has not done so. On the contrary, an adversary should not be forced unless he has shown strength, or the player forcing him is weak. The hope of a player with a good suit is to defend it by leading and exhausting the trumps. His[81] adversary tries to keep his trumps in order to stop that suit; at the same time forcing the strong hand, by leading cards which he must trump, hoping that such a force may so weaken him that he will be unable to continue the trump lead.

It is usually very difficult to convince the beginner that the weaker he is himself, the more reason he has for forcing the adversaries to trump his good cards. He is constantly falling into the error of changing from a good suit, which the adversaries cannot stop without trumping, to a weak suit, which allows them to get into the lead without any waste of trump strength. If an adversary refuses to trump a suit, it is imperative to keep on with it until he does; for it is always good play to force an adversary to do what he does not wish to do.

Any person may convince himself of the soundness of this theory of forcing, by giving himself the six highest cards in any suit, three small cards in the others, and four trumps; giving another player the four best trumps, and nine of the highest cards in two suits. If the first player forces the second with his good suit, and continues every time he gets the lead, he must win six tricks; if he does not, the second player makes a slam.

A deliberate force from a partner should always be accepted, if he is a good player.

We may now turn our attention to the conventionalities used by players who are opposed to the establishment of suits in the hands of the leader and his partner. These are divided between the Second and the Fourth Hand, the former being the more important. Generally speaking, they are the tactics of defence.

SECOND HAND PLAY. The player who is second to play on any trick is called the Second Hand. It is his duty to protect himself and his partner, as far as possible, in the adversaries’ strong suits. The chief point for the beginner to observe in Second Hand play, is the difference between the circumstances requiring him to play high cards, and those in which he should play low ones.

High Cards Led. When a card higher than a Ten is led on the first round of a suit, the Second Hand has usually nothing to do but to play his lowest card, and make what inference he can as to the probable distribution of the suit. But if he holds the Ace, or cards in sequence with it, such A K, he should cover any card higher than a Ten. If he holds K Q he should cover a J, 10, or 9 led; but it is useless for him to cover an honour with a single honour, unless it is the Ace.

Low Cards Led. High cards are played by the Second Hand when he has any combination from which he would have led a[82] high one if he had opened the suit. The fact that a player on his right has already laid a small card of the suit on the table should not prevent the Second Hand from making the best use of any combinations he may hold. The only difference between leading from such combinations, and playing them Second Hand, is that in the latter case no attempt is made to indicate to the partner the exact nature of the combination held. The general rule is to win the trick as cheaply as possible, by playing the lowest of the high cards which form the combination from which a high card would be led. Such are the following:—

🂡 🂮 🂭 🂫 | 🂾 🂽 🂻 🂸 | 🂱 🂾 🂽 🂳 | 🃞 🃝 🃘 🃔 | 🃑 🃞 🃕 🃒 | 🃎 🃋 🃊 🃅 | 🃁 🃍 🃋 🃂 | 🂭 🂫 🂪 🂣

The beginner must be careful with these:—

🂡 🂮 🂫 🂢 | 🃎 🃍 🃊 🃆

The combination which makes the first of these a high-card lead is the A K, and the King must be played Second Hand. The Jack has nothing to do with it. In the second, the Ten does not form any part of the combination, and the Queen is the card to play Second Hand. Some players will not play a high card second hand with K Q x x unless weak in trumps.

An exception is generally made with these combinations, from which the proper lead is the Ace.

🃑 🃝 🃘 🃔 🃓 | 🂡 🂩 🂨 🂧 🂤

[83]

Many will not play Ace Second Hand in any case, and will play the Queen with the first combination only when they are weak in trumps. The reason for this exception is the importance of retaining command of the adverse suit as long as possible.

On the Second Round, the Second Hand should follow the usual rule for playing the best of the suit if he holds it; or one of the second and third best, if he holds them. He should also be careful to estimate, by the eleven rule, how many cards are out against the leader, which will sometimes guide him to a good finesse. For instance: first player leads Ace, then Eight. If the Second Hand holds K J 9 2, instead of playing the best card to the second round, which would be King, he should finesse the Nine.

With Short Suits. When Second Hand holds such short-suit combinations as:—

🂽 🂻 🂷 | 🂻 🂺 🂵

and a small card is led, his proper play is one of the high cards, because he cannot save both of them.

On Strengthening Cards Led. This is a difficult point for the beginner, and his best plan is to follow the rules already given for covering cards higher than the Ten. One of the most common errors is to cover a Jack led with a Queen, when holding A Q and others. The Ace should be put on invariably. To play the Queen in such a position is called finessing against yourself.

Singly Guarded Honours. Many players put on the King Second Hand, if they hold only one small card with it, and a small card is led. This will win the trick as often as it will lose it; but it betrays the hand to the adversary, and enables him to finesse deeply if the suit is returned. It may be done in order to get the lead, and in trumps the practice is very common, and generally right. With Queen and only one small card, it can be demonstrated that it is useless to play the Queen Second Hand, except as an experiment, or to get the lead in desperate cases.

With any combination weaker than J 10 x, it is useless to attempt to win the trick Second Hand, and only makes it difficult for the partner to place the cards correctly.

The Fourchette. When the Second Hand has cards immediately above and below the one led, he should cover. The beginner may have some difficulty in recognising the fact that he holds fourchette if the suit has been round once or twice, and the intermediate cards have been played. Such cards as a Queen and[84] a Seven may be fourchette over a Nine, if Jack, Ten and Eight have been played.

Second Hand Having None of the suit led, on either first or second round, must decide whether or not to trump it. If the card led is the best of the suit, he should certainly do so; but if it is not, and there is any uncertainty as to who will win the trick, it is usual for the Second Hand to pass when he has four trumps. With five trumps, there should be some good reason for keeping the trumps together, as a player with so many can usually afford to trump. If he does not trump, his play comes under the rules for discarding.

FOURTH-HAND PLAY. The Fourth Hand is the last player in any trick. He is the partner of the Second Hand, but has not so many opportunities for the exercise of judgment, his duties being simply to win tricks if he can, and as cheaply as possible. If he cannot win the trick, he should play his lowest card.

A bad habit of Fourth-Hand players is holding up the tenace A J when a King or Queen is led originally. This is called the Bath Coup, and the suit must go round three times for it to succeed in making two tricks. The holder of the tenace should equally make two tricks by playing the Ace at once, provided he does not lead the suit back.

The Turn-up Trump. When trumps are led by the adversaries, it is a common practice to play the turn-up as soon as possible, unless it is a valuable card. On the contrary, it is usual to keep it as long as possible when the partner leads trumps.

Changing Suits. If the Second or Fourth Hand wins the first or second round of the adversaries’ suit, it is seldom right to return it, as that would probably be playing their game. The player should open his own suit, as if he were the original leader. If he is strong enough to lead trumps under ordinary circumstances, he may be deterred from so doing if the adversaries have declared a strong suit against him. The same consideration may prevent his leading trumps in the hope of making a suit of his own, as the adversaries might reap the benefit by bringing in their suit instead. On the contrary, when the Second or Fourth Hand holds command of the adverse suit, they may often risk a trump lead which would otherwise be injudicious. Having once started a suit, it should not be changed, except for one of the reasons already given for the guidance of the First Hand.

When the Adversaries Lead Trumps, and the Second Hand has a chance either to establish a suit against them or to force his partner, he should stop the trump lead if he can. If his partner has led trumps, the Second Hand should generally play[85] his winning cards on his right hand opponent’s plain-suit leads, to stop them; and continue the trumps.

These are about all the conventionalities necessary for the beginner. After at least a year’s practice with them, he will either discover that he has no aptitude for the game, or will be ready to go into further details. A beginner who attempts to handle the weapons of the expert simply plays with edged tools, which will probably cut no one but himself and his partner.

THE SIGNAL GAME. Having become thoroughly familiar with the elementary conventionalities of the game, so that they can be used without the slightest hesitation at the whist table, the player may proceed to acquaint himself with the details of what is commonly known as the Signal Game, which comprises all the various methods of signalling up hands between partners, according to certain arbitrary and pre-arranged systems of play. Many players object to these methods as unfair; but they are now too deeply rooted to yield to protest; and the best thing for a player to do is to familiarise himself with his adversaries’ weapons.

The Trump Signal. A player anxious to have trumps led, but who has no immediate prospect of the lead, may call on his partner to lead trumps at the first opportunity, by playing any two cards of a suit led, the higher before the lower. Let us suppose him to hold five good trumps, with the Six and Two of a suit of which his partner leads King, then Jack. By playing first the Six, and then the Two, he calls upon his partner to quit the suit, and lead a trump.

Among some players, the lead of a strengthening card when an honour is turned, is a call for trumps to be led through that honour at the first opportunity, but it is not good play.

Passing a certain winning card is regarded by most players as an imperative call for trumps.

The discard of any card higher than a Seven is known as a single-card-call. Even if it was not so intended, it is assumed that a trump lead cannot injure a player with nothing smaller than a Nine in his hand.

Answering Trump Signals. In response to partner’s call, a player should lead the best trump if he holds it; one of the second and third best if he holds them; the highest of three or less; the lowest of four; and the fourth-best of more than four. Holding any of the regular high-card combinations in trumps, he should lead them in the regular way in answer to a call.

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After a Force. If the player is forced before he can answer the call, he may indicate the number of trumps originally held by playing them in this manner:—

With 3 or less; trumping with the lowest; leading the highest.

With 4 exactly; trumping with the 3rd-best; leading the highest.

With 5 or more; trumping with the 3rd-best; leading the 4th-best.

These methods of taking the force must not be carried to extremes. For instance: A player holding K J 10 2, would hardly be justified in trumping with the 10 to show number. Some experts, holding the best trump with at least four others, will not lead it; preferring to show number first, by leading the fourth-best. Others, holding four, lead the lowest after trumping with the third-best.

The Echo in Trumps. When the partner leads high trumps, the Third Hand should echo with four or more, by signalling in the trump suit. The universal form of the echo is to play first the third-best, then the fourth-best. When a player has called, and his partner leads, it is unnecessary for the caller to echo. Players seldom echo on adverse trump leads, even with five trumps.

The Four-Signal. There are several ways of showing four or more trumps without asking partner to lead them. Among some players the original lead of a strengthening card is an evidence of four trumps, and is called an Albany Lead. A player holding three cards of any plain suit, such as the 3, 4, 5, may show the number of his trumps by playing these small cards as follows:—

No of trumps. 1st trick. 2nd trick. 3rd trick.
3 or less 3 4 5
4 exactly 4 5 3
5 4 3 5
6 5 3 4
7 or more 5 4 3

The second of these is the four-signal; the last three are trump signals. They are used only in following suit.

The four-signal is sometimes used in the trump suit as a Sub-echo, to show three trumps exactly.

Apart from signalling, trump strength may often be inferred, especially from player’s passing doubtful tricks, forcing their partners, etc.

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Trump Suit Leads. When trumps are not led for the purpose of exhausting them immediately, but simply as the longest suit, the fourth-best may be led from the following:—

🂱 🂾 🂷 🂶 🂴 | 🃎 🃍 🃆 🃅 | 🂡 🂨 🂧 🂤 🂢 | 🃞 🃛 🃚 🃖

If the Ten accompanies the King and Queen, in the third combination, it is best to adhere to the usual lead of the King.

In leading trumps from combinations containing a winning sequence, such as the following:—

🂱 🂾 🂽 🂻 🂷 | 🃁 🃎 🃍 🃄 🃃

many players begin with the lowest of the winning cards, continuing with the next above it.

Speculative Trump Leads. The whist player will often find himself with a single good suit, a card of re-entry, and few trumps. Certain conditions of the score may prompt him to make a speculative trump lead from such a hand. If his trumps are high, such as A K x, he may safely begin by leading them; but if they are weak, and he is depending largely on his partner’s possible strength, he should show his suit first by leading it once.

Over-trumping is generally regarded as bad policy when a player has a good suit, and sufficient trump strength to justify him in hoping to do something with it. The refusal to over-trump, unless the trump played is a high one, should be regarded by the partner as a call.

It is sometimes necessary to over-trump partner in order to get the lead. For instance: A player holds the two best trumps, and all winning cards of a plain suit, while the player on his right has a losing trump. In such a position the player with the two best trumps should trump any winning card his partner leads, or over trump him if he trumps, so as to prevent the adversary from making that losing trump.

Under-trumping, or the Grand Coup, is playing a low trump on a trick that partner has already trumped with a higher, in order to avoid the lead. For instance: A player holds major tenace in trumps with a small one, and knows that the minor tenace is on his right. Four cards remain in each hand. The player on the left leads; Second Hand trumps; Third Hand follows[88] suit. If the Fourth Hand keeps his three trumps, he must win the next trick, and lose the advantage of his tenace.

A player will sometimes have the best card in two suits, and a small trump, and will know that the two best trumps and an unknown card are on his right. If the missing suit is led, and the player on the right trumps, his unknown card must be one of the two other suits, and the player with the command of them should keep both, and throw away his small trump. The discards on the next trick may enable him to determine the suit of the losing card on his right.

The Last Trump. If two players have an equal number of trumps, each of them having an established suit, it will be the object of both to remain with the last trump, which must bring in the suit. The tactics of each will be to win the third round of trumps; and then, if the best trump is against him, to force it out with the established suit, coming into the lead again with the last trump. So often is it important to win the third round of trumps that few good players will win the second round, unless they can win the third also. With an established suit, a card of re-entry, and four trumps King high, a player should lead trumps; but if his partner wins the first round and returns a small trump, the King should not be put on, no matter what Second Hand plays, unless the card next below the King is fourchette. Some of the most brilliant endings in whist are skirmishes for the possession of the last trump; the player who is at a disadvantage often persistently refuses the fatal force, hoping the leader will be compelled to change his suit, or will lose the lead.

Drawing the Losing Trump. It is usually best to draw losing trumps from the adversaries, unless a player can foresee that he may want the best to stop a strong adverse suit.

A Thirteenth Card, played by the partner, is usually considered an invitation to put on the best trump. The Second Hand should not trump a thirteenth card unless he is weak in trumps.

AMERICAN LEADS. Advanced players, who have had so much practice that they can infer the probable position of the cards without devoting their entire attention to it, have adopted a new system of leading from the four combinations following, in order to show the number of small cards in the suit:—

🃑 🃞 🃝 🃛 🃖 | 🂱 🂾 🂶 🂴 🂲 | 🃁 🃎 🃍 🃆 🃅 | 🂮 🂭 🂧 🂤 🂢

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From these the King is never led if there are more than four cards in the suit. Having more than four, the lowest of the sequence of high cards is led. From the first this would be the Jack; from the second the Queen; from the third the Ace, (because the King is barred;) and from the fourth the Queen. The Ten is not ranked among the high cards in American Leads.

On the second round, with the first two combinations, the difference between a suit of five or one of six cards may be indicated by following with the Ace if five were held originally; the King, if more than five. Seven cards may be shown with the first combination, by leading the Queen on the second round.

The chief difference these leads make in the play of the Third Hand is that he should not trump any court card led, even if weak in trumps. The misunderstanding as to the meaning of the first lead, especially if it is a Queen, often occasions confusion and loss; but this is claimed to be offset by the value of the information given. Some lead 10 from Q J 10; 4th-best from K J 10.

To the adversaries these leads are often of value, as they are frequently enabled to place the cards very accurately from the information given by the lead itself, regardless of the fall of the cards from the other hands. For instance: Second Hand holds A J of a suit in which King is led; Third Hand plays the Four; Fourth Hand plays the Nine. The leader remains with Q 3 2; Third Hand still has 8 7 6 5; and if he has also the 10, Fourth Hand has no more. Again: The leader shows a suit of six; Second Hand holding two only. If the suit is led a third time it is a doubtful trick, and with four trumps the Second Hand should pass. If the leader shows the exact number of the suit originally led, and then changes to a four-card suit, the adversaries know at least nine of his cards.

So obvious is this that it is an almost invariable rule for a player, on quitting his suit, to conceal the length of the second suit led by leading the highest card of a short suit.

If it were allowable to exercise some judgment in using these leads, they might not be open to so many objections; but they are worse than useless unless the partner can depend on their being uniformly adopted.

The Minneapolis Lead. This is another variation in the leads, which is confined to one combination; that of Ace and any four other cards, not including the King. With strength in trumps the fourth-best is led instead of the Ace, the theory being that the Ace is more likely to be valuable on the second or third round of such a suit than on the first, and that the trump strength justifies the finesse of the original lead. With weak trumps the Ace is led. Some players extend this principle to the Second Hand, and play Ace on a small card led, when holding A x x x x with weak trumps. This is open to the objection that it gives up command of the adverse suit too early in the hand; but it saves many a trick.

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The Plain-suit Echo. This is another device for giving information as to number. When the original leader begins with a high card, the Third Hand should play his third-best if he holds four or more; and on the second round his second best, always retaining his fourth-best and any below it. The value of this echo is much disputed, and the adversaries can usually render it ineffective by holding up small cards; a practice very much in vogue with advanced players.

Low’s Signal. This is the latest system of indicating to the leader the number of cards in his suit held by the Third Hand. With four or more of the suit, the third-best is played to the lead of a high card, or when no attempt is made to win the trick. In retaining the suit, the second-best is led if three or more remain, and on the third round, or in a discard, the highest is played, always retaining the fourth-best and those below it. For instance: With the 8 7 5 2 of a suit which partner leads, the 5 is played to the first round. If the suit is returned, the 7 is played; and next time the 8. Holding only three originally, the lowest is played to the first round, and the higher of two returned, in the usual way. The chief value of this signal is that the return of the lowest of a suit shows absolutely no more, instead of leaving the original leader in doubt as to whether it is the only one, or the lowest of three remaining. It is also a great exposer of false cards.

Discard Signalling is another method of indicating plain suits. When a player is known to have no trumps, and therefore cannot be calling for them, he may use the trump signal in any plain suit which he wishes led to him. As a general rule, a player should not use this signal unless he has a certain trick in the suit in which he signals. Some players use what is called the reverse discard; a signal in one suit meaning weakness in it, and an invitation to lead another. This avoids the necessity for using the good suit for signalling purposes.

Unblocking. When the original leader shows a suit of five cards, and the Third Hand has four exactly, the latter should keep his lowest card, not for the purpose of echoing, but in order to retain a small card which will not block the holder of the longer suit. If the Third Hand has three cards of the suit led, and among them a card which may block his partner, he should give it up on the second round. For instance: Holding K 4 3, and partner showing a five-card suit by leading Ace then Jack, Third Hand should give up the King on the second round. Again: Holding Q 9 3, partner leading Ace then Eight; Second Hand playing King second round, Third Hand should give up the Queen. Again: Holding K Q, partner leading the 8 originally, won by Fourth Hand with Ace; the King should be discarded or otherwise got rid of at the first opportunity.

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Short-suit Leads. Many players will not lead a long weak suit unless they have sufficient strength to justify them in hoping to establish, defend, and bring it in, with reasonable support from the partner. With a long suit, headed by a single honour, weak trumps, and no cards of re-entry, they prefer selecting a strengthening card for the original lead, hoping it may be of some assistance to partner by affording a successful finesse. It is claimed that it is better for a person, especially with a strong hand, to play with the knowledge that his partner is weak, than under the impression that he may be strong. Such an opening lead should warn the Third Hand to finesse deeply, to hold any tenaces he may have, and to let nothing pass him which might be too much for his weak partner to attend to. This is a very difficult game to play well, and is seldom resorted to except by the most expert.

Deschapelles Coups. It often happens that after the adverse trumps are exhausted, a player will find himself with the lead, but unable to give his partner a card of his established suit. In such cases the best course is to sacrifice the King or Queen of any suit of which he has not the Ace, in the hope that it may force the best of the suit, and leave partner with a card of re-entry. For instance: The leader has established the Club suit; his partner has exhausted the trumps, Hearts; and having no Clubs, leads the King of Spades from K x x x. If the holder of the Club suit has Spade Queen, and the King forces the Ace, the Club suit will be brought in. If he has not the Queen, the Clubs are probably hopeless. The coup risks a trick to gain several.

Players should be careful not to fall into this trap in the end-game; and it is generally right to hold up the Ace if the circumstances are at all suspicious.

Tenace Positions. Many expert players will not lead away from a suit in which they hold tenace. Having two suits, one containing a tenace, and the other without it, they will select the latter, although it may be much weaker. It is noteworthy that players who disregard the value of holding a tenace in the opening lead, are well aware of its importance toward the end of the hand. When one player holds tenace over another, the end game often becomes a struggle to place the lead; and players frequently refuse to win tricks in order to avoid leading away from tenaces, or to compel another player to lead up to them.

Underplay is often resorted to by the Fourth Hand in suits in which the Third Hand has shown weakness. For instance: A small card is led; Third Hand playing the Ten, and Fourth Hand holding A Q J x. It is a common artifice to win with the Queen, and return the small card. When the original leader is underplayed in his own suit, he should invariably put up his best card.

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Finessing. The expert may finesse much more freely than the beginner. Having led from such a suit as K J x x and partner having won with Ace and returned a small card, the Jack may be finessed with strong trumps. If the adversaries lead trumps, and the Ace wins the first round, a player holding the King second hand on the return, may finesse by holding it up, trusting his partner for the trick.

In all cases that mark the best of the suit against a player, and on his left, he may finesse against the third best being there also. For instance: A player leads from K 10 x x x. Third Hand plays Queen and returns a small card. The Ten should be finessed, regardless of trump strength, as the Ace must be on the left, and the finesse is against the Jack being there also. Many varieties of this finesse occur.

Placing the Lead. This is usually a feature of the end-game A player may have an established suit, his adversary being the only person with any small cards of it. If the lead can be placed in the hand of this adversary, he must eventually lead the losing cards.

A player begins with a weak suit of four cards, on the first round of which it is evident that his partner has no more, the adversaries having all the high cards. The suit is not played again, and for the last six tricks the original leader finds himself with three cards of it, and the Q x x of another suit. If the adversaries play King and Ace of the latter suit, the Queen should be given up, trusting partner for the Jack, for the Queen will force the holder of the three losing cards into the lead. It is sometimes necessary to throw away an Ace in order to avoid the lead at critical stages of the end-game.

False Cards. It requires more than ordinary skill to judge when a false card will do less harm to the partner than to the adversaries. There are some occasions for false-card play about which there is little question. Having a sequence in the adverse suit, the Second or Fourth Hand may win with the highest card, especially if the intention is to lead trumps. Holding K Q only, Second Hand may play the King, especially in trumps. Holding A K x, the Fourth Hand should play Ace on a Queen led by an American leader. With such a suit as K J 10 x, after trumps have been exhausted, the Ten is not a safe lead; Jack or fourth-best is better. Holding up the small cards of adverse suits is a common stratagem; and it is legitimate to use any system of false-carding in trumps if it will prevent the adversaries who have led them from counting them accurately.

Playing to the Score. The play must often be varied on account of the state of the score, either to save or win the game in the hand. If the adversaries appear to be very strong, and likely[93] to go out on the deal, all conventionalities should be disregarded until the game is saved; finesses should be refused, and winning cards played Second Hand on the first round. If the adversaries are exhausting the trumps, it will often be judicious for a player to make what winning cards he has, regardless of all rules for leading, especially if they are sufficient to save the game.

It often happens that the same cards must be played in different ways according to the state of the score, and the number of tricks in front of the player. A simple example will best explain this. Hearts are trumps; you hold two small ones, two better being out against you, but whether in one hand or not you cannot tell. You have also two winning Spades, one smaller being still out. The game is seven-point whist. The importance of playing to the score will be evident if you consider your play in each of the following instances, your score being given first:

INFERENCES. The great strength of the expert lies in his ability to draw correct inferences from the fall of the cards, and to adapt his play to the circumstances.

Inferences from the various systems of leads and returns are too obvious to require further notice; but attention may be called to some that are often overlooked, even by advanced players:

If a suit led is won by Third Hand with King or Ace; and the original leader wins the second round with King or Ace, the adversaries must have the Queen.

If the Third Hand plays Ace first round, he has neither King nor Queen. If he plays Queen on a Ten led, he has no more. If he plays Ace on a King led, he has the Jack alone, or no more.

If the Second Hand plays King first round on a small card led, he has Ace also, or no more. If he plays Ace under the same conditions, he has no more. [See Minneapolis Lead.]

If a suit is led, and neither Third nor Fourth Hand has a card in it above a Nine, the original leader must have A Q 10, and the second player K J. When neither Third nor Fourth Hand holds a card above the Ten, the major and minor tenaces are divided between the leader and the Second Hand. If it can be inferred that the leader held five cards in the suit originally, he holds the minor tenace.

When a player, not an American leader, begins with a Jack and wins the trick, the adversaries may conclude that his partner had two small cards with the Ace, and had not four trumps and another winning card.

When a good player changes his suit, he knows that it will not[94] go round again, or that the command is against him. This is often a valuable hint to the adversaries. When he quits his original suit and leads trumps, without his partner having called, the adversaries may conclude that the suit has been established.

When a player puts Ace on his partner’s Jack led, and does not lead trumps, the adversaries may count on him for only one small card of the suit led.

When an adversary finesses freely, he may be credited with some strength in trumps.

When a player changes his suit, the adversaries should note carefully the fall of the cards in the new suit. As already observed, the leader almost invariably opens the new suit with the best he has. Suppose a player to lead two winning cards in one suit, and then the Eight of another, which the Second Hand wins with the Ten; The four honours in the second suit must be between the Second and Fourth Hands.

Having won the first or second round of the adverse suit, and having no good suit of his own, the Second or Fourth Hand may be able to infer a good suit with his partner, by the play. For instance: A player opens Clubs, showing five, his partner wins second round, and opens the Diamond suit with the Jack, on which Second Hand plays Ace, his partner dropping the 9. Having now the lead, and no good suit, it is evident that the play should be continued on the assumption that partner is all Spades and trumps.

THE AMERICAN GAME. Since the revolt against the invariable opening from the longest suit, which was the style of game advocated by the old school of Pole and “Cavendish,” many systems have been tried out by the various clubs that meet at our national tournaments. E.C. Howell was the first to attempt to set the short-suit game in order, but his methods have long since been superseded by more elastic tactics.

The fundamental principle of the short-suit game, as first explained to the world by the New York Sun, is to use the original or opening lead to indicate the general character of the hand rather than any details of the individual suit. In the long-suit game the original leader is always assuming that his partner may have something or other, and playing on that supposition. The short-suit player indicates the system of play best adapted to his own hand, without the slightest regard to the possibilities of his partner. It is the duty of the partner to indicate his hand in turn, and to shape the policy of the play on the combined indications of the two.

This does not mean that the player shall always lead a short suit, but that he should combine the best features of both systems, without slavish adherence to either. This idea has been brought[95] to perfection in practice by the famous American Whist Club of Boston, and under the able leadership of its captain, Harry H. Ward, it has demonstrated that he can take any kind of a team and beat any of the old style long-suit players, no matter how skilful they may be. The following is a brief outline of the American game, as given by Captain Ward in Whist for May, 1906:—

Five-trump Hands. With five trumps, and the suits split, 3, 3, 2, we always open a trump, unless we have a tenace over the turn-up card. From five trumps and a five-card plain suit, we open the suit if it is one that will require some help to establish; otherwise the trump. From five trumps with a four-card plain suit, we open the trump with hands of moderate strength; otherwise the plain suit.

Four-trump Hands. From four-trump hands we invariably open a suit of five cards or more, but prefer to avoid a four-card suit headed by a single honor. These are the suits in which the best chance for a single trick usually occurs when the suit is led by some one else. For example: Hearts trumps:—

♡ 8 7 6 3 ♣ 9 8 ♢ K 8 3 2 ♠ K 4 2

The best opening from such a hand is the club nine.

When forced to open single-honor suits, the lead of the lowest card shows an honor as good as the Queen, while the lead of an intermediate card denies such an honor, as in the following examples: hearts trumps:—

♡ 10 8 3 2 ♣ K 6 ♢ Q 7 6 4 ♠ Q 5 4

From this we should lead the four of diamonds; but holding

♡ 10 8 3 2 ♣ K 6 ♢ J 8 7 4 ♠ Q 5 4

we should lead the seven of diamonds.

From hands containing four trumps and three three-card suits, we use our own judgment, sometimes leading the trump, and sometimes a plain suit. We prefer the plain suit if it is a desirable one to open, such as hearts trumps:—

♡ K 8 3 2 ♣ J 10 4 ♢ A 10 3 ♠ 8 4 3

From this we would open the Jack of clubs; but from

♡ K 8 3 2 ♣ J 3 2 ♢ A 10 3 ♠ Q 6 3

we should lead the deuce of trumps. If in this hand the club suit were Q J 3, the Queen of clubs would be the best opening.

It may seem paradoxical that a weaker hand should call for a trump lead; but the opening is not an attack. It is a move to await developments.

Three-trump Hands. From hands containing three trumps or less, our opening leads vary from the ordinary player’s game more than in any other particular. We always open a long suit[96] from three-trump hands if the suit is a good one, such as A K and others, K Q and others, or even Q J and others. But without such strength in the long suit, we let it severely alone, and develop the hand with a short-suit or “gambit” opening.

With three trumps and a five-card suit containing two honors not in sequence, we still open the long suit if we have a sure re-entry in another suit. This, for example, hearts trumps:—

♡ K 6 2 ♣ 8 6 2 ♢ A Q 6 4 3 ♠ A 10

The trey of diamonds is the best opening. If there were no re-entry, such as only 10 2 of spades instead of A 10, we should open the 10 of spades.

Although we open a great many short suits, we avoid weak three-card suits except in rare instances.

While our system, like all others, entails losses at times, it seems to avoid many of the pitfalls that confront the player who always opens his long suit, regardless of the possibilities of ever bringing it in. In many instances we find he places himself in the worst possible position for any chance to make even one trick in the suit he opens.

We admit that if a team adopts straight American leads, it is much easier for them to count the partner’s hand accurately; but it seems to me that this advantage is more than overcome by the fact that in our openings we have a clear idea as to the general character of the partner’s hand while there is still time to take advantage of the knowledge. In the long-suit game this element is entirely wanting.

IN CONCLUSION. The first-class whist-player is usually developed gradually. If he possess the faculty of paying close attention to the game while he is playing, nothing should prevent his rapid progress. At first he may care little or nothing for “book” whist, but after some experience with book players, he is rather in danger of running to the other extreme, and putting more book into his game than it will carry. Having passed that stage, his next step is usually to invent some system of his own, and to experiment with every hand he plays. By degrees he finds that all special systems of play have some serious defects which over-balance their advantages, and this discovery gradually brings him back to first principles. If he gets so far safely, his game for all future time will probably be sound, common-sense whist, without any American leads, plain-suit echoes, or four-signals, and free from any attempts to take fourteen tricks with thirteen cards.

When a whist-player reaches that point, he is probably as near the first class as the natural limitations of his mental abilities will ever permit him to go.

THE LAWS will be found at the end of the Whist Family of Games.

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ILLUSTRATIVE WHIST HANDS.

A and B are partners against Y and Z. A is always the original leader, and Z is the dealer. The underlined card wins the trick, and the card under it is the next one led.

No. 1.
Long Suits
;
♡5 turned.
TRICK No. 3.
Short Suits
;
♡Q turned.
A Y B Z A Y B Z
♣K ♣5 ♣7  ♣3 1 Q♢ K♢ A♢ 2♢
♡10 ♡J ♡Q ♡5 2 2♠ A♠ J♠ 5♠
♣Q ♣J ♣2 ♣10 3 4♢ 10♢ 3♢ J♢
♡7 ♡3 ♡9 ♡8 4 ♡2 ♡5 ♡3 ♡ Q
J♠ 9♠ 2♠ 5♠ 5 ♡6 ♡A ♡4 ♡ J
♣A ♡4 ♡6 5♢ 6 ♣8 ♣2 ♣3 ♣ K
4♠ ♡K A♠ 6♠ 7 ♡7 8♢ 5♢ 7♢
J♢ 7♢ 2♢ K♢ 8 ♡K 4♠ 6♢ ♡ 9
♡2 3♢ 4♢ A♢ 9 K♠ 7♠ 6♠ 8♠
♣9 6♢ 3♠ 8♢ 10 Q♠ ♣4 ♣5  10♠
♣8 9♢ 7♠ 8♠ 11 9♠ ♣Q ♣6 ♡10
♣6 10♢ K♠ 10♠ 12 ♡8 9♢ ♣7 ♣ J
♣4 Q♢ ♡A Q♠ 13 3♠ ♣A ♣10 ♣ 9
No. 2.
American Game
;
♡8 turned.
TRICK No. 3.
Play to score
;
♡J turned.
A Y B Z A Y B Z
6♢ J♢  A♢ 9♢ 1 K♠ 4♠ 3♠ A♠ 
♡3 3♢ 2♢ 10♢ 2 ♡3 ♡9 ♡Q ♡2
♣9 ♣K ♣A ♣3 3 2♠ 7♠ 5♠ ♡4
♡6 4♢ 5♢ ♣4 4 ♣2 ♣K ♣6 ♣3
♣Q ♣8 ♣2 ♣7 5 ♡5 ♡7 ♡8 ♡J
♣6 ♡4 ♡9 ♣10 6 ♡10 ♣5 ♡K ♡A
♡10 7♢ 8♢ ♣J 7 ♣8 ♣J 3♢ ♣4
♣5 ♡K ♡A 7♠ 8 5♢ J♢ A♢ 2♢ 
4♠ Q♢ ♡Q ♡5 9 10♠ 9♠ 8♠ ♡6
2♠ 5♠ ♡J ♡7 10 ♣Q ♣7 4♢ ♣A
A♠ 6♠ Q♠ K♠ 11 Q♠ J♠ 6♠ ♣10
J♠ 9♠ 3♠ 10♠ 12 10♢ 7♢ 6♢ ♣9
8♠ K♢ ♡2 ♡8 13 Q♢ 8♢ 9♢ K♢ 

[98]

No. 1. This is a fine example of the Long-suit Game. The leader begins with one of the high cards of his long suit. Missing the 2, he knows some one is signalling for trumps, and as it is very unlikely that the adversaries would signal while he was in the lead, he assumes it is his partner, and leads his best trump. His partner does not return the trump, because he holds major tenace over the king, which must be in Y’s hand. At trick 5 B still holds major tenace in trumps, and leads a small card of his long suit to try to get A into the lead again. If A leads trumps again, his only possible card of re-entry for his club suit is gone. At trick 7, if B draws Y’s king, he kills A’s card of re-entry at the same time.

No. 2. This is an excellent example of the American Game. A has a three-trump hand, but his long suit is not headed by two honors in sequence, and the Queen of clubs cannot be considered as a re-entry, so A makes the gambit opening of the singleton diamond. His partner, having nothing in plain suits, immediately returns the diamond. A now leads an intermediate club, and B forces him again. At trick 6, A avoids changing suits. If the long spade suit is opened, and Z returns the diamond 10, A-B will make four tricks less on this hand.

No. 3. This example of the Short-suit Game is from Val Starnes’ Short-Suit Whist. This is sometimes called the Gambit opening. The leader, having no reason to lead trumps, even with five, and not having three honours in his long suit, prefers the gambit opening of the singly guarded queen. Y holds what is called a potential or imperfect fourchette, and covers, in order to make A-B play two honours to get one trick. B also makes a gambit opening by returning a supporting spade. Three tricks are gained by the two leads of the supporting cards, and five would have been made but for Y’s covering on the first trick.

No. 4. This is an example of Playing to the Score. The game is English Whist, 5 points, counting honours. The first lead of trumps shows Z that honours are divided, and that he must make 11 tricks to win the game. At trick 3, he must trump; to discard clubs would be inconsistent with refusing to trump in order to bring them in. At trick 4, if Y cannot win a trick in clubs and give Z a finesse in trumps, Z cannot win the game. At trick 7, both black queens are against Z, and he must take the best chance to win if the diamond ace is also against him. The adversaries cannot place the club ace, and so Z underplays in clubs as his only chance for the game.

PRUSSIAN WHIST. This is the ordinary 5, 7 or 10 point whist, with or without honours, except that instead of turning up the last card for trump, the player to the left of the dealer cuts a trump from the still pack, which is shuffled and presented to him by the dealer’s partner.

[99]

FAVOURITE WHIST. This is the regular 5, 7 or 10 point whist, with or without honours, except that whichever suit is cut for the trump on the first deal of the rubber is called the favourite. Whenever the suit turns up for trump, after the first deal, tricks and honours count double towards game. There must be a new favourite at the beginning of each rubber, unless the same suit happens to be cut again.

A variation is to attach a progressive value to the four suits; tricks being worth 1 point when Spades are trumps; when Clubs 2; when Diamonds 3; and when Hearts 4. Honours do not count, and the game is 10 points, made by tricks alone. The hands are played out; the winners score all tricks taken, and the winners of the rubber add 10 points for bonus. The value of the rubber is the difference between the scores of the winners and that of the losers. For instance: If the rubber is in A-B’s favour with the score shown in the margin A-B win a rubber of 8 points.

1st game; 10 to 6
2nd game; 4 to 16
3rd game; 14 to 8
Rubber; 10
Totals 38 to 30

This is a good game for superstitious people, who believe that certain trump suits are favourable to them.

TEXT-BOOKS.

The following list of works on whist, alphabetically arranged, contains the principal standard text-books on the game. Those marked * are especially for the beginner. Those marked x are chiefly devoted to the Short-suit game.

[100]

DUPLICATE WHIST.

Duplicate whist is not a distinct game, but is simply the name given to that manner of playing whist in which a number of hands are played over again with the same cards, but by different persons.

CARDS. The cards have the same rank as at whist; they are dealt in the same manner, and the same rules apply to all irregularities in the deal, except that a misdealer must deal again. The objects of the game are the same, and so are all the suggestions for good play. The only differences that require attention are the positions of the players, the manner of counting the tricks, and the methods of keeping and comparing the scores.

THEORY. It may briefly be stated that duplicate proceeds upon the principle that if two partners have made a certain number of tricks with certain cards, under certain conditions with respect to the lead, distribution of the other cards in the adversaries’ hands, etc., the only way to decide whether or not two other players could have done better, or cannot do so well, is to let them try it, by giving them the same cards, under exactly similar conditions.

This comparison may be carried out in various ways; but in every instance it depends entirely upon the number and arrangement of the players engaged. The most common forms are: club against club; team against team; pair against pair; or man against man. The reason for the arrangement of the players will be better understood if we first describe the method.

METHOD OF PLAYING. There is no cutting for partners, and choice of seats and cards as at whist, because the players take their places and deal according to a pre-arranged schedule.

The player to the left of the dealer begins by placing the card he leads face up on the table, and in front of him. The second player follows by placing his card in front of him in the same manner; and so the third, and so the fourth. The four cards are then turned face down, and the dealer takes up the trump. The partners winning the trick place their cards lengthwise, pointing towards each other; the adversaries place theirs across. At the end of the hand, the number of tricks taken by each side can be seen by glancing at any player’s cards. If there is any discrepancy, a comparison of the turned cards will show in which trick it occurs, and the cards can be readily faced and examined.

[101]

Diagram of the turned cards

N & S 6; E & W 7. East has made a mistake in turning the fifth trick.

COUNTERS. In some places 13 counters are placed on the table, the winner of each trick taking down one. This system often leads to disputes, as there can be no check upon it, and there is nothing to show in which trick the error occurred.

COUNTING TRICKS. At the end of each hand, the players sitting North and South score the total number of tricks they have taken; instead of the number in excess of a book. Their adversaries, sitting East and West, do the same. Each player then slightly shuffles his 13 cards; so as to conceal the order in which they were played, and the four separate hands of 13 cards each are then left on the table, face down; the trump being turned at the dealer’s place.

TRAYS. When any apparatus is used for holding the cards, such as trays, boxes, or envelopes, each player puts his 13 cards in the compartment provided for them. Each tray has a mark upon it, usually an arrow, showing which end of the tray should point[102] toward a given direction, usually the North. The pocket into which the dealer’s cards go is marked “dealer,” and it is usual to provide a trump slip for each tray. When the hand is first dealt, the trump is recorded on this slip, which travels round the room with the tray. After the dealer has turned up the designated trump, he places the trump slip in the tray, face down. When the play of the hand is finished and the cards replaced in the tray, the dealer puts his trump slip on the top of his cards. The four hands can then be conveniently carried or handed to any other table to be overplayed.

Various Apparatus for Duplicate.

SCORING. There should be two score-cards at each table. The various methods of putting down and comparing the scores can best be described in connection with the variety of competition to which they belong. It is a common practice to note the trump card on the score sheets.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. The four players at each table are distinguished by the letters N S E W; North and South being partners against East and West. West should always be the dealer in the first hand, North having the original lead. In all published illustrative hands, North is the leader, unless otherwise specified.

The deal passes in rotation to the left, and the number of hands played should always be some multiple of four, so that each player may have the original lead an equal number of times. 24 hands at each table is the usual number, and is the rule at all League tournaments. The partners and adversaries should be changed after each eight hands. Three changes in 24 hands will bring each[103] member of a set of four into partnership with every other member for an equal number of hands.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

If two teams of four on a side, A B C D, and W X Y Z, play against each other, the arrangement in a League tournament would be as follows:—that A B C D should represent the players of the visiting club, or challengers, and W X Y Z the home club, or holders; and that the positions of the players should be changed after every four hands. It is usual to play 24 hands in the afternoon, and 24 more at night.

A A A A A A
W X Y Z W Y X Z X Y W Z
B B C C D D
1st. 2nd. 3rd. 4th. 5th. 6th.
Y W X W W X
C D C D B D B D B C B C
Z X Z Y Z Y

If more than four players are engaged on each side, this arrangement must be repeated with every additional four; the tables being always in sets of two each, but in such cases, and in fact in anything but League matches, it is usual to play only the 1st, 3rd and 5th sets.

CLUB AGAINST CLUB. The smaller club should put into the field as many multiples of four as it can; the larger club presenting an equal number to play against them. The opposing sides are then so arranged that half the members of each club sit North and South, the other half East and West. If we distinguish the clubs by the marks O and X, and suppose 16 to be engaged on each side, they would be arranged at 8 tables, thus:—

O O O O
X 1 X X 3 X X 5 X X 7 X
O O O O
1st set 2nd set 3rd set 4th set
X X X X
O 2 O O 4 O O 6 O O 8 O
X X X X

[104]

If apparatus is used, the players may sit still for four hands, putting the trays aside, and then exchanging them for the four trays played at the other table in their set. If not, the cards are left on the table, as already described, and the fours change places; those at table No. 1 going to table No. 2, while those at No. 2 go to No. 1, the other sets changing in the same manner. This brings them into this position:—

X X X X
O 1 O O 3 O O 5 O O 7 O
X X X X
O O O O
X 2 X X 4 X X 6 X X 8 X
O O O O

The two O’s that have just played the N & S hands at table No. 1, proceed to play at table No. 2, the N & S hands which have just been played by two X’s; while the two O’s that played the E & W hands at table No. 2, overplay at table No. 1, the E & W hands just held by the two X’s.

It is now evident that the four O’s have held between them all the 52 cards dealt at each table; for the first pair have held all the N & S hands dealt at both tables, and the second pair have held all the E & W hands. The same is true of the four X players; and if there is any difference in the number of tricks taken by the opposing fours, it is supposed to be due to a difference in skill, other matters having been equalised as far as the limitations of the game will permit.

The overplay finished, the cards are gathered, shuffled, cut, and dealt afresh, East now having the original lead. It must be remembered that the deal can never be lost, and that no matter what happens, the player whose proper turn it is to deal must do so.

NUMBERING HANDS. The hands simultaneously played are scored under the same number, but distinguished by the number of the table at which they are first dealt. Each pair of partners in a team play two No. 1 hands, in one of which they are N & S; in the other E & W.

SCORING. The result of the hand is entered upon the score sheets, which the opposing players at each table should then compare, and turn them face down, leaving them on the table when they change places.

Let us suppose the N & S partners of the O team to make 7 tricks at table No. 1; the E & W partners of the X team making 6. Each pair enters on its own score-card the number it makes. The E & W partners of the O team now come to table No. 1, and play the 26 cards which the other members of their team did not[105] hold. They are not permitted to look at the score-card until the hand has been overplayed. Then they enter the result, which should be 6 tricks. If the total of the tricks taken by the same team on the N & S and the E & W hands is not 13, it must be a loss or a gain. At the end of the 24 hands, the result of the match can be immediately ascertained by laying side by side the score cards of the East and West hands played at the same table. The North and South scores are not compared, because the laws say they may be incorrect, but the East and West must be, officially, right.

We give on the two preceding pages an illustration of the full score of a match. The check marks in the 6th column show that the N & S players compared the score with the E & W before turning down their cards. The figures in the 2nd column are the gains on the various hands. The figures in the 7th column show which of the four players whose names appear at the top of the score-card were partners for that series of hands. The result shows that the O team had a majority of one trick at table No. 1, while the X team had a majority of three tricks at table No. 2, leaving them the winners of the match by two tricks.

If sixteen players were engaged, it would be necessary to institute a similar comparison between each set of tables, and there would be sixteen score-cards to compare, two at a time, instead of four.

TEAM AGAINST TEAM. The methods just described for a match of club against club are identical with those which are used in a contest between two teams of four; the only difference being that of proportion. In the latter case there will be only one set, of two tables, and only four score-cards to compare.

The change of partners should be exhaustive in team matches; which will require six sets.

TEAMS AGAINST TEAMS. When several quartette teams compete with one another, Howell’s system of arrangement will be found the best. There are two methods; for odd and for even numbers of teams.

Odd Numbers of Teams. This is the simplest form of contest. Let us suppose five teams to offer for play, which we shall distinguish by the letters, a, b, c, d, e, arranging each at its own table thus:—

N a b c d e
W + E a 1 a b 2 b c 3 c d 4 d e 5 e
S a b c d e

[106]

Manhattan Whist Club score card

[107]

Manhattan Whist Club score card

[108]

The names of the N & S and the E & W members of each team should first be entered on the score-cards; then all the N & S players move to the next table East; those at table 5 going to table 1; and each table dealing and playing four hands, afterwards putting them away in trays.

e a b c d
a 1 a b 2 b c 3 c d 4 d e 5 e
e a b c d
Hands:— 1 to 4 5 to 8 9 to 12 13 to 16 17 to 20

The peculiarity of this system is in the movement of the trays; those at the middle table always going to the extreme West of the line, the others moving up as many tables at a time as may be necessary to follow them. In this instance the trays at table 3 go to 1, all others moving up two tables. At the same time the N & S players all move one table further East, bringing about this position:—

2nd set. d e a b c
a 1 a b 2 b c 3 c d 4 d e 5 e
d e a b c
Hands:— 9 to 12 13 to 16 17 to 20 1 to 4 5 to 8

This movement of the trays and players is continued for two more sets, which completes the round:—

3rd set. c d e a b
a 1 a b 2 b c 3 c d 4 d e 5 e
c d e a b
Hands:— 17 to 20 1 to 4 5 to 8 9 to 12 13 to 16
 
4th set. b c d e a
a 1 a b 2 b c 3 c d 4 d e 5 e
b c d e a
Hands:— 5 to 8 9 to 12 13 to 16 17 to 20 1 to 4

If we now take any two of the teams engaged, a and d for instance, we shall find that the E & W a and the N & S d pairs of those teams have played hands 9 to 12 at table 1, in the 2nd set; and that N & S a and E & W d pairs have overplayed the same hands at table 4, in the 3rd set; so that we have really been carrying out a number of matches simultaneously, between five teams of four players each.

If there are 5, 7, 9 or 11 tables in play, the movement of the trays must be 2, 3, 4 or 5 tables at a time; but the movement of[109] the players remains the same; one table at a time, in the direction opposite to the trays.

Gilman’s System. Another method, recommended by Charles F. Gilman, of Boston, which prevents any possibility of players giving hints to their friends as they pass the trays, is to have each team play at its own table first, so as to get an individual score. The E & W players then move to the next table but one, in either direction, going from 11 to 9; from 9 to 7, etc., the N & S players sitting still. This movement is continued until the E & W players have gone twice round. The trays move in the same direction as the players, but only one table at a time; going from 11 to 10, 9 to 8, etc. This brings about the same result as the Howell’s system.

Even Numbers of Teams. The present method of arranging even numbers of teams is also Gilman’s; but it requires considerable care in the movement of the trays, because half of them lie idle during each round, which is the same as skipping a table in other methods.

Suppose we have ten tables, arranged in two rows thus, with a team of four players at each:

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10

Taking 30 deals as the number to be played, we place trays No. 1, 2, 3, to be played and overplayed by tables 1 and 6, which are opposite each other in the rows. Trays 4, 5, 6, we lay aside. Trays 7, 8, 9, are to be played and overplayed by tables 2 and 7; while 10, 11, 12, are laid aside, and so on until we get to tables 5 and 10, which play and overplay trays 25, 26, 27. The easiest way to manage this is to give tray No. 2 to table 6, while tray 1 is at table 1, and then to let table 1 take tray 2, while table 6 plays tray 3. Then table 1 will get tray 3, while table 6 overplays tray 1. This will make all the trays come in numerical order to table 1, and will act as a check.

The play of the first round, three deals, finished, the E & W players all move one table, 2 going to 1, 3 to 2, etc. The umpire now brings into play the trays that were idle, giving trays 4, 5, 6, to tables 1 and 6; trays 10, 11, 12, to tables 2 and 7, and so on down the line, all the trays that were used in the first round lying idle.

Again the players move, and now table 1 gets the 7, 8, 9, set of trays to overplay with table 6, and so on; so that all the sets move up a table after each intervening round, and table 1 will get all the trays from 1 to 30 in order.

[110]

SCORING. In both the foregoing systems, each pair should have its own score-card, and should mark the name of the team it plays against for each series of four hands. These score-cards are more for private reference than anything else in tournaments; because there is always a professional scorer, for whose use small slips are filled out and collected from the tables at the end of each round. The winner is the team that wins the most matches; not the one that gains the most tricks. In case of ties, the number of tricks won must decide. If the number of tricks taken by each side is a tie in any match, the score is marked zero, and each team counts half a match won. We give an illustration of the final score in a match between five teams. The c and d teams are tied for a second place in the number of matches; but the c team takes third place, because it has lost one more trick than the d team. The b and c teams score a half match; so do the c and e teams.

A score card

PAIR AGAINST PAIR. This is the most interesting form of competition, especially for domestic parties, as the arrangement of the players will allow of great latitude in the number engaged, table after table being added as long as players offer to fill them.

Two Pairs. When only four players are engaged at a single table, the game is called Memory Duplicate; which is forbidden in all first-class clubs. The players retain their seats until they have played an agreed number of hands, which are laid aside one by one in trays. No trump is turned in Memory Duplicate; one suit being declared trumps for the entire sitting.

Instead of the players changing positions for the overplay, the trays are reversed. If the indicators pointed N & S on the original deals, they must lie E & W for the overplay.

[111]

Original Position of Trays. Position for Overplay.

Scoring. The E & W hands only are scored, the card being laid aside after the original play is completed, and a new card used for the overplay. The difference in the totals of these two sets of score-cards will show which pair gained the most tricks.

Four Pairs. These should be arranged at two tables, changing adversaries after every 8 hands. The third set will exhaust the combinations, and it will then be found that each pair has played and overplayed an equal number of hands against every other pair.

1st set 2nd set 3rd set
b c d
a a a a a a
b c d
Hands:— 1 to 8 9 to 16 17 to 24
d b c
c c d d b b
d b c

Four hands are dealt at each table in each set, and then exchanged. The trump card is turned for every original deal.

Scoring. Each pair carries its own score-card with it from table to table, until the 24 hands have been played. The 7th column is used to designate the pair played against. The pairs at the second table should begin scoring with hands Nos. 5, 13 and 21 respectively; as they will presently receive from the first table the series beginning 1, 9 and 17 respectively. Eight hands complete a match, and the result must be tabulated in the same manner as for teams of four, ties being decided by the majority of tricks won. We give an example.

[112]

A score card

The a pair wins the tie with d, being 6 tricks plus.

Six Pairs. This is a very awkward number to handle, and should be avoided if possible. The whole could be played at three tables simultaneously; but such a course would necessitate their changing places ten times, following a very complicated schedule in so doing. The simplest way to handle six pairs is to arrange them at three tables, two of which are constantly in play, the third only half the time. This is the first position:—

b d f
a 1 a c 2 c e 3 e
b d f

Tables 1 and 2 deal and play two hands each, and then exchange trays with each other. At table 3, two hands are dealt and played, both being left in the trays.

The players at tables 1 and 2 then change adversaries; dealing, playing and exchanging two fresh hands. The players at the third table remain idle, or look on.

c d f
a 1 a b 2 b e 3 e
c d f
Hands 5 and 6
played and exchanged.
None.

The b and c pairs now give way to e and f:—

e d b
a 1 a f 2 f c 3 c
e d b
Hands 7 and 8
played and exchanged.
3 and 4.

[113]

While tables 1 and 2 are playing two fresh hands, the trays containing hands Nos. 3 and 4 which were left at table 3 are overplayed by the b and c pairs, which makes a match between them and the e and f pairs.

Again the pairs at the first two tables change adversaries; dealing, playing and exchanging two more hands; the third table remaining idle.

f d b
a 1 a e 2 e c 3 c
f d b
Hands 9 and 10
played and exchanged.
None.

The pairs a and d now give way to b and c, and the b c e f pairs play two hands and exchange them; then change adversaries for two more hands; a and d remaining idle all the time. All the pairs have now been matched but a and d, and they take seats E & W at two tables, the N & S positions being filled up by any of the other players in the match.

any any
a 1 a d 2 d
any any

No notice is taken of the scores made by the N & S hands in the last set; as it is simply a match between the a and d pairs.

Scoring. Each pair against each is considered a match, and the winner of the most matches wins, tricks deciding ties.

Compass Whist. When we come to handle large numbers, the changes of position become too complicated, and the simplest plan is to arrange them at as many tables as they will fill, and to place on each table an equal number of trays. At the Knickerbocker Whist Club, New York, which is still famous for its compass games, they play a minimum of 24 trays, or get as near that number as possible. If there are 14 tables, they play two deals at each. If there are only 10 tables, they play 30 trays.

All the N & S players sit still, and at the end of each round, two or three deals as the case may be, all the E & W players move up one table, 2 going to 1, 3 to 2, etc. Each pair keeps its own score card, on which is put down the number of the tray, the number of the pair played against, which is always the number of the table at which they started; one of the pairs remaining there being No. 3 N & S, the other moving away, being No. 3 E & W.

Each pair adds up its score card at the end, and puts down the[114] total number of tricks they have won. The names of the players having been previously written on the blackboard, their scores are put down opposite their names, each side, N & S and E & W, is then added up in order to find the average, and all scores above average are plus, while all below average are minus.

The following is an example of the averaging of a game in which five tables took part, playing 30 deals:—

N & S   E & W
a 201 -6 f 189 +6
b 204 -3 g 186 +3
c 211 +4 h 179 -4
d 207 = j 183 =
e 212 +5 k 178 -5
5 1035 5 915
Aver. 207, N & S. Aver. 183, E & W.

The e and f pairs make the best scores N & S and E & W respectively; the f pair, having won the greatest number of tricks above the average of the hands, would be the winners.

Howell Pair System. A very popular system of managing pairs in club games, and also in the national tournaments for the Minneapolis trophy, is called the Howell Pairs. Indicator cards are placed on the tables, which show each player the number of the table and the position at that table to which he should move next. Sometimes he will sit N, sometimes S, and sometimes E or W, but he always finds his partner opposite him, and at the end of the game he will have had every other pair in the game for an adversary once, and will have played all the hands dealt.

A different set of indicator cards is required for every different number of tables in the game. They are the invention of the late E.C. Howell of Washington, D.C., and have been arranged for any number of pairs from four to thirty-four.

INDIVIDUALS. When four play memory duplicate, one of the four, usually S, retains his seat and keeps the score, the others changing places right and left alternately, each playing with S as a partner for 8 hands. These changes successively bring about the three following positions:—

c b a
a b a c c b
S S S
Hands:— 1 to 4 5 to 8 9 to 12

For the overplay, the trays are reversed, the hands originally dealt N & S being placed E & W; but the players continue to change right and left alternately. This brings the same partners together, but on different sides of the table.

[115]

c b a
b a c a c b
S S S
Hands:— 1 to 4 5 to 8 9 to 12

Scoring. The names of the four players should be written at the head of each score-card, and as there is no trump turned in memory duplicate, the third and seventh columns can both be used for the numbers of the players that are partners, and the sixth column for the N & S gains.

When the match is finished, a tabulation of the tricks lost or won by each player will readily show which is the winner. In the illustration which we give, No. 3 finishes plus 6; No. 4 plus 2; No. 1 minus 4; and No. 2 minus 4.

A Manhattan Whist Club score card

It must be remembered that the hands which are here scored N & S, in the 5th column, were E & W when originally dealt; so that the 1st and 5th columns are really the same hands. The score-card should be folded down the middle during the overplay, so that the original scores cannot be seen. It is even better to use a new card.

Foster’s System of playing two pairs at one table, which was used at all the matches for the Utica Trophy, in which one pair from a club challenged the pair that held the trophy for another club, consisted in having an umpire to transpose the suits between[116] the original and the overplay of the deals. The trays containing the hands were sent in to the umpire’s room, and he had an extra pack of cards, from which he duplicated each hand of thirteen cards as he took it out of the pocket to which it belonged, but changed the suits, making clubs trumps instead of hearts, etc. This system was found to do away with the memory part of the game, it being very difficult to recognize a hand unless it had some startling feature.

Coupled with the present practice of throwing out all hands in which there is found to be a suit of more than six cards, and dealing it over again, Foster’s system for two pairs is the best so far suggested.

Eight Individuals. This form of contest is seldom used, because players dislike the continual changing of position, and the delay in arriving at the results of the score. It would require seven sets to exhaust the combinations; and at each table two hands should be dealt, played, and exchanged with the other table in the set, before the players change positions. This would require 28 hands to complete the match.

Safford’s System for arranging the players is to have indicator cards on the tables:—

Diagram of the position of the players at the table when using Safford’s System

The players take their seats in any order for the first set; after which they go to the next higher number; 8 keeping his seat, and 7 going to 1.

Scoring. Each individual must keep his own score, adding up the total tricks taken in each set of four hands. These totals must then be compared with those of the player occupying the same position, N, S, E, or W, at the other table in the set; and it will save time in the end if these are tabulated at once, on a sheet prepared for the purpose. For instance: Let this be the arrangement of eight players in the first set:—

b Hands 1 to 4. f
a 1 c e 2 g
d h

If a and c take 34 tricks E & W; e and g taking only 30 with the same cards, either a and c must have gained them, or e and g must have lost them. It is a waste of time to put down both losses and gains, and all that is necessary is to call the top score zero, and charge all players with the loss of as many tricks as their[117] total is short of the top score. In this case we charge e and g with a loss of 4 each. It must be obvious that f and h have also made 4 more tricks than b and d; and that the latter must be charged with a loss of 4 on the same hands that e and g lose on.

We give as an illustration a sheet balanced in this way, showing the losses of the various players. The totals at the end of the match show that c is the winner, losing less tricks than any other player.

A score card

Large Numbers of Individuals. Several ingenious methods have been devised for handling large numbers of players, especially in domestic parties; Safford and Mitchell having both distinguished themselves in this line. The simplest form has been suggested by Mitchell, and is especially adapted for social gatherings of ladies and gentlemen.

As many tables as possible are filled; all the ladies sitting N & E; the gentlemen S and W.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

The number of hands dealt at each table must be adjusted to the number of tables filled, and the time to be devoted to play. The trays containing the hands are passed to the West, and all the gentlemen move one table to the East, the ladies sitting still. In all the changes each gentleman keeps to his original point of[118] the compass, South or West. When he arrives at the table he started from, the round is finished. If an odd number of tables are engaged in play, the changes may take place in regular order to the end. If even, a dummy must be put in; but as that is objectionable in a social gathering, it is better to adopt one of the two systems following, unless half the number of tables is an odd number, when the method already described may be used.

1st Method. Some table in the series, which must not be either the first or the last, deals no original hands, but overplays all the hands coming from the other tables to the East of it. The four players sit still, taking no part in the progression; thus obliging those whose turn it would be to play at their table to pass on to the next.

2nd Method. Each gentleman should carefully note the number of the hand originally dealt at the table from which he starts. He progresses until he meets this hand again. The first to observe this should give notice to the company by a bell tap, as all the gentlemen must meet their original hands at the same time. Instead of stopping at the table at which this tray is encountered, all the gentlemen move on to the next, leaving the trays as they are. This skip enables each to finish the round without playing any of the hands twice.

Scoring. There must be four winners; the ladies with the best scores for the N & E hands respectively, and the gentlemen with the best S & W scores. If a choice is necessary, the lady and the gentleman taking the greatest number of tricks above the average should be selected as the winners.

MARRIED COUPLES. Safford has an ingenious schedule for eight married couples, so arranged in two sets that no husband and wife are ever in the same set at the same time. When seven sets have been played, every lady will have overplayed four hands against every other lady and gentleman, including four held by her husband. The same will be true of every man. Indicators are placed on the tables to show players their successive positions. The numbers represent the husbands, and the letters the wives, the couples being a-1, b-2, etc. The couple a-1 always sit still; the ladies go to the next higher letter of the alphabet, and the men to the next higher number; h going to b, as a sits still; and 8 to 2.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

One hand is dealt at each table, and overplayed at each of the others. A different point of the compass should deal at each table, in order to equalise the lead.

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Scoring. The score of each four hands should be added up by each individual player, and the results tabulated at the end of every four hands, in the manner described for eight individuals. The winner is the player who loses the fewest tricks. This is the only known system for deciding whether or not a man can play whist better than his wife.

PROGRESSIVE DUPLICATE WHIST is the generic name by which those systems of duplicate are known in which the purpose is to have as many as possible of the players meet one another during the progress of the match. Most of the systems we have been describing belong to this class.

There are at present only two works on Duplicate Whist; but a number of articles on the subject may be found in “Whist.”

THE LAWS OF DUPLICATE WHIST.

The Laws of Duplicate Whist as Amended and Adopted at the Whist Congress, Niagara Falls, New York, July, 1900; as amended at the Twelfth Congress, June, 1902; as amended at the Thirteenth Congress, July, 1903; Fourteenth A.W.L. Congress, July, 1904; Fifteenth Congress, July, 1905; Sixteenth Congress, July, 1906; Twentieth Congress, July 1910.

DEFINITIONS.

The words and phrases used in these laws shall be construed in accordance with the following definitions unless such construction is inconsistent with the context:

(a) The thirteen cards received by any one player are termed a “hand.”

(b) The four hands into which a pack is distributed for play are termed a “deal;” the same term is also used to designate the act of distributing the cards to the players.

(c) A “tray” is a device for retaining the hands of a deal and indicating the order of playing them.

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(d) The player who is entitled to the trump card is termed the “dealer,” whether the cards have or have not been dealt by him.

(e) The first play of a deal is termed “the original play;” the second or any subsequent play of such deal, the “overplay.”

(f) “Duplicate Whist” is that form of the game of whist in which each deal is played only once by each player, and in which each deal is so overplayed as to bring the play of teams, pairs of individuals into comparison.

(g) A player “renounces” when he does not follow suit to the card led; he “renounces in error” when, although holding one or more cards of the suit led, he plays a card of a different suit; if such renounce in error is not lawfully corrected it constitutes a “revoke.”

(h) A card is “played” whenever, in the course of play, it is placed or dropped face upwards on the table.

(i) A trick is “turned and quitted” when all four players have turned and quitted their respective cards.

LAW I.—Shuffling.

Sec. 1. Before the cards are dealt they must be shuffled in the presence of an adversary or the umpire.

Sec. 2. The pack must not be so shuffled as to expose the face of any card; if a card is so exposed the pack must be reshuffled.

LAW II.—Cutting for the Trump.

Sec. 1. The dealer must present the cards to his right hand adversary to be cut; such adversary must take from the top of the pack at least four cards and place them toward the dealer, leaving at least four cards in the remaining packet; the dealer must reunite the packets by placing the one not removed in cutting upon the other. If, in cutting or in reuniting the separate packets, a card is exposed, the pack must be reshuffled and cut again; if there is any confusion of the cards or doubt as to the place where the pack was separated, there must be a new cut.

LAW III.—Dealing.

Sec. 1. When the pack has been properly cut and reunited, the cards must be dealt, one at a time, face down, from the top of the pack, the first to the player at the left of the dealer, and each successive card to the player at the left of the one to whom the last preceding card has been dealt. The last, which is the trump card, must be turned and placed face up on the tray, if one is used; otherwise, at the right of the dealer.

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Sec. 2. There must be a new deal—

(a) If any card except the last is faced or exposed in any way in dealing;

(b) If the pack is proved incorrect or imperfect;

(c) If either more or less than thirteen cards are dealt to any player;

(d) If, after the first trick has been turned and quitted on the original play of a deal, one or more cards are found to have been left in the tray.

LAW IV.—The Trump Card.

Sec. 1. The trump card and the number of the deal must be recorded, before the play begins, on a slip provided for that purpose, and must not be elsewhere recorded. Such slip must be shown to an adversary, then turned face down and placed in the tray, if one is used.

Sec. 2. The dealer must leave the trump card face up until it is his turn to play to the first trick; he must take the trump card into his hand and turn down the trump slip before the second trick is turned and quitted.

Sec. 3. When a deal is taken up for overplay, the dealer must show the trump slip to an adversary, and thereafter the trump slip and trump card shall be treated as in the case of an original deal.

Sec. 4. After the trump card has been lawfully taken into the hand and the trump slip turned face down, the trump card must not be named nor the trump slip examined during the play of the deal; a player may, however, ask what the trump suit is.

Sec. 5. If a player unlawfully looks at the trump slip, his highest or lowest trump may be called; if a player unlawfully names the trump card, or unlawfully shows the trump slip to his partner, his partner’s highest or lowest trump may be called.

Sec. 6. These penalties can be inflicted by either adversary at any time during the play of the deal in which they are incurred before the player from whom the call can be made has played to the current trick; the call may be repeated at each or any trick until the card is played, but cannot be changed.

Sec. 7. When a deal has been played the cards of the respective players, including the trump card, must be placed in the tray face down and the trump slip placed face up on top of the dealer’s cards.

Sec. 8. If on the overplay of a deal, the dealer turns a trump card other than the one recorded on the trump slip, and such error is discovered and corrected before the play of the deal is commenced, the card turned in error is liable to be called.

Sec. 9. If such error is not corrected until after the overplay has begun and more than two tables are engaged in play, the[122] players at that table shall take the average score for the deal; if less than three tables are in play there must be a new deal.

Sec. 10. Should a player record on the trump slip a different trump from one turned in dealing and the error be discovered at the next table, there must be a new deal. If the deal has been played at one or more tables with the wrong trump, the recorded trump must be taken as correct and the players at the original table take the average score for the deal; if less than three tables are in play, there must be a new deal.

Sec. 11. By the unanimous consent of the players in any match, a trump suit may be declared and no trump turned.

LAW V.—Irregularities in the Hand.

Sec. 1. If, on the overplay, a player is found to have more than his correct number of cards or the trump card is not in the dealer’s hand, or any card except the trump card is so faced as to expose any of the printing on its face, and less than three tables are engaged, there must be a new deal. If more than two tables are in play, the hands must be rectified and then passed to the next table; the table at which the error was discovered must not overplay the deal but shall take the average score.

Sec. 2. If after the first trick has been turned and quitted on the overplay of a deal, a player is found to have less than his correct number of cards, and the others have their correct number, such player shall be answerable for the missing card or cards and for any revoke or revokes which he has made by reason of its or their absence.

LAW VI.—Playing, Turning and Quitting the Cards.

Sec. 1. Each player when it is his turn to play, must place his card face up before him and towards the center of the table and allow it to remain in this position until all have played to the trick, when he must turn it over and place its face down and nearer to himself, placing each successive card as he turns it, so that it overlaps the last card played by him and with the ends towards the winners of the trick. After he has played his card and also after he has turned it, he must quit it by removing his hand.

Sec. 2. The cards must be left in the order in which they were played and quitted until the scores for the deal are recorded.

Sec. 3. During the play of a deal a player must not pick up or turn another player’s card.

Sec. 4. Before a trick is turned and quitted any player may require any of the other players to show the face of the card played to that trick.

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Sec. 5. If a player names a card of a trick which has been turned and quitted or turns or raises any such card so that any portion of its face can be seen by himself or his partner he is liable to the same penalty as if he had led out of turn.

LAW VII.—Cards Liable to be Called.

Sec. 1. The following cards are liable to be called:

(a) Every card so placed upon the table as to expose any of the printing on its face, except such cards as these laws specifically provide, shall not be so liable.

(b) Every card so held by a player as to expose any of the printing on its face to his partner or to both of his adversaries at the same time.

(c) Every card, except the trump card, named by the player holding it.

Sec. 2. If a player says. “I can win the rest,” “The rest are ours,” “It makes no difference how you play,” or words to that effect, or if he plays or exposes his remaining cards before his partner has played to the current trick, his partner’s cards must be laid face up on the table and are liable to be called.

Sec. 3. All cards liable to be called must be placed face up on the table and so left until played. A player must lead or play them when lawfully called, provided he can do so without revoking; the call may be repeated at each or any trick until the card is played. A player cannot, however, be prevented from leading or playing a card liable to be called; if he can get rid of it in the course of a play no penalty remains.

Sec. 4. The holder of a card liable to be called can be required to play it only by the adversary on his right. If such adversary plays without calling it, the holder may play to that trick as he pleases. If it is the holder’s turn to lead, the card must be called before the preceding trick has been turned and quitted, or before the holder has led a different card; otherwise he may lead as he pleases.

LAW VIII.—Leading out of Turn.

Sec. 1. If a player leads when it is the turn of an adversary to lead, and the error is discovered before all have played to such lead, a suit may be called from him or from his partner, as the case may be, the first time thereafter it is the right of either of them to lead. The penalty can be enforced only by the adversary on the right of the one from whom a lead can lawfully be called, and the right thereto is lost unless such adversary calls the suit he desires led before the first trick won by the offender or his partner subsequent to the offence is turned and quitted.

Sec. 2. If a player leads when it is his partner’s turn and the error is discovered before all have played to such lead, a suit may at once be called from the proper leader by his right-hand adversary.[124] Until the penalty has been exacted, waived or forfeited, the proper leader must not lead; should he so lead, the card led by him is liable to be called.

Sec. 3. If a player when called on to lead a suit has none of it, he may lead as he pleases.

Sec. 4. If all have not played to a lead out of turn when the error is discovered, the card erroneously led and all cards played to such lead are not liable to be called, and must be taken into the hand.

LAW IX.—Playing out of Turn.

Sec. 1. If the third hand plays before the second, the fourth hand may also play before the second.

Sec. 2. If the third hand has not played and the fourth hand plays before the second, the latter may be called upon by the third hand to play his highest or lowest card of the suit led, and, if he has none of that suit, to trump or not trump the trick; the penalty cannot be inflicted after the third hand has played to the trick. If the player liable to this penalty plays before it has been inflicted, waived or lost, the card so played is liable to be called.

LAW X.—The Revoke.

Sec. 1. A renounce in error may be corrected by the player making it, except in the following cases, in which a revoke is established and the penalty therefore incurred:

(a) When the trick in which it occurs has been turned and quitted.

(b) When the renouncing player or his partner, whether in his right turn or otherwise, has led or played to the following trick.

Sec. 2. At any time before the trick is turned and quitted a player may ask an adversary if he has any of a suit, to which such adversary has renounced in that trick, and can require the error to be corrected in case such adversary is found to have any of such suit.

Sec. 3. If a player, who has renounced in error, lawfully corrects his mistake, the card improperly played by him is liable to be called, and, if he be the second or third hand player and his left hand adversary has played to the trick before attention has been called to the renounce, he may be required by such adversary to play his highest or his lowest card to the trick in which he has renounced, and shall not play to that trick until such adversary has inflicted or waived the penalty. Any player who has played to the trick after the renouncing player, may withdraw his card and substitute another; a card so withdrawn is not liable to be called.

Sec. 4. The penalty for a revoke is the transfer of two tricks[125] from the revoking side to their adversaries. If more than one revoke during the play of a deal is made by one side, the penalty for each revoke, after the first, is the transfer of one trick only. The revoking players cannot score more, nor their adversaries less than the average on the deal in which the revoke occurs; except that in no case shall the infliction of the revoke penalty deprive the revoking players of any tricks won by them before their first revoke occurs.

In Pair Matches the score shall be recorded as made, independently of the revoke penalty, which shall be separately indicated as plus or minus revoke (“-R” for the revoking side, and “+R” for their adversaries). In such matches, the penalty for a revoke shall not increase the score of the opponents of the revoking players above the maximum, as made at the other tables, on the deal in which the revoke occurs; provided, however, that if the opponents win more tricks than such maximum, independently of the revoke penalty, their score shall stand as made. Nor shall the score of the revoking players be reduced, by the infliction of the revoke penalty, below the minimum so made at the other tables until the averages for the match and the relative scores of the other players have been determined; the score of the revoking players shall then, if necessary, be further reduced, so that in all cases they shall suffer the full penalty as provided in the first paragraph of this section.

Sec. 5. A revoke cannot be claimed if the claimant or his partner has played to the following deal, or if both have left the table at which the revoke occurred. If the revoke is discovered in season, the penalty must be enforced and cannot be waived.

Sec. 6. At the end of the play of a deal the claimants of a revoke can examine all of the cards; if any hand has been shuffled the claim may be urged and proved if possible; but no proof is necessary and the revoke is established if, after it has been claimed, the accused player or his partner disturbs the order of the cards before they have been examined to the satisfaction of the adversaries.

LAW XI.—Miscellaneous.

Sec. 1. If any one calls attention in any manner to the trick before his partner has played thereto, the adversary last to play to the trick may require the offender’s partner to play his highest or lowest of the suit led, and, if he has none of that suit, to trump or not to trump the trick.

Sec 2. A player has the right to remind his partner that it is his privilege to enforce a penalty and also to inform him of the penalty he can enforce.

Sec. 3. A player has the right to prevent his partner from[126] committing any irregularity, and for that purpose, may ask his partner whether or not he has a card of a suit to which he has renounced on a trick which has not been turned and quitted.

Sec. 4. If either of the adversaries, whether with or without his partner’s consent, demands a penalty to which they are entitled, such decision is final; if the wrong adversary demands a penalty or a wrong penalty is demanded, or either adversary waives a penalty, none can be enforced except in case of a revoke.

Sec. 5. If a player is lawfully called upon to play the highest or lowest of a suit, to trump or not to trump a trick, to lead a suit or to win a trick, and unnecessarily fails to comply, he is liable to the same penalty as if he had revoked.

Sec. 6. If any one leads or plays a card, and then, before his partner has played to the trick, leads one or more other cards, or plays two or more cards together, all of which are better than any of his adversaries hold of the suit, his partner may be called upon by either adversary to win the first or any subsequent trick to which any of said cards are played, and the remaining cards so played are liable to be called.

For the Rules of Etiquette of Duplicate Whist, see page 85.

SINGLE TABLE, OR MNEMONIC DUPLICATE.

The laws of Duplicate Whist govern where applicable, except as follows:

Each player plays each deal twice, the second time playing a hand previously played by an adversary. Instead of turning the trump, a single suit may be declared trumps for the game. On the overplay, the cards may be gathered into tricks instead of playing them as required by law (Law VIII, Sec. 1). In case of the discovery of an irregularity in the hands, there must always be a new deal.

MNEMONIC DUPLICATE FOR MORE THAN ONE TABLE.

Except a contest played in comparison with a progressive match, the replaying of the cards by the same players—“up and back,” as it is sometimes called—is the only possible method of approximating to Duplicate Whist for one table; but where eight or more players participate, this form of the game is extremely undesirable, from the element of memory entering into the replay and destroying the integrity of the game and its value as a test of Whist skill. It has been well described as “a mongrel game—partly Whist and partly Dummy, but lacking in the best features of each.”

In the early days of Duplicate Whist, Mnemonic Duplicate was, to some extent, played even when several tables of players were participating. It still survives in a few circles, chiefly where Duplicate Whist has never been tried. It can be played under[127] any of the Duplicate Whist schedules by playing them through twice—the second time with the North and South hands given to the East and West players, and vice versa. As each deal is played twice by each pair, double the time is required to play the same number of deals, as at Duplicate Whist. Allowance must be made for this in fixing the number of deals to be played.

The Snow System of movement, where practicable, is preferable. Where the Howell pair system of movement is used, the scores do not require “equating”, as they are equalised on the replay. Under other systems, only the North and South scores need be kept, as the comparison can be made quite as readily as by direct comparison of these scores.

DUMMY.

There are three forms of Dummy: The English game, for three players; the French game, for three or four: and the game now generally known as Bridge, or Bridge Whist. Dummy is not recognized in any form by the American Whist League, and there are no American Laws governing it. We shall describe each variety of the game in its turn; beginning with the English.

Cards. ENGLISH DUMMY, is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking as at whist both for cutting and playing. Two packs are generally used.

Markers are necessary, and are of the same patterns as those used in whist.

Players. According to the English usage, Dummy is played by three persons, and the table is complete with that number.

They cut for partners and for the deal; the player cutting the lowest card takes dummy for the first rubber; the one cutting the next lowest takes dummy for the second rubber; and the one cutting the highest takes it for the last rubber. It is considered obligatory to play three rubbers, in order that each may have whatever advantage or disadvantage may be supposed to attach to the dummy. The three rubbers so played are called a Tournée. It is sometimes agreed that one player shall take dummy continuously, on condition that he concedes to his adversaries one point in each rubber. When this is done, the largest rubber that the dummy’s partner can win is one of seven; and he may win[128] nothing; whereas his adversaries may win a rubber of nine, and must win at least two. This concession of a point is not made, as many imagine, because it is an advantage to have the (dummy) partner’s hand exposed; but because it is an advantage to have the player’s hand concealed. He knows the collective contents of the adversaries’ hands; each of them knows only the contents of dummy’s hand and his own.

Cutting. The player cutting the lowest card has the choice of seats and cards; but he must deal the first hand for his dummy; not for himself. The methods of spreading, cutting, deciding ties, etc., described in connection with whist, are those employed in dummy.

Position of the Players. The players are distinguished, as at whist, by the two first and last letters of the alphabet, and their positions at the table are indicated in the same manner. There is no mark to distinguish the dummy hand; a defect which is remedied in the French system.

Dealing. At the beginning of a rubber, dummy’s partner presents the pack to his left-hand adversary to be cut, and deals from right to left, beginning with the player on his right, and turning up the last card for dummy’s trump. When two packs are used, there is no rule as to which player shall collect and shuffle the still pack. On this point the French rules are very explicit.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as at whist.

The cards having been dealt, it is usual for dummy’s partner to take up and sort the dummy first. There are several ways of laying out dummy’s hand; the most common being to run the suits down in rows, with the turn-up across and to the right of the other trumps, if any.

You won’t get much out of this without the image, but the cards are: 🂡🂪🂥 🃊🃉🃄🃃 🃞🃝🃖 🂽🂺 🂸 (turned sideways) Trump.

Method of Spreading Dummy’s Cards.

Stakes. The remarks made on this subject in connection with whist apply equally to dummy. Dummy’s partner must pay to, or receive from each adversary the amount agreed.

Method of Playing. The general method of playing is identical with that of whist, with the following exceptions:—

When it is dummy’s turn to play, his partner selects the card.

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The Revoke. For this dummy is not liable to any penalty, as his adversaries can see his cards. Even should the revoke be occasioned by dummy’s cards being disarranged, or one of them covered up, the adversaries should be as able to detect the error as the partner. Should dummy’s hand revoke, it cannot be remedied after the trick in which it occurs has been turned and quitted; and the game must proceed as if no revoke had occurred. All the penalties for a revoke may be enforced against dummy’s partner, should he renounce in error, and not correct it in time. There being no American laws for dummy, the English penalty of three tricks or three points may be enforced, and the revoking player cannot win the game that hand.

Cards Played in Error. Dummy’s partner is not liable to any penalty for cards dropped face upwards on the table, or two or more played at once, because it is obvious that Dummy cannot gain any advantage from such exposed cards.

Leading out of Turn. Should either dummy or his partner lead out of turn, the adversaries may call a suit from the one that should have led. It should be noticed that if it was not the turn of either to lead, there is no penalty; for neither can have gained any advantage from knowing what suit the other wished to lead, or from the exposed card. Should all have played to the erroneous lead, the error cannot be corrected, and no penalty remains.

The methods of Taking Tricks; Scoring; Claiming and Counting Honours; Marking Rubber Points, etc., are the same as in whist, and the counters are used in the same manner.

Cutting Out. As already observed, there is no change of partners, or of the rotation of the deal, until the completion of a rubber; but at the beginning of each rubber, dummy must deal the first hand. Should one side win the first two games in any rubber, the third is not played. At the end of the tournée, should any player wish to retire, and another offer to take his place, the cards must be shuffled and cut as at the beginning; a player’s position in one tournée giving him no rights in the next. There is nothing in the English game to recognize that there may be more than three candidates for dummy; as it is supposed that if four were present, they would prefer playing whist.

Suggestions for Good Play. As these are equally proper to any form of dummy, we shall postpone their consideration until we have described the other varieties of the game; French dummy, and Bridge; giving them all at the end of the chapter on “Bridge.”

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DOUBLE DUMMY.

CARDS. Double Dummy is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking as at whist both for cutting and playing. Two packs are generally used.

MARKERS are necessary, and are of the same description as those used in whist.

PLAYERS. According to the English usage, double dummy is played by two persons, and the table is complete with that number.

CUTTING. The players cut for the deal; the player cutting the lowest card deals for his dummy first, and has the choice of sitting to the right or left of his opponent. It is usual to select the seat on the right of the living player, because it is possible that one may forget whether or not certain cards have been played, and under such circumstances it is better to lead up to an exposed hand than to one whose contents you are not sure of.

The methods of spreading, cutting, deciding ties, etc., are the same as those employed at whist.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. It is not usually considered necessary to distinguish the players further than to indicate which hand had the original lead. For this purpose the whist notation is used, A being the leader, and Z the dealer.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

DEALING. When two packs are used, the still pack should be shuffled by the non-dealer, and placed on the left of the player or dummy whose turn it will be to deal next.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as in whist.

The cards being dealt, it is usual to sort the dummy hands first, running the suits down in rows, with the turn-up trump across, and to the right of the others.

STAKES. The remarks already made on this subject in connection with whist and dummy, apply equally to double dummy, except that there is no double payment; but each player wins from or loses to his living adversary the unit agreed upon.

METHOD OF PLAYING. This so closely resembles dummy as to need no further description. Neither dummy can revoke, and there are no such things as exposed cards, or cards[131] played in error. It is very common for one player to claim that he will win a certain number of tricks, and for his adversary to admit it, and allow him to score them, without playing the hand out.

LEADING OUT OF TURN. Should either of the dummies or the players lead out of turn, the adversary may call a suit from the one that ought to have led; but if it was the turn of neither, there is no penalty. If all four have played to the trick, the error cannot be corrected, and no penalty remains.

The methods of Taking Tricks; Scoring; Claiming and Counting Honours; Marking Rubber Points, etc., are the same as in whist, and the counters are used in the same manner.

RUBBERS. If the first two games are won by the same player and his dummy, the third is not played. Tournées are not played, and the completion of the rubber breaks up the table.

CUTTING IN. The table being complete with two, at the end of a rubber a new table must be formed.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. The player should first carefully examine the exposed hands, and by comparing them with his own, suit by suit, should fix in his mind the cards held by his living adversary. This takes time, and in many places it is the custom to expose the four hands upon the table. Players who have better memories than their opponents object to this, for the same reason that they prefer sitting on the right of the living player. It is not at all uncommon for a player to forget that certain cards have been played, to his very serious loss.

The hands once fixed in the mind, some time should be given to a careful consideration of the best course to pursue; after which the play should proceed pretty rapidly until the last few tricks, when another problem may present itself.

There is nothing in the game beyond the skilful use of the tenace position, discarding, and establishing cross-ruffs. Analysis is the mental power chiefly engaged. There are no such things as inferences, false cards, finesse, underplay, speculative trump leads, or judgment of human nature. The practice of the game is totally different from any other form of whist, and much more closely resembles chess.

The laws of Dummy will be found at the end of the English Whist Laws.

HUMBUG WHIST.

This is a variation on double dummy, in which two players sit opposite each other. The deal and seats are cut for in the usual[132] manner; four hands of thirteen cards each are dealt, and the last card is turned for trump.

Each player examines the hand dealt to him, without touching those to his right or left. If he is content with his hand, he announces it, if not, he may exchange it for the one on his right. In case of exchange, the discarded hand is placed on the table face down; and the other taken up and played. If a player retains the hand originally dealt him, he must not look at the others. If the dealer exchanges, he loses the turn-up card, but the trump suit remains the same. Each player deals for himself in turn, there being no deal for the dead hands. Whist laws govern the deal and its errors.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The dealer’s adversary has the first lead; the other must follow suit if he can, and the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. Trumps win all other suits.

SCORING. Each trick above six counts one point towards game. Of the four honours, A K Q J of trumps, if each player holds two, neither can count. But if one player has only one honour, or none, the other counts 2 points for two honours, if he holds them; 3 points for three; and 4 points for four. The honours count towards game as in whist. The penalty for a revoke is three tricks, and it takes precedence of other scores; tricks count next, honours last. Five points is game.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. It is considered best for a player not finding four reasonably sure tricks in his hand to exchange; for there is a certain advantage to be gained by knowing thirteen cards which cannot be in the adversary’s hand. Before changing, the player should fix in his memory the exact cards of each suit in the hand which he is about to discard. By combining his knowledge of them with his own cards, he may often be able to direct his play to advantage. Beyond this there is little skill in the game.

A variation is sometimes made by the dealer announcing a trump suit after he has examined his hand, instead of turning up the last card. His adversary then has the right either to play his hand, or to exchange it for the one on his right; but the dealer must play the hand dealt to him.

THIRTEEN AND THE ODD.

This is Humbug Whist without the discard. The dealer gives thirteen cards to his adversary and to himself, one at a time, and turns up the next for the trump. The trump card belongs to neither player. The winner of the odd trick scores a point. Five points is game.

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MORT. WHIST À TROIS; OR FRENCH DUMMY.

MORT means simply the dead hand; and is the equivalent of the English word Dummy; the partner being known as Vivant, or the living hand. In these words the English usually sound the t, as they do in such words as piquet, and valet.

CARDS. Mort is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking as at whist for cutting and playing. Two packs are generally used.

MARKERS are necessary to count the game points only. Four circular counters for each side, preferably of different colours, are employed, or the ordinary whist markers may be used. At the end of each game, the score of the points won or lost by each player must be transferred to a score-sheet, kept for that purpose.

PLAYERS. Mort is played by three persons; but the table is usually composed of four. If there are more than four candidates, the methods described in connection with whist are adopted for deciding which four shall play the first tournée.

The table being formed, the cards are again shuffled and spread to cut for partners and deal.

TIES are decided in the same manner as at whist.

CUTTING. If there are three players, the one cutting the lowest card takes dummy for the first game; he also has the choice of seats and cards, and may deal the first hand for himself or for Mort, as he pleases; but having once made his choice, he must abide by it. The player cutting the intermediate card takes dummy for the second game; and the player cutting the highest card takes it for the third game; each in turn having the choice of seats and cards. These three games finish the rubber or tournée, each having once had the advantage or disadvantage of playing with Mort. It is obligatory to finish the tournée, no player being allowed to withdraw and substitute another without the consent of the other players. In Mort it is very unusual for one person to take dummy continuously.

If there are four players, the one cutting the highest card of the four sits out, and takes no part in the first game. It is customary for him to take Mort’s seat, and to make himself useful in sorting dummy’s cards for him. He plays in the three following games, taking Mort in the fourth, or last. Four games complete the tournée for four players.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. The players or hands are distinguished by the letters, M, V, L, and R; which stand respectively for Mort, Vivant, Left, and Right. The Mort is the dead hand, which is turned face up on the table. The Vivant[134] is his partner, who sits opposite him, and plays his cards for him. The Left and Right are the adversaries who sit on the left and right of Mort.

Special attention must be called to the use of the term adversaries in any description of Mort. It is used exclusively to designate the two partners opposed to the Mort and Vivant. In all other cases where opposition is implied, the term opponents must be used.

When necessary to distinguish the dealer from the first, second, or third hand, it is usual to add the letters employed for that purpose in whist; placing them inside the diagram of the table, thus:—

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

This diagram shows that Vivant dealt, and that the adversary on the Right of Mort had the original lead.

With Three Players. Vivant having selected his seat and cards, the adversaries may select their seats. It is usual for the strongest adversary to sit Right.

With Four Players, we can best describe the arrangement by numbering them 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively, the lowest number, 1, having cut the lowest card, and the others having the right to play Vivant in their numerical order. The initial arrangement would be as follows:—

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

For the three succeeding games the arrangement would be:—

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

It will be seen that each player, immediately after being Vivant, sits out, or takes Mort’s place, for the next game.

DEALING. It is usual for Vivant to deal the first hand for himself, as the disadvantage of exposing fourteen cards is more[135] than compensated for in compelling the adversary to open the game by leading up to an unknown hand. If Vivant deals the first hand for Mort, he must present the pack to the player on dummy’s right to be cut, and deal the cards from right to left, turning up the trump at Mort’s place. If he deals for himself, he presents the pack to the pone to be cut, and proceeds as in whist.

When two packs are used, the French laws require that if the deal is for Mort, the Right shall gather and shuffle the still pack; and that if Vivant deals for himself, the pone shall gather and shuffle. I have found this to be awkward, because the player who is gathering and shuffling the cards of one pack is called upon to cut the other. For this reason I recommend that whichever adversary is the pone for the deal in hands should allow his partner to gather and shuffle the still pack. When either adversary deals, his partner will, of course, gather and shuffle the still pack.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as at whist, with the following exceptions:—

A misdeal does not lose the deal unless the opponents so elect; they may prefer a new deal by the same dealer. The reason for this is that the deal is a disadvantage, especially for Mort.

If Vivant or Mort offers the pack to one adversary to cut, and then deals as if the other had cut, it is a misdeal; and it is not admissible to shift the packets in order to remedy matters.

It might be imagined that a card exposed in dealing, if dealt to Mort, would make no difference, as all his cards will presently be exposed. But the laws give the opponents of the dealer the option of either allowing the deal to stand, or having a new deal, or calling it a misdeal.

According to the French laws, if there is any discussion in progress with regard to the previous hand or play, the dealer may lay aside the trump card, face down, until the discussion is finished. If this law prevailed in America, I think the trump would very seldom be turned immediately.

STAKES. In Mort the stake is a unit, so much a point. It may assist players in regulating the value of the stake to remember that six is the smallest number of points that can be won or lost on a single game, and that thirty-seven is probably the highest, although fifty, or even a hundred is not impossible. The average is about twelve. The same customs as at whist prevail with regard to outside betting.

The Vivant must pay or receive double, as he has to settle with each adversary. If four play, the one sitting out has nothing to do with the stakes; but he may make outside wagers on the result of the game.

THE METHOD OF PLAYING is practically the same as at whist, with the following exceptions:—

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When it is the turn of Mort to play, Vivant selects the card for him.

The Revoke. The rules governing this are the same as those already given for English Dummy. Mort is not liable to penalty under any circumstances. If any other player revokes, his opponents may take three points from the score of his side; or add three points to their score; or take three of his tricks. The penalty cannot be divided; but if two or more revokes are made by the same side, the penalty for each may be enforced in a different manner. For instance: If the score is 3 to 2 in favor of the adversaries, Vivant may take three points from their score for one revoke, and add three to his own score for the other. It is not permissible to reduce the revoking player’s tricks to nothing. At least one must be left in order to prevent slams being made through revoke penalties.

Cards Played in Error. Vivant is not liable to any penalty for dropping his cards face up on the table; but if he or Mort plays two cards at once to a trick, the adversaries may select which they will allow to be played. The adversaries are subject to the same penalties as in whist for all cards played in error.

Leading Out of Turn. If Vivant or Mort lead out of turn, the adversaries may let the lead stand, or demand it be taken back. If it was the turn of neither, no penalty can be enforced, and if all have played to the trick, the error cannot be corrected.

Taking Tricks. The methods of taking tricks, and placing them so that they can be easily counted, have been fully described in connection with whist.

OBJECT OF THE GAME. As in whist, the object is to take tricks; the highest card played of the suit led wins, and trumps win against all other suits. The first six tricks taken by one side, and forming a book, do not count; but all above that number count toward game. At the end of each hand, the side that has taken any tricks in excess of the book scores them, their opponents counting nothing. As soon as either side reaches five points, they win the game, but the concluding hand must be played out, and the winners are entitled to score all the points over five that they can make on that hand. For instance: The score is 4 to 3 in favor of Vivant and Mort. They win the first seven tricks, which makes them game; but they do not cease playing. If they succeed in gaining eleven tricks out of the thirteen, they win a game of 9 points, instead of 5.

As already observed, Vivant loses or gains double the value of the points in each hand. In the three-handed game this must be so; but in my opinion it would be a great improvement in the four-handed game to allow the player sitting out to share the fortunes of the Vivant, as in Bridge, and in many German games of cards, notably Skat.

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SLAMS. The two great differences between French and English Dummy are that honours are not counted in Mort, and that a special value is attached to slams. A slam is made when one side takes the thirteen tricks. These must be actually won, and cannot be partly made up of tricks taken in penalty for revokes. Players cannot score a slam in a hand in which they have revoked.

A slam counts 20 points to the side making it; but these 20 points have nothing to do with the game score. For instance: The score is 4 all. Vivant and Mort make a slam. This does not win the game; but the 20 points are debited and credited on the score-sheet; the deal passes to the left, and the game proceeds with the score still 4 all, as if nothing had happened.

SCORING. The number of points won on each game are put down on the score-sheet, each side being credited with the number of points appearing on their markers when the game is finished. To the winners’ score is added: 3 points, for a triple game, if their opponents have not scored; 2 points, for a double game, if their opponents are not half way, or 1 point, for a simple game, if their opponents are 3 or 4. In addition to this, the winners add 4 points, for bonus or consolation, in every instance. From the total thus found must be deducted whatever points have been scored by the losers, whether game points, slams, or both. For instance: Vivant and Mort win a game with the score 8 to 2 in their favor, which is a double. This is put down on the score sheets thus:—

8 + 2 for the double, + 4 consolation, = 14, minus 2 scored by the opponents; making 12 the net value of the game. Vivant therefore wins 24 points, and each of the adversaries, R and L, lose 12. Again:—

R and L win a simple with a score of 5 to 4, V and M having made a slam. 5 + 1 for the simple, + 4 for consolation, = 10, minus 4 points scored, and 20 for the slam = 24; showing that R and L lose 14 points each, although they won the game. Again:—

V and M win a triple, with a score of 8 to 0; R and L having revoked. 8, + 3, + 4, + 3 for the revoke = 18, from which there is nothing to deduct.

The greatest number of points that can be made on a game, exclusive of slams and revokes, is 17; and the least number is 6.

MARKING. The methods of using the counters in scoring the game points have already been described in connection with whist.

CUTTING OUT. If there are more than four candidates for play at the conclusion of a tournée, the selection of the new table must be made as if no tournée had been played; all having equal rights to cut in.

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CHEATING. Mort offers even less opportunity to the greek than whist, as the deal is a disadvantage, and nothing is gained by turning up an honour, beyond its possession.

CAYENNE, OR CAYENNE WHIST.

CARDS. Cayenne is played with two full packs of fifty-two cards, which rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing.

MARKERS are necessary, and must be suitable for counting to ten points. A sheet of paper is used for scoring the results of the games.

PLAYERS. Cayenne is played by four persons. When there are more than four candidates for play the selection of the table must be made as at Whist. Partners and deal are then cut for.

CUTTING. One of the packs having been spread on the table, face down, each of the four players draws a card; the two lowest pairing against the two highest. The lowest of the four is the dealer, and has the choice of seats and cards. Ties are decided in the same manner as at Whist.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. The partners sit opposite each other, and the players are distinguished, as at Whist, by the letters A-B and Y-Z. Z is the dealer, and A has the original lead.

DEALING. One pack of cards is shuffled and cut as at Whist. The dealer then gives four cards to each player, beginning on his left; then four more, and finally five, no trump being turned. In many places six cards are first dealt to each player, and then seven; but the 4-4-5 system is better, and is the rule in the very similar game of Boston.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as at Whist; except that a misdeal does not lose the deal. The misdealer must deal again, and with the same pack.

CAYENNE. After the cards are all dealt, the player to the left of the dealer cuts the still pack, which is shuffled and presented to him by the dealer’s partner, and the top card of the portion left on the table is turned up for Cayenne. This card is not a trump, but is simply to determine the rank of the suits.

STAKES. In Cayenne the stake is a unit, so much a point. The largest number of points possible to win on a rubber is 24, and the smallest, 1. The result of the rubber may be a tie, which we consider a defect in any game. In settling at the end of the rubber it is usual for the losers to pay their right-hand adversaries.

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MAKING THE TRUMP. The trump suit must be named by the dealer or his partner, after they have examined their cards. The dealer has the first say, and he may either select cayenne or any of the other suits; or he may announce grand, playing for the tricks without any trump suit; or he may call nullo, playing to take as few tricks as possible, without a trump suit. If the dealer makes the choice, his partner must abide by it; but if he has not a hand to justify him in deciding, he should leave the selection to his partner, who must decide one way or the other.

The considerations which should guide players in their choice are the scoring possibilities of their hands, in tricks and in honours. As in Whist, the first six tricks taken by one side do not count; but each trick above that number counts one, two, etc., by cards. There are five honours in the trump suit in Cayenne; A K Q J 10; and the partners holding the majority of them count 1 for each honour that they hold in excess of their opponents, and 1 in addition, for honours. For instance: If A-B have three honours dealt them, they must have one more than their adversaries, and 1 for honours; entitling them to score 2. If they have four, they have 3 in excess, and 1 for honours, a total of 4. If they have five, they count 6 by honours.

At the end of the hand the points made by cards and by honours are multiplied by the value of the trump suit. This value varies according to the suit which is cayenne, which is always first preference. If cayenne is also the trump suit the points made by cards and honours are multiplied by 4. If the trump suit is the same colour as cayenne, the multiplier is 3. If it is a different colour the multiplier is 2 or 1, according to the suit. The rank of the suits as multipliers will be readily understood from the following table:—

If Cayenne is If trumps, multiply by 4.
Second color is If trumps, multiply by 3.
Third color is If trumps, multiply by 2.
Fourth color is If trumps, multiply by 1.

Better to understand the importance of considering this variation in value when making the trump, it should be noticed that although the game is 10 points, several games may be won in a single hand, as everything made is counted, and any points over 10 go to the credit of the second game. If more than 20 points are made, the excess goes on the third game, and so on. Another important point is the great value attached to honours, and the maker of the trump should never forget that he can better afford to risk his adversaries winning 2 by cards with a trump in which he has three honours, than he can to risk a trump in which they may have three honours, and he can probably win only the odd trick.

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A further element may enter into his calculations, the state of the score. Tricks count before honours, and if he feels certain of making, by cards, the few points necessary to win the rubber, he may entirely disregard the honours.

With such a hand it would be better to play without a trump, and to announce a grand, in which there are neither trumps nor honours, and every trick over the book is multiplied by 8. Two by cards at grand is worth more than two by cards and two by honours with any trump but cayenne.

There is still another resource, to announce nullo, in which there is no trump, and the object of the players is to take as few tricks as possible. In nullo, every trick over the book counts for the adversaries, and is multiplied by 8. A peculiarity of nullo is that the Ace of each suit ranks below the deuce, unless the player holding it wishes to declare it higher than the King. In the latter case he must announce it when he plays it, and before his left-hand adversary plays to the trick.

If the dealer transfers the right of making the trump to his partner, he must use the phrase, “You make it, partner.” If a player makes the trump out of turn, his adversaries may consult as to the propriety of demanding a new deal.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The trump suit, grand, or nullo having been announced, the player on the dealer’s left begins by leading any card he pleases, and the others must all follow suit if they can. The penalty for a revoke is the loss of three tricks; or the value of three tricks in points; or the addition of a like amount to the adversaries’ score. The side making a revoke cannot win the game that hand, no matter what they score; but they may play the hand out, and count all they make to within one point of game, or 9. Revoking players cannot count points for slams.

The rules for cards played in error, leading out of turn, and all such irregularities, are the same as in Whist. The last trick turned and quitted may be seen.

The methods of gathering and stacking the tricks is the same as at Whist.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. The chief object in Cayenne, either with a trump or in a grand, is to take tricks; in a nullo it is not to take them. In any case the highest card played of the suit led wins the trick, and trumps, if any, win against all other suits. At the end of each hand the side that wins any tricks in excess of the book scores them, after multiplying their number by the unit of value settled upon by the announcement. If a nullo is played the adversaries score them. Honours are then claimed; but the game cannot be won by honours alone, as at Whist; those holding honours must stop at the score of 9, unless they also win the odd trick. As soon as either side reaches or passes 10 points, they win a game; but the hand must be played[141] out, and all tricks taken must be counted. If one side goes out by cards, the other cannot score honours. Thirteen tricks taken by one side is called a slam, and it counts 6 points. Twelve tricks is a little slam, and it counts 4. Either of these must be made exclusive of revoke penalties.

RUBBERS. The rubber is won by the side that first wins four games of ten points each; and the winning side adds 8 points to its score.

SCORING. The game score should be kept on a whist marker, using the four large keys on one side for single points, and the single large key on the opposite side for five points. The three small keys are used to show how many games of the rubber have been won by that side.

Two Games Won, and 2 Points Scored on the Third.

The method of using counters for scoring 10-point games has already been described in connection with Whist.

In addition to either markers or counters, there must be a sheet of paper to keep the final results of the games.

In scoring, the revoke penalty counts first, tricks next, and honours last.

The side first reaching 10 points wins a quadruple, or game of 4, if their adversaries have not scored; a triple, or game of 3, if their adversaries have not reached 4; a double, or game of 2, if the adversaries have not reached 7; and a single, or game of 1, if their adversaries are 8 or 9 up. These game points are put down on the score-sheet, and all the points on the adversaries’ marker are then turned down. If the winners make any points in excess of 10, such points are left to their credit on the marker, and count toward the next game. For instance: The score is A-B, 6; and Y-Z, 8; shown on the markers thus:—

A-B 6 Points. Y-Z 8 Points.

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Let us suppose that Z announces cayenne, and makes 2 by cards; A-B claiming two by honours. Y-Z multiply by 4, making them 8, and bringing their total score on the marker to 16; that is, a game, and 6 points to their credit on the second game. This must now be put down on the score-sheet. A-B’s honours not counting, as Y-Z went out by cards, the game is a double; A-B not having reached 7 points. The score and markers now stand:—

A-B 0
Score:
Y-Z 2

A-B’s, Nothing. Y-Z’s, 1 Game, 6 Points.

Let us suppose A-B to announce grand on their deal, and to make four by cards, which, multiplied by 8, gives them 32 points; that is, three games, and 2 points to their credit on the marker. The first of these games is a double, Y-Z having 6 points up. The two others are quadruples, put down on the score-sheet thus:—

A-B 0 2 4 4
Score:
Y-Z 2 0 0 0

A-B’s, 3 Games, 2 Points. Y-Z’s, 1 Game, 0 Points.

In the next hand let us suppose clubs to be cayenne. Y deals, and plays in colour, spades. Y-Z win 6 by cards, and 4 by honours; 10 points multiplied by 3, = 30. For this they score[143] three games, the first being a triple, and the others quadruples. These three games win the rubber, for which they add 8 points, and 4 points for the little slam. This is all put down on the score-sheet:—

A-B 0 2 4 4 0 0 0 = 10
Score:
Y-Z 2 0 0 0 3 4 4 8 4 = 25

Both scores being added up, the value of the rubber won by Y-Z is found to be 15, after deducting the 10 points made by A-B.

CUTTING IN. If there are more than four persons belonging to the table, those waiting cut in, as at Whist.

METHODS OF CHEATING. In all games in which the cards are dealt in bulk, four or six at a time, there is more or less temptation for the greek to gather desirable cards in the pack, leaving them undisturbed in the shuffle. If he can pick up two tricks of the previous deal with eight good cards of the same suit in them, by placing any two tricks of other cards between them, and dealing six at a time, he can tell exactly how many of the eight located cards are in his partner’s hand. For this reason a player who does not thoroughly shuffle the cards should be carefully watched; and an immediate protest should be made against any disarrangement of the tricks as they are taken in during the play, such as placing the last trick taken under the first. If the player doing this is to be the next dealer, any one observing the movement should insist upon his right to shuffle the cards thoroughly; if not to leave the game.

We are strongly opposed to dealing the cards in bulk at Cayenne, and see no reason why the methods that prevail in the very similar game of Bridge should not be adopted.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. There is little to add to the rules already given for Whist. The principles that should guide in the making of the trump have been given in connection with the more important game of Bridge; and the suggestions for playing nullo will be fully discussed in the games in which it is a prominent characteristic: Solo Whist, and Boston. Grand is practically Whist after the trumps are exhausted.

For the Laws of Cayenne see Whist Family Laws.

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SOLO WHIST, OR WHIST DE GAND.

CARDS. Solo Whist is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, which rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing. Two packs are generally used, the one being shuffled while the other is dealt.

MARKERS are not used in Solo Whist, every hand being a complete game in itself, which is immediately settled for in counters representing money. At the beginning of the game each player should be provided with an equal number of these counters. They are usually white and red, the red being worth five times as much as the white. Twenty white and sixteen red is the usual allotment to each player when the game begins. Some one player should be the banker, to sell and redeem all counters.

PLAYERS. Solo Whist is played by four persons. If there are five candidates for play, they all sit at the same table, each taking his turn to sit out for one hand while the four others play. The dealer is usually selected to sit out. If there are only three players, one suit must be deleted from the pack, or the 2, 3, and 4 of each suit must be thrown out.

CUTTING. The table being formed, the players draw from an outspread for the deal, and choice of seats and cards. The player drawing the lowest card deals the first hand, and it is usual for him to dictate to the other players what seats they shall occupy with relation to himself. Ties are decided in the same manner as at Whist.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. The four players at Solo Whist are usually distinguished by the letters A B Y Z.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

Z is the dealer, and A is known as the eldest hand. The position of the players does not imply any partnership; for, as we shall see presently, any player may have any one of the others for a partner, without any change taking place in their positions at the table.

The players having once taken their seats are not allowed to change them without the consent of all the others at the table.

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DEALING. The cards having been properly shuffled, are presented to the pone to be cut. Beginning on his left, the dealer distributes the cards three at a time, until only four remain. These he deals one at a time, turning up the last for the trump. When two packs are used, the player sitting opposite the dealer shuffles the still pack while the other is dealt. The deal passes in regular rotation to the left.

When three play with a pack of forty cards, the last card is turned up for trumps, but it does not belong to the dealer, and is not used in play.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as at Whist; except that a misdeal does not pass the deal. The misdealer must deal again, and with the same pack.

The cards dealt, each player sorts and counts his hand to see that he has the correct number of cards, thirteen. If not, he should immediately claim a misdeal; for a player having more or less than his right proportion of cards cannot win anything on that hand, but will have to stand his proportion of all losses incurred by him or his side.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. There are seven distinct objects in the Solo Whist, and before play begins each player has an opportunity of declaring to which of these objects he proposes to attain. They are:—

1st. To win 8 of the 13 tricks, with the assistance of a partner. This is called a Proposal; the partner’s share is an Acceptance.

2nd. To win 5 of the 13 tricks, against the three other players combined. This is called a Solo.

3rd. To take no tricks, there being no trump suit, and the three other players being opposed. This is called Misère, or Nullo.

4th. To win 9 of the 13 tricks against the three other players combined; the single player to name the trump suit. This is called Abundance.

5th. To win 9 of the 13 tricks against the three other players combined, with the trump suit that is turned up. This is called Abundance in Trumps.

6th. To take no tricks, there being no trump suit, and the three other players being opposed; the single player’s cards being exposed face up on the table after the first trick is complete. This is called Misère sur table, or A Spread.

7th. To win all 13 tricks against the three other players combined; the single player to name the trump suit, and to have the original lead whether eldest hand or not. This is called Abundance Déclarée, or A Slam.

While the object of the proposing player is to win or lose the declared number of tricks, that of his adversaries is to prevent him from doing so, if possible. There are no honours, and the only[146] factor in the count is the number of tricks actually taken. The highest card played of the suit led wins the trick, and trumps, if any, win against all other suits.

METHOD OF DECLARING. The eldest hand has the first say, and after examining his cards he may make any of the several propositions just enumerated. The smallest proposal he can make is to take 8 tricks with the assistance of a partner. To do this he should have four reasonably sure tricks in his own hand. Some players say he should be strong in trumps; while others claim that the eldest hand should propose only on general strength. The former is the better plan. No other player should propose on trumps alone. This announcement is made by saying “I propose.” If a player thinks he can take five tricks against the combined efforts of the three other players, he announces: “Solo.” If he feels equal to a misère, he calls: “Misère;” and so on, according to the strength of his hand. If he does not feel justified in making a call, he says “I pass;” and the next player on his left has the opportunity; and so on, until some player has proposed to do something, or all have passed.

If any player has proposed for a partner, any of the others, in their proper turn, may accept him by simply saying “I accept.” By so doing, a player intimates that he has four probable tricks also, but in the plain suits, and that he is willing to try for eight tricks with the proposer for a partner. All the other calls are made by a single player with the intention of playing against the three others. Any player except the eldest hand having once said, “I pass,” cannot afterwards make or accept any proposal. The eldest hand, after passing once, can accept a proposal, but he cannot make one.

It is the custom in some places, when no one will make a proposal of any sort, to turn down the trump, and play the hands without any trump suit, each man for himself, the winner of the last trick losing to each of the others the value of a solo. This is called a Grand.

RANK OF THE PROPOSALS. The various calls outrank one another in the order in which we have given them. If one player says, “I propose,” and another calls “Solo,” the solo call shuts out the proposal, even though it has been accepted by a second player. The call of a misère would in turn shut out a solo; abundance would take precedence of misère; and abundance in trumps would be a better call than simple abundance. The slam of course outranks all other bids. This making of a better proposition than one already made is known as “Over-calling.”

A player who has made a call of any kind, or has accepted a proposal, may amend his proposition to a better one, only in case he is over-called; or a player who can not get a partner to accept him may amend his call to solo. For instance: A player may[147] have a hand which he feels sure is good for 8 tricks, perhaps 9. To be safe, he calls solo, and hopes to make three or four over-tricks. If he is outbid by some player over-calling him with a misère, he may be tempted to amend his call to abundance.

No call is good until every player who has not already passed does so, by saying distinctly, “I pass.”

STAKES. The losses and gains of the players are in proportion to the difficulties of the tasks they set themselves.

The most popular method of settling is to pay or take red counters for the various calls, and white counters for the tricks under or over the exact number proposed. If the callers succeed in their undertakings, their adversaries pay them; if they fail, they pay their adversaries. A red counter is worth five white ones.

Proposal and Acceptance wins or loses 1 red counter.
Solo wins or loses 2 red counters.
Misère, or Nullo, wins or loses 3 red counters.
Abundance, of any kind, wins or loses 4 red counters.
Open Misère, or Spread, wins or loses 6 red counters.
Declared Abundance, or Slam, wins or loses 8 red counters.
Each Over or Under-trick wins or loses 1 white counter.

In Proposal and Acceptance, each of the partners pays one of his adversaries. In all cases in which a single player is opposed to the three others, he wins or loses the amount shown in the foregoing table with each of them individually; so that a single player calling a solo would win or lose 6 red counters. If he lost it, making only four tricks, he would also have to pay to each of his three adversaries a white counter. If he won it, making seven tricks, each of them would have to pay him two red and two white counters.

Misères, Spreads, and Slams pay no odd tricks. The moment a Misère player takes a trick, or a Slam player loses one, the hands are abandoned, and the stakes paid.

The usual value attached to the counters in America is 25 cents for the red, and 5 cents for the white. In England the proportion is sixpence and a penny.

POOL SOLO. When players wish to enhance the gambling attractions of the game, a pool is introduced. For this purpose a receptacle is placed upon the table, in which each player puts a red counter at the beginning of the game. Any person playing alone against the three others, wins this pool if he is successful; if he fails, he must double the amount it contains, besides paying each of his adversaries in the regular way. In some places it is the custom for each player to contribute a red counter when he deals. The proposals and acceptances do not touch the pool.

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METHOD OF PLAYING. If a proposal is accepted, and no one over-calls it, the proposer and acceptor are partners; but make no change in their positions at the table. The eldest hand, sitting to the left of the dealer, begins by leading any card he pleases, and the play proceeds exactly as at Whist, the tricks being so stacked that they may be readily counted at any time.

If a single player has called solo, misère, or abundance, the eldest hand still has the original lead, and there is no change in the positions of the players. The position of the lead is often a serious consideration with a player calling a solo or a misère.

In all calls except misères and slams, the hands must be played out, in order to give each side an opportunity to make all the over-tricks they can. The moment a misère player takes a trick, or a slam player loses one, the hands are thrown up, and the stakes paid.

When a spread is called, the trump is taken up, and the eldest hand leads. As soon as all have played to the first trick, the caller spreads his remaining twelve cards face upward on the table, so that each of his adversaries may see them; but they have no control of the order in which they shall be played. The adversaries play their hands in the usual manner, with no further guidance than that possible by inference from the play and the exposed hand. The caller plays according to his best judgment.

When a slam is called, the player proposing it has the original lead; but that does not alter the position of the deal for the next hand.

REVOKES. A revoke is a serious matter in Solo Whist. The penalty for it is the loss of three tricks, and the revoking players must pay the red counters involved in the call whether they win or lose; but they may play the hand out to save over-tricks. For instance: A proposer and acceptor make 11 tricks; their adversaries having claimed a revoke. After deducting the revoke penalty, 3 tricks, the callers still have 8 tricks left, enough to make good the call. They each lose a red counter; but no white ones, having saved their over-tricks. Had they taken only 8 tricks altogether, the penalty for the revoke would have left them only 5, and they would each have had to pay one red and three whites. If either adversary of the callers revokes, the individual player in fault must pay for all the consequences of the error. If the player in fault can show that the callers would have won in spite of the revoke, his partners must pay their share; but the revoking player must settle for the three tricks lost by the revoke. For instance: Z calls solo; A revokes; Z makes 6 tricks, which it can be shown he must have done in spite of the revoke. A, Y, and B each pay Z 1 red and 1 white counter, and then A pays Z 9 white counters in addition for the tricks taken as revoke penalty.

If the single player revokes, either on solo or abundance, he[149] loses the red counters involved, and must pay whatever white counters are due after three of his tricks have been added to those of the adversaries as penalty for the revoke. For instance: A calls solo, and revokes, but wins 6 tricks in all. He pays two red counters to each adversary. They then take three of his tricks, leaving him three only, and demand two white counters each, for the two under-tricks. If a player revokes who has called a misère or a slam, he immediately loses the stakes. If a revoke is made by any adversary of a player who has called misère or slam, the player in fault must individually pay all the stakes.

CARDS PLAYED IN ERROR. In the simple proposal and acceptance, the rules with regard to cards played in error, or led out of turn, are the same as at Whist. In the case of a single player against three adversaries, the caller is not liable to any penalty for cards played in error, or led out of turn; but his adversaries are subject to the usual whist penalties for all such irregularities, such as having the cards laid on the table as exposed, or a suit called, or the highest or lowest of a suit led demanded from an adversary who has followed suit out of turn.

For the better protection of the single player, who is much more liable to be injured by irregularities than partners would be, he is allowed to prevent the use of an exposed trump for ruffing, and to demand or to prevent the play of any exposed card in plain suits. If a suit is led of which an adversary has an exposed card on the table the single player may call upon him to play his highest or lowest of that suit.

If any adversary of a misère player leads out of turn, or exposes a card, or plays before his proper turn in any trick, the caller may immediately claim the stakes, and the individual player in fault must pay for himself, and for his partners.

METHODS OF CHEATING. While the practice of dealing three cards at a time gives a little more opportunity to the greek than would occur if they were dealt as at Whist, there is little to be feared if two packs are used, unless two greeks are in partnership. When such partners sit next each other, there is more or less danger, if only one pack is used, that one may shuffle so that the other may cut understandingly; or that a good shuffler may run up six cards for a dealer that is not embarrassed by the cards being cut. A shrewd greek can often help a silent partner who is playing under the disguise of a single caller, especially in misère. Persons who play in the many public cafés of Europe should be especially careful to avoid this style of partnership, where it is very common.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. Apart from the general principles common to all forms of Whist, such as the play of high or low cards, trumps or plain suits, etc.,[150] there are several points peculiar to Solo Whist which require attention.

Proposing. It is better to propose on two or three sure tricks, with strong probabilities of several more, than on a certainty of four only. For instance: The two highest trumps and two suits containing Aces, with no other trick probable, is not such a good hand for a proposal as one containing four average trumps, with one plain suit of K Q J x x, and another of K Q x x. It is not improbable that the latter may be good for seven or eight tricks. Nothing but experience will teach a player what combinations of cards are “probably” good for tricks; but K x x, or Q J 10 x or K Q, may be counted on.

There should be some intelligible system of proposing, so that the players may understand each other. The eldest hand should not propose except on strong trumps, and this should be a warning to other players not to accept him on trump strength alone.

Four trumps with two or three honours may be called strong; or five trumps, even without an honour. Five trumps with two or more honours is great strength.

Any player other than the eldest hand should propose on general strength and the player accepting him should do so on trump strength. Some such distinction should be clearly understood, in order that there may be no such contretemps as two players proposing and accepting on trumps alone and finding themselves without a trick in the plain suits after the trumps are drawn.

If the eldest hand is strong in trumps, but has not four sure tricks, he should pass, which will give him an excellent opportunity to accept a player proposing on general strength in the plain suits. If the proposal should be accepted before it comes to his turn, the eldest hand should be in a good position to defeat it.

If any player, other than the eldest hand, has sufficient trump strength to justify a proposal, he will usually find that he can risk a solo; or by passing, defeat any proposal and acceptance that may be made.

Accepting. A proposal by the eldest hand should not be accepted by a player with only one strong suit. The probability of tricks in several suits is better than a certainty in one suit; but if one strong suit is accompanied by a card of re-entry, or by four trumps, it should prove very strong, particularly in partnership with the eldest hand.

When the partners will sit next each other, proposals may be accepted on slightly weaker hands than would be considered safe otherwise.

Playing Proposals and Acceptances. If the eldest hand has proposed, and his partner sits next him on the left, the commanding[151] trumps should be first led, in order to secure as many rounds as possible. If the eldest hand has no high-card combination in trumps, it is sometimes better to lead a small card from a weak suit, hoping to put the partner in. If successful, the partner will first show his suit, and then lead trumps through the adversaries. If the acceptor sits on the right of the proposing eldest hand, trumps should be led immediately, and the highest of them first, no matter what they are. The Q or J at the head of five trumps may be of great use to a partner with an honour. When the eldest hand has proposed, and his partner sits opposite him, trumps should be led at once, and all combinations played as at Whist.

The foregoing principles equally apply when the eldest hand has accepted a proposal, if the player can be depended on to have proposed on general strength.

When partners sit opposite each other, the general principles of leading, establishing, defending, and bringing in suits, are the same as at Whist, and the usual trump signals and echoes are made use of. The game is practically Whist, with the additional knowledge that both proposer and acceptor have strong hands.

When partners sit next each other, there are many opportunities for leading strengthening cards through the adversaries, especially in the partner’s known or inferred strong suit.

Finesse. If neither proposer nor acceptor is the eldest hand, they should make no finesses; but get into the lead as soon as possible, and exhaust the trumps. The greatest danger of defeat for a proposal and acceptance is that the adversaries, with the original lead, may establish a cross-ruff, or get six tricks with their winning cards before the calling players get a lead.

It is a common artifice for the proposer and acceptor, after they have exhausted the adversaries’ trumps, each to show a strong suit by leading it once, and then to lead the highest card of a weaker suit; thus offering each other chances for successful finesse.

If a partner sitting on the right leads a suit, there should be no finesse; and in general, finessing should be avoided until the declaration is assured. It may then be used to secure probable over-tricks.

Adversaries’ Play. The players opposed to the call are always designated as the adversaries.

Players opposed to a proposer and acceptor should make no finesses that they are not certain will win more tricks if successful than they will lose if they fail. If the adversaries sit together, and are the last to play on any trick, the third hand should not trust anything to his partner that he can attend to himself, unless he is very anxious to be the last player on the next trick.

When the adversaries sit opposite each other, their play will[152] differ very little from that in Whist, except that they will make no efforts to establish long suits, and will not lead small cards from combinations containing an Ace. Every trick possible should be made sure of at once, before the calling players get any chance to discard. Weak suits should be protected, as they are in Whist when opposed to strong hands.

If an adversary has the first lead, it is usually best for him to make what winning cards he has at once, unless he is pretty sure that the proposal will be defeated.

It is very seldom right for the adversaries to lead trumps. Some exceptions will naturally present themselves, such as an eldest hand leading to his partner’s turned-up King. In the middle or end game, it may be advantageous to bring down the caller’s trumps together, or to draw two for one.

If an adversary finds himself with a pretty strong hand, he should utterly disregard his partner, and play as false as he can; for if the callers have eight probable tricks between them, it is impossible for the fourth player to have anything, unless there has been some mistake in the call.

In General. There are one or two exceptions to the methods of playing sequences at Whist, dependent on the position of the players holding them. For instance: If first or second hand holds any sequence of high cards, he should play the highest if his partner sits next him on the left, and the adversaries are to play after him; otherwise the partner might think the higher cards of the sequence were against the leader. If a caller should hold K Q x second hand, and play the Q as at Whist, his partner following him, and holding Ace, would have to play it, thinking the King might be beyond.

SOLO. In speaking of the players in a solo, misère, or abundance, it is usual to distinguish those opposed to the single player by calling them respectively, Left, Right, and Opposite.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

This arrangement does not affect the use of the letters A Y B Z, and the terms first, second, third, and fourth hand; indicating the position of the deal, and of the lead.

Calling. Those solos are easiest which are declared by the eldest hand, or by the dealer; the hardest being those called by second hand. The safest solos are those called on trump strength;[153] but average trumps and winning cards in the plain suits are more advantageous if the caller is not eldest hand. To call a solo on plain suits alone, with only one or two trumps, is extremely dangerous; and a solo called on a single suit must have at least five or six good trumps in order to succeed.

PLAYING. When a call has been made entirely upon trump strength, it is much better to make tricks by ruffing, than by leading trumps. There is little use for a solo player to hold a tenace in trumps, hoping it will be led to him. If he has good suits, he should make sure of two rounds of trumps by leading the Ace.

When the solo player is depending on the plain suits for tricks, and has one long suit, he should make what winning cards he has in the other plain suits in preference to leading trumps, for his only danger is that his long suit will be led often enough to give his adversaries discards in the other suits.

If a proposal was made before the solo was called, it is better for the solo player to sit on the left of the player that proposed.

The caller should never play single honours second hand, unless he has only one small card of the suit, or the honour is the Ace.

With A Q x, second or third hand, the Q must be finessed if the caller has counted on both A and Q for tricks. If he can probably win without the finesse, he should play Ace. If he has tricks enough to win without either A or Q, he should play neither of them.

A solo player should be very sure of his call before finessing for over-tricks.

Adversaries’ Play. The player to the left of the caller should not lead trumps; but if the solo player has had a lead, and has not led trumps himself, the player on his right should take the first opportunity to lead them through him.

The player to the left of the caller should not lead from suits headed only by the King; nor from those containing major or minor tenaces. The best leads are from suits headed by Q J or 10, even if short.

With such high-card combinations as can be used to force the command in one round, such as K Q, or K Q J, the regular whist leads should be used. With suits headed by winning sequences, held by the player on the left, it is often right to lead them once, in order to show them, and then to lead a weaker suit to get rid of the lead. It is sometimes better to play winning sequences as long as it seems probable that the caller can follow suit.

Many persons use the Albany lead to indicate a wish for trumps to be led through the caller. In response to such a signal the best trump should be led, whatever it is.

When the adversary who leads in any trick is not on the left of the solo player, the caller will, of course, not be the last player, as[154] at least one adversary must play after him. In such cases it is best to lead the longest suits.

MISÈRE. The great difficulty in Misère is not in playing it; but in judging what hands justify such an undertaking.

Calling. As a general proposition it may be stated that misère should not be called with a long suit not containing the deuce. But the longer the suit the less the danger there is for a player who is determined to risk it; because the deuce is more likely to be found alone in some adversary’s hand. Short suits may be risked, even with no card smaller than a 5 or 6, and it is of course a great advantage to have a suit altogether missing.

Leading. The lead is a disadvantage to the caller, because he must begin with a small card, and the adversaries can play their highest. The only satisfaction to the caller is that he can usually locate the high cards of the suit under such circumstances. For instance: Suppose he originally leads a 4; second hand playing the 9; third hand the Ace; and fourth hand the 10. The third hand is marked with whatever cards of the sequence K Q J are not in the caller’s hand.

Many players fall into the error of leading the highest card of a losing sequence, such as a 6 from 6 5 4 3. This accomplishes nothing, and only discloses to the adversaries the fact that the caller is safe in that suit. The three is the better lead.

Following Suit. The caller should usually play a card as little inferior as he can to the highest already on the trick. When he has cards of equal value, such as the 5 and 2, the 3 and 4 being already on the table, he should play the lower card of the fourchette; for although it may be said that the fourth player must take the trick, there is no certainty that he will follow suit.

When second hand, if there is a choice between two cards, such as the 6 and 2, an intermediate card having been led, it is often a nice point to decide whether or not to risk covering and keeping the deuce. If the deuce is played, it must be remembered that the adversaries will follow with their highest cards, leaving two cards out against the caller, both smaller than the 6.

Discarding. The misère player should never discard from his long suits. The high cards of short suits, and single intermediate cards, such as 5’s and 6’s, should be got rid of at every opportunity.

Adversaries of the Misère. In playing against a misère the chief difficulty is to prevent the caller from discarding, and to place the lead with the player who can probably do him the most harm.

It is an axiom with solo-whist players that every misère can be defeated, if the weak spot in it can be found; because if the misère[155] was absolutely safe, it would be played as a spread, which would pay the caller twice as much. This is not true, however, for it often happens that the cards are so distributed in the other hands that the call cannot be defeated, however risky it may have been.

The weak point in a misère is usually a short suit with one high card in it; or a suit of intermediate length, without the deuce.

As it is probable that the caller is short in suits in which the adversaries are long, and long in those in which they are short, he is less likely to get a discard if they lead their shortest suits first. If the misère player has over-called a proposal or a solo, he is likely to be short in the trump suit, or at least safe in it. It is not good play to lead a single Ace; but a King may be very effective; for if no one plays the Ace on it, that card may be absolutely marked in the caller’s hand. In such a case the adversary with the greatest number of that suit should keep it for the attack. If this player can get into the lead, he is not only sure of preventing the caller from discarding, but of allowing the other adversaries to discard to advantage.

With an honour and one small card, a player on the left should lead the small card first; if on the right, the honour should be led first. A long suit containing the deuce should be avoided as long as possible.

The caller’s cards may sometimes be inferred if there has been a previous call on the hand. For instance: A misère may be a forced call; that is, the player first called a proposal, and not being accepted, was forced to amend his call, choosing misère in preference to solo. This would indicate a long weak suit of trumps. If the dealer calls misère, the turn-up trump should be carefully noted.

It is useless to persevere in suits in which the caller is evidently safe. If he plays a very low card to a trick in which there is already a high card, that suit should be stopped.

Discarding. An adversary should get rid of some one suit, if possible; for when that suit is afterwards led he will have free choice of his discards in the other suits. Short suits should be discarded in preference to high cards in long suits, unless the cards in the short suit are very low. Discards give great information to the adversaries if the rule is followed to discard the highest of a suit; because all cards higher than those discarded must be between the two other adversaries and the caller, and each adversary is thus furnished with a guide. It is useless to discard a suit of which the caller is void; and it is best to keep discarding from one suit until it is exhausted, or only the deuce remains. The trump signal is frequently used in discarding to indicate that the signaller wishes to get into the lead.

Returning Suits. Whether or not to return a partner’s lead may often be decided by inferences from the fall of the cards. It[156] is frequently an easy matter to locate the cards in the various suits, if it is borne in mind that adversaries who play after the caller get rid of their highest cards. For instance: Right leads the 9; caller plays the 5; left the 10; and the last player finds he holds K Q J 6 of the suit. He should know that the caller has nothing between the 5 and the 9, and must have the Ace; so his cards were probably A 5 4 3 2. While it is manifestly impossible to catch him on that suit, it may still be led three times, in order to give the partners discards, as both of them must be short. If this estimate of the caller’s cards is wrong in anything, it is not with regard to the Ace, so there is not the slightest danger in continuing the suit.

As a general rule, the suit first led by an adversary should be returned, unless the player winning the trick has a singleton in another suit, when he should lead that.

The suit led by the caller, if he was eldest hand, should not be returned.

Some judgment of character must be used in playing on a caller’s own lead. An adventurous player will sometimes call a misère on a hand which contains a singleton 5 or 6, and will lead it at once; trusting that second hand will imagine it to be safe, and cover it. Players should be aware of this trap, and never cover a misère player’s own lead if they can help it, unless the card led is below a 4.

ABUNDANCE. Very few persons will risk calling an abundance which they are not pretty certain of; but a player may be forced to the call on a doubtful hand, especially if he is over-called on his original proposal to play a solo. The lead is a great advantage, because trumps can be exhausted immediately, and the suits protected. If the caller has not the lead he must calculate in advance for trumping in, and if his plain suits are not quite established, he will require more trumps than would otherwise be necessary. The greatest danger to an abundance player who has not the original lead, is that his best suit will be led through him, and trumped, either on the first or second round. The caller is often trapped into unnecessarily high trumping when suits are led through him a second or third time.

The Adversaries have little chance to defeat an abundance unless they can over-trump the caller, or ruff his good cards before he can exhaust the trumps. It is best for the Right to lead his longest suit, and for the Left to lead his shortest. A guarded King suit should not be led under any circumstances; nor a short suit Ace high. If an adversary has a single trump of medium size, such as a J or 10, it is often good play to trump a partner’s winning cards, so as to be sure of preventing the caller from making a small trump. If an adversary has trumped or over-trumped, it is very important to lead that suit to him again as soon as possible.

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The rules for discarding that are given in connection with Whist should be carefully observed; especially in the matter of showing command of suits.

SPREADS. These should not be called except with hands in which every suit contains the deuce, and all the cards are low enough to insure the player that nothing short of extraordinary circumstances will defeat him. Open sequences, or Dutch straights, as they are sometimes called, in which the cards are all odd or all even, such as 2 4 6 8 10, are quite as safe as ordinary sequences, provided the deuce is among the cards.

The player calling a spread must remember that it will be impossible for him to get any discards after the first trick without the consent of the adversaries; for they will not lead a suit of which they see he is void. In order to reduce the caller’s chances of a discard on the opening lead, before his cards are exposed, the adversaries should select their shortest suits, unless they have a bottom sequence to the deuce.

THE SLAM. This feature of Solo Whist is even rarer than the grand coup at Whist. It is not very marvellous for an abundance player to make twelve or thirteen tricks; but to announce thirteen tricks before a card is played is something phenomenal. All the adversaries can do against such a call is to show each other, by their discards, in which of the suits they have a possible trick. It is very annoying to have a player succeed in making a slam just because two of his adversaries keep the same suit.

SOLO WHIST FOR THREE PLAYERS.

The best arrangement is to play with a pack of forty cards, deleting the 2, 3, and 4 of each suit. The last card is turned up to determine the trump, but it is not used in play.

There is no proposal and acceptance, solo being the lowest call. If all three players pass, the trump card is turned down, and each player in turn has the option of calling a six-trick abundance, naming his own trump suit. In some places it is the custom to allow the players to over-call each other, after the trump is turned down, each increasing the number of tricks he proposes to take. A misère over-calls eight tricks.

Kimberly Solo is for four players, without any proposal and acceptance, solo being the lowest call. If all pass, a six-trick solo with a different trump is allowed.

TEXT BOOKS.

For the Laws of Solo Whist, see Whist Family Laws.

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ILLUSTRATIVE SOLO WHIST HANDS.

The dealer, Z, turns up the heart 3 in both hands, and A leads. The underlined card wins the trick, and the card under it is the next one led.

A Solo. Trick A Misère.
A Y B Z A Y B Z
10♢ 8♢ Q♢ K♢ 1 K♠  7♠ J♠ 10♠
3♢ 9♢ A♢ 2♢ 2 Q♠ 5♠ 9♠ 8♠
♡6 ♡2 ♡A ♡3 3 Q♢ 5♢ A♢ J♢
♣8 ♡4 ♡Q ♡K 4 9♢ 4♢ K♢ 10♢
♣9 ♣A ♣4 ♣7 5 ♡6 3♠ 6♠ 8♢
A♠ 9♠ K♠ 4♠ 6 ♡7 2♠ 4♠ ♣A
♣K ♣2 ♣6 ♣5 7 ♣10 ♣8 ♣7 ♣K
7♠ 2♠ Q♠ 6♠ 8 ♣9 ♣6 7♢ ♣Q
5♢ ♣3 ♣Q ♡8 9 ♣5 ♣4 6♢ ♣J
6♢ 3♠ ♡5 J♢ 10 ♡8 ♣2 ♡K ♣3
7♢ ♡10 ♡9 ♡J 11 ♡A ♡2 ♡Q ♡3
8♠ 5♠ ♡7 4♢ 12 2♢ 3♢ ♡9 ♡4
J♠ ♣J ♣10 10♠ 13 ♡J A♠ ♡10 ♡5

Solo player wins. Misère player loses.

In the first example, A and Y pass, and B calls Solo. A follows the modern practice of leading the top of his long weak suit, as a card of warning and support for his partners. Z knows Y must have 9 or Ace of diamonds, or no more, and he avoids the error of opening another suit, especially a weak one. B continues with the trump Queen, hoping to drop King and Jack together. At trick 5, Z cannot give up the command of trumps, and as A’s lead and discard indicate that he wants spades led up to him, Z’s best chance is that Y has some clubs. Y leads to A. At trick 9, Z knows B cannot have 10 and 9 of trumps, or he would have led one of them to prevent the J and 8 both making, so Y must have one of those trumps. At trick 11, if B leads the club, he loses his call. He must again take the chance of bringing the trumps down together.

In the second example A proposes, or calls Solo, and Y over-calls him with Misère. The great point in playing against Misère is to continue leading suits in which he is known to be long, so as to give your partners discards. This B does with the two long spades, the caller being marked with the ace and others on the second trick. Then Z allows B to discard his high diamonds on the clubs.

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SCOTCH WHIST, OR CATCH THE TEN.

CARDS. Scotch Whist is played with a pack of 36 cards, which rank in plain suits, A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6; the Ace being highest both in play and in cutting. In the trump suit the Jack is the best card, the order being, J A K Q 10 9 8 7 6.

MARKERS. There are no suitable counters for Scotch Whist, and the score is usually kept on a sheet of paper.

PLAYERS. Any number from two to eight may play. When there are five or seven players, the spade 6 must be removed from the pack. In some places this is not done; the thirty-fifth card being turned up for the trump, the thirty-sixth shown to the table, and then laid aside.

CUTTING. Whatever the number of persons offering for play, the table is formed by cutting from the outspread pack for partners, seats, and deal.

When two play, the one cutting the lowest card has the choice of seats and cards, (if there are two packs).

When three play, the lowest deals, and chooses his seat and cards. The next lowest has the next choice of seats.

When four play, partners are cut for; the two lowest pairing against the two highest; the lowest of the four is the dealer, and has the choice of seats and cards.

When five play, each for himself, the lowest cut deals, and has the first choice of seats and cards. The next lowest has the next choice of seats, and so on.

When six play, they cut for partners, the two lowest pairing together; the two highest together; and the two intermediates together. The player cutting the lowest card of the six has the choice of seats and cards, and deals the first hand. If the six play, three on a side, the three lowest play against the three highest; the lowest cut of the six taking the deal, and choice of seats and cards.

When seven play, each for himself, the lowest deals, and has the choice of seats and cards; the others choosing their seats in the order of their cuts.

When eight play, they may form two sets of four each, or four sets of two each. In either case the partnerships are decided by cutting, and the lowest cut of the eight has the deal, with choice of seats and cards.

TIES are decided in the manner already described in connection with Whist.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. Two players sit opposite each other. Three, five or seven sit according to their[160] choice. Four sit as at Whist, the partners facing each other. Six, playing in two partnerships, sit alternately, so that no two partners shall be next each other. Six, playing in three partnerships of two each, sit so that two adversaries shall be between each pair of partners. Eight, playing in two sets of four each, or as four pairs of partners, arrange themselves alternately. If we distinguish the partners by the letters A, B, C, D, the diagram will show the arrangement of the tables.

Diagram of the arrangement of the tables

The player to the left of the dealer is the original leader.

DEALING. The method of dealing varies with the number of players engaged. When only one pack is used, any player may shuffle, the dealer last. The pack must be presented to the pone to be cut, and the entire pack is then dealt out, one card at a time.

When two play, the dealer gives each six cards, one at a time. These two hands are kept separate, and two more are dealt in the same manner, and then a third two, the last card being turned up for the trump. When the deal is complete, there will be six hands on the table, three belonging to each player.

Diagram of the position of the hands on the table

When three play, the cards are dealt in much the same manner; two separate hands of six cards being given to each player.

When four, five, six, seven, or eight play, the cards are dealt in rotation from left to right until the pack is exhausted, the last card being turned up for the trump. When five or seven play, either the spade 6 must be thrown out of the pack, or the thirty-sixth card must be shown, after the dealer has turned the thirty-fifth for the trump. When eight play, all four sixes are deleted.

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The deal passes to the left, each player dealing in turn until the game is finished.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as at Whist.

STAKES. When stakes are played for, they are for so much a game. Rubbers are not played. It is usual to form a pool, each player depositing the stake agreed upon, and the winner taking all. In partnership games, each losing player pays the successful adversary who sits to his right. If three pairs were engaged, and A-A won, C and B would each pay the A sitting next him. Before play begins, it should be understood who pays for revokes; the side or the player.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The player on the dealer’s left begins by leading any card he chooses, and the others must all follow suit if they can. Failure to follow suit when able is a revoke, the penalty for which, if detected and claimed by the adversaries, is the immediate loss of the game. When there are more than two players or two sets of partners, the revoking player or side must pay the two or more adversaries as if each had won the game. In some places the individual is made to pay, not the side. This should be understood before play begins. If seven are playing, and one is detected in a revoke, his loss is equal to six games. Any player having none of the suit led may either trump or discard. The dealer should take up the trump card when it is his turn to play to his first trick; after which it must not be named, although a player may be informed what the trump suit is. If all follow suit, the highest card played of the suit led wins the trick, trumps win all other suits. The winner of the trick may lead any card he chooses for the next; and so on, until all the cards have been played.

It is not necessary to keep the tricks separate, as at Whist; but one player should gather for his side.

When two or three play, the hands must be played in the order in which they were dealt. For instance: If these are the hands:—

Diagram of the position of the hands on the table and the play order

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The players first take up hands Nos. 1 and 2; a card is led from No. 1, the dealer follows suit from No. 2, or trumps, or discards, and the play continues until these two hands are exhausted. The second set are then taken up and played in the same manner; the player who won the last trick in one set having the first lead in the next. Finally, the third set are played in the same manner; all the cards taken by each side being gathered into one pile by the player who has won them. The trump card must remain on the table until the dealer takes up the last hand. When three play, the set of hands first dealt must be first played, and then the second set taken up.

The rules for cards played in error, leading out of turn, etc., are the same as at Whist.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. The side first scoring 41 points wins the game; and the chief object is to secure tricks containing cards to which a certain value is attached. These all belong to the trump suit, and are the following:—

The Jack of trumps counts 11
The Ace of trumps counts 4
The King of trumps counts 3
The Queen of trumps counts 2
The Ten of trumps counts 10

The other trumps, and the plain suit-cards, have no counting value.

The Jack of trumps, being the best, must be taken in by the player to whom it is dealt; but any court card in trumps will win the Ten, so that one of the principal objects in Scotch Whist is to catch the ten.

At the end of each hand the players count the number of cards they have taken in tricks, and they are entitled to score one point for each above the number originally dealt to them. For instance: If four play, nine cards were originally dealt to each, so each pair of partners held eighteen. If at the end of the hand they have taken in eight tricks, or thirty-two cards, they score 14 points toward game, in addition to any score they may have made by winning honours in trumps, or catching the Ten. If five play, beginning with seven cards each, and at the end of the hand one player has taken in fifteen, and another ten; they score 8 and 3 respectively, for cards.

SCORING. At the end of each hand, each player or side should claim all honours won, and cards taken in. One player should keep the score, and announce it distinctly, in order that it may be known how many points each player or side requires to win the game.

In the case of ties, the Ten counts out first; then cards; then A K Q of trumps in their order, and the Jack last. A revoke, if[163] detected and claimed before the cards are cut for the next deal, immediately ends the game.

METHODS OF CHEATING. When only one pack is used, the greek can often succeed in dealing himself the Jack of trumps, and usually loses no time in marking the Ten, so that he can at least distinguish the player to whom it is dealt. A player should be carefully watched who keeps his eyes on the pack while shuffling, or who rivets his attention on the backs of the cards as he deals. Two packs should be used in all round games of cards.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. The chief counting elements that are affected by the play being the trump Ten and the cards, it is usual to devote particular attention to winning them. With J A of trumps, or A K, it is best to lead two rounds immediately; but with a tenace, such as J K, or A Q it is better to place the lead on your left if possible. The high cards in the plain suits are capable of being very skilfully managed in this matter of placing the lead. It sometimes happens that a player with the Ten may be fourth hand on a suit of which he has none; or he may catch the Ten with a small honour if it is used in trumping in. The partnership games offer many fine opportunities for playing the Ten into the partner’s hand, especially when it is probable that he has the best trump, or a better trump than the player on the left.

In calculating the probabilities of saving the Ten by trumping in, it must be remembered that the greater the number of players, the less chance there is that a suit will go round more than once, because there are only nine cards of each suit in play.

Many players, in their anxiety to catch the Ten, overlook the possibilities of their hands in making cards, the count for which often runs into high figures.

Close attention should be paid to the score. For instance: A wants 4 points to win; B wants 10; and C wants 16. If A can see his way to win the game by cards or small honours, he should take the first opportunity of giving C the Ten; or allowing him to make it in preference to B. As the Ten counts first, cards and honours next, B may be shut out, even if he has the Jack.

LAWS. There are no special laws for Scotch Whist. The whist laws are usually enforced for all such irregularities as exposed cards, leading out of turn, etc. The most important matter is the revoke, and it should be clearly understood before play begins whether the revoke penalty is to be paid by the individual in fault, or by the side to which he belongs. Some players think there should be some regulation for penalties in such cases as that of a player taking up the wrong hand, when two or more are dealt to each player; but as no advantage can be gained by the exchange, it is hard to see what right the adversary would have to impose a penalty.

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ILLUSTRATIVE SCOTCH WHIST HAND.

We give a simple example hand, as an illustration of the manner of playing with four persons; two being partners against the other two.

Z deals and turns heart 8

A Y B Z
1 Q♢ K♢  8♢  9♢
2 ♣A ♣K ♣J ♣8
3 ♣7 ♣9 ♣6 6♠
4 8♠ J♠ K♠ A♠
5 J♢ 9♠ A♢ Q♠
6 7♢ 10♠ ♣Q 7♠
7 ♡A 10♢ 6♢ ♡Q
8 ♡9 ♡6 ♡K ♡7
9 ♣10 ♡10 ♡J ♡8

A-B win 30 by honours.

Y-Z win 2 by cards.

Trick 1. Y plays King second hand, hoping it will be taken by the Ace, so that he may become third or fourth player, and perhaps save his Ten. B, with the minor tenace in trumps, plays to avoid the lead as long as possible.

Trick 2. Y gets rid of another winning card; B keeping a small card to avoid the lead.

Trick 3. A returns the Club, reading B for the Q or no more. B still avoids the lead, and Z is marked as not having the trump Ten, or he would have saved it.

Trick 4. Z plays to win what cards he can.

Trick 5. B throws ♢A to avoid the lead, knowing Y has the trump Ten; for A would have made it on the second round of Spades. A also marks it with Y, as B does not save it.

Trick 6. B is not sure whether Y has a Diamond or a Club left, and discards the winning card.

Trick 7. Z plays Queen to shut out the Ten, if with A. A knows each player has two trumps left, and that as the turn-up is still with Z, B must have J or K; for if he held only 7 and 6 he would have trumped in to make cards.

Trick 8. A leads trumps. If Y does not play the Ten, and B has not the Jack, B must make four cards and the King by passing. If B has the Jack, he must catch the Ten, no matter how Y and Z play.

FRENCH WHIST is the name given to a variety of Scotch Whist in which the Ten of Diamonds counts ten to those winning it, whether it is a trump or not.

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BOSTON.

CARDS. Boston is played with two packs of fifty-two cards each, which rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing.

MARKERS are not used in Boston, every hand being immediately settled for in counters. These are usually of three colours; white, red, and blue; representing cents, dimes, and dollars respectively. At the beginning of the game each player should be provided with an equal number, the general proportion being 20 white, 18 red, and 8 blue for each. Some one player should be selected to act as the banker, selling and redeeming all counters.

STAKES. The stakes in Boston depend upon the value of the counters. One cent for a white counter is considered a pretty stiff game; because it is quite possible for a single player to win or lose a thousand white counters on one hand, and the payments very seldom fall short of fifty.

THE POOL. In addition to the counters won and lost on each hand, it is usual for the players to make up a pool at the beginning of the game by each of them depositing one red counter in a small tray provided for the purpose. This pool may be increased from time to time by penalties; such as one red counter for a misdeal; four for a revoke, or for not having the proper number of cards, etc. The whole amount in the pool may be won or lost by the players, according to their success or failure in certain undertakings, which will presently be described. When empty, the pool is replenished by contributions from each player, as at first.

The pool proper is usually limited to 25 red counters. When it exceeds that amount, the 25 are set aside, and the surplus used to start a fresh pool. Any player winning a pool is entitled to 25 red counters at the most. It will often happen that several such pools will accumulate, and each must be played for in its turn. At the end of the game any counters remaining in the pool or pools must be divided among the players.

PLAYERS. Boston is played by four persons. If more than four candidates offer for play, five or six may form a table; if there are more than six, the selection of the table must be made by cutting, as at Whist.

CUTTING. The four persons who shall play the first game are determined by cutting, and they again cut for the deal, with the choice of seats and cards. The player drawing the lowest card deals, and chooses his seat; the next lower card sits on his left, and so on, until all are seated. Twelve deals is a[166] game, at the end of which the players cut to decide which shall go out, as at Whist.

It is usual to count the deals by opening the blade of a pocket-knife, which is placed on the table by the player on the dealer’s right. When it comes to his turn to deal, he partly opens one blade. When he deals again he opens it entirely, and the third time he closes it; that being the third round, and the last deal of the game.

Pocket-knife

Fourth Deal. Eighth Deal.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. The four players at Boston are distinguished by the letters A Y B Z.

Diagram of the position of the players at the table

Z is the dealer, and A is known as the eldest hand. There are no partnerships in Boston, except that of three players combined against the fourth, who is always spoken of as the caller. The players having once taken their seats are not allowed to change them without the consent of all the others at the table.

DEALING. At the beginning of the game the two packs are thoroughly shuffled; after which they must not again be shuffled during the progress of the game. If a hand is dealt and not played, each player must sort his cards into suits and sequences before they are gathered and dealt again.

At the beginning of each deal, one pack is presented to the players to be cut; each having the privilege of cutting once, the dealer last. Beginning on his left, the dealer gives four cards to each player, then four more, and finally five; no trump being turned.

The general rules with regard to irregularities in the deal are the same as at Whist, except that a misdeal does not lose the deal. The misdealer must deal again with the same pack, after the players have sorted their cards into suits. It is a misdeal if the dealer fails to present the pack to the other players to cut, or neglects[167] to cut it himself. Should the dealer expose any of his own cards in dealing, that does not invalidate the deal. The deal passes in regular rotation to the left, each pack being used alternately.

MAKING THE TRUMP. The deal being complete, the player opposite the dealer cuts the still pack, and the player on his right turns up the top card for the trump. The suit to which this card belongs is called First Preference, and the suit of the same colour is called Second Preference, or Colour. The two remaining suits are known as Plain Suits for that deal.

The cards having been dealt, and the trump turned, each player carefully sorts and counts his cards, to see that he has the correct number, thirteen. A player having more or less than his right proportion should at once claim a misdeal; for if he plays with a defective hand he cannot win anything that deal, but must stand his proportion of all losses incurred, besides paying a forfeit of four red counters to the pool.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. In Boston, each player has an opportunity to announce that he is willing to undertake to win a certain number of tricks, if allowed the privilege of naming the trump suit; or to lose a certain number, there being no trumps. In either case, he proposes to play single-handed against the three other players. The player proposing the undertaking which is most difficult of accomplishment is said to over-call the others, and must be allowed to try. If he is successful, he wins the pool, and is paid a certain number of counters by each of his adversaries. If he fails, he must double the amount in the pool, and pay to each of the other players a certain number of counters.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. The bids rank in the following order, beginning with the lowest. The full-faced type shows the words used by the players in calling their bids:—

To win five tricks; Boston.

To win Six Tricks.

To win Seven Tricks.

To lose twelve tricks, after having discarded a card which is not to be shown; Little Misère.

To win Eight Tricks.

To win Nine Tricks.

To lose every trick; Grand Misère.

To win Ten Tricks.

To win Eleven Tricks.

To lose twelve tricks, after having discarded a card which is not to be shown; the single player’s remaining twelve cards being exposed face up on the table, but not liable to be called; Little Spread.

To win Twelve Tricks.

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To lose every trick; the single player’s cards exposed on the table, but not liable to be called; Grand Spread.

To win Thirteen Tricks; Grand Slam.

The object of the proposing player, if successful in his bid, is to win or lose the proposed number of tricks; while that of his three adversaries is to combine to prevent him from so doing. There are no honours, and the only factor in the count is the number of tricks taken. The highest card played of the suit led wins the trick; and trumps, if any, win against all other suits.

METHOD OF BIDDING. The eldest hand has the first say, and after examining his cards, and estimating the number of tricks he can probably take, making the trump to suit his hand, he bids accordingly. It is not necessary for him to state which suit he wishes to make the trump; but only the number of tricks he proposes to win. If he has no proposal to make, he says distinctly; “I pass,” and the other players in turn have an opportunity to bid. If any player makes a bid, such as six tricks, and any other player thinks he can make the same number of tricks with a trump of the same colour as the turn-up, that is, Second Preference, he over-calls the first bidder by saying “I keep;” or he may repeat the number bid, saying “Six here.” This is simply bidding to win the number of tricks in colour. The original caller may hold his bid, or a third player may overbid both, by saying; “I keep over you,” or “Six here.” This means that he will undertake to win the number of tricks already bid, with the turn-up suit for trumps. In order to over-call such a bid as this, any other player would have to announce a greater number of tricks. For instance; Z deals, and turns a heart. A calls six tricks, intending to name hearts trumps; but not saying so. B passes; Y says “I Keep.” This announces to the table that Y will play with a red trump, and A knows he is bidding on diamonds. Z passes, and A says; “I keep over you.” B then bids seven tricks, and if A will not risk seven tricks in hearts, B will be the successful bidder. If A should bid seven tricks by keeping over B, the latter must know that it is useless for him to bid again unless he can make more tricks in diamonds than A can in hearts; for A’s bid, being in first preference, will always outrank B’s for the same number of tricks.

A player once having passed cannot come into the bidding again, except to call one of the misères. In the example just given, either Y or Z, after having twice passed, might have outbid the seven tricks by calling a little misère. Such a bid can, of course, be entertained only when it outranks any bid already made.

A player is not compelled to bid the full value of his hand; but it is to his interest to go as near to it as he can with safety; because, as we shall see presently, the more he bids the more he is paid. For instance: If he can make ten tricks, but bids seven[169] only, he will be paid for the three over-tricks, if he makes them; but the payment for seven bid and ten taken, is only 22 counters; while the payment for ten bid and ten taken is 42. As he receives from each adversary, a player who underbid his hand in this manner would lose 60 counters by his timidity.

It sometimes happens that no one will make a proposal of any sort. It is very unusual to pass the deal. The trump is generally turned down, and a Grand is played, without any trump suit. This is sometimes called a Misère Partout, or “all-round poverty”; and the object of each player is to take as few tricks as possible.

METHOD OF PLAYING. No matter who is the successful bidder, the eldest hand always leads for the first trick, and the others must follow suit if they can, the play proceeding exactly as at Whist. The tricks should be carefully stacked, so that they can be readily counted by any player without calling attention to them. The laws provide a severe penalty for drawing attention to the score in this manner. Suppose a player has called eight tricks. An adversary hesitates in his play, and another reaches over and counts the tricks in front of the caller, finding he has seven. This is tantamount to saying to the player who hesitates: “If you don’t win that trick, the call succeed.” In such a case, the single player may at once demand the play of the highest or lowest of the suit; or that the adversaries trump or refrain from trumping the trick.

In all calls except misères and slams, the hands should be played out, in order to allow the players to make what over-tricks they can; but the moment a misère player takes a trick, or a slam player loses one, the hands are thrown up, and the stakes paid. It is usual to show the cards to the board, in order to satisfy each player that no revoke has occurred.

When Little Misère is called, each player discards one card, which must not be shown, and the hand is then played out with the remaining twelve cards.

When Spreads are called, the caller’s cards must be placed face upwards on the table before a card is played. If it is a Little Spread, the discard of each player must remain unknown. The adversaries have no control of the manner of playing the exposed cards, which cannot be called, and may be played in any manner suited to the judgment of the single player, provided he follows suit when able.

REVOKES. If a player opposed to the caller revokes, but discovers his mistake in time to save himself, he may be called upon by the single player for his highest or lowest of the suit led; or the card played in error may be claimed as an exposed card. If the highest or lowest of the suit is called, the card played in error is taken up.

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If the caller revokes, and discovers his mistake in time, he is not liable to any penalty, unless an adversary has played to the next trick. In that case the revoking card must be left on the table, and is liable to be called. When the single player revokes, he loses the call in any case, and at least one trick besides. He must also double the pool, and add to it a revoke forfeit of four red counters. For instance: A bids eight tricks, and his adversaries detect and claim a revoke. As he is supposed to have lost his bid, and one trick more, he may be said to have bid eight, and taken only seven; losing 23 white counters to each of his adversaries, doubling the pool, and then paying a forfeit of four red counters. In some places the forfeit is omitted, and in others it takes the place of doubling the pool. It is not usual to play the hand out after a revoke is claimed and proved.

If an adversary of the single player revokes, he and his partners must each pay the caller just as if he had been successful, and must also pay him for three over-tricks as forfeit, provided his bid was not more than nine tricks; for the bid and the over-tricks together must not exceed thirteen tricks. In addition to this, the individual player in fault must pay four red counters as forfeit to the pool. In some places he is made to double the pool; but this is manifestly unfair, as he could not win the amount in the pool in any case, and therefore should not lose it.

In a Misère Partout, the revoking player pays five red counters to each adversary, and deposits a forfeit of four red counters in the pool. The hands are immediately thrown up if the revoke is claimed and proved.

CARDS PLAYED IN ERROR. The single player is not liable to any penalty for cards played in error, or led out of turn, except those taken back to save a revoke; but his adversaries are liable to the usual whist penalties for all such irregularities. The single player can forbid the use of an exposed trump for ruffing, and can demand or prevent the play of an exposed card in plain suits, provided he does not ask the adversary to revoke. If a suit is led of which an adversary has an exposed card on the table, the single player may call upon him to play his highest or lowest of that suit.

If a player has announced Little Misère, and one of the adversaries leads before the others have discarded, the caller may immediately claim the pool and stakes. If any adversary of a misère player leads out of turn, or exposes a card, or plays before his proper turn in any trick, the bidder may at once claim the pool and stakes. In all such cases it is usual for the individual in fault to pay a forfeit of four red counters toward the next pool.

In Misère Partout, there is no penalty for cards played in error, or led out of turn.

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PAYMENTS. If the caller succeeds in winning the proposed number of tricks, he is paid by each of his adversaries according to the value of his bid, and the number of over-tricks he wins, if any. The various payments are shown in this table:—

Number of tricks bid by player. Number actually taken by him.
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Five 12 12 13 13 14 14 14 15 15
Six 15 16 16 17 18 19 20 20
Seven 18 20 21 22 23 24 26
Eight 23 24 26 28 29 31
Nine 32 34 36 39 41
Ten 42 45 48 52
Eleven 63 68 72
Twelve 106 114
Thirteen 166

The American system is not to pay the successful bidder for any over-tricks. This is to make him bid up his hand, and to save time; as hands need not be played out when the bidder has made or can show the number of tricks bid.

Tricks bid 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Amount. 10 15 20 25 35 45 65 105 170

If the caller fails in his undertaking, he must pay each adversary according to the number of tricks by which he failed to reach his bid. For instance: A player bidding eight, and taking only seven, is said to be “put in for” one trick, and he would have to pay each adversary 23 white counters. These payments are shown in this table:—

Tricks bid by the player. Number of tricks by which the player falls short of his declaration.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Five 11 21 31 41 50
Six 15 24 35 45 55 66
Seven 19 29 40 50 60 72 82
Eight 23 34 46 56 67 78 89 110
Nine 33 44 57 68 82 92 103 115 127
Ten 44 56 70 82 94 107 119 132 145 157
Eleven 67 80 95 109 123 138 151 165 180 194 208
Twelve 113 130 148 165 182 200 217 234 252 270 286 304
Thirteen 177 198 222 241 262 284 305 326 348 369 390 412 433

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We give the same table reduced to the American decimal system, in which form it is commonly found in the clubs. It may be remarked in passing that the table is very illogical and inconsistent, the payments bearing no relation to the probabilities of the events. Some of them provide for impossibilities, unless the player has miscalled the trump suit, and is held to it, but we have no authority to change them.

Tricks bid. Number of tricks bidder is “put in for.”
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Five 10 20 30 40 50
Six 15 25 35 45 55 65
Seven 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Eight 25 35 45 55 70 85 100 115
Nine 35 45 55 65 80 95 110 125 140
Ten 45 55 70 80 95 110 125 140 155 170
Eleven 70 80 95 110 125 140 155 170 185 200 220
Twelve 120 130 145 160 180 200 220 240 260 280 300 320
Thirteen 180 200 220 240 260 280 300 320 340 360 390 420 450

If a misère is bid, the caller wins from, or loses to each adversary according to the following table, there being no over-tricks:—

Little Misère, 20 white counters.
Grand Misère, 40 white counters.
Little Spread, 80 white counters.
Grand Spread, 160 white counters.

It may be observed that each of these is twice the amount of the next lower.

When misère partout is played, the person winning the largest number of tricks is the only loser, and he must pay each of the other players the difference between the number of his tricks and theirs in red counters. The number of red counters lost will always be found to be three times the number of tricks taken, minus the number of tricks not taken. For instance: A wins 4 tricks, three times which is 12; from which he deducts 9, the number he did not take, and finds his loss to be 3 red counters. Again; A wins 7 tricks; three times which is 21; minus 6 tricks not taken, a net loss of 15. No matter in what proportion the other tricks may be divided between the three other players, this total payment will always be found correct. For instance: A wins 6 tricks; Y 2; B 5; and Z none. A loses 6 x 3 = 18-7 = 11, of which he gives 4 to Y; 1 to B; and 6 to Z.

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If two players tie for the greatest number of tricks taken, they calculate their losses in the same manner; but each pays only half the total. For instance: A and Y each take 5 tricks; B taking 1, and Z 2. The 7 red counters lost by A and Y being divided, shows a loss of 35 white counters for each of them. If three players take four tricks apiece, they each pay the fourth man a red counter.

WINNING THE POOL. Besides the white counters won and lost by the players individually, the successful caller takes the pool, provided he has made a bid of seven tricks or better, which is called a pool bid. Any lower bid does not entitle him to the pool, unless the other players compel him to play the hand out. In order to save the pool, it is usual for the adversaries, before playing to the second trick, to say: “I pay.” If all agree to pay, the bidder must accept the amount of his bid without any over-tricks, and the pool is not touched. If a player has made a pool bid, and the adversaries, before playing to the second trick, agree to pay, they cannot prevent the caller from taking the pool; but they save possible over-tricks. The agreement of the adversaries to pay must be unanimous.

Misère Partout does not touch the pool.

If the hand is played out, and the caller fails, he must double the pool, whether he has made a pool bid or not. If there is more than one pool, he must double the first one, which will of course contain the limit. This will simply have the effect of forming an additional pool to be played for.

When there are several pools on the table, a successful caller takes any of those that contain the limit. When there is only one pool on the table, he must be satisfied with its contents, however small.

At the end of the game, after the twelfth hand has been settled for, it is usual to divide the pool or pools equally among the players. But sometimes a grand is played without trumps, making a thirteenth hand, and the pool is given to the player winning the last trick.

METHODS OF CHEATING. There being no shuffling at Boston, and each player having the right to cut the pack, the greek must be very skilful who can secure himself any advantage by having the last cut, unless he has the courage to use wedges. But Boston is usually played for such high stakes that it naturally attracts those possessing a high degree of skill, and the system adopted is usually that of counting down. The greek will watch for a hand in which there is little changing of suits, and will note the manner of taking up the cards. The next hand does not interest him, as he is busy studying the location of the cards in the still pack. When this comes into play on the next deal, he will follow every cut, and finally cut for himself so that the desired[174] distribution of the suits shall come about. Even if he fails to secure an invincible hand for bidding on himself, he knows so nearly the contents of the other hands that he can bid them up, and afterwards play against them to great advantage.

It is unnecessary to say that if a greek can mark the cards, the game becomes a walkover, even if he can recollect only the hand on his left.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. Boston so closely resembles Solo Whist in such matters as bidding, and playing single-handed against three others, that the reader may be referred to that game for the outlines of the principles that should guide him in estimating the probable value of his hand, playing for tricks or for misères, and combining forces with his partners for the purpose of defeating the single player.

For laws, see Whist Family Laws.

BOSTON DE FONTAINEBLEAU.

This game is sometimes, but incorrectly, called French Boston. The latter will be described in its proper place.

CARDS. Boston de Fontainebleau is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards. Two packs are generally used. The cards rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing.

MARKERS are not used, counters taking their place. These are usually of the colours and values, and are distributed among the players as already described in Boston.

STAKES. As a guide in settling upon the unit value, it may be noted that the largest amount possible to win or lose on a single hand is 2,400 white counters; the smallest amount being 30. The average is about 300.

THE POOL. In addition to the counters won or lost on each hand, a pool is formed by each dealer in his turn placing five counters in a small tray provided for the purpose. This pool may be increased by penalties, etc., and the whole amount may be won under certain conditions, as at Boston. There is no limit to the amount of a single pool.

PLAYERS. The number of players, methods of Cutting, Dealing, etc., are the same as those already described in connection with Boston, except that no trump is turned for first preference, the suits always having a determined rank; diamonds being first, hearts next, then clubs, and last spades. No-trump, or “grand,” outranks diamonds.

Twelve deals is a game; after which the players cut out if there[175] are more than four belonging to the table, or if other candidates are waiting to play.

PENALTIES, for playing with more or less than the proper number of cards, etc., are the same as at Boston.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. These are identical with Boston, but instead of doubling the pool, the player who is unsuccessful in his undertaking pays into the pool the same amount that he loses to each of the other players.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. The bids rank in the order following; beginning with the lowest. The full-faced type show the words used by the players in calling their bids. It will be noticed that the order is not the same as in Boston, and that an additional bid is introduced, called Piccolissimo.

To win 5 tricks, Boston.

To win Six Tricks.

To lose 12 tricks, after having discarded a card which is not to be shown; Little Misère.

To win Seven Tricks.

To win one trick, neither more nor less, after having discarded a card which is not to be shown, there being no trump suit; Piccolissimo.

To win Eight Tricks.

To lose every trick, no trump suit, Grand Misère.

To win Nine Tricks.

To lose 12 tricks, after having discarded a card which is not to be shown; the single player’s remaining twelve cards being exposed face up on the table, but not liable to be called; Little Spread.

To win Ten Tricks.

To lose every trick, no trump suit, the single player’s cards being exposed on the table, but not liable to be called; Grand Spread.

To win Eleven Tricks.

To win Twelve Tricks.

To win 13 tricks; Slam.

To win 13 tricks, the single player’s cards exposed face up on the table, but not liable to be called; Spread Slam.

The object of the bidder, if successful in securing the privilege of playing, is to win or lose the proposed number of tricks, against the combined efforts of his adversaries. Having once made a bid, he must play it unless he is over-called.

METHOD OF BIDDING. The eldest hand has the first say, and after examining his hand, and deciding on the bid most appropriate to it, if any, he makes his announcement. If his proposal is to win a certain number of tricks with a certain[176] suit for trumps, he must name the suit, saying, “Eight Spades,” or “Seven Diamonds,” as the case may be. If he proposes to play without any trump suit, he announces, “Seven Grand,” or whatever the number may be. Such a bid over-calls one of the same number in diamonds. If the eldest hand has no proposal to make, he says, “I pass,” and the others in turn have an opportunity to bid. The bids outrank one another according to their order in the foregoing table, and the rank of the suits in which they are made. The players bid against one another, until all but one declare to pass, he then becomes the single player against the three others.

A player having once passed cannot come into the bidding again, even to call a misère. In this respect the game differs from Boston. A player is not compelled to bid the full value of his hand, but it is to his interest to do so, and he should make the full announcement the first time he bids, because if he has had a good hand for ten tricks, and begins with a bid of seven, he cannot increase his proposal unless some player bids over him.

PARTNERS. Before playing, the successful bidder may call for a partner if he chooses to do so. The player accepting him undertakes that the two together shall win three tricks more than the number bid. For instance: A has successfully bid seven in diamonds, and asks for a partner. If Y accepts him they make no change in their positions at the table, but play into each other’s hands, just as at Solo Whist, B and Z being partners against them. A and Y together must win ten tricks, with diamonds for trumps.

If no one makes a proposal of any sort, Misère Partout is played; there being no trump suit. The player or players taking the least number of tricks win or divide the pool. There are no other losses or gains in Misère Partout.

HONOURS. In any call in which there is a trump suit, the A K Q and J of trumps are honours, and may be counted by the successful bidder if he carries out his proposal. If the single player, or a caller and his partner have all four honours dealt them, they score as for four over-tricks; if three, as for two over-tricks. Honours do not count for the adversaries under any circumstances.

In bidding on a hand, it must be remembered that although honours will count as over-tricks in payments, they cannot be bid on. If a player has nine tricks and two by honours in his hand, he cannot bid eleven. If he bids nine and fails to make so many, he cannot count the honours at all. It is growing less and less the custom to count honours in America.

A player making a bid can be compelled to play it; but it is usual to allow him to pay instead of playing, if he proposes to do so, either because he has overbid his hand or for any other reason.

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METHOD OF PLAYING. No matter who is the successful bidder, the eldest hand always leads for the first trick, and the others must follow suit if they can, the play proceeding exactly as in Whist. Tricks should be carefully stacked, there being the same penalties as in Boston for calling attention to the score. The methods of playing misères and spreads have already been described in connection with Boston. When piccolissimo is played, the moment the single player takes more than one trick the hands are thrown up, and the stakes paid.

REVOKES. The rules governing these and cards played in error, are the same as at Boston. In piccolissimo, the penalties are the same as in misère.

PAYMENTS. If the caller succeeds in winning the proposed number of tricks, he is paid by each of his adversaries according to the value of his bid, as shown in Table No. 1. Over-tricks if any, and honours, if played, are always paid at the uniform rate of five white counters each. If the caller fails, he must pay each adversary the amount he would have won if successful, with the addition of five white counters for every trick that he falls short of his proposal. For instance: He bids nine hearts, and wins six tricks only. He must pay each adversary 115 white counters.

TABLE No. 1.

No
trump.
The trump being Extra
tricks.
♣♠
Boston, five tricks 10 20 30 5
Six tricks 30 40 50 5
Little misère 75
Seven tricks 50 60 70 5
Piccolissimo 100
Eight tricks 70 80 90 5
Grand misère 150
Nine tricks 90 100 110 5
Little spread 200
Ten tricks 110 120 130 5
Grand spread 250
Eleven tricks 130 140 150 5
Twelve tricks 150 160 170 5
Slam, thirteen tricks 400 450 500
Spread slam 600 700 800

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TABLE No. 2.

In America, the last two items are usually reduced, and are given as follows:—

♣♠
Slam, thirteen tricks 250 300 350
Spread slam 350 400 450

Why a player should be paid more for spreads than for eleven or twelve tricks while the trick bid outranks the spreads, is difficult to understand; but we have no authority to change the tables.

Misère Partout wins nothing but the pool.

If partners play, it is usual for the losers to pay the adversaries on their right; or, if partners sit together, to pay the adversary sitting next.

THE POOL. Besides the white counters won and lost by the players individually, the successful player takes the pool. Successful partners divide it equally, regardless of the number of tricks bid or taken by each. If the partners fail, they must contribute to the pool an amount equal to that which they pay to one adversary. For instance: A calls seven diamonds, and asks for a partner. Y accepts him, and the pair win only nine tricks. Each pays 135 counters to the adversary sitting next him, and then they make up 135 more between them for the pool.

Asking for a partner is not a popular variation of the game, and is seldom resorted to unless the successful bid is very low, or has been made on a black suit.

If the adversaries of the caller declare to pay, before playing to the second trick, they can save nothing but possible over-tricks. The pool goes with every successful play.

If the single player is unsuccessful, he does not double the pool, as in Boston, but pays into it the same amount that he loses to each adversary, over-tricks and all; so that he really loses four times the amount shown in the table.

At the end of the game, or on the twelfth hand, if the caller does not succeed, he pays the pool as usual, and his adversaries then divide it amongst themselves.

The Suggestions for Good Play, etc., are given in connection with Solo Whist and need no further amplification for Boston de Fontainbleau.

The Laws vary so little from those used in the regular game of Boston that it is not necessary to give an additional code, either for Fontainbleau or for French Boston, which follows.

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FRENCH BOSTON.

CARDS. French Boston is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, which rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing; except that the diamond Jack is always the best trump unless diamonds are turned up, in which case the heart Jack becomes the best trump, and the diamond Jack ranks next below the diamond Queen.

COUNTERS are used as in Boston, their value being a matter of agreement before play begins.

THE POOL is made up by the dealer’s contributing ten counters for the first eight rounds, and twenty for the last two. It is increased from time to time by penalties, and is won or lost by the players, just as in Boston. There is no limit to the pool. If any player objects to dividing it at the end of the game, it must be played for until some player wins it.

PLAYERS. The number of players, their arrangement at the table, etc., is precisely the same as at Boston.

CUTTING. Instead of cutting for the first deal, any one of the players takes a pack of cards, and gives thirteen to each player in succession, face up. The player to whom he gives the diamond Jack deals the first hand, and has the choice of seats and cards. The others sit as they please.

DEALING. The cards are shuffled before every deal. The player on the left of the dealer cuts, and cards are given first to the player on the dealer’s right, dealing from right to left. The cards may be dealt one at a time, or three at a time, or four at a time, always dealing the last round singly, and turning up the last card. A misdeal loses the deal. Other irregularities are governed by the same laws as in Boston.

The deal passes to the right, and the next dealer is indicated by the position of the tray containing the pool, which the dealer always passes to the player on his right, after putting in his ten or twenty counters.

Forty deals is a game; the first thirty-two of which are called “simples,” and the last eight “doubles.” In the doubles, all stakes and contributions to the pool are doubled. If anything remains in the pool at the end, it is divided equally, unless a player demands that it shall be played for until won. Such extra deals are simples.

RANK OF THE SUITS. The suit turned on the first deal is called “belle” for that game. The suit turned on each succeeding deal is called “petite.” If belle turns up again, there is no petite for that deal. The suits are not first and second preference, as in Boston, but are used only to determine the value of the payments, and to settle which suits partners must name for trumps. The rank of the suits is permanent, as in Boston de Fontainbleau,[180] but the order is, hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades; hearts being highest. In France, the suits rank in this order in Boston de Fontainbleau, but in America diamonds outrank hearts.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. Each player in turn has an opportunity to announce that he is willing to undertake to win a certain number of tricks, if allowed the privilege of naming the trump suit; or to lose a certain number, there being no trump suit. If he proposes to play alone, he may select any suit for trumps; but if he takes a partner the trump suit must be belle or petite. The announcements outrank each other in certain order, and the player making the highest must be allowed to play. If he succeeds in his undertaking, he wins the pool, and is also paid a certain number of counters by each of his adversaries. If he fails, he must double the pool, and pay each of his adversaries. The table of payments will be given later.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. The proposals rank in the order following, beginning with the lowest. The French terms are given in italics:—

Five tricks; or eight with a partner, in petite. Simple in petite.

Five tricks; or eight with a partner, in belle. Simple in belle.

Six tricks solo, in any suit. Petite independence.

Little misère. Petite misère.

Eight tricks solo in any suit. Grand independence.

Grand misère. Grand misère, or misère sans ecart.

Misère with four aces. Misère des quatre as.

Nine tricks in any suit. Neuf.

Nine tricks in petite. Neuf en petite.

Nine tricks in belle. Neuf en belle.

Little spread. Petite misère sur table.

Grand spread. Grand misère sur table.

METHOD OF BIDDING. The player to the right of the dealer has the first say. If he proposes to take a partner as in Solo Whist, he says, “Je demande,” at the same time placing one of his cards face downward on the table. This card must not be shown or named, but must be of the suit which he proposes to make the trump. He is not allowed to announce the suit, so that any player accepting him as a partner does so in ignorance as to whether he will play in belle or in petite. If the demand is accepted, the proposer and his partner make no change in their positions at the table, but must make eight tricks, just as in Solo Whist.

If a player cannot propose, he says: “Je passe,” and each of the others in turn from right to left have the opportunity to make a proposal. When any player proposes, any player in turn after him may accept, although such a one may have already passed. If the fourth player proposes, the three others having passed, and no one will accept him he is bound to play solo against three such[181] weak adversaries, and must make five tricks, either in belle or in petite. He is not allowed to play in a plain suit if he has made a simple “demand.”

The only solo bids allowed are those for six, eight, or nine tricks, which outrank one another. A player cannot bid seven to over-call six; he must go to eight; and a player cannot bid five tricks without a partner, although, as we have just seen, he may be forced to play in that manner.

When six, eight, or nine tricks are bid, the suits outrank one another for equal numbers of tricks; but as the suit called need not be the bidder’s true intention, nor the same as the card laid on the table, the proposer must be careful that his play will be as good as his bid. For instance: He intends nine tricks in spades, but proposes eight in diamonds. He cannot bid nine in diamonds, for that would be a better bid than he intends to play; but the ruse may succeed in inducing a player not to bid against him, hoping diamonds is the true suit. It is a common artifice to bid the true suit, because few will believe it to be such.

If clubs are belle, and diamonds petite, and a player who “demands” is over-called by a demand in belle, or a call of six tricks, the first caller cannot advance his bid to six tricks except in the suit which he has already laid on the table; but he may accept the player over-calling him, instead of bidding against him. After a player has once accepted or passed, he cannot bid misère.

If no one makes a proposition of any kind, the hands are thrown up; the next dealer contributes to the pool, and a fresh hand is dealt.

METHOD OF PLAYING. As in Boston, the eldest hand has the first lead, and the others must follow suit if they can, except in the misère des quatre as. When this is played, the bidder may renounce at pleasure for the first ten tricks.

GATHERING TRICKS. When a partnership is formed, each gathers the tricks he takes. If the partnership loses, the one who has not his complement of tricks must pay the adversaries and double the pool. If the demander has not five, and the acceptor has three, the demander pays. If the proposer has five, and the acceptor has not three, the acceptor pays; but they both win if they have eight tricks between them, no matter in what proportion. If neither has taken his proper share, they must both pay. When they are successful, they divide the pool.

SLAMS. If a player has demanded, and not been accepted, and has been forced to play alone for five tricks, but wins eight, it is called a slam. But as he did not wish to play alone, his only payment, besides the pool, is 24 counters from each player if he played in petite; 48 if in belle; double those amounts if the deal was one of the last eight in the game.

If two partners make a slam, thirteen tricks, they take the pool, and receive from each adversary 24 counters if they played in[182] petite; 48 if in belle; double if in one of the last eight hands in the game.

EXPOSED CARDS. The laws governing these are almost identical with those in Boston, with the additional rule that a player allowing a card to fall upon the table face up before play begins, can be forced to play independence in that suit.

REVOKES. The individual player who is detected in a revoke must double the pool, and pay both adversaries.

PAYMENTS. Payments are made according to the table. The player holding diamond Jack receives two counters from each of the other players in a simple; four in a double; except in misères, in which the card has no value.

Misères are paid for according to the trump turned in the deal in which they are played. If a heart is turned, and little misère is played, the payment is 64 counters to or from each player. If a spade was turned, the payment would be 16 only.

Three honours between partners count as three: four as four. Being all in one hand does not increase their value.

The Bid.
Five tricks alone, or partners’ 8 4 8 12 16
Three honours 3 6 9 12
Four honours 4 8 12 16
Each extra trick 1 2 3 4
Six tricks, or petite independence 6 12 18 24
Three honours 4 8 12 16
Four honours 6 12 18 24
Each extra trick 2 4 6 8
Eight tricks, or grand independence 8 16 24 32
Three honours 6 12 18 24
Four honours 8 16 24 32
Each extra trick 4 8 12 16
Petite misère 16 32 48 64
Grand misère 32 64 96 128
Misère de quatre as 32 64 96 128
Misère sur table 64 128 192 256
Slam à deux (partners) 50 100 150 200
Slam seul (alone) 100 200 300 400
Slam sur table 200 400 600 800

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RUSSIAN BOSTON.

This is a variation of Boston de Fontainbleau. A player holding carte blanche declares it before playing, and receives ten counters from each of the other players. Carte blanche is the same thing as chicane in Bridge, no trump in the hand. But in Bridge the player is penalized for announcing it until after the hand is played.

The order of the suits is the same as in American Boston de Fontainbleau: diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades.

When a player bids six, seven, or eight tricks, he is supposed to be still willing to take a partner, unless he specifies solo. When a partner accepts him, the combination must make four tricks more than the original proposal.

Four honours are paid for as four over-tricks; three honours as two over-tricks.

Piccolissimo is played, and comes between the bids of seven and eight tricks.

GERMAN WHIST.

CARDS. German Whist is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, which rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing.

PLAYERS. Two persons play. They cut for the first deal, and the choice of seats.

DEALING. The dealer presents the pack to his adversary to be cut, and then gives thirteen cards to each player, one at a time, turning up the twenty-seventh card for the trump, and laying it on the talon, or remainder of the pack.

PLAYING. The non-dealer begins by leading any card he pleases, and his adversary must follow suit if he can. The winner of the first trick takes the trump card into his hand, and his adversary takes the card immediately under it, but without showing or naming it. Each player thus restores the number of cards in his hand to thirteen. The card which is now on the top of the talon is turned up, and the winner of the next trick must take it, his adversary taking the one under it, as before, and turning up the next. In this manner it will be seen that the winner of each trick must always get a card which is known to his adversary, while the loser of the trick gets one which remains unknown.

When the talon is exhausted, the thirteen cards in each hand should be known to both players if they have been observant, and the end game becomes a problem in double dummy.

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STAKES. The game is usually played for so much a point, the player having won the majority of the tricks receiving the difference between the number of his tricks and those of his adversary. Each game is complete in one hand.

In many respects the game resembles single-handed Hearts, except that in Hearts none of the cards drawn are shown.

CHINESE WHIST.

CARDS. Chinese Whist is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, which rank as at Whist, both for cutting and playing.

MARKERS. Ordinary whist markers are used for scoring the points.

PLAYERS. Two, three or four persons can play Chinese Whist. When three play, the spade deuce is thrown out of the pack. Partners and deal are cut for from an outspread pack, as at Whist.

POSITION OF THE PLAYERS. When four play, the partners sit opposite each other. When three play, the one cutting the lowest card chooses his seat, and dictates the positions of the two other players.

DEALING. When four play, the pack is shuffled and cut as at Whist. The dealer then gives six cards to each player, one at a time, beginning on his left. These six cards are then spread face down on the table in front of the players to whom they have been dealt, but without being looked at. Six more are then dealt to each, one at a time, and these are turned face up, and sorted into suits. They are then laid face up on the top of the six cards which are lying on the table face down, so as to cover them. The last four cards are then dealt, one to each player. These last are retained in the hand, and must not be shown or named; they are usually called the “down cards.”

MAKING THE TRUMP. After examining the cards exposed on the table, and the down card in his own hand, the dealer has the privilege of naming any suit he pleases for trumps. No consultation with partner is allowed.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The player to the left of the dealer begins by leading any one of his exposed cards, and the others must follow suit if they can; either with one of their exposed cards, or with their down cards. A player having none of the suit led may either discard or trump. The highest card played of the suit led wins the trick, and trumps win all other[185] suits. The side winning the trick takes it in and arranges it just as at Whist. Before leading for the next trick all cards which have been uncovered are turned face up. If any person has played his down card he will have no card to turn up, none having been uncovered. The cards cannot under any circumstances be shifted from their original positions. If a player has five cards face up, covering five cards face down, he cannot shift one of the exposed cards to the empty sixth place, and uncover another card. All covering cards must be got rid of in the course of play.

PENALTIES for revokes, cards led out of turn, etc., are the same as at Whist.

OBJECTS OF THE GAME. As in Whist, the object is to win tricks, all above six counting one point toward game. Five, seven, or ten points may be made the game, at the option of the players, but ten is the usual number. Honours are not counted except by agreement.

STAKES. It is usual to play for so much a point or a game. If points are played, the loser’s score must be deducted from the winner’s, and the difference is the value of the game won.

WHEN THREE PLAY, eight cards are dealt to each person, and arranged face down; then eight more, arranged face up, and then one to each for down cards. There are no partnerships; each plays for himself against the others.

WHEN TWO PLAY, twelve cards are dealt to each player, and arranged face down; then twelve more, arranged face up, and then two down cards to each. It is usual to deal all the cards two at a time.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. Chinese Whist very closely resembles Dummy, and the chief element of success is the skilful use of tenace. Memory also plays an important part, it being especially necessary to remember what cards are still unplayed in each suit. While the down cards are held a player cannot be sure of taking a trick by leading a card higher than any his adversary has exposed, because one of the down cards may be better. If a player is short of trumps, but has as many and better than those of his adversary, it is often good play to lead and draw the weaker trumps before the adversary turns up higher ones to protect them. For instance: one player may have 10 8, and his adversary the 9 alone. If the 10 is led the 9 will probably be caught, unless one of the adverse down cards is better. If the 10 is not led the adversary may turn up an honour, and will then have major tenace over the 10 and 8.

The end game always offers some interesting problems for solution by the expert in tenace position, and in placing the lead.

[186]

WHIST FAMILY LAWS.

While the code of laws drawn up by the American Whist League, and finally approved and adopted at the Third Congress, [in Chicago, June 20th to 24th, 1893,] refers exclusively to the parent game of Whist, its general provisions equally apply to all members of the whist family of games. The author believes it will save much repetition and confusion to interlineate the exceptions which are necessary in order to cover the special features of such important variations as Boston, Cayenne, and Solo Whist. Where no exceptions are made, the law applies equally to these games and to Whist. The unnumbered paragraphs show the inserted laws.

It is a common practice for the framers of laws to insert rules which are simply descriptive of the manner of play. The author believes in adhering to the proper definition of a law, which is a rule carrying with it some penalty for its infraction, or defining the rights of individual players. Such a statement as that the Dummy player may not overlook his adversary’s hand is not a law, because there is no penalty if he does so.

The author is not responsible for the peculiar grammar employed in both the American and English Laws.

THE GAME.

1. A game consists of seven points, each trick above six counting one. The value of the game is determined by deducting the losers’ score from seven.

In Boston, the game is finished in twelve deals.

In Cayenne, a game consists of ten points, each trick above six counting towards game according to the table of values. Honours and Slams also count towards game. Every hand must be played out, and all points made in excess of the ten required to win the game are counted on the next game; so that it is possible to win two or three games in one hand. In Nullo, every trick over the book is counted by the adversaries. Players cannot count out by honours alone; they must win the odd trick or stop at the score of nine. If one side goes out by cards, the other cannot score honours. The rubber is won by the side that first wins four games of ten points each. The value of the rubber is determined by adding 8 points to the winners’ score for tricks, honours, and slams, and then deducting the score of the losers.

In Solo Whist, the game is complete in one deal, and the value of it is determined by the player’s success or failure in his undertaking, and must be settled for at the end of the hand, according to the table of payments.

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FORMING THE TABLE.

2. Those first in the room have the preference. If, by reason of two or more arriving at the same time, more than four assemble, the preference among the last comers is determined by cutting, a lower cut giving the preference over all cutting higher. A complete table consists of six; the four having the preference play. Partners are determined by cutting; the highest two play against the lowest two; the lowest deals and has the choice of seats and cards.

In Boston and in Solo Whist, a table is complete with four players. In cutting for positions at the table, the lowest has the choice of seats and cards, and the two highest sit opposite each other.

3. If two players cut intermediate cards of equal value, they cut again; the lower of the new cut plays with the original lowest.

4. If three players cut cards of equal value, they cut again. If the fourth has cut the highest card, the two lowest of the new cut are partners, and the lowest deals. If the fourth has cut the lowest card, he deals, and the two highest of the new cut are partners.

5. At the end of a game, if there are more than four belonging to the table, a sufficient number of the players retire to admit those awaiting their turn to play. In determining which players remain in, those who have played a less number of consecutive games have the preference over all who have played a greater number; between two or more who have played an equal number, the preference is determined by cutting, a lower cut giving the preference over all cutting higher.

In Boston, Cayenne, and Solo Whist, at the end of a game a new table must be formed, those already in having no preference over fresh candidates.

6. To entitle one to enter a table, he must declare his intention to do so before any one of the players has cut for the purpose of commencing a new game or of cutting out.

In Boston, Cayenne, and Solo Whist, this rule does not apply.

CUTTING.

7. In cutting, the ace is the lowest card. All must cut from the same pack. If a player exposes more than one card, he must cut again. Drawing cards from the outspread pack may be resorted to in place of cutting.

SHUFFLING.

8. Before every deal, the cards must be shuffled. When two packs are used, the dealer’s partner must collect and shuffle the cards for the ensuing deal and place them at his right hand. In all cases the dealer may shuffle last.

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In Boston and in Cayenne, two packs must be used; and in Boston there must be no shuffling of either pack after the first deal.

9. A pack must not be shuffled during the play of a hand, nor so as to expose the face of any card.

CUTTING TO THE DEALER.

10. The dealer must present the pack to his right hand adversary to be cut; the adversary must take a portion from the top of the pack and place it toward the dealer; at least four cards must be left in each packet; the dealer must reunite the packets by placing the one not removed in cutting upon the other.

11. If, in cutting or reuniting the separate packets, a card is exposed, the pack must be reshuffled by the dealer, and cut again; if there is any confusion of the cards, or doubt as to the place where the pack was separated, there must be a new cut.

In Boston, the pack must be cut again; but not shuffled.

12. If the dealer reshuffles the pack after it has been properly cut, he loses his deal.

In Boston, Cayenne, and Solo Whist, the misdealer must deal again.

DEALING.

13. When the pack has been properly cut and reunited, the dealer must distribute the cards, one at a time, to each player in regular rotation, beginning at his left. The last, which is the trump card, must be turned up before the dealer. At the end of the hand, or when the deal is lost, the deal passes to the player next to the dealer on his left, and so on to each in turn.

In Solo Whist, the cards are distributed three at a time until only four remain in the pack. These are dealt one at a time, and the last turned up for trump.

In Boston and in Cayenne, the cards are dealt four at a time for two rounds, and then five at a time. No trump is turned. After the cards have been dealt the player opposite the dealer presents the still pack to be cut by the player on the dealer’s left, and the top card of the portion left on the table is turned up.

In Boston, Cayenne, or Solo Whist, the deal is never lost. The same dealer deals again with the same pack.

14. There must be a new deal by the same dealer:—

I. If any card except the last is faced in the pack.

II. If, during the deal or during the play of the hand, the pack is proved incorrect or imperfect; but any prior score made with that pack shall stand.

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15. If, during the deal, a card is exposed, the side not in fault may demand a new deal, provided neither of that side has touched a card. If a new deal does not take place, the exposed card is not liable to be called.

16. Any one dealing out of turn, or with his adversaries’ pack, may be stopped before the trump card is turned, after which the deal is valid, and the packs, if changed, so remain.

In Boston and Cayenne, the dealer must be stopped before the last card is dealt.

MISDEALING.

17. It is a misdeal:—

I. If the dealer omits to have the pack cut, and his adversaries discover the error before the trump card is turned, and before looking at any of their cards.

II. If he deals a card incorrectly, and fails to correct the error before dealing another.

III. If he counts the cards on the table or in the remainder of the pack.

IV. If, having a perfect pack, he does not deal to each player the proper number of cards, and the error is discovered before all have played to the first trick.

V. If he looks at the trump card before the deal is completed.

VI. If he places the trump card face downward upon his own or any other player’s cards.

A misdeal loses the deal, unless, during the deal, either of the adversaries touches a card or in any other manner interrupts the dealer.

In Boston, Cayenne, and Solo Whist, the misdealer deals again with the same cards. In Boston he forfeits a red counter to the pool for his error.

THE TRUMP CARD.

18. The dealer must leave the trump card face upward on the table until it is his turn to play to the first trick; if it is left on the table until after the second trick has been turned and quitted, it is liable to be called. After it has been lawfully taken up, it must not be named, and any player naming it is liable to have his highest or his lowest trump called by either adversary. A player may, however, ask what the trump suit is.

This law does not apply to Boston, or Cayenne.

In Boston and in Cayenne, no trump is turned, but a card is cut from the still pack to determine the rank of the suits. See Law 13.

In Cayenne, the trump suit must be named by the dealer or his partner after they have examined their cards. The[190] dealer has the first say, and he may select any of the four suits, or he may announce “grand,” playing for the tricks without any trump suit. In Cayenne, he may announce “nullo,” playing to take as few tricks as possible, there being no trump suit. If the dealer makes his choice, his partner must abide by it; but if the dealer has not a hand to justify him in deciding, he may leave the choice to his partner, who must decide. A declaration once made cannot be changed.

IRREGULARITIES IN THE HANDS.

19. If, at any time after all have played to the first trick, the pack being perfect, a player is found to have either more or less than his correct number of cards and his adversaries have their right number, the latter, upon the discovery of such surplus or deficiency, may consult and shall have the choice:—

I. To have a new deal; or

II. To have the hand played out, in which case the surplus or missing card or cards are not taken into account.

If either of the adversaries also has more or less than his correct number, there must be a new deal.

If any player has a surplus card by reason of an omission to play to a trick, his adversaries can exercise the foregoing privilege only after he has played to the trick following the one in which such omission occurred.

In Boston, if at any time it is discovered that a player opposed to the bidder has less than his proper number of cards, whether through the fault of the dealer, or through having played more than one card to a trick, he and his partners must each pay the bidder for his bid and all over-tricks. If the bidder has less than his proper number of cards, he is put in for one trick at least, and his adversaries may demand the hand to be played out to put him in for over-tricks. In Misère Partout, any player having less than his proper number of cards forfeits five red counters to each of the other players, and the hands are abandoned. If any player has more than the proper number of cards, it is a misdeal, and the misdealer deals again, after forfeiting one red counter to the pool.

In Solo Whist, the deal stands good. Should the player with the incorrect number of cards be the caller or his partner, the hand must be played out. Should the caller make good his proposition, he neither receives nor pays on that hand. If he fails, he must pay. Should the player with the defective hand be the adversary of the caller, he and his partners must pay the stakes on that hand, which may then be abandoned.[191] Should two players have an incorrect number of cards, one of them being the caller, there must be a new deal.

CARDS LIABLE TO BE CALLED.

20. The following cards are liable to be called by either adversary:—

I. Every card faced upon the table otherwise than in the regular course of play, but not including a card led out of turn.

II. Every card thrown with the one led or played to the current trick. The player must indicate the one led or played.

III. Every card so held by a player that his partner sees any portion of its face.

IV. All the cards in a hand lowered or shown by a player so that his partner sees more than one card of it.

V. Every card named by the player holding it.

In Boston and Solo Whist there are no penalties for cards exposed by the single player, because he has no partner to take advantage of the information.

21. All cards liable to be called must be placed and left face upwards on the table. A player must lead or play them when called, provided he can do so without revoking. The call may be repeated at each trick until the card is played. A player cannot be prevented from leading or playing a card liable to be called; if he can get rid of it in the course of play, no penalty remains.

In Boston and in Solo Whist, if the exposed card is a trump, the owner may be called upon by his adversary not to use it for ruffing. If the suit of the exposed card is led, whether trump or not, the adversary may demand that the card be played or not played; or that the highest or lowest of the suit be played. If the owner of the exposed card has no other of the suit, the penalty is paid.

Penalties must be exacted by players in their proper turn, or the right to exact them is lost. For instance: In Solo Whist, A is the proposer, B the acceptor, and B has an exposed card in front of him. When Y plays he should say whether or not he wishes to call the exposed card. If he says nothing, B must await Z’s decision.

22. If a player leads a card better than any his adversaries hold of the suit, and then leads one or more other cards without waiting for his partner to play, the latter may be called upon by either adversary to take the first trick, and the other cards thus improperly played are liable to be called; it makes no difference whether he plays them one after the other, or throws them all on the table[192] together, after the first card is played, the others are liable to be called.

23. A player having a card liable to be called must not play another until the adversaries have stated whether or not they wish to call the card liable to the penalty. If he plays another card without awaiting the decision of the adversaries, such other card also is liable to be called.

LEADING OUT OF TURN.

24. If any player leads out of turn, a suit may be called from him or his partner, the first time it is the turn of either of them to lead. The penalty can be enforced only by the adversary on the right of the player from whom a suit can be lawfully called.

If a player, so called on to lead a suit, has none of it, or if all have played to the false lead, no penalty can be enforced. If all have not played to the trick, the cards erroneously played to such false lead are not liable to be called and must be taken back.

In Boston, if the adversary of the bidder leads out of turn, and the bidder has not played to the trick, the latter may call a suit from the player whose proper turn it is to lead; or, if it is the bidder’s own lead, he may call a suit when next the adversaries obtain the lead; or he may claim the card played in error as an exposed card. If the bidder has played to the trick the error cannot be rectified. Should the bidder lead out of turn, and the player on his left follow the erroneous lead, the error cannot be corrected.

In Misères, a lead out of turn by the bidder’s adversary immediately loses the game, but there is no penalty for leading out of turn in Misère Partout.

PLAYING OUT OF TURN.

25. If the third hand plays before the second, the fourth hand also may play before the second.

26. If the third hand has not played, and the fourth hand plays before the second, the latter may be called upon by the third hand to play his highest or lowest card of the suit led or, if he has none, to trump or not to trump the trick.

In Boston, and in Solo Whist, should an adversary of the single player play out of turn, the bidder may call upon the adversary who has not played to play his highest or lowest of the suit led, or to win or not to win the trick. If the adversary of a Misère player leads or plays out of turn, the bidder may immediately claim the stakes. In Solo Whist, the individual player in fault must pay for himself and for his partners.

ABANDONED HANDS.

27. If all four players throw their cards on the table, face upwards, no further play of that hand is permitted. The result of[193] the hand, as then claimed or admitted, is established, provided that, if a revoke is discovered, the revoke penalty attaches.

In Solo Whist, should the bidder abandon his hand, he and his partner, if any, must pay the stakes and settle for all over-tricks as if they had lost all the remaining tricks. If a player, not the bidder, abandons his hand, his partner or partners may demand the hand to be played out with the abandoned hand exposed, and liable to be called by the adversary. If they defeat the call they win nothing, but the player who abandoned his hand must pay the caller just as if he had been successful. If the partner or partners of the exposed hand lose, they must pay their share of the losses.

REVOKING.

28. A revoke is a renounce in error, not corrected in time. A player renounces in error, when, holding one or more cards of the suit led, he plays a card of a different suit.

A renounce in error may be corrected by the player making it, before the trick in which it occurs has been turned and quitted, unless either he or his partner, whether in his right turn or otherwise, has led or played to the following trick.

29. If a player corrects his mistake in time to save a revoke, the card improperly played by him is liable to be called; any player or players, who have played after him, may withdraw their cards and substitute others; the cards so withdrawn are not liable to be called.

In Boston, if the bidder revokes and corrects himself in time, there is no penalty unless an adversary has played after him, in which case the bidder’s card may be claimed as exposed. The player who followed him may then amend his play. If a player opposed to the bidder discovers and corrects a revoke made by himself or any of his partners, the bidder may either claim the card played in error as exposed, or may call on the revoking player for his highest or lowest of the suit led.

30. The penalty for revoking is the transfer of two tricks from the revoking side to their adversaries; it can be enforced for as many revokes as occur during the hand. The revoking side cannot win the game in that hand; if both sides revoke, neither can win the game in that hand.

In Cayenne and Solo Whist, as a penalty for a revoke, the adversaries of the revoking player may take from him three tricks; or may deduct the value of three tricks from his score; or may add the value of three tricks to their own score. The revoking players cannot score slams or game that hand. All slams must be made independently of the revoke penalty.

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In Boston, the penalty for a revoke on the part of the bidder is that he is put in for one trick, and must pay four red counters into the next pool. Should an adversary of the bidder revoke, he must pay four red counters into the next pool, and he and his partners must pay the bidder as if he had been successful. On the discovery of a revoke in Boston the hands are usually abandoned; but the cards should be shown to the table, in order that each player may be satisfied that no other revoke has been made. A player revoking in Misère Partout pays five red counters to each of his adversaries and the hands are then abandoned.

31. The revoking player and his partner may require the hand in which the revoke has been made, to be played out, and score all points made by them up to the score of six.

In Boston, the hands are abandoned after the revoke is claimed and proved.

In Cayenne, the revoking players must stop at nine.

In Solo Whist, the revoking players must pay all the red counters involved in the call, whether they win or lose, but they may play the hand out to save over-tricks. If the caller or his partner revokes they must jointly pay the losses involved; but if an adversary of the caller revokes, he must individually pay the entire loss unless he can show that the callers would have won in spite of the revoke. Should he be able to do this, his partners must stand their share of the losses, but the revoking player must individually pay for the three tricks taken as the revoke penalty. If the single player revokes, either on solo or abundance, he loses the red counters involved in any case, but may play the hand out to save over-tricks. If the single player in a misère or a slam revokes, the hand is abandoned and he must pay the stakes. If an adversary of a misère or a slam revokes, he must individually pay the whole stakes.

32. At the end of a hand, the claimants of a revoke may search all the tricks. If the cards have been mixed, the claim may be urged and proved, if possible; but no proof is necessary and the revoke is established, if, after it has been claimed, the accused player or his partner mixes the cards before they have been examined to the satisfaction of the adversaries.

33. The revoke can be claimed at any time before the cards have been presented and cut for the following deal, but not thereafter.

MISCELLANEOUS.

34. Any one, during the play of a trick and before the cards have been touched for the purpose of gathering them together, may demand that the players draw their cards.

35. If any one, prior to his partner playing, calls attention in any manner to the trick or to the score, the adversary last to play to[195] the trick may require the offender’s partner to play his highest or lowest of the suit led or, if he has none, to trump or not to trump the trick.

36. If any player says “I can win the rest,” “The rest are ours,” “We have the game,” or words to that effect, his partner’s cards must be laid upon the table and are liable to be called.

37. When a trick has been turned and quitted, it must not again be seen until after the hand has been played. A violation of this law subjects the offender’s side to the same penalty as in case of a lead out of turn.

In Boston, Cayenne, and Solo Whist, it is still the custom to permit looking at the last trick, except in Misères. The penalty in a misère game is the same as for a lead out of turn.

38. If a player is lawfully called upon to play the highest or lowest of a suit, or to trump or not to trump a trick, or to lead a suit, and unnecessarily fails to comply, he is liable to the same penalty as if he had revoked.

39. In all cases where a penalty has been incurred, the offender must await the decision of the adversaries. If either of them, with or without his partner’s consent, demands a penalty to which they are entitled, such decision is final. If the wrong adversary demands a penalty, or a wrong penalty is demanded, none can be enforced.

The following rules belong to the established code of Whist Etiquette. They are formulated with a view to discourage and repress certain improprieties of conduct, therein pointed out, which are not reached by the laws. The courtesy which marks the intercourse of gentlemen will regulate other more obvious cases.

1. No conversation should be indulged in during the play, except such as is allowed by the laws of the game.

2. No player should in any manner whatsoever give any intimation as to the state of his hand or of the game, or of approval or disapproval of a play.

3. No player should lead until the preceding trick is turned and quitted.

4. No player should, after having led a winning card, draw a card from his hand for another lead until his partner has played to the current trick.

5. No player should play a card in any manner so as to call particular attention to it, nor should he demand that the cards be placed in order to attract the attention of his partner.

6. No player should purposely incur a penalty because he is willing to pay it, nor should he make a second revoke in order to conceal one previously made.

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7. No player should take advantage of information imparted by his partner through a breach of etiquette.

8. No player should object to referring a disputed question of fact to a bystander who professes himself uninterested in the result of the game, and able to decide the question.

9. Bystanders should not in any manner call attention to, or give any intimation concerning the play or the state of the game, during the play of a hand. They should not look over the hand of a player without his permission; nor should they walk round the table to look at the different hands.

ERRONEOUS SCORES.

Any error in the trick score may be corrected before the last card has been dealt in the following deal; or if the error occurs in the last hand of a game or rubber, it may be corrected before the score is agreed to. Errors in other scores may be corrected at any time before the final score of the game or rubber is agreed to.

BIDDING.

In Boston, or Solo Whist, any player making a bid must stand by it, and either play or pay. Should he make a bid in error and correct himself, he must stand by the first bid unless he is over-called, when he may either amend his bid or pass.

ENGLISH WHIST LAWS.

THE RUBBER.

1. The rubber is the best of three games. If the first two games are won by the same players, the third game is not played.

SCORING.

2. A game consists of five points. Each trick, above six, counts one point.

3. Honours, i.e., Ace, King, Queen, and Knave of trumps, are thus reckoned:

If a player and his partner, either separately or conjointly, hold—

I. The four honours, they score four points.

II. Any three honours, they score two points.

III. Only two honours, they do not score.

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4. Those players who, at the commencement of a deal, are at the score of four, cannot score honours.

5. The penalty for a revoke (see Law 72) takes precedence of all other scores. Tricks score next. Honours last.

6. Honours, unless claimed before the trump card of the following deal is turned up, cannot be scored.

7. To score honours is not sufficient; they must be called at the end of the hand; if so called, they may be scored at any time during the game.

8. The winners gain—

I. A treble, or game of three points, when their adversaries have not scored.

II. A double, or game of two points, when their adversaries have scored less than three.

III. A single, or game of one point, when their adversaries have scored three or four.

9. The winners of the rubber gain two points (commonly called the rubber points), in addition to the value of their games.

10. Should the rubber have consisted of three games, the value of the losers’ game is deducted from the gross number of points gained by their opponents.

11. If an erroneous score be proved, such mistake can be corrected prior to the conclusion of the game in which it occurred, and such game is not concluded until the trump card of the following deal has been turned up.

12. If an erroneous score, affecting the amount of the rubber, be proved, such mistake can be rectified at any time during the rubber.

CUTTING.

13. The Ace is the lowest card.

14. In all cases, every one must cut from the same pack.

15. Should a player expose more than one card, he must cut again.

FORMATION OF TABLE.

16. If there are more than four candidates, the players are selected by cutting; those first in the room having the preference. The four who cut the lowest cards play first, and cut again to decide on partners; the two lowest play against the two highest; the lowest is the dealer, who has choice of cards and seats, and, having once made his selection, must abide by it.

17. When there are more than six candidates, those who cut the two next lowest cards belong to the table, which is complete with six players; on the retirement of one of those six players, the candidate who cut the next lowest card has a prior right to any aftercomer to enter the table.

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CUTTING CARDS OF EQUAL VALUE.

18. Two players cutting cards of equal value, unless such cards are the two highest, cut again; should they be the two lowest, a fresh cut is necessary to decide which of those two deals.

19. Three players cutting cards of equal value cut again; should the fourth (or remaining) card be the highest, the two lowest of the new cut are partners, the lower of those two the dealer; should the fourth card be the lowest, the two highest are partners, the original lowest the dealer.

CUTTING OUT.

20. At the end of a rubber, should admission be claimed by any one, or by two candidates, he who has, or they who have, played a greater number of consecutive rubbers than the others is, or are, out; but when all have played the same number, they must cut to decide upon the outgoers; the highest are out.

ENTRY AND RE-ENTRY.

21. A candidate wishing to enter a table must declare such intention prior to any of the players having cut a card, either for the purpose of commencing a fresh rubber or of cutting out.

22. In the formation of fresh tables, those candidates who have neither belonged to nor played at any other table have the prior right of entry; the others decide their right of admission by cutting.

23. Any one quitting a table prior to the conclusion of a rubber may, with consent of the other three players, appoint a substitute in his absence during that rubber.

24. A player cutting into one table, whilst belonging to another, loses his right of re-entry into that latter, and takes his chance of cutting in, as if he were a fresh candidate.

25. If any one break up a table, the remaining players have the prior right to him of entry into any other, and should there not be sufficient vacancies at such other table to admit all those candidates, they settle their precedence by cutting.

SHUFFLING

26. The pack must neither be shuffled below the table nor so that the face of any card be seen.

27. The pack must not be shuffled during the play of the hand.

28. A pack, having been played with, must neither be shuffled by dealing it into packets, nor across the table.

29. Each player has a right to shuffle, once only, except as provided by Rule 32, prior to a deal, after a false cut [see Law 34], or when a new deal [see Law 37] has occurred.

30. The dealer’s partner must collect the cards for the ensuing deal, and has the first right to shuffle that pack.

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31. Each player after shuffling must place the cards properly collected, and face downwards, to the left of the player about to deal.

32. The dealer has always the right to shuffle last; but should a card or cards be seen during his shuffling, or whilst giving the pack to be cut, he may be compelled to reshuffle.

THE DEAL.

33. Each player deals in his turn; the right of dealing goes to the left.

34. The player on the dealer’s right cuts the pack, and, in dividing it, must not leave fewer than four cards in either packet; if in cutting, or in replacing one of the two packets on the other, a card be exposed, or if there be any confusion of the cards, or a doubt as to the exact place in which the pack was divided, there must be a fresh cut.

35. When a player, whose duty it is to cut, has once separated the pack, he cannot alter his intention; he can neither reshuffle nor recut the cards.

36. When the pack is cut, should the dealer shuffle the cards, he loses his deal.

A NEW DEAL.

37. There must be a new deal—

I. If during a deal, or during the play of a hand, the pack be proved incorrect or imperfect.

II. If any card, excepting the last, be faced in the pack.

38. If, whilst dealing, a card be exposed by the dealer or his partner, should neither of the adversaries have touched the cards, the latter can claim a new deal; a card exposed by either adversary gives that claim to the dealer, provided that his partner has not touched a card; if a new deal does not take place, the exposed card cannot be called.

39. If, during dealing, a player touch any of his cards, the adversaries may do the same, without losing their privilege of claiming a new deal, should chance give them such option.

40. If, in dealing, one of the last cards be exposed, and the dealer turn up the trump before there is reasonable time for his adversaries to decide as to a fresh deal, they do not thereby lose their privilege.

41. If a player, whilst dealing, look at the trump card, his adversaries have a right to see it, and may exact a new deal.

42. If a player take into the hand dealt to him a card belonging to the other pack, the adversaries, on discovery of the error, may decide whether they will have a fresh deal or not.

A MISDEAL.

43. A misdeal loses the deal.

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44. It is a misdeal—

I. Unless the cards are dealt into four packets, one at a time in regular rotation, beginning with the player to the dealer’s left.

II. Should the dealer place the last (i.e., the trump) card, face downwards, on his own, or any other pack.

III. Should the trump card not come in its regular order to the dealer; but he does not lose his deal if the pack be proved imperfect.

IV. Should a player have fourteen cards, and either of the other three less than thirteen.

V. Should the dealer, under an impression that he has made a mistake, either count the cards on the table or the remainder of the pack.

VI. Should the dealer deal two cards at once, or two cards to the same hand, and then deal a third; but if, prior to dealing that third card, the dealer can, by altering the position of one card only, rectify such error, he may do so, except as provided by the second paragraph of this Law.

VII. Should the dealer omit to have the pack cut to him, and the adversaries discover the error, prior to the trump card being turned up, and before looking at their cards, but not after having done so.

45. A misdeal does not lose the deal if, during the dealing, either of the adversaries touch the cards prior to the dealer’s partner having done so; but should the latter have first interfered with the cards, notwithstanding either or both of the adversaries have subsequently done the same, the deal is lost.

46. Should three players have their right number of cards—the fourth have less than thirteen, and not discover such deficiency until he has played any of his cards, the deal stands good; should he have played, he is as answerable for any revoke he may have made as if the missing card, or cards, had been in his hand; he may search the other pack for it, or them.

47. If a pack, during or after a rubber, be proved incorrect or imperfect, such proof does not alter any past score, game, or rubber; that hand in which the imperfection was detected is null and void; the dealer deals again.

48. Any one dealing out of turn, or with the adversary’s cards, may be stopped before the trump card is turned up, after which the game must proceed as if no mistake had been made.

49. A player can neither shuffle, cut, nor deal for his partner, without the permission of his opponents.

50. If the adversaries interrupt a dealer whilst dealing, either by questioning the score or asserting that it is not his deal, and fail to establish such claim, should a misdeal occur, he may deal again.

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51. Should a player take his partner’s deal and misdeal, the latter is liable to the usual penalty, and the adversary next in rotation to the player who ought to have dealt then deals.

THE TRUMP CARD.

52. The dealer, when it is his turn to play to the first trick, should take the trump card into his hand; if left on the table after the first trick be turned and quitted, it is liable to be called; his partner may at any time remind him of the liability.

53. After the dealer has taken the trump card into his hand, it cannot be asked for; a player naming it at any time during the play of that hand is liable to have his highest or lowest trump called.

54. If the dealer take the trump card into his hand before it is his turn to play, he may be desired to lay it on the table; should he show a wrong card, this card may be called, as also a second, a third, etc., until the trump card be produced.

55. If the dealer declare himself unable to recollect the trump card, his highest or lowest trump may be called at any time during that hand, and unless it cause him to revoke, must be played; the call may be repeated, but not changed, i.e., from highest to lowest, or vice versa, until such card is played.

CARDS LIABLE TO BE CALLED.

56. All exposed cards are liable to be called, and must be left on the table; but a card is not an exposed card when dropped on the floor, or elsewhere below the table. The following are exposed cards:—

I. Two or more cards played at once.

II. Any card dropped with its face upward, or in any way exposed on or above the table, even though snatched up so quickly that no one can name it.

57. If any one play to an imperfect trick the best card on the table, or lead one which is a winning card as against his adversaries, and then lead again, or play several such winning cards, one after the other, without waiting for his partner to play, the latter may be called on to win, if he can, the first or any other of those tricks, and the other cards thus improperly played are exposed cards.

58. If a player, or players, under the impression that the game is lost—or won—or for other reasons—throw his or their cards on the table face upward, such cards are exposed, and liable to be called, each player’s by the adversary; but should one player alone retain his hand, he cannot be forced to abandon it.

59. If all four players throw their cards on the table face upward, the hands are abandoned; and no one can again take up his cards. Should this general exhibition show that the game[202] might have been saved, or won, neither claim can be entertained, unless a revoke be established. The revoking players are then liable to the following penalties: they cannot under any circumstances win the game by the result of that hand, and the adversaries may add three to their score, or deduct three from that of the revoking players.

60. A card detached from the rest of the hand so as to be named is liable to be called; but should the adversary name a wrong card, he is liable to have a suit called when he or his partner have the lead.

61. If a player who has rendered himself liable to have the highest or lowest of a suit called, fail to play as desired, or if when called on to lead one suit he lead another, having in his hand one or more cards of that suit demanded, he incurs the penalty of a revoke.

62. If any player lead out of turn, his adversaries may either call the card erroneously led, or may call a suit from him or his partner when it is next the turn of either of them to lead.

63. If any player lead out of turn, and the three others have followed him, the trick is complete, and the error cannot be rectified; but if only the second, or the second and third, have played to the false lead, their cards, on discovery of the mistake, are taken back; there is no penalty against any one, excepting the original offender, whose card may be called, or he, or his partner, when either of them has next the lead, may be compelled to play any suit demanded by the adversaries.

64. In no case can a player be compelled to play a card which would oblige him to revoke.

65. The call of a card may be repeated until such card has been played.

66. If a player called on to lead a suit have none of it, the penalty is paid.

CARDS PLAYED IN ERROR, OR NOT PLAYED TO A TRICK.

67. If the third hand play before the second, the fourth hand may play before his partner.

68. Should the third hand not have played, and the fourth play before his partner, the latter may be called on to win, or not to win the trick.

69. If any one omit playing to a former trick, and such error be not discovered until he has played to the next, the adversaries may claim a new deal; should they decide that the deal stand good, the surplus card at the end of the hand is considered to have been played to the imperfect trick, but does not constitute a revoke therein.

70. If any one play two cards to the same trick, or mix his trump, or other card, with a trick to which it does not properly[203] belong, and the mistake be not discovered until the hand is played out, he is answerable for all consequent revokes he may have made. If, during the play of the hand, the error be detected, the tricks may be counted face downward, in order to ascertain whether there be among them a card too many; should this be the case, they may be searched, and the card restored; the player is, however, liable for all revokes which he may have meanwhile made.

THE REVOKE.

71. Is when a player, holding one or more cards of the suit led, plays a card of a different suit.

72. The penalty for a revoke—

I. Is at the option of the adversaries, who at the end of the hand may either take three tricks from the revoking player or deduct three points from his score, or add three to their own score;

II. Can be claimed for as many revokes as occur during the hand;

III. Is applicable only to the score of the game in which it occurs;

IV. Cannot be divided, i.e., a player cannot add one or two to his own score and deduct one or two from the revoking player;

V. Takes precedence of every other score—e.g., the claimants two, their opponents nothing; the former add three to their score, and thereby win a treble game, even should the latter have made thirteen tricks, and held four honours.

73. A revoke is established if the trick in which it occur be turned and quitted, i.e., the hand removed from that trick after it has been turned face downward on the table, or if either the revoking player or his partner, whether in his right turn or otherwise, lead or play to the following trick.

74. A player may ask his partner whether he has not a card of the suit which he has renounced; should the question be asked before the trick is turned and quitted, subsequent turning and quitting does not establish the revoke, and the error may be corrected, unless the question be answered in the negative, or unless the revoking player or his partner have led or played to the following trick.

75. At the end of the hand, the claimants of a revoke may search all the tricks.

76. If a player discover his mistake in time to save a revoke, the adversaries, whenever they think fit, may call the card thus played in error, or may require him to play his highest or lowest card to that trick in which he has renounced; any player or[204] players who have played after him may withdraw their cards and substitute others: the cards withdrawn are not liable to be called.

77. If a revoke be claimed, and the accused player or his partner mix the cards before they have been sufficiently examined by the adversaries, the revoke is established. The mixing of the cards only renders the proof of a revoke difficult; but does not prevent the claim and possible establishment of the penalty.

78. A revoke cannot be claimed after the cards have been cut for the following deal.

79. The revoking player and his partner may, under all circumstances, require the hand in which the revoke has been detected to be played out.

80. If a revoke occur, be claimed and proved, bets on the odd trick or on amount of score, must be decided by the actual state of the latter, after the penalty is paid.

81. Should the players on both sides subject themselves to the penalty of one or more revokes, neither can win the game; each is punished at the discretion of his adversary.

82. In whatever way the penalty be enforced, under no circumstances can a player win the game by the result of the hand during which he has revoked; he cannot score more than four. (See Law 61.)

CALLING FOR NEW CARDS.

83. Any player (on paying for them) before, but not after, the pack be cut for the deal, may call for fresh cards. He must call for two new packs, of which the dealer takes his choice.

GENERAL RULES.

84. Where a player and his partner have an option of exacting from their adversaries one of two penalties, they should agree who is to make the election, but must not consult with one another which of the two penalties it is advisable to exact; if they do so consult, they lose their right; and if either of them, with or without consent of his partner, demand a penalty to which he is entitled, such decision is final.

[This rule does not apply in exacting the penalties for a revoke; partners have then a right to consult.]

85. Any one during the play of a trick, or after the four cards are played, and before, but not after, they are touched for the purpose of gathering them together, may demand that the cards be placed before their respective players.

86. If any one, prior to his partner playing, should call attention to the trick—either by saying that it is his, or by naming his card, or, without being required so to do, by drawing it toward him—the adversaries may require that opponent’s partner to play the highest or lowest of the suit then led, or to win or lose the trick.

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87. In all cases where a penalty has been incurred, the offender is bound to give reasonable time for the decision of his adversaries.

88. If a bystander make any remark which calls the attention of a player or players to an oversight affecting the score, he is liable to be called on, by the players only, to pay the stakes and all bets on that game or rubber.

89. A bystander, by agreement among the players, may decide any question.

90. A card or cards torn or marked must be either replaced by agreement, or new cards called at the expense of the table.

91. Any player may demand to see the last trick turned, and no more. Under no circumstances can more than eight cards be seen during the play of the hand, viz.: the four cards on the table which have not been turned and quitted, and the last trick turned.

ETIQUETTE OF WHIST.

The following rules belong to the established Etiquette of Whist. They are not called laws, as it is difficult—in some cases impossible—to apply any penalty to their infraction, and the only remedy is to cease to play with players who habitually disregard them:

Two packs of cards are invariably used at Clubs; if possible, this should be adhered to.

Any one, having the lead and several winning cards to play, should not draw a second card out of his hand until his partner has played to the first trick, such act being a distinct intimation that the former has played a winning card.

No intimation whatever, by word or gesture, should be given by a player as to the state of his hand, or of the game.

A player who desires the cards to be placed, or who demands to see the last trick, should do it for his own information only, and not in order to invite the attention of his partner.

No player should object to refer to a bystander who professes himself uninterested in the game, and able to decide any disputed question of facts; as to who played any particular card—whether honours were claimed though not scored, or vice versa—etc., etc.

It is unfair to revoke purposely; having made a revoke, a player is not justified in making a second in order to conceal the first.

Until the players have made such bets as they wish, bets should not be made with bystanders.

Bystanders should make no remark, neither should they by word or gesture give any intimation of the state of the game until concluded and scored, nor should they walk round the table to look at the different hands.

No one should look over the hand of a player against whom he is betting.

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DUMMY.

Is played by three players.

One hand, called Dummy’s, lies exposed on the table.

The laws are the same as those of Whist, with the following exceptions:

I. Dummy deals at the commencement of each rubber.

II. Dummy is not liable to the penalty for a revoke, as his adversaries see his cards; should he revoke, and the error not be discovered until the trick is turned and quitted, it stands good.

III. Dummy being blind and deaf, his partner is not liable to any penalty for an error whence he can gain no advantage. Thus, he may expose some or all of his cards—or may declare that he has the game, or trick, etc., without incurring any penalty; if, however, he lead from Dummy’s hand when he should lead from his own, or vice versa, a suit may be called from the hand which ought to have led.

DOUBLE DUMMY.

Is played by two players, each having a Dummy or exposed hand for his partner. The laws of the game do not differ from Dummy Whist, except in the following special Law: There is no misdeal, as the deal is a disadvantage.


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THE POKER FAMILY.

Properly speaking, Poker is not the founder, but simply the most famous representative of a very ancient and always very popular family of games, all of which can be traced to one source, the old French game of Gilet, which was undoubtedly of Italian origin, perhaps a variety of Primero. Gilet we find changed to Brelan in the time of Charles IX., and although Brelan is no longer played, the word is still used in all French games to signify triplets, and “brelan-carré” is the common French term for four of a kind in le poker Américain. From Brelan we trace the French games of Bouillotte, and Ambigu, and the English game of Brag; but the game of poker, as first played in the United States, five cards to each player from a twenty-card pack, is undoubtedly the Persian game of as nas.

The peculiar and distinguishing characteristic of Poker we find well described by Seymour, in his chapter on “Brag,” in the “Court Gamester,” 1719: “The endeavour to impose on the judgment of the rest who play, and particularly on the person who chiefly offers to oppose you, by boasting or bragging of the cards in your hand. Those who by fashioning their looks and gestures, can give a proper air to their actions, as will so deceive an unskilful antagonist, that sometimes a pair of fives, trays or deuces, in such a hand, with the advantage of his composed countenance, and subtle manner of over-awing the other, shall out-brag a much greater hand, and win the stakes, with great applause and laughter on his side from the whole company.”

Quite a number of card games retain the feature of pairs, triplets, sequences, and flushes, but omit the element of brag or bluff, and can therefore hardly be considered full-blooded members of the poker family. Whiskey Poker, for instance, has really little or nothing in common with the true spirit of poker, and is simply the very ancient game of Commerce, played with five cards instead of three. The descriptions of this game in the earliest Hoyles betray its French origin; particularly in the use of the piquet pack; the French custom of cutting to the left and dealing to the right; and the use of the words “brelan,” and “tricon.” In later descriptions of the “new form” of Commerce, about 1835, we find 52 cards are used, and dealt from left to right, and the names of the combinations are changed to “pairs-royal,” “sequences,” and “flushes.”

There appears to be little or nothing modern in the game of[208] Poker but the increased number of cards dealt to each player, which makes it possible for one to hold double combinations, such as two pairs, triplets with a pair, etc. The old games were all played with three cards only, and the “brelan-carré,” or four of a kind, could be made only by combining the three cards held by the player with the card which was sometimes turned up on the talon, or remainder of the pack. The blind, the straddle, the raise, the bluff, table stakes, and freeze-out, are all to be found in Bouillotte, which flourished in the time of the French Revolution, and the “draw” from the remainder of the pack existed in the old French game of Ambigu.

The first mention we have of poker in print is in Green’s Reformed Gambler, which contains a description of a game of poker played on a river steamer in June, 1834. The author undertook a series of investigations with a view to discovering the origin of poker, the results of which were published in the N.Y. Sun, May 22, 1904. It would seem that poker came from Persia to this country by way of New Orleans. The French settlers in Louisiana, recognizing the similarity between the combinations held in the newcomer from the East, as nas, and those with which they were already familiar in their own game of poque, called the Persian game poque, instead of as nas, and our present word, “poker,” seems to be nothing but a mispronunciation of the French term, dividing it into two syllables, as if it were “po-que.”

There is no authoritative code of laws for the game of Poker, simply because the best clubs do not admit the game to their card rooms, and consequently decry the necessity for adopting any laws for its government. In the absence of any official code, the daily press is called upon for hundreds of decisions every week. The author has gathered and compared a great number of these newspaper rulings, and has drawn from them and other sources to form a brief code of poker laws, which will be found amply sufficient to cover all irregularities for which any penalty can be enforced, or which interfere with the rights of any individual player.

DRAW POKER.

CARDS. Poker is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, ranking: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2; the ace being the highest or lowest in play, according to the wish of the holder, but ranking below the deuce in cutting. In some localities a special pack of sixty cards is used, the eight extra cards being elevens and twelves in each suit, which rank above the ten, and below the Jack. It is very unusual to play Poker with two packs.

11♣ 12♣

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COUNTERS, or CHIPS. Although not absolutely necessary, counters are much more convenient than money. The most common are red, white, and blue circular chips, which should “stack up” accurately, so that equal numbers may be measured without counting them. The red are usually worth five whites, and the blue worth five reds, or twenty-five whites. At the beginning of the game one player should act as banker, and be responsible for all counters at the table. It is usual for each player to purchase, at the beginning of the game, the equivalent of 100 white counters in white, red, and blue.

PLAYERS. Poker may be played by any number of persons from two to seven. When there are more than seven candidates for play, two tables should be formed, unless the majority vote against it. In some localities it is the custom for the dealer to take no cards when there are eight players, which is thought to make a better game than two tables of only four players each. When the sixty-card pack is used, eight players may take cards.

CUTTING. The players who shall form the table, and their positions at the beginning of the game, must be decided by throwing round a card to each candidate, face up, or by drawing cards from an outspread pack. If there are more than eight candidates, the four cutting the highest cards should play together at one table, and the others at another table. If there are an even number of candidates, the tables divide evenly, but if the number is odd, the smaller table is formed by those cutting the highest cards.

The table formed, the pack must be shuffled and spread, and positions drawn for. The player cutting the lowest card has the choice of seats, and must deal the first hand. The player cutting the next lowest has the next choice, and so on, until all are seated.

TIES. If the first cut does not decide, those tying must cut again. Should two or more players cut cards of equal value, the new cut will decide nothing but the tie; for even should one of those cutting to decide a tie draw a card lower than one previously cut by another player, the original low cannot be deprived of his right. For instance: there are six players.

First cut is 🂥 🃘 🃋 🂷 🃞 🃈 Second cut is (none) 🂴 (none) (none) (none) 🃒

The 5 and 7 have the first and second choice of seats; the 2 and 4 the third and fourth choice.

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PLAYERS’ POSITIONS. There are only three distinctive positions at the poker table: the dealer; the pone; and the age. The pone is the player on the dealer’s right, and the age is the one on his left.

STAKES. Before play begins, or a card is dealt, the value of the counters must be decided, and a limit must be agreed upon. There are four limitations in Draw Poker, and they govern or fix the maximum of the four principal stakes: the blind; the straddle; the ante; and the bet or raise.

The blind is the amount put up by the age before he sees anything, and should be limited to one white counter, as the blind is the smallest stake in the game. In some places it is permissible for the age to make the blind any amount he pleases within half the betting limit; but such a practice is a direct violation of the principles of the game, which require that the amount of the blind shall bear a fixed proportion to the limit of the betting.

The straddle is a double blind, sometimes put up by the player to the left of the age, and like the blind, without seeing anything. This allows the player on the left of the straddler to double again, or put up four times the amount of the original blind. This straddling process is usually limited to one-fourth of the betting limit; that is, if the betting limit is fifty counters, the doubling of the blind must cease when a player puts up sixteen, for another double would carry it to thirty-two, which would be more than half the limit for a bet or raise.

The ante is the amount put up by each player after he has seen his cards, but before he draws to improve his hand. The terms “ante” and “blind” are often confused. The blind is a compulsory stake, and must be put up before the player has seen anything. He does not even know whether or not he will be dealt a foul hand, or whether it will be a misdeal. He has not even seen the cards cut. The ante, on the other hand, is a voluntary bet, and is a sort of entrance fee, which is paid before the hand is complete, but after the first part of it has been seen. The ante is always twice the amount of the blind, whatever that may be. If the blind has been increased by the process of straddling, the ante must be twice the amount of the last straddle, but must not exceed the betting limit. This is why the straddles are limited.

The largest bet, or raise, which a player is allowed to make is generally known as the limit. This limit is not the greatest amount that may be bet on one hand, but is the maximum amount by which one player may increase his bet over that of another player. For instance: If no one has bet, A may bet the limit on his hand; B may then put up a similar amount, which is called seeing him, and may then raise him any further sum within the limit fixed for betting. If B raises the limit, it is obvious that he has placed in the pool twice the amount of the betting limit; but[211] his raise over A’s bet is within the betting limit. If another player should raise B again, he would be putting up three times the limit; A’s bet, B’s raise, and his own raise.

In the absence of any definite arrangement, it is usual to make the betting limit fifty times the amount of the blind. That is, if the value of the blind, or one white counter, is five cents, the limit of a bet or raise will be two dollars and a half, or two blue counters. This fixes the ante at two white counters, or ten cents, in the absence of straddles, and limits the straddling to the fourth player from the age, or sixteen white counters. This proportion makes a very fair game, and gives a player some opportunity to vary his betting according to his estimate of the value of his hand. Where the blind is five cents, the ante ten, and the limit twenty-five, the game ceases to be Poker, and becomes a species of show-down. It is universally admitted by good judges that a player can lose more money at twenty-five cent show-down than he will at two-and-a-half Poker.

There are several other variations in the manner of arranging the stakes and the betting limits, but they will be better understood after the game itself has been described.

DEALING. The age having put up the amount of the blind, and the cards having been shuffled by any player who chooses to avail himself of the privilege, the dealer last, they are presented to the pone to be cut. The pone may either cut them, or signify that he does not wish to do so by tapping the pack with his knuckles. Should the pone decline to cut, no other player can insist on his so doing, nor do it for him. Beginning on his left, the dealer distributes the cards face down one at a time in rotation until each player has received five cards. The deal passes to the left, and each player deals in turn.

IRREGULARITIES IN THE DEAL. The following rules regarding the deal should be strictly observed:—

If any card is found faced in the pack the dealer must deal again. Should the dealer, or the wind, turn over any card, the player to whom it is dealt must take it; but the same player cannot be compelled to take two exposed cards. Should such a combination occur, there must be a fresh deal by the same dealer. If the player exposes his cards himself, he has no remedy.

Should any player receive more or less than his correct number of cards, and discover the error before he looks at any card in his hand, or lifts it from the table, he may demand a fresh deal if no bet has been made; or he may ask the dealer to give him another from the pack if he has too few; or to draw a card if he has too many. Cards so drawn must not be exposed, but should be placed on the bottom of the pack.

If the number of the hands dealt does not agree with the number of players, there must be a new deal.

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If two or more cards are dealt at a time, the dealer may take back the card or cards improperly dealt if he discovers the error before dealing to the next player; otherwise there must be a new deal.

A misdeal does not lose the deal. The misdealer must deal again.

Should a player take up his hand, or look at any card in it, he is not entitled to any remedy. If he has more or less than the proper number of cards, his hand is foul, and must be abandoned, the player forfeiting any interest he may have in that deal, and any stake he may have put up on that hand. In all gambling houses, the invariable rule is to call a short hand foul; although there should be no objection to playing against a man with only four cards, which cannot be increased to five, even by the draw.

STRADDLING. During the deal, or at any time before he looks at any card in his hand, the player to the left of the age may straddle the blind by putting up double the amount put up by the age. The only privilege this secures to the straddler is that of having the last say as to whether or nor he will make good his ante and draw cards. Should he refuse to straddle, no other player can do so; but if he straddles, the player on his left can straddle him again by doubling the amount he puts up, which will be four times the amount of the blind. This will open the privilege to the next player on the left again, and so on until the limit of straddling is reached; but if one player refuses to straddle, no other following him can do so. Good players seldom or never straddle, as the only effect of it is to increase the amount of the ante.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The cards dealt, the players take up and examine their hands. The careful poker player always “spreads” his cards before taking them up, to be sure that he has neither more nor less than five, and he lifts them in such a way that the palm and fingers of his right hand conceal the face of the first card, while the thumb of the left hand separates the others just sufficiently to allow him to read the index or “squeezer” marks on the edges.

Spreading. Squeezing.

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The object of this examination is to ascertain the value of the hand dealt to him, and to see whether or not it is worth while trying to improve it by discarding certain cards and drawing others in their place. The player should not only be thoroughly familiar with the relative value of the various combinations which may be held at Poker, but should have some idea of the chances for and against better combinations being held by other players, and should also know the odds against improving any given combination by drawing to it.

The value of this technical knowledge will be obvious when it is remembered that a player may have a hand dealt to him which he knows is comparatively worthless as it is, and the chances for improving which are only one in twelve, but which he must bet on at odds of one in three, or abandon it. Such a proceeding would evidently be a losing game, for if the experiment were tried twelve times the player would win once only, and would lose eleven times. This would be paying eleven dollars to win three; yet poker players are continually doing this.

RANK OF THE HANDS. The various combinations at Poker outrank one another in the following order, beginning with the lowest. Cards with a star over them add nothing to the value of the hand, and may be discarded. The figures on the right are the odds against such a hand being dealt to any individual player.

Five cards of various suits; not in sequence, and without a pair. 🂡* 🃘* 🂶* 🂴* 🂢* Even
One Pair. Two cards of one kind and three useless cards. 🂨 🃘 🃞* 🂭* 🂴* 34 to 25
Two Pairs. Two of one kind; two of another kind; and one useless card. 🂫 🃋 🂣 🃓 🂹* 20 to 1
Threes. Three of one kind, and two useless cards. 🃉 🂹 🃙 🂭* 🂢* 46 to 1
[214]Straight. All five cards in sequence, but of various suits. 🃉 🂸 🃗 🃆 🂥 254 to 1
Flush. All five cards of one suit, but not in sequence. 🂡 🂮 🂨 🂥 🂣 508 to 1
Full Hand. Three of one kind, and two of another kind; no useless cards. 🃅 🂥 🃕 🂽 🂭 693 to 1
Fours. Four cards of one kind, and one useless card. 🃆 🂦 🃖 🂶 🂾* 4164 to 1
Straight flush. Five cards of the same suit, in sequence with one another. 🃈 🃇 🃆 🃅 🃄 72192 to 1
Royal Flush. A straight flush which is ace high. 🃑 🃞 🃝 🃛 🃚 649739 to 1

When hands are of the same rank, their relative value is determined by the denomination of the cards they contain. For instance: A hand without a pair, sequence, or flush is called by its highest card; “ace high,” or “Jack high,” as the case may be. As between two such hands, the one containing the highest card would be the better, but either would be outclassed by a hand with a pair in it, however small. A hand with a pair of nines in it would outrank one with a pair of sevens, even though the cards accompanying the nines were only a deuce, three and four, while those with the sevens were an ace, King and Queen. But should the pairs be alike in both hands; such as tens, the highest card outside the pair would decide the rank of the hands, and if those were also alike, the next card, or perhaps the fifth would have to be considered. Should the three odd cards in each hand be identical, the hands would be a tie, and would divide any pool to which each had a claim. Two flushes would decide their rank in the same manner. If both were ace and Jack high, the third card in one being a nine, and in the other an eight, the nine would win. In full hands the rank of the triplets decides the value of the hand. Three Queens and a pair of deuces will[215] beat three Jacks and a pair of aces. In straights, the highest card of the sequence wins; not necessarily the highest card in the hand, for a player may have a sequence of A 2 3 4 5, which is only five high, and would be beaten by a sequence of 2 3 4 5 6. The ace must either begin or end a sequence, for a player is not allowed to call such a combination as Q K A 2 3 a straight.

It was evidently the intention of those who invented Poker that the hands most difficult to obtain should be the best, and should outrank hands that occurred more frequently. A glance at the table of odds will show that this principle has been carried out as far as the various denominations of hands go; but when we come to the members of the groups the principle is violated. In hands not containing a pair, for instance, ace high will beat Jack high, but it is much more common to hold ace high than Jack high. The exact proportion is 503 to 127. A hand of five cards only seven high but not containing a pair, is rarer than a flush; the proportion being 408 to 510. When we come to two pairs, we find the same inversion of probability and value. A player will hold “aces up,” that is, a pair of aces and another pair inferior to aces, twelve times as often as he will hold “threes up.” In the opinion of the author, in all hands that do not contain a pair, “seven high” should be the best instead of the lowest, and ace high should be the lowest. In hands containing two pairs, “threes up” should be the highest, and “aces up” the lowest.

ECCENTRIC HANDS. In addition to the regular poker hands, which are those already given, there are a few combinations which are played in some parts of the country, especially in the South, either as matter of local custom or by agreement. When any of these are played, it would be well for the person who is not accustomed to them to have a distinct understanding in advance, just what combinations shall be allowed and what hands they will beat. There are four of these eccentric hands, and the figures on the right are the odds against their being dealt to any individual player:

Blaze. Five picture cards. Beat two pairs; but lose to three of a kind. 🂻 🃝 🃍 🃎 🂮 3008 to 1
Tiger. Must be seven high and deuce low; without a pair, sequence or flush. It beats a straight; but loses to a flush. 🃇 🂦 🂥 🂳 🃒 636 to 1
[216]Skip, or Dutch Straight. Any sequence of alternate cards, of various suits. Beats two pairs and a blaze. 🂭 🂺 🃘 🃆 🃔 423 to 1
Round-the-Corner. Any straight in which the ace connects the top and bottom. Beats threes; but any regular straight will beat it. 🂾 🂱 🃂 🃃 🃔 848 to 1

The rank of these extra hands has evidently been assigned by guess-work. The absurdity of their appraised value will be evident if we look at the first of them, the blaze, which is usually played to beat two pairs. As it is impossible to have a blaze which does not contain two pairs of court cards, all that they beat is aces up or kings up. If it were ranked, like other poker hands, by the difficulty of getting it, a blaze should beat a full hand.

All these hands are improperly placed in the scale of poker values, as will be seen by comparing the odds against them. In any games to which these eccentric hands are admitted, the rank of all the combinations would be as follows, if poker principles were followed throughout:—

Denomination. Odds Against.
One pair to 1
Two pairs 20 to 1
Three of a kind 46 to 1
Sequence or straight 254 to 1
Skip or Dutch straight 423 to 1
Flush 508 to 1
Tiger [Big or Little Dog] 636 to 1
Full hand 693 to 1
Round-the-corner straight 848 to 1
Blaze 3008 to 1
Four of a kind 4164 to 1
Straight flush 72192 to 1
Royal Flush [Ace high] 649739 to 1

When the true rank of these eccentric hands is not allowed, local custom must decide what they will beat.

JOKER POKER, or MISTIGRIS. It is not uncommon to leave the joker, or blank card, in the pack. The player to whom this card is dealt may call it anything he pleases. If he has a pair of aces, and the joker, he may call them three aces. If he has four clubs, and the joker, he may call it a flush; or he may make[217] the joker fill out a straight. If he has four of a kind, and the joker, he can beat a royal flush by calling his hand five of a kind. In case of ties, the hand with the mistigris wins; that is to say, an ace and the joker will beat two aces.

A player holding the joker may even call it a duplicate of a card already in his hand. For instance; he might hold the A J 8 5 of hearts and the joker against the A K Q 7 3 of clubs. If he calls the joker the king of hearts, the club flush still beats him as it is queen next. He must call it the ace, which makes his flush ace-ace high.

PROBABILITIES. In estimating the value of his hand as compared to that of any other player, before the draw, the theory of probabilities is of little or no use, and the calculations will vary with the number of players engaged. For instance: If five are playing, some one should have two pairs every fourth deal, because in four deals twenty hands will be given out. If seven are playing, it is probable that five of them will hold a pair of some kind before the draw. Unfortunately, these calculations are not of the slightest practical use to a poker player, because although three of a kind may not be dealt to a player more than once in forty-five times on the average, it is quite a common occurrence for two players to have threes dealt to each of them at the same time. The considerations which must guide the player in judging the comparative value of his hand, both before and after the draw, must be left until we come to the suggestions for good play.

THE ANTE. The player to the left of the age is the one who must make the first announcement of his opinion of his hand, unless he has straddled, in which case the player on the left of the last straddler has the first “say.” If he considers his hand good enough to draw to, let us say a pair of Kings, he must place in the pool, or toward the centre of the table, double the amount of the blind, or of the last straddle, if any. This is called the ante, because it is made before playing the hand, whereas the blind is made before seeing it. The player is not restricted to double the amount of the blind or straddle; he may bet as much more as he pleases within the limit fixed at the beginning of the game. For instance: If there has been only one straddle he must put up four white counters or pass out of the game for that deal. But if he puts up the four, he may put up as many more as he pleases within the limit, which is two blues, or fifty whites. This is called raising the ante. If he does not care to pay twice the amount of the blind or straddle for the privilege of drawing cards to improve his hand, he must throw his cards face downward on the table in front of the player whose turn it will be to deal next. Reasonable time must be allowed for a player to make his decision; but having made it, he must abide by it; a hand once[218] thrown down cannot be taken up again, and counters once placed in the pool, and the hand removed from them, cannot be taken out again, even though placed in the pool by mistake.

The player who has the first say having made his decision, the player next him on the left must then decide. He must put into the pool an amount equal to that deposited by the first player, or abandon his hand. Suppose there has been no straddle, and that all conclude to stay, as it is called. They each in turn put up two white counters until it comes to the age. The one white counter he has already put up as a blind belongs to the pool, but by adding one to it he can make his ante good, and draw cards, always provided no player has raised the ante. If any player has put more counters into the pool than the amount of the ante, all the other players must put up a like amount, or throw down their hands. Suppose five play, and A has the age. B antes two counters, and C puts up seven, the ante and a raise of five. If D and E come in, they must put up seven counters also; and the age, A, must put up six to make his ante good. It now comes to B, who must either lose the two he has already put up, or add five more to them. Let us suppose that D puts up the seven, and that E, the dealer, puts up twelve. This will force the age to put up eleven; B to put up ten; and C to put up five more. This will make each player’s ante an equal amount, twelve counters, and they will then be ready to draw cards. No one can now raise the ante any further, because it is no one’s turn to “say.”

It will thus be seen that every player in his turn can do one of three things, which are sometimes called the a b c of Poker: He can Abdicate; by throwing down his hand, and abandoning whatever money he has already placed in the pool. He can Better; by putting up more money than any player before him, which is sometimes called “going better.” Or, he can Call, by making his amount in the pool equal to the highest bet already made.

Should any player increase the ante to such an extent that none of the others care to call him, they must of course throw down their hands, and as there is no one to play against him, the one who made the last increase in the ante takes down all the counters in the pool. This is called taking the pot, and the cards are gathered, shuffled, and dealt again, the deal passing to the player who was the age.

DRAWING CARDS. All those who have made the ante good have the privilege of discarding, face downward, as many cards as they please, in the place of which they may draw others. The age has the first draw, and can take any number of cards from one to five, or he may stand pat, refusing to draw any. A player cannot receive from the dealer more or less cards than he discards; so that if a person is allowed to play with a short hand, of four cards only, he will still have only four cards after[219] the draw. If his hand was foul, it will remain so after the draw. In drawing, a player may keep or discard what cards he pleases. There is no rule to prevent his throwing away a pair of aces and keeping three clubs if he is so inclined; but the general practice is for the player to retain whatever pairs or triplets he may have, and to draw to them. Four cards of a straight or a flush may be drawn to in the same way, and some make a practice of drawing to one or two high cards, such as an ace and a king, when they have no other chance. Some hands offer opportunities to vary the draw. For instance: A player has dealt to him a small pair; but finds he has also four cards of a straight. He can discard three cards and draw to the pair; or one card, and draw to the straight; or two cards, keeping his ace in the hope of making two good pairs, aces up. The details of the best methods of drawing to various combinations will be discussed when we come to suggestions for good play.

🂱 🂴 🃒 🂣 🃄

In drawing cards, each player in turn who has made good his ante, beginning with the age, must ask the dealer for the number of cards he wants. The demand must be made so that every player can hear, because after the cards have been delivered by the dealer no one has the right to be informed how many cards any player drew. When the dealer comes to his own hand, he must distinctly announce the number of cards he takes. He must also inform any player asking him how many cards he took, provided the question is put before the player asking it has made a bet, and it is put by a player who has made good his ante to draw cards.

In dealing the cards for the draw, the pack is not cut again, the cards being dealt from the top, beginning where the deal before the draw left off. As each player asks for his cards he must discard those he wants replaced, and he must receive the entire number he asks for before the next player is helped. In some places it is the custom for all those who have made good the ante to discard before any cards are given out. This is not good poker, as it prevents the dealer from seeing that the number discarded is equal to the number asked for. Should any card be found faced in the pack, it must be placed on the table among the discards. Should any card be exposed by the dealer in giving out the cards, or be blown over by the wind before the player has touched it, such card must not be taken by the player under any circumstances, but must be placed with the discards on the table. A player whose card is exposed in this manner does not receive a card to take its place until all the other players have been helped. [The object of this rule is to prevent a dealer from altering the run of the cards in the draw.]

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Should a player ask for an incorrect number of cards and they be given him, he must take them if the next player has been helped. If too many, he must discard before seeing them. If too few, he must play them. If he has taken them up and has too many, his hand is foul, and shuts him out of that pool. If the dealer gives himself more cards than he needs he is compelled to take them. For instance: He draws three cards to a pair; but on taking up his hand he finds he had triplets, and really wanted only two cards. He cannot change his draw, and must take the three cards he has dealt off. There is a penalty for not following the strict rule of the game, which is for each player, including the dealer, to discard before he draws.

Should the dealer give any player more cards than he asked for, and the player discover the error before taking them up or looking at any of them, the dealer must withdraw the surplus card, and place it on the top of the pack. Should the dealer give a player fewer cards than he asks for, he must supply the deficiency when his attention is called to it, without waiting to supply the other players. If a player has more or less than five cards after the draw, his hand is foul, and he must abandon it, together with all he may have already staked in the pool.

The dealer may be asked how many cards he drew; but he is not allowed to say how many cards he gave to any other player. Each player must watch the draw for himself.

The last card of the pack must not be dealt. When only two cards remain, the discards and abandoned hands must be gathered, shuffled, and presented to the pone to be cut, and the deal then completed.

BETTING UP THE HANDS. All those who made good the ante having been supplied with cards, the next player who holds cards on the left of the age must make the first bet. Should the age have declined to make good his ante, or have passed out before the draw, that does not transfer the privilege of having the last say to any other player; because the peculiar privilege of the age,—having the last say,—is given in consideration of the blind, which he is compelled to pay, and no other player can have that privilege, because no other player is obliged to play. Even if a player has straddled the blind, he must still make the first bet after the draw, because he straddled of his own free will, and knew at the time that the only advantage the straddle would give him was the last say as to whether or not he would make good his ante and draw cards.

If the player next to the age has passed out before the draw, the next player to the left who still holds cards must make the first bet. The player whose turn it is to bet must either do so, or throw his hand face downward in front of the player whose turn it will be to deal next. If he bets, he can put up any amount from[221] one white counter to the limit, two blues. It then becomes the turn of the player next on his left who still holds cards to abdicate, better, or call. If he calls, he does so by placing in the pool an amount equal to that staked by the last player, and it then becomes the turn of the next player on the left to say what he will do. But if he goes better, he adds to the amount staked by the player on his right any further sum he sees fit, within the limit of two blues. Each player in turn has the same privilege, the age having the last say.

Suppose five play, and that A has the age. B has straddled, and all but the dealer have made good the ante and drawn cards. There are sixteen white counters in the pool, B’s straddle having made the ante four instead of two. Suppose B bets a red counter, and C then throws down his hand. D sees B, by putting up a red counter; and he then raises him, by putting up two blues, increasing his bet as much as the limit will allow him. The age must now abandon his hand or put up one red and two blues to call D, without knowing what B proposes to do. Let us suppose he sees D, and raises another two blues. B must now retire, or put up four blues to call A, without knowing what D will do. He can raise the bet another two blues, or one blue, or a red, or a white even, if he is so minded. If he declines to raise, he cannot prevent D from so doing, because D still has the privilege of replying to A’s raise, and as long as a player has any say about anything, whether it is to abdicate, better, or call, he can do any one of the three. It is only when there is no bet made, or when his own bet is either not called or not raised, that a player has nothing to say. Let us suppose B puts up the four blues to call A. It is now D’s turn. If he puts up two blues, each will have an equal amount in the pool, and as no one will have anything more to say, the betting must stop, and the hands must be shown. But if D raises A again, by putting up four blues instead of two, he gives A another say, and perhaps A will raise D in turn. Although B may have had quite enough of this, he must either put up four more blues, the two raised by D and the further raise by A, or he must abandon his hand. If B throws down his cards he loses all claim to what he has already staked in the pool, four blues and a red, besides his straddle and ante. Let us suppose he drops out, and that D just calls A, by putting up two blues only, making the amount he has in the pool exactly equal to A’s, eight blues and a red, besides the antes. This prevents A from going any further, because it is not his turn to say anything. He is not asked to meet any one’s raise, nor to make any bet himself, but simply to show his hand, in order to see whether or not it is better than D’s.

SHOWING HANDS. It is the general usage that the hand called must be shown first. In this case A’s hand is called, for D was the one who called a halt on A in the betting, and[222] stopped him from going any further. The strict laws of the game require that both hands must be shown, and if there are more than two in the final call, all must be shown to the table. The excuse generally made for not showing the losing hand is that the man with the worse hand paid to see the better hand; but it must not be forgotten that the man with the better hand has paid exactly the same amount, and is equally entitled to see the worse hand. There is an excellent rule in some clubs that a player refusing to show his hand in a call shall refund the amount of the antes to all the other players, or pay all the antes in the next jack pot. The rule of showing both hands is a safeguard against collusion between two players, one of whom might have a fairly good hand, and the other nothing; but by mutually raising each other back and forth they could force any other player out of the pool. The good hand could then be called and shown, the confederate simply saying, “That is good,” and throwing down his hand. Professionals call this system of cheating, “raising out.”

When the hands are called and shown, the best poker hand wins, their rank being determined by the table of values already given. In the example just given suppose that A, on being called by D, had shown three fours, and that D had three deuces. A would take the entire pool, including all the antes, and the four blues and one red staked by B after the draw. It might be that B would now discover that he had laid down the best hand, having held three sixes. This discovery would be of no benefit to him, for he abandoned his hand when he declined to meet the raises of A and D.

If the hands are exactly a tie, the pool must be divided among those who are in at the call. For instance: Two players show aces up, and each finds his opponent’s second pair to be eights. The odd card must decide the pool; and if that card is also a tie the pool must be divided.

If no bet is made after the draw, each player in turn throwing down his cards, the antes are won by the last player who holds his hand. This is usually the age, because he has the last say. If the age has not made good his ante, it will be the dealer, and so on to the right. There is no necessity for the fortunate player to show his hand; the mere fact that he is the only one holding any cards is prima facie evidence that his hand is the best. On the same principle, the player who has made a bet or raise which no other player will see, wins the pool without showing his hand, as he must be the only one with cards in his hand; for when a player refuses to see a bet he must abandon his hand, and with it all pretensions to the pool. If he wishes to call, but has not money enough, he must borrow it. He cannot demand a show of hands for what counters he has, except in table stakes.

During the betting, players are at liberty to make any remarks[223] they see fit, and to tell as many cheerful lies about their hands as they please. A player may even miscall his hand when he shows it; the cards speak for themselves, just as the counters do, and what a player says does not affect either in the slightest. If a player says: “I raise you two blues,” the statement amounts to nothing until the blues have been placed in the pool, and the owner’s hand removed from them. There is no penalty if a player, during the betting, tells his adversaries exactly what he holds; nor is he likely to lose anything by it, for no one will believe him.

JACK POTS. The addition of jack pots has probably done more to injure Poker than the trump signal has injured Whist. In the early days, when poker parties were small, four players being a common number, it was frequently the case that no one had a pair strong enough to draw to, and such a deal was regarded as simply a waste of time. To remedy this, it was proposed that whenever no player came in, each should be obliged to ante an equal amount for the next deal, and just to demonstrate that there were some good hands left in the pack no one was allowed to draw cards until some one had Jacks or better to draw to.

The result of this practice was to make jack pots larger than the other pools, because every one was compelled to ante, and this seems to have prompted those who were always wanting to increase the stakes to devise excuses for increasing the number of jack pots. This has been carried so far that the whole system has become a nuisance, and has destroyed one of the finest points in the game of Poker,—the liberty of personal judgment as to every counter put into the pool, except the blind. The following excuses for making jack pots are now in common use:

After a Misdeal some parties make it a jack; but the practice should be condemned, because it puts it in the power of any individual player to make it a jack when he deals.

The Buck is some article, such as a penknife, which is placed in the pool at the beginning of the game, and is taken down with the rest of the pool by whichever player wins it. When it comes to his deal, it is a jack pot, and the buck is placed in the pool with the dealer’s ante, to be won, taken down, and make another jack in the same way.

The usual custom is to fix the amount of the ante in jack pots, a red, or five whites, being the common stake. In some places it is at the option of the holder of the buck to make the ante any amount he pleases within the betting limit. Whichever system is adopted, every player at the table must deposit a like amount in the pool. Players are sometimes permitted to pass a jack; that is, not to ante nor to take any part in the game until the jack is decided. If this is to be allowed, it should be so understood at the beginning of the game.

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The High Hand jack pot is played whenever a hand of an agreed value, such as a flush or a full, is shown to the board; that is, called. In some places four of a kind calls for a round of jacks, every player in turn making it a jack on his deal.

Only Two In. It is a common custom in large parties, say six or seven players, to make it a jack when no one but the dealer will ante. Instead of allowing the blind to make his ante good, and draw cards against the dealer, each player contributes two white counters, the age adding one to his blind, and the cards are redealt for a jack pot. Another variety of this custom is when the blind is opposed by only one ante, to allow the age to make this player take down his two counters, and to pay two counters for him, to make it a jack. For instance: Five play, and A has the age. B and C pass, and D antes two counters. The dealer, E, says: “I pass for a jack.” A then puts up three counters, one of which is added to his blind, the other two paying D’s ante in the ensuing jack. D takes down his two counters, and the cards are redealt. This cannot be done if more than one player has anted, nor if the ante has been raised or the blind straddled. In the example just given, had D raised the ante to five counters and E passed, the age would have had to put up four more white counters and draw cards, or allow D to win his blind.

Progressive Jacks. In some localities it is the custom to make the pair necessary to open a jack pot progress in value; Jacks or better to open the first round; Queens the next; then Kings; then Aces; and then back to Kings, Queens, and Jacks again. This is very confusing, and is not popular.

Fattening Jacks. When the original ante is two counters only, and no one holds Jacks or better on the first deal, each player must contribute another white counter to “fatten,” and the cards are dealt again. This continues until the pot is opened; that is, until some player holds a hand as good or better than a pair of Jacks. The fattening process is followed when the dealer can make the original ante what he pleases; but if the ante for jacks is a fixed sum, such as a red counter, it is not usual to fatten the pot at all. This saves all disputes as to who is shy, one of the greatest nuisances in Poker.

Opening Jacks. As there is no age or straddle in any form of jack pot, the player to the left of the dealer has the first say, and must examine his hand to see if he has Jacks or better; that is to say, either an actual pair of Jacks, or some hand that would beat a pair of Jacks if called upon to do so, such as two pairs, a straight, or triplets. In some localities it is allowed to open jacks with a bobtail; that is, four cards of a flush or straight. If the player on the dealer’s left has not openers, or does not care to open the pot if he has, he says: “I pass;” but he does not abandon[225] his hand. The next player on his left must then declare. In some places players are allowed to throw down their cards when they pass; but in first-class games a penalty of five white counters must be paid into the pool by any player abandoning his hand before the second round of declarations, as it gives an undue advantage to players with medium hands to know that they have only a limited number of possible opponents. For instance: If six play, and the first three not only pass, but throw down and abandon their cards, a player with a pair of Jacks will know that he has only two possible adversaries to draw against him, which will so increase his chances that it may materially alter his betting.

If no one acknowledges to holding Jacks or better, the pot is fattened, and the cards are reshuffled and dealt. The best practice is for the same dealer to deal again until some one gets Jacks or better. This is called dealing off the jack. If any player has forfeited his right in one deal, such as by having a foul hand, that does not prevent him coming into the pot again on the next deal with rights equal to the other players.

If any player holds Jacks or better, he can open the pot, or “the jack,” for any amount he pleases within the betting limit. The expression “open” is used because after one player has declared that he holds Jacks or better, all restrictions are removed, and the pool is then open to any player to come in and play for it, regardless of what he may hold. Each player in turn, beginning on the left of the opener, must declare whether or not he will stay. If he stays, he must put up an amount equal to that bet by the opener, and has the privilege of raising him if he sees fit. If he passes, he throws his cards face downward on the table in front of the player whose turn it will be to deal next. Should the opener be raised, and not care to see that raise, he must show his hand to the table before abandoning it, in order to demonstrate that he had openers. Some players show only the cards necessary to open, but the strict rules require the whole hand to be shown before the draw. When once the jack is opened, the betting before the draw proceeds exactly as in the ordinary pool. Any player on the right of the opener, who passed on the first round, may come in after the pot is opened. For instance: E deals. A and B pass, but hold their hands. C opens, and D throws down his hand. E sees the opener’s bet, and it then becomes the turn of A and B, who have passed once, to say whether or not they will play, now that the pot is opened.

When all those who have declared to stay have deposited an equal amount in the pool, they draw cards to improve their hands, just as in the ordinary pool, the player on the dealer’s left being helped first. All those who draw cards, except the opener, throw their discards into the centre of the table as usual; but the opener is obliged always to place his discard under the chips in the pool.[226] This is in order that he may be able to show what he held originally, in case he should conclude to split his openers in order to try for a better hand. For instance: He has opened with a pair of Jacks, but has four of one suit in his hand. Four other players have stayed, perhaps the bet has been raised, and he knows that his Jacks will probably be worthless, even if he gets a third. So he breaks the pair, and draws for a flush. As the opener always places his discard under the chips in the pool, it is not necessary for him to betray his game by telling the whole table that he is drawing to a bobtail.

False Openers. Should a player open a jack without the hand to justify it, and discover his error before he draws, the best usage demands that his hand is foul, and that he forfeits to the pool whatever amount he may have opened for, and any raises that he may have stood. There are then three ways to play: First. Those who have come in under the impression that the pot had been legitimately opened but who have not openers themselves, can withdraw their money, and allow any one to open it who has openers. This is very unfair to those on the left of the false opener who have abandoned their hands. Second. Those who have come into the pot after the false opening are allowed to stay in, and play for it, no matter what their hands are. Third. On discovery of the false opening, each player is allowed to take down whatever amount he may have paid into the pool, including his original ante and all fatteners, and the false opener must then make the entire amount good. The cards are then dealt afresh. This is a very harsh punishment for a very trifling and common error.

The second method is the most popular, and probably the fairest, and is now the universal rule.

If the false opener does not discover his mistake until he has drawn cards, his action is at least suspicious, and he should be compelled to put up the total amount in the pool, as in case three. In some localities such a player is barred from playing the next two jacks, but compelled to ante his share in each.

Betting Jacks. When a jack pot has been properly opened, and all have declared whether or not they will stay, and have drawn cards, the players proceed to bet on their hands. As there is no age in jack pots, the rule is for the opener to make the first bet; or, if he has been raised out before the draw, the player next on his left who still holds cards. The opener may decline to bet if he pleases; but if he does so, he must show his openers, and then abandon his hand. If no bet is made, the last player holding cards takes the pool without showing his hand. If a bet is made, each player in turn on the left must abdicate, better, or call, just as in the ordinary pool. At the conclusion of the betting, if there is a call, the best poker hand wins, of course. If there is no[227] call, the player making the last bet or raise takes the pool without showing his hand, unless he is the opener, when the whole hand need not be shown, as it is no one’s business what the opener got in the draw, no one having paid to see it. All he need show is openers. But should the opener be one of those in the final call, he must show his whole hand. Should it then be discovered that he has not openers, the false opener is compelled to ante for all the players at the table for another Jack. This is usually called giving them a “free ride.”

The Kitty is now an almost universal adjunct to the pool. In clubs, it pays for the cards, and for an occasional round of refreshments; in small poker parties it defrays the expense of the weekly supper. When the amount is excessive, or accumulates too rapidly, it is often used to give the players a “free ride” by paying all their antes in a “kitty jack pot.”

The kitty is usually kept by the banker, who takes a white counter out of every pool in which triplets or better are shown to the board, and a red counter out of every jack pot. These counters must be kept apart from the other chips, and must be accounted for at the end of the game by paying the kitty so much in cash, just as if it was one of the players.

Gambling houses and poker rooms are supposed to derive their entire revenue from this source, and those of the lowest class invent endless excuses for taking out for the kitty. In many houses there is a sliding scale for various hands; one counter being taken for two pairs; two counters for triplets; three for straights or flushes; and a red for fours, jack pots, and misdeals. It is not uncommon for the proprietors of such games to find thirty or forty dollars in the kitty after a night’s play with five-cent chips.

TABLE STAKES. This is one of several variations in arranging the stakes and the betting limit. In some localities it is the custom to allow each player to purchase as many counters as he pleases; in others it is the rule to compel each to buy an equal number at the start, usually two hundred times the amount of the blind. In table stakes the betting limit is always the amount that the player has in front of him; but no player is allowed either to increase or diminish that amount while he has any cards in front of him. Before the cards are dealt for any pool he may announce that he wishes to buy counters, or that he has some to sell to any other player wishing to purchase; but for either transaction the consent of all the other players must be obtained. No player is allowed under any circumstances to borrow from another, nor to be “shy” in any pot; that is, to say, “I owe so many.” If he has any counters in front of him, his betting is limited to what he has; if he has none, he is out of the game, for that hand at least. As a player cannot increase the amount he has in front of him during the play of a hand, it is best to keep on the table at all times as much as one is likely to want to bet on any one hand.

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It is the usual custom, and an excellent one, to fix upon a definite hour for closing a game of table stakes, and to allow no player to retire from the game before that hour unless he is decavé, (has lost all his capital). Should he insist on retiring, whatever counters he has must be divided among the other players, and if there are any odd ones after the division, they must be put into the current pool.

In table stakes, any player may call a sight for what money or counters he has in front of him, even should another player have bet a much larger amount. For instance: A has bet three dollars, and B has only two dollars in front of him, but wishes to call A. B calls for a sight by putting his two dollars in the pool, and A must then withdraw his third dollar from the pool, but leave it on the table to be called or raised by any other player. Should C wish to call A, or even to raise him, A and C may continue the betting independently of B’s part of the pool. Should C have even less money than B, say one dollar, he may still further reduce the original pool, leaving the two dollars aside for settlement between A and B, and A’s third dollar still aside from that again for the decision of any other player.

Let us suppose that A and C continue the betting until one calls. When the hands are shown, if either A’s or C’s is better than B’s, B loses his interest; but if B’s hand is better than either A’s hand or C’s hand, he takes the part of the pool for which he called a sight, while A and C decide the remainder between them. For instance: A calls C, and C shows three tens. Neither A nor B can beat it, and C takes everything. But if B had three Jacks, and A only three fives, B would take the part of the pool for which he called a sight, and C would take the remainder.

Should C have raised and bluffed A out, or have bet so much that A finally refused to call, A would have no interest in either pool, and C would take all the money outside the pool for which B called a sight. Should it then transpire, on the show of hands between B and C, that A had laid down a better hand than either of them, that would not entitle A to claim the sight pool from B, because in laying down his hand he has practically acknowledged that C’s hand is better, and has retired from the game. If B’s hand is better than C’s, B takes the sight pool.

FREEZE OUT. This might be called a variety of table stakes. At the start, each player is supplied with an equal number of counters; but no one is allowed to replenish his stock, or to withdraw or loan any part of it. As soon as any player has lost his capital he is decavé, or frozen out, and must permanently retire from the game. The other players continue until only one remains, who must of course win everything on the table. This is not a popular form of Poker, because it is sometimes a long time before a player who is frozen out can get into a game again.

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SHOW-DOWN POKER. This is a variety of draw poker, in which each player takes the five cards dealt to him and turns them face up so that all the other players can see them. Each player discards and draws in turn, eldest hand first. As soon as a hand is beaten it is thrown into the deadwood, all the cards drawn being dealt face up.

FLAT POKER. In this variety of the game, before the cards are dealt, the age puts up, for a blind, any amount he pleases within the limit. Those who are willing to bet a similar amount on the possibilities of their hands put up a similar amount. Those who decline are not given any cards. There are no straddles, raises, or antes. Immediately after the deal each player who is in the pool draws cards, the age first. There are then two ways to play: The hands are shown and the best wins; or, beginning with the age, each player may say if he will back his hand against the field; i.e., all the others in the pool. If he will, he must put up as much as their combined stakes. He cannot be raised; but if any one player or combination of players call him, and one of them can beat his hand, the field divide the pool. For instance: Age makes it a blue, and three others stay with him. After the draw C puts up three blues against the field. D and A call it, and all show hands. If any of the three, A, B or D can beat C they divide the pool, B getting his third, although he did not contribute to the call. This game is a pure gamble; except that a bold player may occasionally bluff the field off.

METHODS OF CHEATING. Poker and its congeners have received more attention from the greeks than any other family of card games. In fact it is generally believed that the term greek, as applied to a card sharper, had its origin in the Adam of the poker family, which was a gambling game introduced by the Greeks in Italy.

So numerous and so varied are the methods of cheating at Poker that it is an axiom among gamblers that if a pigeon will not stand one thing he will another. The best informed make it a rule never to play Poker with strangers, because they realize that it is impossible for any but a professional gambler to know half the tricks employed by the poker sharp. It is a notorious fact that even the shrewdest gamblers are continually being taken in by others more expert than themselves. What chance then has the honest card player?

There are black sheep in all flocks, and it may be well to give a few hints to those who are in the habit of playing in mixed companies.

Never play with a man who looks attentively at the faces of the cards as he gathers them for his deal; or who stands the pack on edge, with the faces of the cards towards him, and evens up the bunch by picking out certain cards, apparently because they are[230] sticking up. Any pack can be straightened by pushing the cards down with the hand. The man who lifts them up is more than probably a cheat.

Never play with a man who looks intently at the pack and shuffles the cards slowly. If he is not locating the cards for the ensuing deal he is wasting time, and should be hurried a little.

Never play with a person who leaves the cut portion of the pack on the table, and deals off the other part. In small parties this is a very common way of working what is known as the top stock. If such a dealer is carefully watched it will usually be found that he seizes the first opportunity to place the part cut off on the top of the part dealt from. The top stock is then ready for the draw, and the judicious player should at once cash his chips and retire from the game.

Never play with a man who continually holds his cards very close to his body, or who completely conceals his hand before the draw, or who takes great care to put his discard among previous discards, so that the exact number of cards put out cannot be counted. He is probably working a vest or sleeve hold-out. Some clumsy or audacious sharpers will go so far as to hold out cards in their lap, or stick them in a “bug” under the table. One of the most successful poker sharps ever known, “Eat-um-up Jake” Blackburn, who had a hand like a ham, could hold out five cards in his palm while he carried on all the operations of shuffling, dealing, and playing his hand. Such men require great dexterity and nerve to get rid of their “deadwood,” or surplus cards, without detection. Holding out is regarded by the professional as a most dangerous experiment, but it is very common.

Never play with a man who keeps his eyes rivetted on the cards as he deals, and who deals comparatively slowly. He is probably using marked cards, or has marked the important ones himself during the play. Poker sharps who mark cards by scratching them with a sharp point concealed in a ring are obliged to hold the cards at a certain angle to the light in order to see the scratches. Those who dig points in the cards with the thumb nail depend on touch instead of sight. If you find such points on the cards, either dig other points on other cards, or retire from the game.

Against the hold-out or marked cards there is no protection, because the dealer does not care how much the cards in the pack are shuffled or cut; but every method of running up hands, or stocking cards, can be made ineffective if the pone will not only cut the cards, but carefully reunite the packets. If the two parts are straightened after the cut, it will be impossible for the dealer to shift the cut, and bring the cards back to their original position. The dealer will sometimes bend the top or bottom card so as to form a bridge, which will enable him to find the place where the cards were cut. This can only be overcome by shuffling the cards[231] instead of cutting them, which every player has the right to do. If you insist on shuffling, the greek will do the same in his turn, and will run up hands to be dealt to himself. It is perfectly useless to endeavour to protect yourself against a poker sharp; the only remedy is to leave the game.

Many persons have a strong prejudice against playing with a man who shuffles his chips. The mere fact of his being an expert at chip shuffling has nothing to do with the game of poker, the accomplishment usually being the result of long experience at the faro table. The reason for the prejudice is that a chip shuffler is usually cold blooded, courageous, and seldom a loser at any game that requires nerve.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. Volumes might be written for the guidance of the poker player without improving his game a particle, unless he possesses at least one of four qualifications: Control over his features and actions; judgment of human nature; courage; and patience. The man whose face or manner betrays the nature of his hand, or the effect of an opponent’s bet or raise, will find everyone to beat his weak hands, and no one to call his strong ones. Unless he is a fair judge of human nature he will never be able to estimate the strength or peculiarities of the players to whom he is opposed, and will fail to distinguish a bluff from an ambuscade. Without courage he cannot reap the full benefit of his good hands; and without patience he cannot save his money in the time of adversity.

Of one thing every player may rest assured, and that is that Poker cannot be played by mathematical formulas. Beyond the most elementary calculations of the chances in favour of certain events the theory of probabilities is of no assistance. It is not necessary to call in a mathematician to prove that a player who habitually discards a pair of aces to draw to three cards of a suit will lose by the operation in the long run. Nor will any amount of calculation convince some players that they are wasting their money to stay in a jack pot in order to draw to a pair of tens, although such is the fact.

The various positions occupied by the player at the poker table may be briefly examined, and some general suggestions offered for his guidance in each of them. In the first place he should look out for his counters. It is always best for each player to place the amount of his ante or his bet immediately in front of him, so that there need be no dispute as to who is up, or who is shy. Above all it should be insisted that any player who has once put counters in the pool, and taken his hand from them, should not again take them down.

The Age is the most valuable position at the table, but it is seldom fully taken advantage of. The age should never look at[232] his hand until it is his turn to make good his blind. He may pick up his cards, but he should use his eyes in following the manner and facial expression of the other players as they sort their cards. One of the greatest errors made by the age is in thinking that he must save his blind. The player who draws to nothing because he can do so cheaply, will usually have nothing to draw at the end of the game. The age can usually afford to draw to four-card flushes, and to straights open at both ends, but should not do so when there are less than three who have paid to draw cards, or when the ante has been raised.

If the age holds Kings or better before the draw, he should invariably raise the ante unless there are five players in the pool besides himself, or unless some other player has already raised. If he holds two pairs, he should do all his betting before the draw. If any other player has raised, or his own raise is re-raised, the age must use his judgment of the player and the circumstances. It is useless for the age to disguise his hand by such manœuvres as holding up an odd card to a pair, unless he raises the blind at the same time. If he draws one or two cards only, and has not raised the blind, every one will credit him for a small pair and an ace, or for a bobtail, and will inevitably call any bluff he may make. The age is the poorest position at the table for a bluff, but it is decidedly the best in which to win large pots with moderate hands.

The Dealer has the next best position to the age, and in large parties there is very little difference in the way in which the two positions should be played.

The first bettor has the worst position at the table and he should seldom come in on less than Queens. He should seldom raise the ante, even with two pairs, as he will only drive others out. In this position very little can be made out of good hands, because every one expects to find them there; but it offers many excellent opportunities for successful bluffing. A player in this position should never straddle. Many players endeavour to force their luck in this way, but it is a losing game, and the best players seldom or never straddle. Having to make the first bet after the draw, it is usual for the player in this position, if he has an average hand, to chip along, by simply betting a single counter, and waiting for developments. With a strong hand, it is best to bet its full value at once, on the chance that the bet may be taken for a bluff, and called.

Other Positions. As the positions go round the table from the first bettor to the age, they become more desirable, and little need be said of them beyond the consideration of the average strength necessary for a player to go in on.

GOING IN. There is a great difference of opinion as to the minimum value of a hand which should justify a player in drawing[233] cards if he can do so for the usual ante. In close games many players make it a rule not to go in on less than tens, while in more liberal circles the players will draw to any pair. In determining which course to follow, the individual must be guided by his observation and judgment. Suppose five play, and A observes that B and C constantly draw to small pairs, while D and E never come in on less than tens. If A has the age, B, D, and E having anted, A may be sure that there are at least two good hands against him, and will guide himself accordingly. But if B and C are the only players in, A may safely draw to a small pair. It can be mathematically demonstrated that what is called an average go-in hand should be at least a pair of tens; but a player who waits for tens in a liberal game, in which others are drawing to ace high, will ante himself away if there are many jack pots, and will get no calls when he gets a hand.

BETTING. Good players are guided by the general character of the game in which they take part. Some parties play a very liberal game, and the players bet high on medium hands, and give every one a good fight. It is best to have liberal or lucky players on your right; because if they sit behind you, they will continually raise you, and you will be forced either to overbid your hand on the same liberal scale that they adopt, or lose what you have already put up. If a liberal player sits on your right you will often be able to make large winnings on moderate hands. In a close game, when the players bet in a niggardly manner, the liberal player is at a great disadvantage; for he can win little or nothing on his good hands, but will lose large amounts when he runs up the betting on a good hand which is opposed to one that is better. When a liberal player finds a close player following him freely, he may be sure there is a very strong hand against him.

VARIETY. Above all things a player should avoid regularity in his play, because observant adversaries will soon learn his methods. The best players usually play two pairs pat, without drawing, about half the time. This gives them the reputation of betting on pat hands which are not genuine, and when they get one that is real, they will often succeed in getting a good bet, or even a raise, from those holding triplets or two large pairs, who have noticed them play two pairs pat. In the same way it is advisable to hold up an odd card occasionally, without raising the ante; so that when you do hold triplets, and draw two cards, you will not frighten every one at the table. The chances of improving a pair by drawing three cards, are one in three; and by drawing two cards only, one in four. The difference is worth the moral effect of the variation in the play.

PROBABILITIES. The endless poker statistics that have been published are of little or no value to the practical player[234], and there are only a few figures that are worth remembering. It is a general law in all games of chance that you should never do a thing which you would not be willing to repeat under the same circumstances a hundred times. The best example of the application of this law is in drawing to bobtails. If you have a four-card flush to draw to, the odds against getting it are about four to one; and unless you can obtain the privilege of drawing to it by paying not more than one-fifth of the amount in the pool, you will lose by it in the long run. The best players never draw to four-card flushes except when they have the age, and the ante has not been raised.

There are some players who pretend to be so guided by probabilities that they never go into a pool unless the chances in favour of their having a good hand after the draw are at least equal to the odds they have to bet by going into the pool. This is all nonsense; for no player knows when he goes into a pool how much it will cost him to get out, and the value of his individual hand is an unknown quantity at the best, because it cannot be compared to the others. One thing only is certain, and that is that in the long run the player who goes in with the strongest hand will still have the strongest hand after the draw. This is an important thing to remember in jack pots, in which the value of at least one hand is known. If you draw to a pair smaller than Jacks, you do so with the full knowledge that the pair itself is not strong enough to win. Now what are the odds against your winning the pool? Suppose you hold tens, and draw three cards. Your chance of improving your hand is a little better than one in five. The opener of the jack pot has exactly the same chance, and if both of you draw cards a hundred times under those circumstances, he will beat you in the long run, to say nothing of the other players who may come in and beat both of you. It is therefore evident that in backing tens against openers, it is four to one against your beating the openers to begin with, and if you do beat them the odds are still against your winning the pot. If there were five players, and the jack pots were all equal in amount, you would have to win one pot out of five to make your investment pay. Can you make this average when your original pair will not beat openers?

There are three principles with regard to the draw that should never be lost sight of:

(1) An average go-in hand is a hand which will win its proportion of the pools, according to the number playing, taking all improvements and opposition into account. This can be demonstrated to be a pair of tens.

(2) The draw is much more valuable to a weak hand than to a strong one, and weak hands will improve in much greater proportion than strong ones will. For instance: The chances for a[235] player to improve by drawing to a pair of Queens are one in three and a half. He may make two pairs, or triplets, or a full hand, or four of a kind. The chances of improvement for a player drawing to two pairs, say Eights up, are only one in thirteen. This consideration leads players to adopt two lines of play: To bet all they intend to on two pairs before the draw, in order to prevent weaker hands drawing cards and improving; or, to discard the smaller pair in order to increase their chances of improvement.

(3) The smaller the number of players, the greater the value of the hands; and the larger the number of players, the greater the chance that any given hand will be beaten. When only two play, you can safely bet the limit on a pair of Eights; but in a party of eight players they are hardly worth drawing to. For this reason average hands should force the weaker out, and reduce the number of players before the draw.

For the benefit of those interested in such matters the probable improvement by the draw may be briefly given.

It is 2½ to 1 against improving a pair by drawing three cards; the chances against making triplets or two pairs being 8 to 1; against a full hand, 61 to 1; and against four of a kind, 364 to 1. It is 4 to 1 against improving a pair by drawing two cards; the chances against triplets being 12 to 1, and 8 to 1 against two pairs.

It is 12 to 1 against making a full hand by drawing to two pairs.

It is 8 to 1 against improving triplets by drawing two cards; 14½ to 1 against a full hand, and 23 to 1 against four of a kind. It is 12 to 1 against improving if one card is drawn; 16 to 1 against the full, and 46 to 1 against four of a kind.

It is 11 to 1 against making a straight out of a sequence of four cards which is open in the middle, or at one end only. It is 5 to 1 against making a straight out of a sequence of four which is open at both ends.

🂻 🃚 🂨 🂧 | 🂹 🃘 🂧 🃆

In-between Straight. Open-end Straight.

It is 4½ to 1 against filling a four-card flush. It is 23 to 1 against filling a three-card flush. It is 95 to 1 against filling a two-card flush.

It is 3 to 1 against improving a four-card straight flush which is open at both ends. The chances against getting the straight or the flush have been given; the odds against getting the straight flush are 24 to 1. The chance for getting a pair exists; but the pair would probably be worthless.

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It is 4 to 1 against improving a four-card straight flush open in the middle, or at one end only; the odds against getting the straight flush being 46 to 1.

There are several minor or speculative draws which may be of interest. Drawing to an ace and a King, it is 3 to 1 against making a pair of either. It is 4 to 1 against making a pair of aces by drawing four cards to an ace; and 12 to 1 against making aces up, or better. It is 24 to 1 against making a straight by drawing to three cards of it, open at both ends. It is 12 to 1 against making either a straight or a flush by drawing to three cards of a straight flush, open at both ends.

HOW TO WIN AT POKER. There have been many alleged infallible receipts for winning at Poker. Proctor thought that refusing to go in on less than triplets would prove a certainty; but in the same paragraph he acknowledges that the adversaries would soon learn the peculiarity, and avoid betting against the player. Triplets before the draw occur about once in every 45 hands. If five were playing, a person following Proctor’s advice would have to blind 9 times, and ante in at least 12 jack pots in every 45 hands, to say nothing of fattening. This means an outlay of at least 75 counters. When the triplets come, will he get back 75 counters on them? He will probably win the blind, and one or two antes; but the moment he makes his own ante good, every player who cannot beat triplets, knowing his system, will lay down his hand.

An extensive observation of the methods of the best players has led the author to the conclusion that the great secret of success in Poker, apart from natural aptitude for the game, and being a good actor, is to avoid calling. If you think you have the best hand, raise. If you think you have not the best, lay it down. Although you may sometimes lay down a better hand than the one that takes the pool, the system will prove of immense advantage to you in two ways: In the first place, you will find it a great educator of the judgment; and in the second place, it will take almost any opponent’s nerve. Once an adversary has learned your method, it is not a question of his betting a red chip on his hand; but of his willingness to stand a raise of two blues, which he will regard as inevitable if you come in against him at all. The fear of this raise will prompt many a player to lay down a moderately good hand without a bet; so that you have all the advantage of having made a strong bluff without having put up a chip. The system will also drive all but the most courageous to calling your hand on every occasion, being afraid of a further and inevitable raise; and it is an old saying that a good caller is a sure loser.

The theory of calling is to get an opportunity to compare your hand with your adversary’s. Now, if you think that after the comparison yours will prove the better hand, why not increase the[237] value of the pool? If, on the contrary, you fear that his hand will beat yours, why throw good money after bad? If you don’t think at all about it, and have no means of forming an opinion as to the respective merits of your hands, you are not a poker player, and have no business in the game.

BLUFFING. There is nothing connected with Poker on which persons have such confused ideas as on the subject of bluffing. The popular impression seems to be that a stiff upper lip, and a cheerful expression of countenance, accompanied by a bet of five dollars, will make most people lay down three aces; and that this result will be brought about by the five-dollar bet, without any regard to the player’s position at the table, the number of cards he drew, his manner of seeing or raising the ante, or the play of his adversaries before the draw. The truth of the matter is that for a bluff to be either sound in principle or successful in practice, the player must carefully select his opportunity. The bluff must be planned from the start, and consistently played from the ante to the end. To use a common expression: “The play must be right for it, or the bluff will be wrong.”

There are many cases in which a bluff of fifty cents would be much stronger than one of five dollars; the difference depending on the player’s position at the table, his treatment of the ante, and the number of cards he had drawn. As an example of the play being right for a bluff, take the following case: Five play in a jack pot. A and B have passed when C opens it for the limit. D and E pass out, but A and B both stay, and each draws one card. C takes two cards, and as it is his first bet he puts up the limit on his three aces. A drops out, but B raises C the limit in return. Now, if C is a good player he will lay down his three aces, even if he faintly suspects B is bluffing, because B’s play is sound in any case. He either could not, or pretended he could not open the jack; but he could afford to pay the limit to draw one card against openers, and he could afford to raise the limit against an opener’s evidently honest two-card draw. As a matter of fact the whole play was a bluff; for B not only had nothing, but had nothing to draw to originally.

Another variety of the bluff, which is the author’s own invention, will often prove successful with strangers, but it can seldom be repeated in the same company. Suppose six play in a jack pot. A passes, and B opens it by quietly putting up his counters. C and D pass, and E, pretending not to know that B has opened it, announces that he will open it for the limit, although he has not a pair in his hand. He is of course immediately informed that it has been opened, upon which he unhesitatingly raises it for the limit. Whatever the others do, E stands pat, and looks cheerful. The author has never known this bluff to be called.

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Holding a strong hand, a player may often coax another to raise him, by offering to divide the pool.

The successful bluffer should never show his hand. Even if he starts the game by bluffing for advertising purposes, hoping to get called on good hands later, he should not show anything or tell anything that the others do not pay to see or know. Bluffing is usually more successful when a player is in a lucky vein than when he has been unfortunate.

POKER LAWS.

1. Formation of Table. A poker table is complete with seven players. If eight play the dealer must take no cards, or a sixty-card pack must be used. If there are more than seven candidates for play, two tables must be formed unless the majority decide against it.

2. Cutting. The players who shall form the table, and their positions at the beginning of the game may be decided by drawing from an outspread pack, or by throwing round a card to each candidate, face up. If there are eight or more candidates, the tables shall divide evenly if the number is even, those cutting the highest cards playing together. If the number is odd, the smaller table shall be formed by those cutting the highest cards. In cutting, the ace is low. Any player exposing more than one card must cut again.

3. The table formed, the players draw from the outspread pack for positions. The lowest cut has the first choice, and deals the first hand. The player cutting the next lowest has the next choice, and so on until all are seated.

4. Ties. If players cut cards of equal value they must cut again; but the new cut decides nothing but the tie.

5. Stakes. Any player may be the banker, and keep the kitty, if any. In Draw, Straight, or Stud Poker, each player may purchase as many counters as he pleases. In Freeze-out, Table Stakes, Whiskey Poker, and Progressive Poker, each player must begin with an equal amount.

6. Betting Limits. Before play begins limits must be agreed upon for the amount of the blind, the straddle, the ante in jack pots, and for betting or raising.

7. Shuffling. Before the first deal the pack must be counted to see that it contains the proper number of cards. Should the first dealer neglect this he forfeits five counters to the pool. Before each deal the cards must be shuffled. Any player may shuffle, the dealer last.

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8. Cutting to the Dealer. The dealer must present the pack to the pone, [the player on his right,] to be cut. The pone may either cut, or signify that he does not wish to do so, by tapping the pack with his knuckles. Should the pone decline to cut, no other player can insist on his doing so, nor do it for him. If he cuts, he must leave at least four cards in each packet, and the dealer or the pone must reunite the packets by placing the one not removed in cutting upon the other.

9. If in cutting, or in reuniting the packets, a card is exposed, the pack must be reshuffled and cut.

10. If the dealer reshuffles the pack after it has been properly cut, he forfeits five counters to the current pool.

11. Dealing Before the Draw. After the age, [the player on the dealer’s left,] has put up the amount of the blind, the dealer distributes the cards face down, one at a time, in rotation, until each player has received five cards.

12. The deal passes to the left, except in jack pots, when it may be agreed that the same dealer shall deal until the pot is opened.

13. Misdealing. A misdeal does not lose the deal; the same dealer must deal again. It is a misdeal: If the dealer fails to present the pack to the pone; or if any card is found faced in the pack; or if the pack is found imperfect; or if the dealer gives six or more cards to more than one player; or if he deals more or fewer hands than there are players; or if he omits a player in dealing; or if he deals a card incorrectly, and fails to correct the error before dealing another.

14. Irregularities in the Hands. Should the dealer, or the wind, turn over any card, the player to whom it is dealt must take it; but the same player cannot be compelled to take two exposed cards. Should such a combination occur there must be a new deal. If the player exposes cards himself, he has no remedy.

15. Should any player receive more or less than his proper number of cards, and discover the error before he looks at any card in his hand, or lifts it from the table, he may demand a new deal if no bet has been made; or he may ask the dealer to give him another card from the pack if he has too few, or to draw a card if he has too many. Cards so drawn must not be exposed, but should be placed on the top of the pack. If a bet has been made, there must be a new deal. Should the player take up his hand, or look at any card in it, he has no remedy.

16. Should a player take up a hand containing more or less than five cards, or look at any card in it, such a hand is foul, and he must abandon it, forfeiting any interest he may have in that pool. If one player has six cards and his neighbour four, neither[240] having lifted or looked at any card, the dealer may be called upon to draw a card from the six hand and give it to the four hand.

17. Straddling. During the deal, or at any time before he looks at any card in his hand, the player to the left of the age may straddle the blind by putting up double the amount put up by the age. Should he straddle, the player on his left may double the amount again, provided he has not seen any of his cards; and so on, until the limit of the straddling is reached. This limit must not exceed one-fourth of the betting limit. Should any player in his turn refuse to straddle, no other player on his left can straddle.

18. The Ante. After the cards are dealt, each player in turn, beginning with the one to the left of the age, or to the left of the last straddler, if any, must either abandon his hand or put into the pool twice the amount of the blind, or of the last straddle. When it comes to the turn of the age, and the straddlers, if any, they must either abandon their hands, or make the amount they have in the pool equal to twice the amount of the blind, or of the last straddle, if any.

19. Raising the Ante. Each player, when it is his turn to come in, may add to the amount of the ante any sum within the betting limit. This will compel any player coming in after him to equal the total of the ante and the raise, or to abandon his hand; and it will also give such following player the privilege of raising again by any further amount within the betting limit. Should any player decline to equal the amount put up by any previous player, he must abandon his hand, together with all his interest in that pool. Any player who has been raised in this manner may raise again in his turn; and not until each player holding cards has anted an equal amount will the game proceed.

20. Winning the Antes. Should any player have put up an amount which no other player will equal, he takes whatever counters are then in the pool, without showing his hand, and the deal passes to the next player on the dealer’s left. Should only one player come in, and the age decline to make good his ante, the player who has come in wins the blind, unless jack pots are played. Should any player have straddled the blind, or raised the ante, there can be no jack pot.

21. Making Jacks. If no player will come in, it is a Natural Jack, and all the hands must be abandoned, each player putting up for the ensuing deal the amount agreed upon. If no one has straddled the blind, or raised the ante, and only one player has come in, the age may do one of four things: He may forfeit his blind; or he may make the ante good; or he may raise it; or he may demand that the single player who has come in shall take down his ante, the age putting up twice the amount agreed upon for jack pots; once for himself, and once for the player who came[241] in. All the other players must then put up for the ensuing deal. This is an Only-Two-In Jack.

22. Drawing Cards. When two or more players have come in for an equal amount, the others having abandoned their hands, each of them in turn, beginning with the one on the dealer’s left, may discard any or all of the cards originally dealt him, and draw others in their place. The number discarded and drawn, if any, must be distinctly announced by each player, including the dealer; and the fresh cards must be given face down from the top of the pack, without any further shuffling or cutting. Each player must receive the entire number he asks for before the next player is helped. No player shall receive from the dealer more or fewer than he discards; so that if he is playing with a short hand, such as four cards only, he will still have four cards after the draw; and if his hand was originally foul, it will so remain.

23. Exposed Cards. In dealing for the draw, should any card be found faced in the pack, or should any card be exposed by the dealer in giving out the cards, or be blown over by the wind before the player has touched it, such cards must be placed on the table with the discards. The player whose card has been exposed does not receive another in its place until all the other players, including the dealer, have been helped.

24. Incorrect Draws. Should any player ask for an incorrect number of cards, he must take them; unless he discovers the error before the next player has been helped. If too many have been asked for, he must discard before seeing them. If too few, and he lifts any of them, he holds a foul hand. No player is allowed to take back into his hand any card that has once been discarded. If he has taken up the cards, or has seen any of them, and has too many, his hand is foul, and must be abandoned. If the dealer gives himself more cards than he needs, he must take them; but if less, he can supply the deficiency, provided he has not looked at any of the drawn cards.

25. Incorrect Dealing. Should the dealer give any player more or fewer cards than he asks for, and the player discover the error before taking them up or seeing any of them, the dealer must withdraw the surplus card, and place it on the top of the pack. Should the dealer give a player fewer cards than he asks for, he must supply the deficiency when his attention is called to it, without waiting to supply the other players. Should the dealer give cards to any player out of his proper turn, he may correct the error if none of the cards have been seen; not otherwise.

26. The Last Card of the pack must not be dealt. When only two cards remain, and more than one is asked for, they must be mixed with the discards and abandoned hands, and the whole shuffled together, and presented to the pone to be cut. Discards of those who have yet to draw must not be gathered.

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27. After the cards have been delivered by the dealer, no player has the right to be informed how many cards any player drew; and any person, bystander or player, volunteering the information, except the player himself, may be called upon to pay to the player against whom he informs an amount equal to that then in the pool. Any player who has made good the ante and drawn cards may, before making a bet, ask how many cards the dealer drew, and the dealer must inform him.

28. Betting After the Draw. The first player who holds cards on the left of the age must make the first bet, whether he has straddled or not. If he declines to bet he must abandon his hand. The fact that the age is not playing makes no difference, as his privilege cannot be transferred to any other player. Bets may vary in amount from one counter to the betting limit. If no player will bet, the age takes the pool without showing his hand; or, if he has passed out before the draw, the last player on his right who holds cards wins the pool.

29. Raising the Bets. Should any player make a bet, each player in turn on his left must either bet an equal amount or abandon his hand. Should any player bet an equal amount, he has the privilege of increasing the bet to any further sum within the betting limit. The players on his left must then either meet the total amount of the original bet and the raise, or abandon their hands. Any player meeting the amount already bet has the privilege of increasing it to any further amount within the limit, and so on, until no further raises take place. Any player whose bet has been raised must abandon his hand or meet the raise, with the privilege of raising again in return. Should one player make a bet or raise which no other player will see, he takes the pool without showing his hand, and the cards are shuffled and cut for the next deal.

30. Calling the Bets. As long as one player raises another’s bets, he gives that player the privilege of raising him again; but if a player who has made a bet is not raised, the others simply betting an equal amount, the first bettor is called, and all betting must cease. The players must then show their hands to the table, in order to decide which wins the pool.

31. Bets must be actually made by placing the counters in the pool, and no bet is made until the player’s hand has been withdrawn from the counters. Any counters once placed in the pool, and the owner’s hand withdrawn, cannot be taken down again, except by the winner of the pool.

32. Betting Out of Turn. Should any player bet out of his turn, he cannot take down his counters again if he has removed his hand from them. Should the player whose proper turn it was[243] raise the bet, the player who bet out of turn must either meet the raise or abandon his hand, and all interest in that pool.

33. Mouth Bets. Any player stating that he bets a certain amount, but failing to put up the actual counters in the pool, cannot be called upon to make the amount good after the hands are shown, or the pool is won. If the players opposed to him choose to accept a mouth bet against the counters they have already put up, they have no remedy, as no value is attached to what a player says; his cards and his counters speak for themselves. Any player wishing to raise a mouth bet has the privilege of raising by mouth, instead of by counters; but he cannot be called upon to make the amount good after the hands are shown, or the pool has been won.

34. Showing Hands. When a call is made, all the hands must be shown to the table, and the best poker hand wins the pool. Any player declining to show his hand, even though he admits that it is not good, must pay an amount equal to the ante to each of the players at the table; or, if jack pots are played, he must put up for all of them in the next jack pot. When the hands are called, there is no penalty for mis-calling a hand; the cards, like the counters, speak for themselves.

35. Rank of the Hands. The best poker hand is a Royal Flush; A K Q J 10 of the same suit, which beats a

Straight Flush; any sequence of five cards of the same suit.

Four of a Kind; such as four 10’s and an odd card.

Full Hand; three of a kind and a pair, such as three 8’s and a pair of Q’s, which beats a

Flush; five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence.

Straight; five cards in sequence, but of various suits. In straights, the Ace cannot be used to form such combinations as Q K A 2 3; but it may be used as the bottom of 5 4 3 2, or the top of 10 J Q K. Straights beat

Three of a Kind; such as three K’s and two odd cards.

Two Pairs; such as two 9’s and two 7’s, with an odd card.

A Pair; such as two Aces and three odd cards.

If no pair is shown, the Highest Card wins.

A short hand, such as four cards, cannot be claimed as either a straight or a flush.

36. Ties. In case of ties, the highest of the odd cards decides it. Ultimate ties must divide the pool. When combinations of equal rank are shown, the one containing the highest cards wins, the rank of the cards being, A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2; so that two pairs, K’s and 4’s, will beat two pairs, Q’s and J’s. Three 5’s and a pair of 2’s, will beat three 4’s and a pair of aces.

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JACK POT LAWS.

37. The Antes. There is neither age nor straddle in jack pots. Every one at the table must ante an equal amount. Any player may decline to ante, by saying: “I pass this jack;” and the dealer will give him no cards.

38. Opening. After the cards are dealt, each player in turn, beginning on the dealer’s left, may open the pot for any amount he pleases within the betting limit, provided he holds a pair of Jacks, or some hand better than a pair of Jacks. If he does not hold openers, or does not wish to open the pot with them, he must say: “I pass;” but must not abandon his hand, under penalty of paying five counters to the pool.

39. False Openers. Should a player open a jack without the hand to justify it, and discover his error before he draws, his hand is foul, and he forfeits whatever amount he may have already placed in the pool. Those who have come into the pool after the false opening, stay in and play for the pot, regardless of the value of the hands dealt them.

40. Fattening. If no player will open, the cards are reshuffled, cut, and dealt, usually by the same dealer, and each player adds one counter to the pool.

41. Coming In. If any player opens the pot for a certain amount, each player in turn, on his left, can come in by putting up a similar amount, regardless of the value of his hand. Any player on the right of the opener who passed on the first round may now come in. Any player declining to put up the amount for which the pot is opened must abandon his hand, and all his interest in the pool.

42. Raising the Opener. Any player coming into the pool has the privilege of raising the original opener any amount within the betting limit, and he may in turn be raised again, just as in the ordinary pools. Should the opener decline to meet such a raise, he must show his entire hand before abandoning it. If he declines to do so, he must pay the antes for all the other players for another jack. It is not enough to show openers before the draw, the whole hand must be shown.

43. Drawing Cards. Each player in turn who has come in, beginning on the left of the dealer, may discard and draw, to improve his hand. The opener is allowed to split his openers, provided it is the rule of the game that the opener shall always put his discard under the chips in the pool, whether he is going to split or not. The opener’s discard must never be gathered in with other discards when the pack runs short for the draw.

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44. False Hands. If a false opener does not discover his mistake until after he has drawn cards, his hand is foul, and must be abandoned. As a penalty he must put up an ante for each of the other players at the table for another Jack.

45. Betting the Hands. The opener makes the first bet; or, if he has withdrawn, the player next on his left. Should the opener decline to bet after the draw, he must show his openers before abandoning his hand. He need not show the cards he has drawn. If no bet is made, the last player holding cards takes the pool without showing his hand. If a bet is made, the game proceeds as in the ordinary pools. Should the opener retire during the betting, he must show his openers; if he is in the final call he must show his entire hand, whether it is the best or not. If he or any other player declines to show his hand when a call is made, he must ante for all the other players for another jack.

46. Shy Bets. If any player is shy in a jack pot, whether from failure to put up his ante, to fatten, or to substantiate his mouth bets with counters, nothing can be collected from him after a call has been made, or the pot has been won.

STRAIGHT POKER.

Straight Poker or Bluff is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, and any number of players from one to eight. The arrangements for counters, seats, and deal are exactly the same as in Draw Poker, but the method of anteing and betting up the hands is slightly different. There is no draw to improve the hand, and no such combination as a straight flush is recognized, four of a kind being the highest hand possible.

The ante and betting limit must be decided before play begins. The first dealer is provided with a buck, which should be a penknife, or some similar article. Before dealing, he puts up the amount of the ante for all the players, and then passes the buck to the player on his left, who must ante for all the players in the next pool. There is no variation of the amount of the ante under any circumstances, and the buck is passed round the table in this manner irrespective of the deal, which is taken by the player winning the pool. The laws for the deal and its irregularities are the same as in Draw Poker, except that it does not pass to the left.

The cards dealt, each in turn, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, may either bet or pass. Should all pass, the[246] holder of the buck antes, making a double pool, and passes the buck. The deal then passes to the left. Should any player make a bet, each in turn, beginning with the one on his left, must call it, raise it, or abandon his hand. Players who have passed the first time, must now decide. The rules for seeing, raising, calling, and showing hands are precisely the same as at Draw Poker.

Owing to the absence of the draw, there is no clue to the strength of an opponent’s hand, except his manner, and the amount of his bet. The hands shown are much weaker than the average of those at Draw Poker, being about equal to hands that a player in that game would come in on. Triplets are very strong at Straight Poker, and two pairs will win three out of four pools in a five-handed game. The great element of success is bluff.

STUD POKER.

The arrangements for the cards, seats, antes, buck, etc., are precisely as at Straight Poker; but in dealing, only the first card is dealt face down, the remaining four being turned up by the dealer as he gives them out. Each player in turn then looks at his down card, and the betting proceeds as in Straight Poker, each player having the privilege of passing once before a bet is made.

A much more popular method is to stop the deal at two cards, each player having received one face down, and another face up. The best card showing then makes the first bet, and each player in turn must meet it, raise it, or pass out of that pool. If no one will call, the player making the bet takes the pool, and the next deal. If a bet is made and called, those in the call do not show their down cards, but are each given another card, face up, and the same betting process is gone through, the best hand showing face up making the first bet in each round. As long as two or more players remain in the pool they are given more cards until they have five. Then the final betting is done, and if a call is made, the down cards are shown, and the best poker hand wins the pool. Straight flushes do not count.

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WHISKEY POKER.

The arrangements for the cards, seats, etc., are the same as in Draw Poker. Each player is provided with an equal number of white counters, which may have a value attached to them, or which may simply represent markers. If the counters represent money, each player should have at least twenty; if they are only markers, five is the usual number.

If the game is played for money, each player puts one counter in the pool before the cards are dealt. There is no raising or betting of any kind.

An extra hand, called the widow, is dealt face down at Whiskey Poker. The dealer gives each player and the widow five cards, one at a time, beginning on his left, and dealing to the widow just before he deals to himself. Each player in turn, beginning with the age, then examines his hand, and has the option of exchanging it for the widow; keeping it for the purpose of drawing to it; or risking his chances of winning the pool with it as it is.

If he wishes to exchange, he must place his five cards face upward on the table, and take up the widow, but without showing it to any other player. The hand he abandons then becomes the widow. If he prefers to draw to his hand, he says: “I pass,” which transfers to the next player the option of taking the widow. If he wishes to stand on the merits of the hand dealt to him, without drawing to it, he knocks on the table, which also passes the option of taking the widow to the next player on his left.

If any player takes the widow, the next player on his left can do any one of three things: He may discard from his own hand any card he pleases, taking one from the widow in its stead; the card which he discards being placed on the table face upward, and becoming part of the widow; or he may exchange his entire hand for the widow; or he may stand on the hand dealt him, and knock. Whether he draws one card, exchanges his entire hand, or knocks, the next player on his left has the option of drawing, exchanging, or knocking; and so on, until some player does knock.

Should no player take the widow until it comes to the dealer’s turn, he must either take it, or turn it face upward on the table. Even if the dealer knocks, he must turn up the widow, and allow each player an opportunity to draw from it, or to exchange his entire hand for it.

When a player knocks, he signifies that no matter what the players following him may do, when it comes to his turn again the hands must be shown. A player cannot draw and knock at the same time; but a player can refuse to draw or exchange after another[248] player has knocked, not before. In some localities it is the rule to turn the widow face up at once if any player knocks before it is taken; allowing all those after the knock an opportunity to draw or exchange; but this is not the usual custom.

Suppose five play. E deals, and A passes; B takes the widow; C and D draw from B’s abandoned hand, and E knocks; without drawing, of course. A, who passed the first time, now has an opportunity to draw or exchange. So have each of the others in turn, up to D; but after D draws or exchanges, the hands must be shown, because the next player, E, has knocked.

When the hands are shown, there are two ways to settle: If the counters have a money value, the best poker hand wins the pool, and the deal passes to the left. If the counters have no money value, there is no pool; but the player who has the worst hand shown puts one of his counters in the middle of the table. This continues until some player has lost all five of his counters, and he is then called upon to pay for the whiskey, or whatever refreshments may be at stake upon the game. Hence the name: Whiskey Poker.

THIRTY-ONE.

This game is sometimes called Schnautz. A pool is made up by any number of players. The dealer takes a pack of fifty-two cards and gives three to each, face down, and three extra cards to the table, dealt face up. Each player in turn to the left can exchange one of his own cards for one of those on the table, the object being to get a flush of three cards of some suit having a pip value of thirty-one; or else to get three of a kind.

The aces are worth 11, the other court cards and the ten, 10 each. If no one can get a flush worth thirty-one, three of a kind wins the pool. If no one has three of a kind, the highest pip value shown in one suit wins. Drawing is kept up until some player knocks, after which only one more draw is allowed, the knocker not being allowed to draw again. A player can knock without drawing at all if he wishes to prevent the others from beating his original hand.

PROGRESSIVE POKER.

There are several ways to play Progressive Poker, but the description of one will suffice. The simplest method of arranging the players is to take two packs of cards, one red and one blue, and to select two aces from each for the four positions at the head table; three deuces, treys, etc., for the six positions at each[249] of the other tables until the last or booby table is reached, at which there must be only four players at starting. If there are not enough players to make exactly six at each of the intermediate tables, the numbers may be varied from four to seven, cards being selected to agree with the number required; but the head and booby tables must start with four only. The cards thus selected are then thoroughly shuffled, and presented face downward to the ladies to draw from. Each lady takes a red-backed card, the gentlemen drawing the blue cards only. The number of pips on the card drawn will indicate to each person the table at which they are to sit. Should the number of men and women not be equal, some of the men must represent women or vice versa.

Each player is provided at starting with a certain number of counters, usually fifty. The head table is supplied with a box of counters differing in colour from any of those used by the players, and also with a bell. The choice of seats, deal, etc., is decided at each table exactly as at Draw Poker.

One deal is made at each table, ordinary Draw Poker is played, and when the pool is decided at the head table the bell is struck. This is the signal for the winner of the pool at each of the other tables to move up to the table next above. At the head table, the chips are counted, and the player with the smallest number in his possession goes down to the booby table, unless he was one of the players in the call. Should the player with the smallest number of chips be the winner of the pool, or one of those who called the winner, he retains his seat, and the player with the smallest number of counters who was not in the call goes to the booby table. This arrangement effectually prevents players at the head table from waiting for big hands. In case of ties, the players cut to decide which shall go down, the lowest cut remaining. The winner of each pool at the head table is given one of the special chips provided for that purpose, and which are usually yellow, the others being red, white, and blue.

Any player losing all his counters at any table must get a fresh stake of fifty more from the banker, and must then exchange seats with the player at the booby table who has the most counters.

Three or four prizes are usually provided for: One for the player who has won the greatest number of yellow chips at the head table, and one each for the lady and gentleman winning the greatest number of counters during the evening’s play. Those who have been provided with an extra stake must be charged with it when settling up. In case of ties for the number of yellow chips, the player with the largest number of ordinary counters wins. The booby prize, if any, is usually given to the player with the smallest number of ordinary chips, or the fewest number of yellow ones.

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BRAG.

There are two varieties of this old English game; single, and three-stake Brag. Both are played with a full pack of fifty-two cards; the positions of the players, arrangements for counters, decision of the betting limit, etc., being the same as in Draw Poker. Three to twelve players may form a table.

There is a special value attached to three cards which are known as braggers. These again have a rank of their own; the best being the ace of diamonds; then the Jack of clubs, and then the nine of diamonds. All other cards rank as in Poker. A player to whom any one of these braggers is dealt may call it anything he pleases. If he has a pair of nines and a bragger, or a nine and two braggers, he may call them three nines, and bet on them as such. In this respect braggers resemble mistigris, already described in connection with Draw Poker; but in Brag a natural pair or triplet outranks one made with the aid of a bragger. Three eights will beat an eight and two braggers.

The dealer must put up an ante before the cards are cut. This ante may be any amount he pleases within the betting limit. No player can straddle or raise this ante until the cards are dealt. Beginning on his left the dealer distributes the cards face down, and one at a time, until each player has received three. Beginning with the age, [eldest hand,] each player in turn must put up an amount equal to the dealer’s ante, or abandon his hand. He may, if he chooses, raise the ante any further amount within the betting limit. All those following him must meet the total sum put up by any individual player, increase it, or pass out. In this respect Brag is precisely similar to the betting after the draw at Poker.

If no one will see the dealer’s ante, he must be paid one white counter by each of the other players, and the deal passes to the left. Should any player bet an amount which no other player will meet, he takes the pool without showing his hand. Should a call be made, all the hands must be shown, and the best brag hand wins.

Pairs and triplets are the only combinations of any value, and of course three aces is the best hand; two aces and the club Jack being the next best. If none of the hands shown contains either a natural pair or a bragger, the highest card wins, the ace ranking above the King. In case of equal natural pairs, the highest card outside the pair wins. Should the pairs tied both be made with a bragger, the highest bragger wins. Two odd cards, seven high, with the club Jack, would beat two cards seven high with the diamond nine.

Three Stake Brag. In this variation each player puts up three equal amounts to form three equal pools. These amounts[251] must be invariable, and should be agreed upon before play begins. The dealer then gives two cards to each player, one at a time, face down; and then a third card to each, face up. The highest card turned up in this manner wins one of the pools, the ace being the highest and the deuce the lowest. The diamond ace, being a bragger, outranks any other ace; the club Jack any other Jack; and the diamond nine any other nine. Ties are decided in favour of the eldest hand, or the player nearest him on the left.

The players then take up the other two cards, without showing them, and proceed to brag on their hands as in single stake Brag. The winner takes the second pool; but those who pass out do not abandon their hands until the third pool is decided. If no bet is made for the second pool, it is won by the dealer.

All hands are shown to decide the last pool. Each player counts up the pip value of his three cards, reckoning the aces for eleven, and court-cards as ten each. The player coming nearest to thirty-one takes the third pool. Ties are decided in favour of the eldest hand, as before.

In some places a further variation is introduced by allowing the players to draw cards for the third pool, in order to increase the pip value of their hands. Beginning with the eldest hand, each player in turn pays into the pool a counter for each card he draws. These cards are given by the dealer face up, and one player must be given all he needs before passing to the next. Should a player pass thirty-one, he is out of the pool. Some judgment is necessary in drawing in this manner, for all the hands are exposed, and each player knows exactly what he has to beat.

In American Brag, there are eight braggers; the Jacks and nines of each suit, and they are all of equal rank when used as braggers. Pairs or triplets formed with the aid of braggers outrank naturals, so that three Jacks is an invincible hand, beating three aces. Two braggers and an ace outrank two aces and a bragger; but the absurd part of the arrangement is that three Jacks and three nines are a tie.

The method of playing differs from English Brag. If the players simply equal the dealer’s ante, nothing unusual occurs, and all the hands are shown at once. But if any player raises, and another sees this raise, these two immediately exchange hands, without showing them to the other players, and the one who held the worse hand retires from that pool, returning the better hand to its original holder, who then awaits a call or raise from the next player in order, the entire amount staked still remaining in the pool. This lose-and-drop-out system is continued until only one player remains to dispute the pool with the dealer. If they come to a call, both hands are shown to the table. If the bragger is not called, he takes the pool without showing his hand.

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COMMERCE.

This old English game is evidently the forerunner of Whiskey Poker. It is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, and the arrangements for the seats, counters, etc., are the same as at Draw Poker. Three to twelve players may form a table. There are two methods of playing Commerce; with and without a widow. We shall take the older form first.

Without a Widow. The counters have a money value, and each player deposits one in the pool. The dealer then distributes the cards one at a time, face down, until each has three. The players then examine their cards, and each in turn, beginning with the eldest hand, may exchange one card. If he trades for ready money, he gives his card and one white counter to the dealer, and receives another card, face down, from the top of the pack. The discard is left on the table, and the counter is the dealer’s perquisite. If he trades for barter, he passes his discard to the player on his left, who must give one of his own in exchange before looking at the one he is to receive. If the player will not exchange, he must knock on the table, to signify that he will stand by the cards he has. If he exchanges, he takes up the offered card, and then has the privilege of trading for ready money or for barter himself. The trading goes on in this way round and round, until some player knocks, when all trading is immediately stopped, and the hands are shown. The best hand wins the pool, the rank of the various combinations being as follows, beginning with the highest:—

Triplets. Three aces being the highest, and three deuces the lowest. Pairs have no value.

Sequence Flushes; the ace being allowed to rank as the top or the bottom; Q K A, or A 2 3.

The Point; the greatest number of pips on two or three cards of the same suit in one hand, counting the ace for eleven, and the other court-cards for ten each. A single card of a suit does not count for the point. In case of ties, a point made with three cards will beat one made with two cards. If the number of cards is also a tie, the dealer, or the player nearest him on his left wins.

If no triplet is shown, the best straight flush wins. If there is no straight flush, the best point wins. The deal passes to the left, and a misdeal loses the deal, as the deal is an advantage, owing to the trade for ready money.

If the dealer does not win the pool, he must pay one white counter to the player who does. If the dealer holds a combination of the same rank as the one that wins the pool, he must pay one white counter to every other player at the table. For instance:[253] No triplet is shown, and a straight flush, Jack high, wins the pool. The dealer has a straight flush, 9 high, and must pay one counter to every player at the table. If the dealer had no sequence flush, he would pay the winner of the pool only.

With a Widow. This is almost three-card Whiskey Poker. Each player is provided with three counters only, which are of no value, and three cards are dealt to each player and to the widow, face down, and one at a time. The widow is turned face up immediately, and the dealer has the first say. Before he looks at the cards he has dealt to himself, he may exchange his whole hand for the widow, otherwise the eldest hand has the first draw. No other player may exchange his whole hand, but each in turn may draw one card until some player knocks. The moment any player knocks, all drawing must cease, and the hands are shown at once. Triplets, straight flushes, and points determine the value of the hands, as already described, and the best hand takes the pool. The dealer makes no extra payments, as he has no perquisites. The first player to lose his three counters pays for the whiskey; and if two or more are frozen out at the same time, the one with the worst hand pays. The game is sometimes varied by playing freeze-out, a value being attached to the three counters, and players who are decavé retiring from the game until all the counters have been won by a single player.

Two other combinations are sometimes introduced in either form of Commerce: A flush, three cards of one suit, ranking next below the straight flush; and a single pair outranking the point.

Another variety of Commerce is variously known as My Ship Sails; or My Bird Sings. The counters have a money value, and three are given to each player. Three cards are dealt, face down, and one at a time. There is no widow. The eldest hand may then exchange one card with the player on his left, who must give his card before seeing the one he is to receive. The exchange goes round to the left. The moment any player finds himself with a flush, three cards of the same suit, regardless of their value, whether dealt to him, or made by exchange, he says: “My Ship Sails;” and all exchange is stopped, and the hands are shown. Should there be more than one flush, the pips win, counting ace for 11, and other court-cards for 10 each. If no player has secured a flush after two rounds of exchanges, the hands are shown, and the highest number of pips in the two-card flushes wins the pool. The elder hand wins ties.

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BOUILLOTTE, OR BRELAN.

This is an old and famous French gambling game, often referred to in stories of fast life in European society. It was the rage during and long after the French Revolution, but has lately had to share public attention with Baccara, and even with Le Poker Américain. It has many points in common with three-stake Brag, and is evidently descended from the same stock. By many persons Bouillotte is considered superior to Poker, because it offers the player many opportunities to speculate on winning by the aid of cards that are not in his own hand.

Cards. Bouillotte is played with a piquet pack, reduced to twenty cards, only the A K Q 9 8 of each suit being retained. The ace is the highest card in play and in cutting. If five persons play, the Jack of each suit is added; if only three play, the Queens are discarded, reducing the pack to sixteen cards. Two packs are generally used alternately.

Counters or chips are used, as in Poker, instead of money. Any player may be the banker.

Players. Three, four, or five persons may play; but four is the proper number, and all descriptions of the game suppose it to be four-handed.

Cutting. To decide the positions of the players, a sequence of cards is sorted out, equal in number with the number of players. These cards are then shuffled, face downward, and each player draws one. The highest of the sequence has the choice of positions, and so on down until all are seated. The player who draws the King deals the first hand.

Stakes. Each player purchases an equal number of counters from the banker, usually 100. This original cave cannot be added to or deducted from. As long as a single counter of it remains the player must call for a sight, just as in freeze-out or table stakes; and not until he is decavé, [has lost everything,] can he purchase another stake, the amount of which is usually at his own option.

Blind and Straddle. Before the distribution of the cards, the dealer puts up a blind, usually five counters, which the player on his right has the privilege of straddling. If he straddles, he may be straddled again, and so on. In Bouillotte the straddle practically buys from the dealer the privileges of the age. If it goes round until the dealer buys it back himself, the straddling must then be stopped.

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Dealing. As in all French games, the cards are cut by the player on the dealer’s left, and are dealt from right to left. Three cards are given to each player, one at a time, face down, and the thirteenth is then turned face up on the pack. This card is called the retourne.

Misdeals. If any card is exposed during the deal, either in the pack or in giving it to a player, it is a misdeal; but the distribution of the cards is continued until each player has received three cards, the exposed card being given out in its regular order. If any player can show triplets, he receives one white counter from each of the other players, and the hands are then abandoned. If more than one triplet is shown, the inferior does not pay the higher. If no triplet is shown, the cards are redealt. A misdeal does not lose the deal.

The deal passes to the right; but should the player whose turn it is to deal have lost everything on the previous deal, and have just purchased another stake, the deal passes to the player beyond him. If a player withdraws from the table when it is his turn to deal, the deal passes any newcomer who may take his place.

Betting. The cards dealt, each player in turn, beginning with the one to the right of the dealer, or to the right of the last straddler, if any, can do one of three things: Equal the amount of the ante; increase it as much as he pleases within the limits of his cave; or pass, retaining his cards but betting nothing. If any player opens the game by making a bet, the player on his right may equal or raise it; but he cannot pass after the game is opened, unless he withdraws from the pool. Any player may call for a sight for the amount in front of him, but that does not prevent the others from continuing the betting. If no one will open, the deal is void, and each player puts five counters in the pool for the next deal. If a player opens, and no one will equal or raise him, he wins the antes and straddles, if any. If any player makes a raise which no one will meet, he takes whatever is in the pool, unless a player has called for a sight for a small part of it.

Calling and Showing. If only two players bet against each other, either may call the other, and demand a show of hands at any time; but if three or four are betting, the privilege of calling falls upon each in turn from right to left. For instance: A, B, C, and D play. D blinds five counters, and deals. A passes, and B opens for five reds. C passes out, while D and A both meet the bet of five reds, but neither will raise it. This does not call B, who has the privilege of raising the bet if he pleases. Suppose he raises, and D and A both meet it. On this second round, C having passed out, it is D’s turn to say whether or not he will raise. On the next round it will be A’s turn, and after that it will be B’s second turn, and so on. Should any player meet the bet but refuse[256] to raise, although it is his turn, he still cannot call. If he does not avail himself of his privilege of raising, he must pass the word to the player on his right; that is, transfer the privilege to him. If he declines, it is a call; if he raises, it goes on until every player has refused to avail himself of the privilege. If a player chooses to raise without waiting for his turn, of course he can do so. One of the fine points in the game is knowing when to raise the bet yourself, and when to pass the word.

Rank of the Hands. If a call is made, the hands are shown, and the best Bouillotte hand wins. There are only two classes of hands recognized in Bouillotte, the brelan, and the point; but there are three kinds of brelans, which rank in the following order:

A Brelan Carré is four of a kind; three in the player’s hand, and the fourth turned up on the pack. If any player holds a brelan, [three of a kind,] of a higher denomination than the brelan carré, the player may turn up the card under the retourne, and if this makes his hand a brelan carré also, he wins the pool. In addition to winning the pool, the holder of a brelan carré receives from each player four white counters.

A Simple Brelan is three of a kind in the player’s hand, three aces being the highest, and three eights the lowest. In addition to winning the pool, the holder of a simple brelan receives one counter from each of the other players at the table. If two are shown, neither pays the other. Should the brelan be formed by uniting the retourne with two cards in the player’s hand, it is a brelan favori, and the holder of it receives an extra counter from every player at the table, whether he wins the pool or not. For instance: The retourne is an eight; a brelan of Queens is shown, and wins the pool. Another player holds a pair of eights, and claims brelan favori. He does not pay the winning brelan, but receives one counter from its holder, and also from each of the other players. If the brelan favori wins the pool, it is paid two counters by each player. If two simple brelans are shown, the higher wins the pool; but both must be paid by each of the other two players, who did not hold brelans.

The Point. If no brelan is shown, the hands of all the players are shown, including those who passed out during the betting. This will expose thirteen cards, including the retourne. The pips in each suit are then counted, the ace reckoning for 11, court cards for 10 each, and the 9 and 8 at their face value. Whichever suit has the greatest number of pips is called the suit that wins, and the player who holds the highest card of it takes the pool; provided, of course, that he was one of those who backed his hand until the last call. If the player who holds the best card of the winning suit has dropped out during the betting, his cards count for the player who has the highest card of the suit among those[257] who backed their hands. For instance: D deals and turns the heart 8. A and B have passed out, but C has made a bet which D has called. Neither has a brelan, so all four players show their cards, and it is found that they lie thus:—

Layout of the cards

Spades are the winning suit: but neither C nor D has a spade, and as neither A nor B is in the call, the spade suit cannot win anything. As between clubs and hearts, D’s point is 40, and C’s 38; so D wins the pool. C of course had a great advantage in betting, as he knew four hearts were out, his own and the retourne; and all he feared was a brelan. A would have won the pool if he had backed his hand, because he would have had the highest card of the winning suit.

Calling for a Sight. Suppose four players have the following caves in front of them: A, 35; B, 60; C, 120; and D, 185. D blinds five, deals, and turns the heart 9. A puts up all his 35 counters. B passes out. C raises 50, putting up 85; and D bets everything, 180 more than his blind. A demands a sight for his 35, and C puts up the remainder of his 120, and calls a sight for them. Then D withdraws his superfluous 65, and it is a call. No one has a brelan, so all the hands are shown, and the cards lie thus:—

Layout of the cards

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The point is exactly even for clubs and spades, 40 in each. In case of ties, the dealer, or the player nearest him on the right wins. In this case A wins on account of his position, so clubs is the winning suit, and A has the best card of it. But he can win from C and D only the amount for which he called a sight, i.e. 35 counters. He therefore takes down 105 as his share of the pool, leaving 170 to be decided between C and D. Now, although C has a better point than D, it is one of the principles of the game that the suit that wins cannot lose at the same time; and as D has a card of the winning suit, while C has not, D wins the remainder of the pool. If neither C nor D had a card of the winning suit, C would win from D on account of his better point.

If we transposed the club ace and spade ace, spades would be the winning suit, because the elder hand, A, had the best card of it; but C would take the remainder of the pool, because he held a spade, while D did not.

As it is, C is decavé, and must purchase another stake, or retire from the game. If C had lost this pool with a brelan in his hand, he would not be decavé; because after losing the pool, and all he had staked therein, B, who had passed out, would have to pay him for the brelan, and with this one white counter he would have to call for a sight in the next pool he entered.

Methods of Cheating. As in all games in which winning depends entirely on the cards held, and not on the manner of playing them, Bouillotte offers many opportunities to the greek. The small number of cards in the pack, and the consequent ease with which they may be handled, enable even the clumsiest card sharpers to run up brelan carrés, make false shuffles, and shift cuts. There is one trick, called the poussette, which consists in surreptitiously placing more counters on the table when the player finds he has a hand worth backing. Marked cards, and packs trimmed to taper one way, biseautés, are among the most common weapons of the French tricheurs. As in Poker, it is best to avoid playing with strangers.

Suggestions for Good Play. Beyond the usual qualifications necessary to succeed with any member of the poker family, Bouillotte requires some study of the probable value of the point, which value will vary with the number of players engaged in the coup. For instance: The first player to say, having only 21 in his hand, should ante; but if two other players had already anted, 31, or even 40 would be a doubtful hand. If a bet had been made and met by another player, such a point should generally be laid down.

With good cards it is always better for the eldest hand to pass, especially with a brelan, for he will then have an opportunity to judge of the value of the hands against him, and he can raise the[259] bet to his advantage. Good players will not bet on an ace alone, unless the suit is turned up; nor on a point of 21 with a weak card of the turn-up suit. If three play in a pool the point should be very strong to follow beyond the first raise; and if four players are engaged, it is almost a certainty that brelans will be shown.

When a player with a brelan has frightened off his opponents with a big bet, it is usual to stifle the brelan, as it is considered more to the player’s advantage to leave his adversaries under the impression that he may have been bluffing than to show the hand for the sake of the one white counter to which it entitles him. With three cards of one suit to the King, it is usual to bet high, in order to drive out anything but a brelan. Any player holding ace and another of the suit will of course abandon his hand, as his point is worth only 21 at the most, and the player with three to the King will get the benefit of his cards when the point is counted.

AMBIGU.

Cards. Ambigu is played with a pack of forty cards, the K Q J of each suit being deleted. The cards rank in the order of their numerical value, the 10 being the highest, and the ace the lowest. Two packs may be used alternately.

Players. Any number from two to six may form the table, and the arrangements for seats, first deal, etc., should be decided as at Bouillotte.

Stakes. Each player begins with an equal number of counters, the value of which must be determined beforehand. A betting limit should be agreed upon, and one player should be the banker for the evening.

Blind. Before the cards are dealt, each player deposits one counter in the pool; there is no straddle.

Dealing. The cards are cut to the left, and dealt to the right, and two cards are given to each player, one at a time, face down.

Method of Playing. Each player in turn, beginning on the dealer’s right, examines his hand, and if satisfied with it he says: “Enough.” If not satisfied, he may discard one or both of his cards, and receive others from the top of the pack. In either case he places two white counters in the pool for his ante. All having decided to stand or to draw, the remainder of the pack, exclusive[260] of the discards, is reshuffled and cut; each player is then given two more cards, one at a time, and face down. Each in turn examines his four cards, and if satisfied he says: “I play;” if not, he says: “I pass.” If all pass, the dealer has the choice of two things: He may gather the cards and deal again, each player putting another counter into the pool, or he may put up two white counters himself, and compel the players to retain the cards dealt them, the dealer keeping his also.

Any person announcing to play may put up as many counters as he pleases within the betting limit. If no person will stay with him, he takes back his raise, leaving the antes, and is paid two counters by the last player who refuses. If two or more declare to play they can either meet the amount offered by the first player, or raise him. If any player declines to meet a raise, he must abandon his hand. If no one will call the last raise, the player making it takes the pool, and then shows his hand, and demands payment from each of the other players for whatever combination he holds. If two or more players call, by making their bets equal, they again draw cards, having the privilege of discarding any number from one to four, or of standing pat. After the draw each in turn can pass or play. If all pass, the hands are abandoned, and the pool remains; each player adding one counter for the next deal. This is to force players to bet on their hands. If a bet is made, the calling and raising proceeds as in Draw Poker.

When there are not enough cards to supply the players, the discards must be gathered, shuffled, and cut. Any player with too many or too few cards must abandon his hand as foul. Any player showing his cards must abandon his hand, and forfeit four counters to the pool.

The general laws of Poker governing all irregularities may be applied to Ambigu; but it must be remembered that the French are very much averse to penalties of all kinds, and if an error can be rectified without doing an injustice to any player, it is usual to set things right in the simplest manner possible.

Value of the Hands. There are seven combinations of value in Ambigu, which rank in the following order, beginning with the lowest:—

The Point. The total number of pips on two or more cards of the same suit. A single card does not count for the point. Three cards of one suit are a better point than two cards, even if there are more pips on the two cards. If no higher combination than a point is shown, the player with the winning point receives one counter from each of the other players at the table, besides winning the pool, and everything in it. In case of ties, the player having two cards in sequence wins. For instance: an 8 and a 7[261] will beat a 10 and a 5. If this does not decide it, the elder hand wins.

The Prime. Four cards of different suits, sometimes called a Dutch flush, is a better hand than the point. If a prime is the best combination shown, the holder wins the pool, and receives two counters from each of the other players. If the pips in the prime aggregate more than thirty, it is called Grand Prime, and the holder receives three counters from each of the other players, instead of two. If two or more primes are shown, the one with the highest number of pips wins. If this is still a tie, the elder hand wins.

A Sequence is a bobtail straight flush; that is, three of the four cards are in sequence, such as the 2, 3 and 4 of spades, with an odd card, such as a 9. This is a better combination than a prime, and the holder receives three counters from each player. In case of ties, the highest sequence wins. If the sequence flush is one of four cards, it is a doublet.

A Tricon, or three of a kind, is better than a straight, and entitles the holder to four counters from each of the other players. Pairs have no value.

A Flush is four cards of the same suit, not necessarily in sequence, and is better than a tricon. The holder is paid five counters by each of the other players, in addition to winning the pool.

Doublets. Any hand containing a double combination will beat any single combination. For instance: A player holds three of a kind, and the fourth card in his hand is of a different suit from any of his triplet. His hand is a double combination, prime and tricon, and will beat a flush. A sequence of four cards of the same suit is a double combination, and will beat anything but a fredon. When doublets are shown, the holder is paid for both combinations, six for tricon and prime, or eight for sequence and flush, as the case may be.

A Fredon, or four of a kind, is the best possible hand, and the holder is paid ten or eleven counters by each of the other players, according to the pip value of his cards. He is paid eight counters for fredon, and two for the prime, if it is smaller than 8’s; but he claims grand prime if he has four 9’s, or four 10’S, and gets eleven counters.

In case of ties which cannot be decided by the pip values, the elder hand wins.

Even if a player has lost his entire stake in the pool, he must pay the various combinations shown, and it is usual to reserve about ten counters for this purpose.

Betting the Hands. After the last cards have been drawn,[262] the players proceed to bet upon their hands precisely as at Poker. If a player makes a bet or raise which no one will call, he takes the pool, and then shows his hand and demands payment for the combination he holds. It is very unusual for a player to stifle a hand at Ambigu, as he would at Bouillotte. If a call is made, the players in the call show and compare their cards, and the best hand wins the pool. Only the player who wins the pool can demand payment for combinations held.

TEXT-BOOKS ON POKER.


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THE EUCHRE FAMILY.

This family embraces four of the best known and most popular games in the world, each of which has been considered the national game in its own country: Écarté in France; Napoleon in England; Spoil Five in Ireland; and Euchre in America.

It has always been the custom to trace the origin of Euchre to a variety of Triomphe, or French Ruff, probably introduced to America by the French of Louisiana; and to claim Écarté as its cousin, and the French survivor of the parent game. In the opinion of the author, both the game and its name go to show that Euchre is of mixed stock, and probably originated in an attempt to play the ancient Irish game of Spoil Five with a piquet pack. “Euchre” is not a French word, but the meaning of it is identical with “Spoil Five”; both names signifying that the object of the game is to prevent the maker of the trump from getting three tricks. In the one game he is “spoiled;” in the other he is “euchred.” In the old game of Triomphe, in Écarté, and in the black suits in Spoil Five, the order of the court cards in plain suits is the same, the ace ranking below the Jack. But in Euchre the Jack ranks above the ace when the suit is trumps, exactly as it does in Spoil Five. In the latter game the five is the best trump; but as there is no five in a piquet pack, that trump was probably disregarded, leaving the Jack the best. Taking up, or “robbing” the turn-up trump, is another trait common to both Spoil Five and Euchre.

Spoil Five and Triomphe are mentioned in the earliest works on card games. Triomphe can be traced to 1520, when it was popular in Spain; and the origin of Maw, the parent of Spoil Five, is lost in the mists of Irish antiquity. It was the fashionable game during the reign of James I.

The old Spanish game of Triomphe, now obsolete, seems to have undergone several changes after its introduction to France. At first it was played either by two persons, or by two pairs of partners. If one side had bad cards, they could offer to abandon the hand, and allow the adversaries to count a point without playing.[264] If the adversaries refused, they were obliged to win all five tricks or lose two points. It was compulsory to win the trick if possible, and to trump, over-trump, or under-trump if the player had none of the suit led. This peculiarity survives in the games of Rams and Loo, which also belong to the euchre family.

After a time we find a variation introduced in which any number from two to six could play, each for himself, and the player first winning two tricks out of the five marked the point. Later still we find the ace ranking above the King, thus becoming the best trump. If the ace was turned up, the dealer had the privilege of robbing it, or the holder of the ace of trumps could rob the turn-up, discarding any card he pleased, just as in Spoil Five. But in Triomphe the dealer turned up another card, and if that was of the trump suit the holder of the ace could rob that also, and so on until he turned a card of a different suit. This did not alter the trump, but merely stopped the robbing process. Whether or not Triomphe borrowed this feature from Spoil Five or Maw, it is now impossible to say.

Whatever its origin, Euchre has always been the most respectable member of the family, and the game of all others that has best served the card-playing interest in social life. Spoil Five probably comes next in point of respectability; but Écarté has often fallen into evil hands, and the very name is in some places regarded as synonymous for gambling. The same is true of Napoleon, but in less degree. Euchre, unlike the other members of the family, is not essentially a gambling game, but belongs rather to the intellectual group of card games; a position which we hope it may long maintain.

EUCHRE.

CARDS. Euchre is played with what is commonly known as the piquet pack, 32 cards, all below the 7 being deleted. In plain suits the cards rank as at Whist; but in the trump suit the Jack is the best, and it is called the Right Bower. The Jack of the same colour as the trump suit, red or black, is the second-best trump, and it is called the Left Bower; so that if clubs were trumps the rank of the nine cards in the trump suit would be as follows:—

🃛 🂫 🃑 🃞 🃝 🃚 🃙 🃘 🃗

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The rank of the cards in the other suits would be:—

🂡 🂮 🂭 🂪 🂩 🂨 🂧 | 🂱 🂾 🂽 🂻 🂺 🂹 🂸 🂷 | 🃁 🃎 🃍 🃋 🃊 🃉 🃈 🃇

When the Joker, or blank card is used, it is always the best trump, ranking above the right bower. In cutting, the ace is low, the other cards ranking as in plain suits. A player cutting the Joker must cut again.

COUNTERS or whist markers may be used for keeping the score, but it is much more common to use the small cards from the deleted portion of the pack. The game is five points, and the best method of scoring is to use the 4 and 3 of any suit. When the 3 is face up, but covered by the 4 face down, it counts one. When the 4 is face up, covered by the 3 face down, it counts two. When the 4 is face down, covered by the 3 face up, it counts three. When the 3 is face down, covered by the 4 face up, it counts four.

[🃓 covered by facedown card] [🃔 covered by facedown card] [🃓 covering a facedown card] [🃔 covering a facedown card]

One. Two. Three. Four.

The number of pips exposed on the card which is face up is immaterial; the relative position of the two cards will always determine the score.

Rubber or game scores must be kept on a whist marker, or on a sheet of paper.

PLAYERS. Euchre may be played by any number of persons from two to seven; but in the seven-handed game the full pack of fifty-three cards is used. Whatever the number of players, they cut for positions at the table, for partners, and for the deal.

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CUTTING. The cards are usually spread, face down, and each candidate for play draws a card.

Spreading the Pack.

When two or three play, the lowest cut has the choice of seats, and takes the first deal. When four play, they cut for partners; the two highest pairing against the two lowest. The lowest has the choice of seats, and deals the first hand. When five or seven play, they have the choice of seats in their order, the lowest first, and the lowest cut deals. When six play, the three lowest are partners against the three highest, the lowest cut having the choice of seats, and the first deal.

TIES. Players cutting cards of equal value cut again; but the new cut decides nothing but the tie.

PLAYER’S POSITIONS. The eldest hand, or age, sits on the left of the dealer, and the pone sits on the dealer’s right. There are no distinctive names for the other positions.

When two play, they sit opposite each other. When three play, each for himself, the game is known as Cut Throat, and the position of the players is immaterial. When four play, the partners sit opposite each other. When five or seven play, the maker of the trump in each deal selects his partners, and they play against the others without any change in their positions at the table. When six play, three are partners against the other three, and the opposing players sit alternately round the table.

STAKES. If there is any stake upon the game, its amount must be settled before play begins. When rubbers are played, it is usual to make the stake so much a rubber point. If the winners of the game are five points to their adversaries’ nothing, they win a treble, and count three rubber points. If the losers have scored one or two points only, the winners mark two points for a double. If the losers have reached three or four, the winners mark one for a single. The side winning the rubber adds two points to its score for so doing; so that the largest rubber possible is one of eight points;—two triples to nothing, and two added for the rubber. The smallest possible is one point;—two singles and the rubber, against a triple. If the first two games are won by the same partners, the third is not played.

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DEALING. Any player has the right to shuffle the cards, the dealer last. The pack must be presented to the pone to be cut, and he must leave at least four cards in each packet. Beginning on his left, the dealer distributes the cards either two at a time and then three, or three and then two to each player in rotation, until all have five cards. Whichever number, two or three, the dealer begins with, he must continue giving the same number to every player, including himself, for the first round. After the cards are dealt, the next card is turned face up on the remainder of the pack, except in five and seven-handed Euchre, in which no trump is turned. Each player deals in turn to the left, until the conclusion of the game or rubber.

Irregularities in the Deal. If any card is found faced in the pack, the dealer must deal again. Should the dealer expose any card but the trump while dealing, the adversaries may demand a new deal by the same dealer. Should any adversary of the dealer expose a card, the dealer may elect to deal again. A player dealing out of turn may be stopped before the trump card is turned; but after that the deal must stand, afterward passing to the left in regular order. On the completion of the deal, if any player has more or less than five cards, it is a misdeal, and the deal passes to the player on the misdealer’s left.

The dealer loses his deal if he neglects to have the pack cut; if he deals a card incorrectly, and fails to remedy the error before dealing another; if he counts the cards on the table, or those remaining in the pack; or if he deals two cards to one player and three to another in the same round.

If the pack is found to be imperfect, the deal in which the error is discovered is void; but all previous scores stand good.

MAKING THE TRUMP. Although a card is turned up at the end of the deal, the suit to which it belongs is not necessarily the trump for that hand. Each player in turn, beginning on the dealer’s left, whether he be an adversary or a partner of the dealer’s, may insist on the turn-up suit remaining the trump; or he may declare that he is indifferent as to which suit is the trump, the one turned up or some other. But should one player in his proper turn decide in favour of the turn-up, no player after him can alter the decision. When it comes to the dealer’s turn, if no other player has decided to retain the suit turned up, he must either let the trump remain as it is, or insist on its being changed.

As the individual or side that settles which suit shall be the trump is said to make the trump, it will be necessary to describe the method of scoring in order to understand the principles that guide the players in deciding on the trump suit.

SCORING. Euchre is played for tricks. If the side that makes the trump takes three or four tricks out of the five possible,[268] it scores one point. If the side wins all five tricks, it scores two points for a march. If the player that makes the trump fails to win three tricks, he is euchred, and his adversaries score two points for the euchre. When four play, if the player who makes the trump declares to play alone, that is, without any assistance from his partner, who must lay down his cards, the maker of the trump scores four points if he succeeds in winning all five tricks, and one point if he wins three or four tricks. But if he fails to win three tricks, he is euchred, and the adversaries score two points. When three play, a lone hand counts three if the player wins all five tricks. When two play, five tricks is simply a march, and counts two points. When five or seven play, there are special scores for lone hands. When all five tricks are taken by one side, but not by an individual playing a lone hand, it is simply a march, and counts two points, no matter how many are playing. When two or three are playing, a march must of course be a lone hand, as there are no partnerships. As we shall see later, there are some varieties of Euchre in which a lone hand may play against a lone hand, but this is not permitted in the ordinary game.

No one but the individual player who makes the trump can play alone.

Except in five and seven-handed Euchre, the player or side first reaching five points wins the game. If three are playing, and two of them reach five points simultaneously by euchreing the third, they both win a game. If they are playing for stakes, they divide the pool.

TAKING UP THE TRUMP. After the trump is turned up, each player in turn examines his cards, and if he does not care whether the trump suit remains unchanged or not, he says: “I pass.” If all pass, the dealer must decide. The dealer has the advantage of being allowed to take the trump card into his own hand, discarding one of his worthless cards in its place. If he thinks he can make three tricks with the turn-up suit for trumps, and his partner’s probable assistance, or can win five tricks by playing alone, he discards any card he pleases, placing it under the remainder of the pack, face down, and without showing or naming it. If the dealer decides to play alone, it is usual for him to pass his discard across the table to his partner, face down, so that there may be no misunderstanding his intention.

The dealer may take up the trump card at any time during the play of the hand; but it is usual to leave it on the pack until it is played to a trick. No one but the dealer can take the trump into his hand.

TURNING DOWN THE TRUMP. If the dealer fears that he and his partner cannot make three tricks with the turn-up[269] suit for trumps, or would prefer to have the suit changed, he can pass. If he passes, he takes the trump card from the top of the pack, and places it face upward, and partly under the pack, in such a manner that it can be distinctly seen.

[🃘 on top of pack covering facedown card] [Facedown pack covering 🃘]

Taken Up. Turned Down.

CHANGING THE TRUMP. It then becomes the turn of the other players, each in succession to the left of the dealer, to name some other suit for the trump, or to pass a second time. If the suit of the same colour as the turn-up is named for the new trump, it is usual to say: “I make it next.” If a suit of a different colour is named, it is called crossing the suit, and some players, if a red suit is turned, will say: “I cross to clubs.”

Any player naming a new suit may announce to play alone at the same time. The side that makes the new trump must make at least three tricks, or it will be euchred, and the adversaries will count two points. If a player names the suit that has just been turned down, he loses his right to make the trump; and if he corrects himself, and names another suit, he debars not only himself but his partner from making the trump. One player having named a new trump suit in his proper turn, his decision is binding on all the others; but should a player name a suit out of his proper turn, both he and his partner are debarred from making that suit the trump. If no one will name a new trump, the deal is void, and passes to the next player on the dealer’s left.

ORDERING UP THE TRUMP. Instead of passing the turn-up trump on the first round, any player who thinks it would be to his advantage to have the turn-up remain the trump, may order the dealer to take it up. In doing so he says: “I order it,” if he is an adversary; or: “I assist,” if he is the dealer’s partner. In either case the player making the trump may announce a lone hand at the same time. His side must make at least three tricks, whether he plays alone or not, or it is a euchre, and the adversaries will count two points. In case an adversary of the dealer plays alone, he must distinctly announce it when he orders up the trump. The usual expression is: “I order it alone.” His partner then lays his cards face downward on the table and takes no further part in the play of that hand. If he exposes any card of the abandoned hand, the adversaries can call upon him to take up the hand and play it, leaving the exposed card[270] on the table as liable to be called. This of course prevents the lone hand.

If the dealer’s partner wishes to play alone, instead of assisting, he says: “I play this alone,” and the dealer lays down his cards, leaving the trump on the pack.

PLAYING ALONE. No player but the one that takes up, orders up, or makes the trump can play a lone hand. If the dealer takes up the trump card of his own accord, he can play alone. If any player orders up or assists, that player can play alone. Any player making a new trump after the first has been turned down, can play alone. If one player orders up the trump, neither his partner nor his adversary can play alone; and if the dealer’s partner assists, that prevents the dealer from playing a lone hand. In many clubs the mistake is made of allowing the dealer to play alone on his partner’s assist; or letting the pone play alone after the dealer has been assisted; or letting the partner of the player who makes the new trump play alone. This is not good Euchre, because it gives an unfair advantage to one side, as we shall see when we come to the suggestions for good play, especially in connection with ordering up at what is called the “bridge;” that is, when the score is 4 to 1, or 4 to 0.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The trump settled, the eldest hand, or the player next him on the left, if the partner of the eldest hand is playing alone, begins by leading any card he pleases, and the others must follow suit if they can. Failure to follow suit when able is a revoke, if the error is not discovered and corrected before the trick in which it occurs is turned and quitted. If the player discovers his mistake in time, the card played in error must be left on the table, and is liable to be called. When a revoke is discovered and claimed by the adversaries, it is usual to abandon the hand, and the adversaries of the revoking player can either deduct two points from his score, or add two to their own score, for every revoke made during the hand. The penalty cannot be divided. If both sides revoke, the deal is void, and the same dealer must deal again.

Any player having none of the suit led may either trump, or throw away a card of another suit. The highest card played, if of the suit led, wins the trick, trumps winning against all other suits, and a higher trump winning a lower. The winner of the trick may lead any card he pleases for the next trick, and so on, until all five tricks have been played. If the dealer takes the trump into his hand, any player naming it is liable to have his highest or lowest trump called; but a player may ask and must be informed what the trump suit is.

Cards Played in Error. All cards led out of turn, played in error, or two or more played to a trick, or dropped face upward[271] on the table, are called exposed cards, and must be left face up on the table. These must be played when called by the adversaries, unless compliance with the demand would make the player revoke; but the fact of their being exposed does not prevent their being got rid of in the course of play if the opportunity offers. Some persons imagine that the adversaries can prevent an exposed card from being played; but such is not the case in Euchre. A person playing a lone hand is not liable to any penalty for exposing his cards, nor for leading out of turn, for he has no partner to derive any benefit from the information conveyed.

Leading Out of Turn. Should any person, not playing alone, lead out of turn, the adversaries may call a suit from the player in error, or from his partner, when it is next the turn of either of them to lead. The demand must be made by the person who will be the last player on the trick in which the suit is called. If all have played to the lead before discovering the error, it cannot be rectified; but if all have not played, those who have followed the false lead must take back their cards, which are not liable to be called.

Any player may ask the others to draw cards in any trick, provided he does so before the cards are touched for the purpose of gathering them. In answer to this demand, each player should indicate which card of those on the table he played. No one is allowed to see any trick that has been turned and quitted.

Taking Tricks. As the tricks are taken they should be neatly laid one upon the other in such a manner that any player at the table can count them. All tricks belonging to one side should be kept together. At the end of each hand the score should be claimed and marked. Revokes must be detected and claimed before the cards are cut for the following deal.

CUTTING OUT. When the play is confined to four players, rubbers are usually played, and the table is complete with six persons, two looking on, and awaiting their turn. At the end of a rubber, if there are more than four players belonging to the table, those who have just played cut to decide which shall give place to those waiting, the players cutting the highest cards going out. If six belong to the table, there will be no further cutting out, as those who are out for one rubber re-enter for the next, taking the places of those who have played two consecutive rubbers. If five belong to the table, the three who remained in for the second rubber must cut to allow the fifth player to re-enter. At the end of the third rubber, the two cut that have not yet been out; and at the end of the fourth rubber the one who has played every rubber goes out without cutting. Partners and deal are cut for at the beginning of each new rubber.

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METHODS OF CHEATING. All the Euchre family of games, especially Écarté and Napoleon, offer numerous opportunities to the greek. So well is this known in Europe that it is considered extremely foolish for any person to play Écarté in mixed companies. The small number of cards in the pack, and the custom of dealing two and three at a time, gives the dealer an opportunity to bunch four valuable cards, of which he can give himself three, and turn up the fourth. False shuffles, shifted cuts, and marked cards are formidable weapons. The telegraph between partners, and the variation in tone or words in passing are frequently used by card-sharpers. One of the commonest devices in America is the use of what are known as “jack strippers.” These are two Jacks, usually both of the same colour, which can be withdrawn from any portion of the pack by the fingers of an expert, and placed on the top. When the sharp deals, he places cards enough on these to supply the other players on the first round, so that the strippers will come to him. When only two are playing, he strips them out and leaves them on the top when he cuts the cards, so that they shall be dealt to him. Never play Euchre or Écarté with a man who cuts the pack with both hands.

Any person who is tempted to bet on any game in the Euchre family should remember the advice of the worldly-wise Parisian to his son: “Until you have four eyes in your head, risk not your gold at Écarté.”

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. The chief points for the beginner to understand are. When to order up; when to assist; when to take up; when to play alone; and what to make the trump if it is turned down. His decision in each case will be governed largely by his position at the table, and by the score. The following suggestions are for four players, two being partners against the other two, and playing without the Joker; that being the most common form of the game. The general principles underlying these suggestions for the four-handed game will be found equally valuable in any form of Euchre.

ORDERING UP. Although probabilities are of little practical value in Euchre, it may be well to remember that there are nine cards in the trump suit; but as only two-thirds of the pack is dealt out, the average number of trumps among four players will be six. Of these, the dealer always has the advantage of being sure of one more than his share, and it is safe to reckon upon the dealer to hold at least two trumps. He may also be counted for a missing suit, for he will discard any losing card of an odd suit when he takes up the trump.

The Eldest Hand should not order up the trump unless he has such cards that he is reasonably certain of three tricks without any assistance from his partner, and cannot be sure of two tricks if[273] the trump is turned down. When he holds one or two bowers, especially if he has cards of the next suit; that is, the suit of the same colour as the turn-up, he should always pass; because if the dealer takes it up he will probably be euchred, and if he turns it down, the eldest hand will have the first say, and can make it next. It is seldom right to order up a bower, because the dealer will rarely turn down such a card.

There are exceptional cases in which the eldest hand may order up with little or nothing. One of the most common is when the adversaries of the dealer are at the bridge; that is, when their score is 4, and the dealer’s side has only 1 or 2 marked. It is obvious that if the dealer or his partner plays alone, he will win the game; but if the trump is ordered up the most he can score is 2 points for a euchre, and the player who orders up will then have a chance to go out on his own deal. For this reason it has come to be regarded as imperative for the eldest hand to order up at the bridge, unless he holds the right bower, or the left bower guarded, or the ace twice guarded, any one of which combinations is certain to win a trick against a lone hand if the eldest hand does not lead trumps himself. Another case is when the score is 4 to 4, and the eldest hand has average trump strength, good side cards, but nothing in the next suit. It is better to order it up, and risk the game on such a hand than to take the chance of the dealer’s turning it down.

The Pone, who is the partner of the eldest hand, orders up at the bridge on exactly opposite principles. The fact that the eldest hand did not order up shows that the dealer cannot make a lone hand. This should indicate to the pone that his partner has a certain trick in trumps, and if the pone holds any good trumps himself, he can often guess what his partner’s trumps are. For instance: The ace is turned, and the pone holds the left bower guarded. The eldest hand must have the right bower, or four trumps to the King. If the eldest hand has passed at the bridge, and the pone has strong trumps himself, especially the ace or left bower and two small trumps, he should order up the trump; not to save the game, but to be sure of winning it by preventing the dealer from turning it down. If the pone does not order up at the bridge, the eldest hand may infer that he is weak in trumps.

When it is not a bridge, the pone should be guided by the same principles as those given for the eldest hand, because he may be sure that his partner will make it next if it is turned down, unless he has a certainty of three tricks by crossing.

If a player calls his partner’s attention to the fact that they are at the bridge, both lose their right to order up.

ASSISTING. The dealer’s partner usually assists on plain-suit cards, such as two aces, rather than on trumps. The score[274] and the turn-up trump will often be a guide as to whether or not to assist. For instance: If the score is 1 all, or to 2 to 1, and a bower is turned, it is rarely right to assist, because it prevents the dealer from playing alone. If the partner has good suit cards, they may be useful to make a march; if he has strong trumps, especially if sure of three tricks, he should play alone, instead of assisting. If the score is 3 in the dealer’s favour, he does not need a lone hand to win the game, and with two reasonably certain tricks in his own hand the dealer’s partner should assist, as they may win the game by a march.

If the dealer’s side is at the bridge, the score being 4 to 1 or 4 to 0 in their favour, and the eldest hand passes, the dealer’s partner must be on the alert to prevent the pone from placing a lone hand. He should assist unless a bower is turned, or he has it himself, or holds such cards that, combined with the turn-up, he is sure of a trick. For instance: The dealer’s partner has the King and two other trumps, and the ace is turned. It is impossible for the pone to make a lone hand, even if he has both bowers, and the ace is bare; for he cannot catch the King, even if his partner leads the trump through it. But if a small trump was turned, the pone might easily make a lone hand with both bowers and the ace.

TAKING UP. The average expectation of the dealer is something over two trumps, including the turn-up. With more than two trumps, or with two strong trumps, and a reasonably certain trick in a plain suit, the dealer should take up the trump. Three trumps of any size and an ace in plain suits is a strong take-up hand. It is better to take up the trump with only one plain suit in the hand, and small trumps, than with two strong trumps and two weak plain suits. The score will often decide the dealer in taking up the trump. For instance: At 4 all, it is useless to turn anything down unless you have a certain euchre in the next suit, and nothing in the turn-up. Even then, the adversaries are almost certain to cross the suit and go out. With the score 3 all, the dealer should be very careful about taking up on a weak hand, because a euchre loses the game. If he is weak, but has a chance in the next suit, or a bower in the cross suits, he should turn it down. It is a common stratagem to turn it down for a euchre when the dealer is better in the next suit, and has only 2 to go.

PLAYING ALONE. The dealer has the best chance to get a lone hand; but the eldest hand is more likely to succeed with one, on account of the advantage of the lead. It is an invariable rule for any player to go alone when he has three certain tricks, unless he is 3 up, and can win the game with a march. A lone hand should be played with both bowers and the ace, no matter how worthless the other cards; or with five trumps to the ace without either bower; or two high trumps and three aces in[275] plain suits; or three good trumps and two aces. The theory of this is that while the march might possibly be made with partner’s assistance, if partner has the cards necessary to make a march, the adversaries have little or nothing, and there is a very good chance to make a lone hand if three tricks of it are certain. Both bowers and the ace, with only the seven and eight of a plain suit have made many a lone hand. If the lone player is not caught on the plain suit at the first trick, the adversaries may discard it to keep higher cards in the other suit; or they may have none of it from the first. There is always a chance, and it should be taken.

The dealer’s partner, and the pone, should be very careful in playing lone hands, and should never risk them except with three certain tricks, no matter what suit is led first.

With three sure tricks, some players make it a rule to play alone, provided the two other cards are both of the same suit.

MAKING THE TRUMP. When the trump is turned down, the general rule is for the eldest hand to make it next. The exceptions are when he has nothing in the next suit, but has at least two certain tricks in the cross suit, and a probable trick in a plain suit. It is safer to make it next with a weak hand than to cross it on moderate strength, for the presumption is that neither the dealer nor his partner had a bower in the turn-down suit, and therefore have none in the next suit. Such being the case, it is very likely that one or both may be strong in the cross suits, and it is not considered good policy to cross the suit unless so strong in it as to be reasonably certain of three tricks. Some players invariably make it next, regardless of their hands, unless they can play alone in the cross suit. Such a habit exposes them to the common artifice of the dealer’s turning it down for a euchre. A dealer holding a bower and three cards of the next suit, will often turn it down, and trust to the eldest hand making it next, which will give the dealer four trumps instead of two. The eldest hand should be on his guard against this when the dealer’s side has 3 scored.

The dealer’s partner, on the other hand, should cross the suit almost as invariably as the eldest hand should make it next; for if his partner cannot take up the trump, and the eldest hand cannot make it next, their hands must be weak, and if it is passed to the pone, he will probably turn out to have a lone hand. The best chance is to cross the suit, unless the player has three certain tricks in his own hand by making it next, such as five trumps to the ace, or four trumps and a plain-suit ace. With such cards he should play alone.

The pone should never make the trump unless he has three certain tricks, and is willing to play a lone hand. If the dealer turns it down, and both the eldest hand and the dealer’s partner pass a second time, there must be a nigger in the woodpile somewhere.

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LEADING. The general principle of leading is to make tricks while you can. It is useless to save up tenaces in plain suits, because there are only five tricks to play, two of which are certain to fall to the trumps, and it is very improbable that any player will lead up to you a small card of a plain suit that will go round twice. It is seldom right to lead small cards of a plain suit. There is a better chance to make a trick with the King by leading it than by keeping it guarded. In the trump suit, tenaces are very strong, and should be preserved, especially if the tenace is over the turn-up trump. There is a familiar example of the importance of tenace when only two play, in which one person holds the major tenace in trumps, hearts, and must win three tricks, no matter which player leads. The cards in one hand are:—

🂻 🂱 🂺 🂡 🂮

and those in the other hand are;—

🃋 🂾 🂽 🂹 🃑

If the player with the major tenace has to lead first, all he has to do is to force his adversary with the plain suit, spades. Whatever the adversary leads, the player with the major tenace simply wins it, and forces again. If the player with the four trumps has the first lead, it does not matter what card he plays; the player with the major tenace wins it, and forces with the plain suit. As long as the major tenace in trumps is not led away from, it must win three tricks in trumps.

Leading Trumps. With strong cards in plain suits, the eldest hand may often lead trumps to advantage if the dealer’s partner has assisted, especially if the turn-up trump is small. It is seldom right to lead trumps if the dealer has taken up the trump of his own accord; but an exception is usually made when the eldest hand holds three trumps, and two aces in plain suits. The best chance for a euchre is to exhaust the trumps, so as to make the aces good for tricks. If the pone has ordered up the trump, the eldest hand should lead trumps to him immediately; but the pone should not lead trumps to his partner if the eldest hand has ordered up at the bridge. If a bower is turned, the dealer’s partner should lead a small trump at the first opportunity.

In playing against a lone hand the best cards in plain suits should always be led, trumps never. In playing alone, it is best to lead winning trumps as long as they last, so as to force discards, which will often leave intermediate cards in plain suits good for tricks.

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Second Hand. Play the best card you have second hand, and cover everything led if you can. With King and another or Queen and another, it is usually best to put up the honour second hand, on a small card led.

Trumping. It is seldom right to trump partner’s winning cards, unless he has ordered up the trump, and you think you can lead through the dealer to advantage. In playing against a lone hand, it is sometimes good play to trump your partner’s ace with an unguarded left bower or ace of trumps, as it may prevent the dealer from getting into the lead with a small trump, and may save a King or Queen of trumps in your partner’s hand. If you don’t trump, the dealer will probably get in and swing the right bower, and your trump will be lost.

If your partner has ordered, made, or taken up the trump, and you have only one trump, even a bower, trump with it at the first opportunity. Trump everything second hand, unless it takes the right bower for a doubtful trick, or breaks into the major tenace in trumps.

Discarding. It is best to throw away singletons, unless they are aces. If you have two cards of equal value, but of different colours, one of which must be discarded, it is usual to keep the one of the same colour as the turn-up when playing against the dealer. Discard suits that the adversaries are trumping. If your partner discards a suit in which you have a high card, keep that suit, and discard another. If you have both ace and King of a plain suit, discard the ace, to show partner that you can win a trick in the suit. It is very often important to discard correctly when playing against a lone hand, especially if the lone player leads trumps for the fourth trick. It is a common practice for modern players to signal in the discard if they have a certain trick in a suit. This is done by discarding two cards in another suit, the higher before the lower. For instance: You have two aces, spades and diamonds. The dealer plays alone on hearts, and trumps your spade ace the first time. If you have two clubs, such as King and ten, discard the King first, and then the ten, and your partner will know you can stop the diamond suit. This should advise him to keep his clubs.

CUT-THROAT EUCHRE.

The chief element in the three-handed game is playing to the score. The player with the strong hand must always be kind to the under dog, and partnerships are always formed against the man with the high score. Suppose A, B, and C are playing, and[278] that A has 3 points to his adversaries’ nothing on B’s deal. It is to the interest of A to euchre B; but it is to the interest of C to let B make his point because if B is euchred, A wins the game. B having made his point, C deals, and it is then to the interest of B to let C make his point. Suppose C makes a march, 3 points, which puts him on a level with A. On A’s deal it is C’s game to euchre him, but B must let A make his point; so that instead of being opposed by both B and C, as he was a moment ago, A finds a friend in B, and the two who were helping each other to beat A, are now cutting each other’s throats. On B’s deal, A does not want to euchre him, for although that would win the game for both A and C, A, who now has 4 points up, does not wish to divide the pool with C while he has such a good chance to win it all himself. Suppose B makes his point. A will do all he can to euchre C, but B will oppose the scheme, because his only chance for the game is that A will not be able to take up the trump on his own deal, and that B will make a march.

SET-BACK EUCHRE.

This is simply a reversal of the ordinary method of scoring, the players starting with a certain number of points, usually ten, and deducting what they make on each deal. The peculiarity which gives the game its name is that if a player is euchred he is set back two points, his adversaries counting nothing. The revoke penalty is settled in the same way. The game is usually counted with chips, each player starting with ten, and placing in the centre of the table those that he is entitled to score.

BLIND EUCHRE.

Each player is for himself and a widow of two cards is dealt. The player who takes the widow practically orders up the trump and must play against all the others after discarding two cards. If no one will take the widow, the deal is void.

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PENALTY EUCHRE.

Five players are each provided with twelve counters. An extra hand of five cards is dealt face down, for a widow. Each player in turn can exchange the hand dealt him for the widow, or for the hand abandoned by anyone who has taken the widow, the cards being always face down. The turned trump is not taken up by the dealer, but is left on the pack. The eldest hand leads for the first trick and every man is for himself, each holding his own tricks.

At the end of the hand, each player that has not taken a trick receives a counter from each of the others, whether they have taken tricks or not. Then all those that have won tricks put back into the pool a counter for each trick they have taken. The first player to get rid of his twelve counters wins the game.

AUCTION EUCHRE.

This form of the game is sometimes erroneously called French Euchre. The French know nothing about Euchre in any form. Auction Euchre is exactly the same as the ordinary four or six-handed game, except that the trump is not turned up, the players bidding in turn for the privilege of naming the trump suit. The bidder names the number of tricks he proposes to take. There is no second bid, and the player who has made the highest bid names the trump suit. No matter who is the successful bidder, the eldest hand leads for the first trick. The number of points won or lost on the deal are the number of points bid, even if the bidder accomplishes more. If a player has bid 3, and he and his partner take 4 or 5 tricks, they count 3 only. If they are euchred, failing to make the number of tricks bid, the adversaries count the number of points bid. Fifteen points is usually the game.

This is probably the root of the much better games of five and seven-handed Euchre, which will be described further on.

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PROGRESSIVE EUCHRE.

This form of Euchre is particularly well suited to social gatherings. Its peculiarity consists in the arrangement and progression of a large number of players originally divided into sets of four, and playing, at separate tables, the ordinary four-handed game.

Apparatus. A sufficient number of tables to accommodate the assembled players are arranged in order, and numbered consecutively; No. 1 being called the head table, and the lowest of the series the booby table. Each player is provided with a blank card, to which the various coloured stars may be attached as they accrue in the course of play. These stars are usually of three colours; red, green, and gold. The head table is provided with a bell, and each table is supplied with one pack of cards only. It is usual to sort out the thirty-two cards used in play, and the four small cards for markers, before the arrival of the guests.

Drawing for Positions. Two packs of differently coloured cards are used, and from the two black suits in each a sequence of cards is sorted out, equal in length to the number of tables in play. For instance: If there are sixteen ladies and sixteen gentlemen, or thirty-two players in all, they will fill eight tables, and all the clubs and spades from the ace to the eight inclusive should be sorted out. These are then thoroughly shuffled and presented, face down, to the players to draw from. The ladies take only the red-back cards, and the gentlemen only the blue. The number of pips on the card drawn indicates the number of the table at which the player is to sit, and those drawing cards of the same suit are partners for the first game.

Playing. All being seated, the deal is cut for at each table, and play begins. There is no cutting for partners, that being settled in the original drawing. Five points is a game, and after that number is reached by either side at the head table, the bell is struck. Lone hands are usually barred at the head table, so as to give the other tables time to make a certain number of points, and so to avoid ties. Upon the tap of the bell all play immediately ceases, even if in the middle of a deal. If the players at any but the head table have reached five points before the bell rings, they play on, counting all points made until the bell taps.

Progressing. The partners winning the game at the head table each receive a gold star, and retain their seats for the next game. The losing players at the head table go down to the booby table. All the winning players at the other tables receive red[281] stars, and go to the table next in order above, those at table No. 2, going to No. 1. Those losing and remaining at the booby table each receive a green star.

Changing Partners. At all but the head table the partners that progress to the next table divide, the lady who has just lost at each table retains her seat, and takes for her partner the gentleman who has just arrived from the table below. At the head table the newly arrived pair remain as partners; but at the booby table the players who have just arrived from the head table divide. All being seated, they cut for the deal, and play is resumed until the next bell tap.

Ties. In case of ties in points at any table when the bell taps, those having won the most tricks on the next hand are declared the winners. If that is also a tie, the ladies cut to decide it, the lowest cut going up. In cutting, the ace is low, and the jack ranks below the Queen.

Prizes. Six prizes are usually provided for large companies. The lady and gentleman having the largest number of gold stars taking the first prizes; the largest number of red stars winning the second prizes; and the largest number of green stars the booby prizes. One player cannot win two prizes. In case of ties for the gold stars, the accompanying red stars decide it; if that is also a tie, the player with the fewest number of green stars wins; and if that is still a tie, the players must cut for it.

The hostess decides the hour at which play shall cease, and is the referee in all disputes.

MILITARY EUCHRE.

The hostess arranges each table as a fort, with a distinguishing flag and a number of small duplicate flags. The partners who sit East and West progress round the room from table to table, and play one game of five points at each, no lone hands allowed. The winners of each game get a little flag from the losers as a trophy. By the time the E and W pairs have made the circuit of all the tables and got home again, the game is ended, the victors being the fort that has captured the greatest number of flags.

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RAILROAD EUCHRE.

Railroad Euchre is the name given to any form of the four-handed game in which every expedient is used to make points rapidly.

Cards. A pack of twenty-five cards is used, all below the 9 being deleted, and the Joker added. The Joker is always the best trump.

Players. There are four players, two being partners against the other two. Partners, deal, and seats are cut for as in the ordinary game.

Dealing. The cards are distributed as in the ordinary game; but it is usual to agree beforehand upon a suit which shall be the trump if the Joker is turned up.

Playing Alone. The chief peculiarity in Railroad Euchre is in playing alone. Any player announcing to play alone, whether the dealer or not, has the privilege of passing a card, face down, to his partner. In exchange for this, but without seeing it, the partner gives the best card in his hand to the lone player, passing it to him face down. If he has not a trump to give him, he can pass him an ace, or even a King. Even if this card is no better than the one discarded, the lone player cannot refuse it. If the dealer plays alone, he has two discards; the first in exchange for his partner’s best card, and then another, in exchange for the trump card, after seeing what his partner can give him. In this second discard he may get rid of the card passed to him by his partner. If the dealer’s partner plays alone, the dealer may pass him the turn-up trump, or any better card he may have in his hand.

Any person having announced to play alone, either of his adversaries may play alone against him; discarding and taking partner’s best card in the same manner. Should the lone player who makes the trump be euchred by the lone player opposing him, the euchre counts four points. It is considered imperative for a player holding the Joker, or the right bower guarded, to play alone against the lone hand, taking his partner’s best; for as it is evident that the lone hand cannot succeed, there is a better chance to euchre it with all the strength in one hand than divided.

If any player, in his proper turn, announces to play alone, and asks for his partner’s best, the partner cannot refuse; neither can he propose to play alone instead.

Scoring. With the exception of the four points for euchreing a lone hand, the scoring is exactly the same as in the ordinary[283] four-handed game; but there are one or two variations which are sometimes agreed upon beforehand in order to make points still more rapidly.

Laps. If a player makes more points than are necessary to win the game, the additional points are counted on the next game, so that there is always an inducement to play lone hands, even with 4 points up.

Slams. If one side reaches five points before the other has scored, it is a slam, and counts two games.

When laps and slams are played, it is sometimes agreed that if a person plays alone without taking his partner’s best card, or the dealer plays alone without taking up the trump or asking for his partners best, and such a player succeeds in winning all five tricks with a pat hand, it counts five points. If he fails to win all five tricks, the adversaries count one. If he is euchred, they count three; but they are not permitted to play alone against him.

Jambone. Any person playing a lone hand may announce Jambone, and expose his cards face up on the table. The adversaries then have me right to call any card they please, either for the lead, or in following suit; but they cannot make the player revoke, nor can they consult, or in any way expose their hands. If a lead is required, it must be called by the person on the jambone player’s left. If a card is called on a trick, it must be called by the person on the jambone player’s right. If in spite of these difficulties the jambone player succeeds in winning five tricks, he scores eight points. If he wins three or four only, he counts one point. If he is euchred he loses two. It is not allowable to play alone against a jambone.

Jamboree. This is the combination of the five highest trumps in one hand, and need only be announced and shown to entitle the holder to score sixteen points. If held by the dealer, it may be made with the assistance of the turn-up trump; and any player may make it with the assistance of his partners best; but it does not count unless the holder of it has made the trump. If a player with a pat Jamboree is ordered up, all he can score is a euchre.

As in other forms of Euchre, no one but the maker of the trump can play alone, or announce Jambone or Jamboree. Lone hands are very common in Railroad Euchre, and ordering up to prevent lone hands is commoner still.

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SEVEN-HANDED EUCHRE.

Cards. Seven-handed Euchre is played with a full pack of fifty-three cards, including the Joker. The cards in plain suits rank as at Whist; but the Joker is always the best trump, the right and left bowers being the second and third-best respectively.

Counters. One white and four red counters are necessary. The white counter is passed to the left from player to player in turn, to indicate the position of the next deal. The red counters are placed in front of the maker of the trump and his partners, to distinguish them from their opponents. Markers are not used, the score being kept on a sheet of paper. The score is usually kept by a person who is not playing, in order that none of those in the game may know how the various scores stand. Should an outsider not be available for scoring, there are two methods: One is for one player to keep the score for the whole table, who must inform any player of the state of the score if asked to do so. The other is to have a dish of counters on the table, each player being given the number he wins from time to time. These should be placed in some covered receptacle, so that they cannot be counted by their owner, and no other player will know how many he has. As it is very seldom that a successful bid is less than five, and never less than four, counters marked as being worth 4, 5, 6 and 7 each will answer every purpose, and will pay every bid made.

Cutting. The players draw cards from an outspread pack for the choice of seats, those cutting the lowest cards having the first choice. The lowest cut of all deals the first hand, passing the white counter to the player on his left, whose turn it will be to deal next. Ties are decided in the usual way.

Dealing. The cards are dealt from left to right, two being given to each player for the first round, then three, and then two again, until each player has received seven cards. The four remaining in the pack are then placed in the centre of the table, face down, and form the widow. No trump is turned.

The rules governing all irregularities in the deal are the same as in ordinary Euchre.

Making the Trump. The cards dealt, each player in turn, beginning with the eldest hand, bids a certain number of points, at the same time naming the suit which he wishes to make the trump. There is no second bid, and the suit named by the highest bidder must be the trump for that deal. The successful bidder takes the widow, selecting from it what cards he pleases, and discarding others in their stead, so as to restore the number of his cards to seven. He then places a red counter in front of him, and chooses[285] his partners, passing a red counter to each of them. These counters must be placed in front of the players to distinguish them as belonging to the bidder’s side; but the players make no changes in their respective positions at the table. Each player should bid on the possibilities of his hand, however small, so as to guide the others in their selection of partners.

Partners. If the bidder has proposed to take not more than five tricks out of the seven possible, he chooses two partners, and these three play against the remaining four. If he has bid to make six or seven tricks he chooses three partners, and these four play against the remaining three. Partners cannot refuse to play.

Playing Alone. Should a player think he can take all seven tricks without any partners, he may bid ten, which would outrank a bid of seven; but such a bid must be made before seeing the widow. If a player thinks he can win all seven tricks without either widow or partners, he may bid twenty, which is the highest bid possible. When twenty is bid the cards in the widow must remain untouched.

Playing. The successful bidder has the lead for the first trick. The general rules for following suit, etc., are the same as in ordinary Euchre. The bidder takes in all the tricks won by himself and his partners, and one of the adversaries should gather for that side. If a player on either side revokes, the adversaries score the number bid, and the hand is abandoned.

Scoring. If the bidder is successful in his undertaking, he and his partners, if any, are credited by the scorer with the number of points bid, but no more. Should a player bid five, and his side take seven, it would count them only five points. If the player making the trump fails to reach his bid, he is euchred, and the adversaries are credited with the number of points bid.

Prizes. It is usual to give two prizes for each table in play; one for the highest number of points won during the evening, and one for the smallest number; the latter being usually called the “booby” prize.

Suggestions for Good Play. It is very risky to bid seven without the Joker, the odds being 11 to 1 against finding it in the widow. A bid of ten should not be made without both Joker and Right Bower, and all the other cards winners and trumps. To bid twenty, a player should have a practically invincible hand, with at least five winning leads of trumps.

The first bidders are always at a disadvantage, because they know nothing of the contents of the other hands; but after one or two players have made a bid, those following them can judge pretty well how the cards lie. For instance: The seven players are A B C D E F G. A deals, and B bids 2 in hearts. C and D pass. E bids 3 in clubs; and F says 4 in hearts. It is evident that F[286] is bidding on B’s offer in hearts, and intends to choose him for a partner. G finds in his hand four good spades and the Joker, but neither Bower. He may safely bid 5 or 6, taking E for a partner if successful, as E very probably has one or both the black Bowers. If he bids 5 only, the dealer, A, would have an excellent chance to bid 6 in hearts, and to take B and F for two of his partners, and G for the third, trusting to find him with the Joker, or at least protection in one or both black suits.

If the successful bidder has had no previous bids to guide him in his choice of partners, he should take those who have the lowest scores, if the scores are known; because it is to his advantage to avoid advancing those who are perhaps already ahead. When the scores are not known, there is nothing but luck to guide one, unless a person has a very good memory, and knows which players are probably behind.

Leading. If the successful bidder wants 6 or 7 tricks, and holds the Joker, he should lead it at once. If he has not the Joker, he should begin with a low trump, and give his partners a chance to play the Joker on the first round. If the leader cannot exhaust the trumps with one or two rounds, it will sometimes be to his advantage to lead any losing card he may have in the plain suits, in order to let his partners win the trick if they can. In playing alone, it is absolutely necessary to exhaust the trumps before opening a plain suit.

Partners should avail themselves of the methods common to four-handed Euchre to support one another in trumps and plain suits. The discard should invariably be from weakness if the player is the bidder’s partner; and from strength, if opposed to him.

EUCHRE FOR FIVE PLAYERS. This is practically the same as the seven-handed game, but the pack is reduced to 28 cards, all below the Eight in each suit being deleted. The Joker is not used. Five cards are dealt to each player, by two and three at a time, and the three remaining form the widow. The player bidding three tricks takes one partner only. The player bidding four or five tricks, takes two partners. A player who intends to take the widow, but no partners, can bid eight and one who intends to take neither widow nor partners can bid fifteen. In this form of Euchre the scores are generally known, and 100 points is game.

In some clubs it is the practice for the successful bidder to select one of his partners by asking for the holder of a certain card. For instance: B has the lead, and has bid five in hearts, holding the three best trumps, the club ace, and a losing spade. Instead of selecting his partners at random, he asks for the spade ace, and the player holding that card must say, “Here”; upon which the bidder will pass him a counter, marking him as one of his partners.

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CALL-ACE EUCHRE.

In this variety of euchre, each player is for himself so far as the final score goes. The one who takes up the trump or orders it up, or who makes it after it is turned down, may call upon the best card of any suit but the trump. The player holding the best card of that suit must be his partner, but he does not declare himself. When the highest card of the suit asked for falls in play, the partner is disclosed.

As the whole pack is not dealt out, it often happens that the ace, or even both ace and king, of the suit called for are in the talon. Should it turn out that the caller has the highest card of the suit himself, he has no partner.

When six play, 32 cards are used, and only one remains unknown. When five play, the sevens are thrown out. When four play, the eights are also discarded.

If the maker of the trump does not want a partner, he may either say “alone” or he may ask for a suit of which he holds the ace himself.

If the maker of the trump and his partner get three tricks, they score 1 point each. If they win all the tricks, they score 3 points each if there are five or six in the game; 2 points if there are not more than four players. If the partnership is euchred, each of the others at the table scores 2 points.

For a lone hand, winning all five tricks, the player scores a point for as many players as there are at the table, including himself. Euchres score 2 for every other player but the lone hand. A lone hand making three or four tricks only, scores 1.

500, OR BID EUCHRE.

In this variety of euchre, the joker is always used. When there is a trump suit, it is the best trump; but when there are no trumps, it is a suit by itself, but still a trump. The player holding it cannot trump with it as long as he can follow suit; but when he has none of the suit led, he can trump with the joker if he likes. When the joker is led in a no-trump hand, the leader must name the suit that he wishes played to it.

Five hundred is supposed to be a game for three players, but sometimes two play against two as partners.

The dealer gives ten cards to each player, three and then two at a time as in the ordinary game of euchre; but after dealing the first three cards to each he lays off three cards face down for a widow. This widow is taken in hand by the successful bidder, who discards three cards in its place.

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The players bid for the privilege of naming the trump suit, or of playing without any trump but the joker. The number of tricks bid must not be less than six, and the suit must be named at the same time. The player having the most valuable game, regardless of the number of tricks or the suit, is the successful bidder, because a bid of seven in hearts, for instance, is worth more in points than a bid of eight in clubs, as will be seen from the following table.

If trumps are: 6 tricks. 7 tricks. 8 tricks. 9 tricks. 10 tricks.
Spades 40 80 120 160 200
Clubs 60 120 180 240 300
Diamonds 80 160 240 320 400
Hearts 100 200 300 400 500
No-trumps 120 240 360 480 600

The successful bidder always leads for the first trick, after he has taken the widow and discarded, and after the hand is played, he has the first count. If he has made as many as he bid, he scores it; but he cannot score more than he bid unless he succeeds in winning every trick. In that case he scores 250 if his bid was less than 250; but if his bid was more than 250, he gets nothing extra for winning every trick.

Any player but the bidder winning a trick scores ten points for it, so it is necessary for each player to keep separate the tricks he individually wins.

If the bidder fails, he loses, or is set back, as many points as he bid, and he scores nothing for the tricks he takes, but he may play the hand out to prevent the others from scoring, as his adversaries still get ten points for each trick they win.

Five hundred points is game, and as the bidder has the first count he may go out first, even if an adversary has won tricks enough to reach 500 also.

EUCHRE LAWS.

1. SCORING. A game consists of five points. If the players making the trump win all five tricks, they count two points towards game; if they win three or four tricks, they count one point; if they fail to win three tricks, their adversaries count two points.

2. If the player making the trump plays alone, and makes five tricks, he counts as many points as there are players in the[289] game: Two, if two play; three if three play; four if four play, etc. If he wins three or four tricks only, he counts one; if he fails to win three tricks, his adversaries count two.

3. The Rubber is the best of three games. If the first two are won by the same players, the third game is not played. The winners gain a triple, or three points, if their adversaries have not scored; a double, or two points, if their adversaries are less than three scored; a single, or one point, if their adversaries have scored three or four. The winners of the rubber add two points to the value of their games, and deduct the points made by the losers, if any; the remainder being the value of the rubber.

4. FORMING THE TABLE. A Euchre table is complete with six players. If more than four assemble, they cut for the preference, the four lowest playing the first rubber. Partners and deal are then cut for, the two lowest pairing against the two highest. The lowest deals, and has the choice of seats and cards.

5. Ties. Players cutting cards of equal value cut again, but the new cut decides nothing but the tie.

6. Cutting Out. At the end of a rubber the players cut to decide which shall give way to those awaiting their turn to play. After the second rubber, those who have played the greatest number of consecutive games give way; ties being decided by cutting.

7. Cutting. In cutting, the ace is low, the other cards ranking, K Q J 10 9 8 7, the King being the highest. A player exposing more than one card, or cutting the Joker, must cut again.

8. SHUFFLING. Every player has a right to shuffle the cards, the dealer last.

9. DEALING. The dealer must present the pack to the pone to be cut. At least four cards must be left in each packet. If a card is exposed in cutting, the pack must be reshuffled, and cut again. If the dealer reshuffles the pack after it has been properly cut, he loses his deal.

10. Beginning on his left, the dealer must give to each player in rotation two cards on the first round, and three on the second; or three to each on the first round, and two on the second. Five cards having been given to each player in this manner, the next card is turned up for the trump. The deal passes to the left.

11. There must be a new deal by the same dealer if any card but the trump is found faced in the pack, or if the pack is proved incorrect or imperfect; but any previous scores made with the imperfect pack stand good.

12. The adversaries may demand a new deal if any card but the trump is exposed during the deal, provided they have not touched a card. If an adversary exposes a card, the dealer may[290] elect to deal again. If a new deal is not demanded, cards exposed in dealing cannot be called.

13. The adversaries may stop a player dealing out of turn, or with the wrong pack, provided they do so before the trump card is turned, after which the deal stands good.

14. MISDEALING. A misdeal loses the deal. It is a misdeal: If the cards have not been properly cut; if the dealer gives two cards to one player and three to another in the same round; if he gives too many or too few cards to any player; if he counts the cards on the table, or those remaining in the pack; or if he deals a card incorrectly, and fails to correct the error before dealing another. If the dealer is interrupted in any manner by an adversary, he does not lose his deal.

15. THE TRUMP CARD. After the trump card is turned, each player in turn, beginning with the eldest hand, has the privilege of passing, assisting, or ordering up the trump. Should a player pass, and afterward correct himself by ordering up or assisting, both he and his partner may be prevented by the adversaries from exercising their privilege. If a player calls his partner’s attention to the fact that they are at the bridge, both lose their right to order up the trump.

16. The dealer may leave the trump card on the pack until it is got rid of in the course of play. If the trump card has been taken up or played, any player may ask, and must be informed by the dealer, what the trump suit is; but any player naming the trump card may be called upon by an adversary to play his highest or lowest trump.

17. If the dealer takes up, or is ordered up, he must discard a card from his own hand, placing it under the remainder of the pack. Having quitted such discard, it cannot be taken back. If the dealer has not discarded until he has played to the first trick, he and his partner cannot score any points for that hand.

18. If the eldest hand leads before the dealer has quitted his discard, the dealer may amend his discard, but the eldest hand cannot take back the card led.

19. If the dealer takes up the trump to play alone, he must pass his discard across the table to his partner. If he fails to do so, the adversaries may insist that his partner play with him, preventing the lone hand.

20. MAKING THE TRUMP. If the dealer does not take up the trump, he must place it under the remainder of the pack, face upward, so that it can be distinctly seen. Each player in turn, beginning on the dealer’s left, then has the privilege of naming a new trump suit.

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21. If any player names the suit already turned down, he loses his right to name a suit; and if he corrects himself, and names another, neither he nor his partner is allowed to make that suit the trump. If a player names a new trump suit out of his proper turn, both he and his partner are forbidden to make that suit the trump.

22. If no one will name a new trump, the deal is void, and passes to the next player on the dealer’s left.

23. IRREGULARITIES IN THE HANDS. If any player is found not to have his correct number of cards, it is a misdeal; but if he has played to the first trick the deal stands good, and he cannot score anything that hand.

24. EXPOSED CARDS. The following are exposed cards, and must be left face up on the table, and are liable to be called by the adversaries:

I. Every card faced upon the table otherwise than in the regular course of play.

II. Two or more cards played to a trick. The adversaries may elect which shall be played.

III. Any card named by the player holding it.

25. If an adversary of a person playing alone exposes a card, the lone player may abandon the hand, and score the points. Should the partner of the lone player expose a card, the adversaries may prevent the lone hand by compelling the player in error to play with his partner, leaving the exposed card on the table.

26. CALLING EXPOSED CARDS. The adversary on the right of an exposed card must call it before he plays himself. If it will be the turn of the player holding the exposed card to lead for the next trick, the card, if wanted, must be called before the current trick is turned and quitted. Should a player having an exposed card and the lead, play from his hand before the previous trick is turned and quitted, the card so led may also be claimed as exposed.

27. LEADING AND PLAYING OUT OF TURN. If a player leads when it was his partner’s turn, a suit may be called from his partner. The demand must be made by the last player to the trick in which the suit is called. If it was the turn of neither to lead, the card played in error is exposed. If all have played to the false lead, the error cannot be rectified. If all have not followed, the cards erroneously played must be taken back, but are not liable to be called.

28. If an adversary of a lone player leads out of turn, the lone player may abandon the hand, and score the points.

29. If the third hand plays before the second, the fourth hand may play before his partner, either of his own volition, or at the[292] direction of the second hand, who may say: “Play, partner.” If the fourth hand plays before the second, the third hand may call upon the second hand to play his highest or lowest of the suit led, or to trump or not to trump the trick.

30. REVOKING. A revoke is a renounce in error, not corrected in time; or non-compliance with a performable penalty. If a revoke is claimed and proved, the hand in which it occurs is immediately abandoned. The adversaries of the revoking player then have the option of adding two points to their own score, or deducting two points from his score. If both sides revoke, the deal is void. If one person is playing alone, the penalty for a revoke is as many points as would have been scored if the lone hand had succeeded.

31. A revoke may be corrected by the player making it before the trick in which it occurs has been turned and quitted, unless the revoking player or his partner, whether in his right turn or otherwise, has led or played to the following trick.

32. If a player corrects his mistake in time to save a revoke, the card played in error is exposed; but any cards subsequently played by others may be taken back without penalty.

33. PLAYING ALONE. No one but the individual maker of the trump can play alone.

34. The dealer must announce his intention to play alone by passing his discard over to his partner. Any other player intending to play alone must use the expression “alone” in connection with his ordering up or making the trump; as, “I order it, alone;” or “I make it hearts, alone.”

35. The partner of a player who has announced to play alone must lay his cards on the table, face down. Should he expose any of his cards, the adversaries may prevent the lone hand, and compel him to play with his partner, the exposed card being left on the table and liable to be called.

36. The lone player is not liable to any penalty for exposed cards, nor for a lead out of turn.

37. Should either adversary lead or play out of turn, the lone player may abandon the hand, and score the points.

38. MISCELLANEOUS. No player is allowed to see any trick that has once been turned and quitted, under penalty of having a suit called from him or his partner.

39. Any player may ask the others to indicate the cards played by them to the current trick.

40. A player calling attention in any manner to the trick or to the score, may be called upon to play his highest or lowest of the suit led; or to trump or not to trump the trick during the play of which the remark was made.

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ÉCARTÉ.

Écarté is usually described as a very simple game, but unfortunately the rules governing it are very complicated, and as no authoritative code of law exists, disputes about trifling irregularities are very common. In the following directions the author has selected what appears to be the best French usage. The code of laws adopted by some of the English clubs is unfortunately very defective, and in many respects quite out of touch with the true spirit of the French game. The English are very fond of penalties; the French try to establish the status quo.

CARDS. Écarté is played with a pack of thirty-two cards, which rank, K Q J A 10 9 8 7. When two packs are used, the adversary shuffles one while the other is dealt.

MARKERS. In France, the game is always marked with the ordinary round chips or counters, never with a marker. As five points is the game, four of these counters are necessary for each player.

PLAYERS. Écarté is played by two persons, who sit opposite each other. One is known as the dealer, and the other as the pone, the adversary, the elder hand, the non-dealer, the leader, or the player.

THE GALLERY. In clubs that make a feature of Écarté, and in which there is a great deal of betting on the outside by the spectators, it is not usual to allow more than one game between the same players, the loser giving place to one of those who have been backing him, and who is called a rentrant. This is known as playing the cul-levé. Any person in the gallery is allowed to draw attention to errors in the score, and may advise the player he is backing, or even play out the game for him, if he resigns. The player need not take the advice given him, which must be offered without discussion, and by pointing only, not naming the suit or cards. If a player will not allow the gallery to back him, taking all bets himself, no one may overlook his hand nor advise him without his permission, and he need not retire if he loses the game.

CUTTING. The player cutting the highest écarté card deals the first hand, and has the choice of seats and cards. If a person exposes more than one card in cutting, the lowest is taken to be his cut. If he does not cut, or will not show his cut, he loses the first deal.

STAKES. Écarté is played for so much a game. If the gallery is betting, all money offered must be placed on the table, and if the bets are not taken by the players, they may be covered by the opposing gallery.

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DEALING. It is usual for the dealer to invite his adversary to shuffle the cards, but if two packs are used this is not necessary. The dealer must shuffle the pack and present it to his adversary to be cut. At least two cards must be left in each packet, and the upper part of the pack must be placed nearer the dealer. Five cards are given to each player, and the eleventh is turned up for the trump. The cards are distributed two and three at a time, or three and then two, and in whichever manner the dealer begins he must continue during the game. If he intends to change his manner of dealing in the following game, he must so advise his adversary when presenting the cards to be cut.

MISDEALING. A player dealing out of turn, or with the wrong cards, may be stopped before the trump is turned. But if the trump has been turned, and neither player has discarded or played to the first trick, the pack must be set aside, with the cards as dealt, and the trump turned, to be used for the ensuing deal. The other pack is then taken up and dealt by the player whose proper turn it was to deal. If a discard has been made, or a trick played to, the deal stands good, and the packs, if changed, must so remain.

There must be a new deal if any card but the eleventh is found faced in the pack. If the dealer exposes any of his own cards, the deal stands good. If he exposes any of his adversary’s cards, the non-dealer may claim a fresh deal, provided he has not seen any of his cards.

It is a misdeal if the dealer gives too many or too few cards to his adversary or to himself. If the hands have not been seen, and the pone discovers that he has received more than five cards, he has the choice to discard the superfluous cards at hazard, or to claim a misdeal, which loses the deal. If the pone has received less than the proper number, he may supply the deficiency from the remainder of the pack, without changing the trump card, or he may claim a misdeal. If the dealer has given himself too many or too few cards, the pone may claim a misdeal, or he may draw the superfluous cards from the dealer’s hand, face downward, or allow him to supply the deficiency from the remainder of the pack, without changing the trump.

If the cards have been seen, the pone, having an incorrect number, may supply or discard to correct the error, or he may claim a misdeal. If he discards, he must show the cards to the dealer. If the dealer has an incorrect number, the pone may draw from his hand, face downward, looking at the cards he has drawn, (as the dealer has seen them,) or allow him to supply the deficiency, or claim a misdeal.

When any irregularity is remedied in this manner, the trump card remains unchanged.

If the dealer turns up more than one card for the trump, his[295] adversary has a right to select which card shall be the trump, or he may claim a new deal by the same dealer, provided he has not seen his hand. If he has seen his hand, he must either claim a misdeal, or the eleventh card must be the trump, the other exposed card being set aside.

If the pack is found to be imperfect, all scores previously made with it stand good.

TURNING THE KING. If the King is turned up, the dealer marks one point for it immediately. If a wrong number of cards has been dealt, and a King is turned, it cannot be scored, because it was not the eleventh card.

PROPOSING AND REFUSING. The cards dealt, the pone examines his hand, and if he thinks it strong enough to win three or more tricks, he stands; that is, plays without proposing, and says to the dealer: “I play.” If he thinks he can improve his chances by drawing cards, allowing the dealer the same privilege of course, he says: “I propose;” or simply: “Cards.” In reply the dealer may either accept the proposal by asking: “How many?” or he may refuse, by saying: “Play.” If he gives cards, he may also take cards himself, after having helped his adversary. If he refuses, he must win at least three tricks or lose two points; and if the pone plays without proposing, he must make three tricks, or lose two points. The hands on which a player should stand, and those on which the dealer should refuse are known as jeux de règle, and will be found in the suggestions for good play.

A proposal, acceptance, or refusal once made cannot be changed or taken back, and the number of cards asked for cannot be corrected.

DISCARDING. If the pone proposes, and the dealer asks: “How many?” the elder hand discards any number of cards from one to five, placing them on his right. These discards, once quitted, must not again be looked at. A player looking at his own or his adversary’s discards can be called upon to play with his cards exposed face upward on the table, but not liable to be called. The number of cards discarded must be distinctly announced, and the trump is then laid aside, and the cards given from the top of the pack, without further shuffling. It is considered imperative that the player who has proposed should take at least one card, even if he proposed with five trumps in his hand. The pone helped, the dealer then announces how many cards he takes, placing his discards on his left. The dealer, if asked, must inform his adversary how many cards he took, provided the question is put before he plays a card.

After receiving his cards, the pone may either stand or propose again, and the dealer may either give or refuse; but such subsequent[296] stands or refusals do not carry with them any penalty for failure to make three tricks. Should these repeated discards exhaust the pack, so that there are not enough cards left to supply the number asked for, the players must take back a sufficient number from their discards. If the dealer has accepted a proposal, and finds there are no cards left for himself, that is his own fault; he should have counted the pack before accepting. The trump card cannot be taken into the hand under any circumstances.

MISDEALING AFTER DISCARDING. If the dealer gives the pone more or less cards than he asks for, he loses the point and the right to mark the King, unless it was turned up.

If the dealer gives himself more cards than he wants, he loses the point and the right to mark the King, unless he turned it up. If he gives himself less cards than he wants, he may make the deficiency good without penalty; but if he does not discover the error until he has played a card, all tricks for which he has no card to play must be considered as won by his adversary.

If the pone asks for more cards than he wants, the dealer can play the hand or not, as he pleases. If he plays, he may draw the superfluous card or cards given to the pone, and look at them if the pone has seen them. If the dealer decides not to play, he marks the point. In either case the pone cannot mark the King, even if he holds it.

If the pone asks for less cards than he wants, he must play the hand as it is, and can mark the King if he holds it; but all tricks for which he has no card to play must be considered as won by his adversary.

If a player plays without discarding, or discards for the purpose of exchanging, without advising his adversary of the fact that he has too many or too few cards, he loses two points, and the right of marking the King, even if turned up.

If either player, after discarding and drawing, plays with more than five cards, he loses the point and the privilege of marking the King.

Should the dealer forget himself in dealing for the discard, and turn up another trump, he cannot refuse his adversary another discard, if he demands it, and the exposed card must be put aside with the discards.

If any cards are found faced in the pack when dealing for the discard, the deal stands good if they will fall to the dealer. But if the exposed card will go to the pone, he has the option of taking it, or claiming a fresh deal by the same dealer.

During all the discards the trump card remains the same.

MARKING THE KING. The discards settled, the first and most important thing before play begins is to mark the King. If the King is turned up, the dealer marks one point for it immediately.[297] If the pone holds it, he must announce and mark it before he plays a card. If he leads the King for the first trick, he must still announce it by saying distinctly: “I mark the King;” and unless this announcement is made before the King touches the table, it cannot be marked. So important is this rule that in some European Casinos it is found printed on the card tables. Having properly announced the King, it may be actually marked with the counters at any time before the trump is turned for the following game.

If the dealer holds the King he must announce it before his adversary leads for the first trick. It is in order that there may be no surprises in this respect that the elder hand is required to say distinctly: “I play,” before he leads a card. The dealer must then reply: “I mark the King,” if he has it; if not, he should say: “Play.” A player is not compelled to announce or mark the King if he does not choose to do so.

If a player announces and marks the King when he does not hold it, his adversary can take down the point erroneously marked, and mark one himself, for penalty. This does not prevent him from marking an additional point for the King if he holds it himself. For instance: The pone announces King, and marks it, at the same time leading a card. Not having notified the dealer that he was about to play, the dealer cannot be deprived of his right to mark the King himself, if he holds it. The dealer marks the King, marks another point for penalty, and takes down the pone’s point, erroneously marked. If the player announcing the King without holding it, discovers his error before a card is played, he simply amends the score and apologizes, and there is no penalty. If any cards have been played after an erroneous announcement of the King, such cards can be taken back by the adversary of the player in error, and the hand played over again.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The elder hand begins by leading any card he pleases, at the same time announcing the suit; “hearts;” “spades;” or whatever it may be. This announcement must be continued at every trick. If a player announces one suit and leads another, his adversary may demand that he take back the card played, and lead the suit announced. If he has none of the announced suit, the adversary may call a suit. If the adversary is satisfied with the card led, but improperly announced, he may demand that it remain as played.

RENOUNCING. When a card is led the adversary must not only follow suit, but must win the trick if he can. If he can neither follow suit nor trump, he may discard any card he pleases. Should a player not follow suit, or should he decline to win the trick, when able to do so, it is a renounce, and if he makes the odd trick he counts nothing; if he makes all five tricks, he counts one[298] point only, instead of two. Should he trump the trick when he can follow suit, he is subject to the same penalty. There is no such thing as a revoke in Ecarté. When it is discovered that a player has not followed suit when able, or has lost a trick that he could have won, the cards are taken back, and the hand played over again, with the foregoing penalty for the renounce.

The highest card played, if of the suit led, wins the trick, and trumps win all other suits.

Leading Out of Turn. Should a player lead out of turn, he may take back the card without penalty. If the adversary has played to the erroneous lead, the trick stands good.

Gathering Tricks. The tricks must be turned down as taken in, and any player looking at a trick once turned and quitted may be called upon to play with the remainder of his hand exposed, but not liable to be called.

Abandoned Hands. If, after taking one or more tricks, a player throws his cards upon the table, he loses the point; if he has not taken a trick, he loses two points. But if the cards are thrown down claiming the point or the game, and the claim is good, there is no penalty. If the cards are abandoned with the admission that the adversary wins the point or the game, and the adversary cannot win more than is admitted, there is no penalty.

SCORING. A game consists of five points, which are made by tricks, by penalties, and by marking the King. A player winning three tricks out of the five possible, counts one point toward game; winning all five tricks, which is called the vole, counts two points. The player holding or turning up the King of trumps may mark one point for it, but he is not compelled to do so.

If the pone plays without proposing, and makes three or four tricks, he counts one point; if he makes the vole he counts two points; but if he fails to make three tricks the dealer counts two.

If the dealer refuses the first proposal, he must make three tricks to count one point; if he makes the vole he counts two points; but if he fails to win three tricks the player who was refused counts two points.

If the dealer accepts the first proposal, and gives cards, subsequent proposals and refusals do not affect the score; the winner of the odd trick scoring one point, and the winner of the vole two points.

In no case can a player make more than two points in one hand by tricks. If the dealer refuses the first proposal, and the pone makes the vole, it counts two points only. If the pone should play without proposing, and the dealer should mark the King and win the vole, it would count him only three points altogether.

The player first reaching five points wins the game. If a player has four scored, and turns the King, that wins the game,[299] provided the King was the eleventh card. Rubbers are seldom played.

CHEATING. The methods of cheating at Écarté would fill a volume. There are many tricks which, while not exactly fraudulent, are certainly questionable. For instance: A player asks the gallery whether or not he should stand, and finally concludes to propose, fully intending all the time to draw five cards. Another will handle his counters as if about to mark the King; will then affect to hesitate, and finally re-adjust them, and ask for cards, probably taking four or five, having absolutely nothing in his hand. The pone will ask the dealer how many points he has marked, knowing perfectly well that the number is three. On being so informed, he concludes to ask for cards, as if he were not quite strong enough to risk the game by standing; when as a matter of fact he wants five cards, and is afraid of the vole being made against him.

There are many simple little tricks practiced by the would-be sharper, such as watching how many cards a player habitually cuts, and then getting the four Kings close together in such a position in the pack that one of them is almost certain to be turned. Telegraphic signals between persons on opposite sides of the gallery who are nevertheless in partnership, are often translated into advice to the player, to his great benefit. Besides these, all the machinery of marked cards, reflectors, shifted cuts, wedges, strippers, and false shuffles are at the command of the philosopher, who can always handle a small pack of cards with greater freedom, and to whom the fashion of dealing in twos and threes is always welcome. The honest card-player has not one chance in a thousand against the professional at Écarté.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. The French claim that any person may become an expert at a game like Piquet, simply by dint of long practice; but that the master of Écarté must be a born card-player, as no game requires in such degree the exercise of individual intelligence and finesse. While this may be true, there are many points about the game which may be learned by the novice, and which will greatly improve his play.

There are two things which the beginner should master before sitting down to the table for actual play: the hands on which it is right to stand, or play without proposing, and those with which it is right to refuse, or play without giving cards. These are called stand hands, or jeux de règle, and the player should be able to recognize them on sight.

In the following paragraphs the words dealer and player will be used to distinguish the adversaries at Écarté.

The principle underlying the jeux de règle is the probable distribution of the cards in the trump suit, and the fact that the odds[300] are always against the dealer’s holding two or more. There are thirty-two cards in the Écarté pack, of which eight are trumps, and one of these is always turned up. The turn-up and the player’s hand give us six cards which are known, and leave twenty-six unknown. Of these unknown cards the dealer holds five, and he may get these five in 65,780 different ways. The theory of the jeux de règle is that there are only a certain number of those ways which will give him two or more trumps. If the player holds one trump, the odds against the dealer’s holding two or more are 44,574 to 21,206; or a little more than 2 to 1. If the player holds two trumps, the odds against the dealer’s holding two or more are 50,274 to 15,506; or more than 3 to 1. It is therefore evident that any hand which is certain to win three tricks if the dealer has not two trumps, has odds of two to one in its favour, and all such hands are called jeux de règle. The natural inference from this is that such hands should always be played without proposing, unless they contain the King of trumps.

The exception in case of holding the King is made because there is no danger of the dealer’s getting the King, no matter how many cards he draws, and if the player’s cards are not strong enough to make it probable that he can win the vole, it is better for him to ask for cards, in hope of improving his chances. If he is refused, he stands an excellent chance to make two points by winning the odd trick.

While it is the rule for the player to stand when the odds are two to one in his favour for making the odd trick, and to ask for cards when the odds are less, there are exceptions. The chances of improving by taking in cards must not be forgotten, and it must be remembered that the player who proposes runs no risk of penalty. He has also the advantage of scoring two for the vole if he can get cards enough to win every trick, whereas the dealer gets no more for the vole than for the odd trick if the player does not propose. Some beginners have a bad habit of asking for cards if they are pretty certain of the point. Unless they hold the King this is not wise, for the player cannot discard more than one or two cards, but the dealer may take five, and then stands a fair chance of getting the King, which would not only count a point for him, but would effectually stop the vole for which the player was drawing cards.

The most obvious example of a jeux de règle is one trump, a winning sequence of three cards in one suit, and a small card in another. For instance: Hearts trumps—

1 🂷 🃛 🃝 🃞 🂧 44,724 to 21,056.

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If the dealer does not hold two trumps, it is impossible to prevent the player from winning the point with these cards; because he need only lead his winning sequence until it is trumped, and then trump himself in again. With this hand the player will win 44,724 times out of 65,780.

There are about twenty hands which are generally known as jeux de règle, and every écarté player should be familiar with them. In the following examples the weakest hands are given, and the trumps are always the smallest possible. If the player has more strength in plain suits than is shown in these examples, or higher trumps, there is so much more reason for him to stand. But if he has not the strength indicated in plain suits, he should propose, even if his trumps are higher, because it must be remembered that strong trumps do not compensate for weakness in plain suits. The reason for this is that from stand hands trumps should never be led unless there are three of them; they are to be kept for ruffing, and when you have to ruff it does not matter whether you use a seven or a Queen. The King of trumps is of course led; but a player does not stand on a hand containing the King.

The first suit given is always the trump, and the next suit is always the one that should be led, beginning with the best card of it if there is more than one. The figures on the right show the number of hands in which the player or the dealer will win out of the 65,780 possible distributions of the twenty-six unknown cards. These calculations are taken, by permission of Mr. Charles Mossop, from the eighth volume of the “Westminster Papers,” in which all the variations and their results are given in full.

Player Wins. Dealer Wins.
2 🃗 🃘 🂷 🂸 🂹 47,768 18,012
3 🂷 🂸 🂮 🂧 🃇 46,039 19,741
4 🂧 🂨 🃇 🃗 🃞 43,764 22,016
5 🃇 🃈 🃘 🃗 🂾 45,374 20,406
[302]6 🃗 🃘 🃈 🃉 🂭 44,169 21,611
7 🂷 🂸 🃙 🃚 🃋 43,478 22,302
8 🂧 🂨 🂺 🂱 🃑 44,243 21,537
9 🃇 🃈 🂡 🂫 🂸 44,766 21,014
10 🃗 🃘 🂾 🂫 🃇 44,459 21,321
11 🂷 🂸 🂮 🃁 🃙 44,034 21,746
12 🂧 🂨 🃎 🃚 🂺 43,434 22,346
13 🃇 🃈 🂨 🂽 🃞 44,766 21,014
14 🃗 🃘 🃁 🂭 🂻 46,779 19,001
15 🂷 🂸 🃛 🃋 🂫 45,929 19,851

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The player should always stand on a hand containing three trumps, not including the King, and should lead the trump:—

16 🂷 🂸 🂹 🂧 🃇 42,014 to 23,766

An example of a hand containing only one trump has already been given, and some hands are jeux de règle which contain no trumps. The strongest of these is the King of each plain suit, and any queen. Lead the K Q suit:—

17 🃞 🃗 🂾 🂭 🂮 48,042 to 17,738

The odds in favour of this hand are greater than in any other jeux de règle. Another which is recommended by Bohn is this, the odds in favour of which have not been calculated; the player to begin with the guarded King:—

18 🃞 🃗 🃍 🃇 🂮  

Another is any four court cards, not all Jacks; unless one is the trump Jack guarded. From the example the Queen should be led:—

19 🂫 🂧 🂻 🃛 🃝  

There are two hands which are usually played with only one trump, from both of which the best card of the long suit is led:—

20 🂷 🂧 🂨 🂨 🂮  
21 🃗 🃇 🃈 🃍 🂮  

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THE LEADER. There are a great many more opportunities to make the vole than most players are aware of; especially with jeux de règle. Where the vole is improbable or impossible, tenace is very important, and all tenace positions should be made the most of. In No. 5, for instance, if the clubs were the Queen and ace, it would be better to begin with the heart King, instead of leading away from the minor tenace in clubs. Observe the lead in No. 4. Many tenace positions cannot be taken advantage of because the player must win the trick if he can. For instance: Several discards have been made, and each player suspects the other holds three trumps, with three tricks to play. The Queen is led, and the adversary holds K A 7. If he could pass this trick, he must lie tenace; but as he has to win it with the King, he gives tenace to his adversary, who evidently has J and another.

When the dealer is four, the player may stand on much weaker hands.

It is usually best to lead from guarded suits, in preference to single cards. Lead the best of a suit if you have it. If the third trick is the first you win, and you have a trump and another card, lead the trump; but if you have won two tricks, lead the plain suit.

THE DEALER. When the player asks for cards, the dealer knows that his adversary probably does not hold a jeux de règle. The dealer must not be too sure of this, however, for proposals are sometimes made on very strong hands in order to try for the vole, or to make two points on the refusal. The dealer should assume that he is opposed by the best play until he finds the contrary to be the case, and it is safest to play on the assumption that a player who proposes has not a jeux de règle.

For all practical purposes it may be said that the dealer can refuse to give cards with hands a trifle less strong than those on which the player would stand. The general rule is for the dealer to give cards unless he is guarded in three suits; or has a trump, and is safe in two suits; or has two trumps, and is safe in one suit. If the dealer has only one suit guarded, and one trump, he must take into account the risk of being forced, and having to lead away from his guarded suit.

There are eight recognized hands on which the dealer should refuse. The full details of the calculations can be found in the ninth volume of the “Westminster Papers.” As in the case of the player, the weakest trumps have been taken for the examples, and the weakest holdings in plain suits. If the dealer has better plain suits, or stronger trumps, he has of course so much more in his favour if he refuses. The first column of figures gives the number of times in 65,780 that there will be no proposal, so that the dealer has no choice but to play. The other columns give the number of times the dealer or the player will win if the player proposes and the dealer refuses.

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The first suit given in each instance is the trump.

No Proposal. Dealer Wins. Player Wins.
22 🃗 🃘 🃙 🃇 🂧 6,034 36,974 22,772
23 🂷 🂸 🂡 🂨 🂧 9,826 38,469 17,485
24 🂧 🂨 🂾 🂷 🃗 8,736 41,699 15,345
25 🃇 🃈 🃝 🃗 🂷 9,256 40,524 16,000
26 🃗 🃘 🃇 🃈 🂭 10,336 37,484 17,960
27 🂷 🂸 🃘 🃙 🃋 9,776 37,439 18,565
28 🂧 🂨 🂹 🂺 🃚 9,776 36,909 19,095
29 🃇 🃈 🃗 🃁 🃈 9,776 36,733 19,271

In giving cards, some judgment of human nature is necessary. Some players habitually propose on strong hands, and it is best to give to such pretty freely.

DISCARDING. The general principle of discarding is to keep trumps and Kings, and let everything else go. If you hold the trump King you may discard freely in order to strengthen your hand for a possible vole. If you have proposed once, and[306] hold the King, and feel pretty sure of the point, you may propose again on the chance of getting strength enough to make the vole.

When only two cards can be discarded, it is a safe rule to stand on the hand; either to play without proposing, or to refuse cards; unless you hold the King.

There are no authoritative laws for Écarté, and the various French and English codes do not agree. The code adopted by the English clubs is not in accord with the best usage, and fails to provide for many contingencies. All that is essential in the laws will be found embodied in the foregoing description of the game.

TEXT BOOKS. The best works on the subject of Écarté are usually to be found in conjunction with other games. The student will find the following useful:—

POOL ÉCARTÉ.

Pool Écarté is played by three persons, each of whom contributes an agreed sum, which is called a stake, to form a pool. They then cut to decide which shall play the first game, the lowest écarté card going out. The players then cut for the first deal, choice of seats and cards, etc., exactly as in the ordinary game.

The winner of the first game retains his seat; the loser pays into the pool another stake, equal to the first, and retires in favour of the third player, who is called the rentrant. The rentrant takes the loser’s seat and cards, and cuts with the successful player for the first deal. The loser of the second game adds another stake to the pool, and retires in favour of the waiting player.

The pool is won by any player winning two games in succession. If the winner of the first game won the second also, he would take the pool, which would then contain five stakes; the three originally deposited, and the two added by the losers of the two games. A new pool would then be formed by each of the three depositing another stake, and all cutting to decide which should sit out for the first game.

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In some places only the two players actually engaged contribute to the pool, the loser retiring without paying anything further, and the rentrant contributing his stake when he takes the loser’s place.

The outsider is not allowed to advise either player during the first game, nor to call attention to the score; but on the second game he is allowed to advise the player who has taken his seat and cards. This is on the principle that he has no right to choose sides on the first game; but that after that he has an interest in preventing his former adversary from winning the second game, so as to preserve the pool until he can play for it again himself.

NAPOLEON, OR NAP.

This is one of the simplest, and at the same time most popular of the euchre family. Few games have become so widely known in such a short time, or have had such a vogue among all classes of society. So far as the mere winning and losing goes, the result depends largely upon luck, and skill is of small importance. Except in a long series of games the average player has little to fear from the most expert.

CARDS. Napoleon is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards, which rank A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2; the ace being highest in play; but ranking below the deuce in cutting.

COUNTERS. As each deal is a complete game in itself it must be settled for in counters, to which some value is usually attached. One player is selected for the banker, and before play begins each of the others purchases from him a certain number of counters, usually fifty. When any player’s supply is exhausted, he can purchase more, either from the banker or from another player.

In many places counters are not used, and the value of the game is designated by the coins that take their place. In “penny nap,” English coppers are used in settling; sixpences in “sixpenny nap,” and so on. In America, nickel and quarter nap are the usual forms.

PLAYERS. Any number from two to six can play; but four is the best game. If five or six play it is usual for the dealer to give himself no cards.

CUTTING. The players draw from an outspread pack to[308] form the table, and for choice of seats. A lower cut gives preference over all higher; the lowest cut has the first choice of seats, and deals the first hand. Ties cut again, but the new cut decides nothing but the tie.

In some places the players take their seats at random, and a card is then dealt to each face upward; the lowest card or the first Jack taking the deal.

DEALING. Any player has a right to shuffle the cards, the dealer last. They are then presented to the pone to be cut, and at least four cards must be left in each packet. Beginning at his left, the dealer gives each player in rotation two cards on the first round, and three on the next; or three on the first and two on the next. No trump is turned. In some places the cards are distributed one at a time until each player has five; but the plan is not popular, as the hands run better and the bidding is livelier when the cards are dealt in twos and threes. The deal passes to the left, each player dealing in turn.

MISDEALING. A misdeal does not lose the deal in Napoleon, because the deal is a disadvantage. For this reason, if any player begins to deal out of turn, he must finish, and the deal stands good. If any card is found faced in the pack, or is exposed by the dealer; or if too many or too few cards are given to any player; or if the dealer does not give the same number of cards to each player in the same round; or if he fails to have the pack cut, it is a misdeal, and the misdealer must deal again with the same pack.

BIDDING. Beginning on the dealer’s left, each player in turn bids for the privilege of naming the trump suit, stating the number of tricks he proposes to win, playing single-handed against the three other players, and leading a trump for the first trick. In bidding, the trump suit is not named, only the number of tricks. If a player proposes to win all five tricks he bids nap, which is the highest bid possible, and precludes any further bidding, except in some of the variations which will be described later on. If a player will not make a bid, he says “I pass,” A bid having been made, any following player must either increase it or pass. If all pass until it comes to the dealer, he is bound to bid at least one trick, and either play or pay. The hands are never abandoned except in case of a misdeal.

In some places a misère bid is allowed, which outranks a bid of three tricks, and is beaten by one of four. There is no trump suit in misère, but the bidder, if successful, must lead for the first trick.

Any bid once made can neither be amended nor recalled, and there is no second bid.

METHOD OF PLAYING. The player bidding the highest number of tricks has the first lead, and the first card he plays[309] must be one of the trump suit. The players must follow suit if able, but need not win the trick unless they choose to do so. The highest card played of the suit led wins the trick, and trumps win all other suits. The winner of the trick leads again for the next trick, and so on, until all five tricks have been played. After the first trick any suit may be led.

The bidder gathers all tricks he wins, stacking them so that they may be readily counted by any player at the table. One of the other side should gather all tricks won by the adversaries of the bidder. A trick once turned and quitted cannot again be seen. In some places they have a very bad habit of gathering tricks with the cards face up, turning down one card only. This always results in numerous misdeals, on account of cards being continually found faced in the pack.

The hands are usually abandoned when the bidder succeeds in his undertaking, or shows cards which are good for his bid against any play. If it is impossible for him to succeed, as when he bids four and the adversaries have won two tricks, the hands are thrown up, because nothing is paid for under or over-tricks. Players should show the remainder of their hands to the board, as evidence that no revoke has been made.

IRREGULARITIES IN HANDS. If a player, before he makes a bid or passes, discovers that he holds too many or too few cards, he must immediately claim a misdeal. If he has either made a bid or passed, the deal stands good, and the hand must be played out. If the bidder has his right number of cards and succeeds, he must be paid. If he fails, he neither wins nor loses; because he is playing against a foul hand. If the bidder has more than his right number of cards he must pay if he loses; but wins nothing if he succeeds. If he has less than his right number of cards, he is simply supposed to have lost the trick for which he has no card to play.

PLAYING OUT OF TURN. If any adversary of the bidder leads or plays out of turn, he forfeits three counters to the bidder, independently of the result of the hand, and receives nothing if the bid is defeated. If the bidder leads out of turn, the card must be taken back, unless all have followed the erroneous lead, in which case the trick is good. There is no penalty if he plays out of turn.

REVOKES. When a revoke is detected and claimed, the hands are immediately abandoned, and the individual player in fault must pay all the counters depending on the result. If he is the bidder, he pays each adversary; if he is opposed to the bidder, he pays for himself and for each of his partners. In England it is the rule to take back the cards and play the hand over again, as at Écarté, the revoking player paying all the stakes according to the result. This is often very unfair to the bidder, and leads to[310] endless disputes as to who held certain cards which have been gathered into tricks. Sometimes the difference between a seven and an eight in a certain player’s hand will change the entire result.

PAYMENTS. If the bidder succeeds in winning the specified number of tricks, each adversary pays him a counter for every trick bid. If he bid three tricks, they pay him three counters each; four counters each for four tricks bid; and the value of three tricks for a misère. If he fails to win the specified number of tricks, he pays each adversary; three counters if he bid three tricks, or a misère; four if he bid four. Any player bidding nap, and succeeding in winning all five tricks, receives ten counters from each adversary; but if he fails, he pays only five to each.

When penny nap is played, the settlement being in coin, it is usual to make naps win a shilling or lose sixpence, in order to avoid handling so much copper.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GOOD PLAY. In calculating his chances for success in winning a certain number of tricks, the player will often have to take into consideration the probability of certain cards being out against him. This will vary according to the number of players engaged. For instance: If four are playing, and the bidder holds K Q of a plain suit, the odds against the ace of that suit being out against him are about 2 to 1. As it would be impossible for any person to remember all the jeux de règle for three tricks at Napoleon, each must learn from experience the trick-taking value of certain hands. Trump strength is, of course, the great factor, and the bidder should count on finding at least two trumps in one hand against him. Nap should never be bid on a hand which is not pretty sure of winning two rounds of trumps, with all other cards but one winners. One trick may always be risked in a nap hand, such as A Q of trumps, or a King, or even a Queen or Jack in a plain suit; the odds against the adversaries having a better card being slightly increased by the odds against their knowing enough to keep it for the last trick.

If the bid is for three tricks only, tenaces, or guarded minor honours in plain suits should be preserved. After the first trick it will sometimes be advantageous for the player to get rid of any losing card he may have in plain suits. It is seldom right to continue the trumps if the bidder held only two originally, unless he has winning cards in two plain suits, in which case it may be better to lead even a losing trump to prevent a possibility of adverse trumps making separately.

In playing against the bidder, leave no trick to your partners that you can win yourself, unless a small card is led, and you have the ace. In opening fresh suits do not lead guarded honours, but prefer aces or singletons. If the caller needs only one more trick, it is usually best to lead a trump. If you have three trumps, including the major tenace, pass the first trick if a small[311] trump is led; or if you remain with the tenace after the first trick, be careful to avoid the lead.

Discards should indicate weakness, unless you can show command of such a suit as A K, or K Q, by discarding the best of it. This will direct your partners to let that suit go, and keep the others. It is usually better to keep a guarded King than a single ace. The player on the right of the bidder should get into the lead if possible, especially if he holds one or two winning cards. These will either give his partners discards, or allow them to over-trump the bidder.

In playing misères, it is better to begin with a singleton, or the lowest of a safe suit. An ace or King two or three times guarded is very safe for a misère, as it is very improbable that any player will be able to lead the suit more than twice; and if the bidder’s missing suit is led, the high card can be got rid of at once.

In playing against a misère, discards are important, and the first should be from the shortest suit, and always the highest card of it. A suit in which the bidder is long should be continued, in order to give partners discards. More money is lost at Napoleon by playing imperfect misères than in any other way.

Variations. The foregoing description applies to the regular four-handed game; but there are several variations in common use.

Better bids than “nap” are sometimes allowed, on the understanding that the bidder will pay double or treble stakes if he fails, but will receive only the usual amount if successful. For instance: One player bids Nap, and another holds what he considers a certainty for five tricks. In order not to lose such an opportunity the latter bids Wellington, which binds him to pay ten counters to each player if he fails. Another may outbid this again by bidding Blucher, which binds him to pay twenty to each if he loses, but to receive only ten if he wins. In England, the bidder, if successful, receives double or treble stakes for a Wellington or a Blucher, which is simply another way of allowing any person with a nap hand to increase the stakes at pleasure, for a player with a certain five tricks would of course bid a Blucher at once, trebling his gains and shutting off all competition at the same time. This variation is not to be recommended, and benefits no one but the gambler.

Pools. Napoleon is sometimes played with a pool, each player contributing a certain amount, usually two counters, on the first deal. Each dealer in turn adds two more; revokes pay five, and leads out of turn three. The player who first succeeds in winning five tricks on a nap bid takes the pool, and a fresh one is formed. If a player bids nap and fails, he is usually called upon to double the amount then in the pool, besides paying his adversaries.

Purchase Nap; sometimes called Écarté Nap, is a variation of the pool game. After the cards are dealt, and before any[312] bids are made, each player in turn, beginning on the dealer’s left, may discard as many cards as he pleases, the dealer giving him others in their place. For each card so exchanged, the player pays one counter to the pool. Only one round of exchanges is allowed, and bids are then in order. A player having once refused to buy, or having named the number of cards he wishes to exchange, cannot amend his decision. Any player winning five tricks on a nap bid takes the entire pool. This is a very good game, and increases both the bids and the play against them.

Widows. Another variation is to deal five cards in the centre of the table, face downward, the dealer giving the cards to the widow just before helping himself in each round. Any player in his proper turn to bid may take the widow, and from the total of ten cards so obtained select five on which he must bid nap, discarding the others face downward.

Peep Nap. In this variety of the pool game one card only is dealt to the widow, usually on the first round. Each player in turn, before bidding or passing, has the privilege of taking a private peep at this down card, on paying one counter to the pool. The card is left on the table until the highest bidder is known, and he then takes it into his hand, whether he has paid to peep at it or not. He must then discard to reduce his hand to five cards. If a player bids nap it usually pays those following him to have a peep at the down card in case the bidder should retain it in his hand.

SPOIL FIVE.

Spoil Five is one of the oldest of card games, and is generally conceded to be the national game of Ireland. It is derived from the still older game of Maw, which was the favourite recreation of James the First. The connecting link seems to have been a game called Five Fingers, which is described in the “Compleat Gamester,” first published in 1674. The Five Fingers was the five of trumps, and also the best, the ace of hearts coming next. In Spoil Five, the Jack of trumps comes between these two.

CARDS. Spoil Five is played with a full pack of fifty-two cards. The rank of the cards varies according to the colour of the suit, and the trump suit undergoes still further changes, the heart ace being always the third best trump. In the plain suits, the K Q J retain their usual order, the King being the best. The rank of the spot cards, including the aces of diamonds, clubs, and spades, is generally expressed by the phrase: Highest in red; lowest in black. That is to say, if several cards of a suit, not including a King, Queen or Jack, are played to a trick, the highest card will win if the suit is red; and the lowest if the suit is black.[313] This will give us the following order for the plain suits, beginning with the highest card in each:—

No change. Highest in red.
K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A
Lowest in black.
K Q J A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
K Q J A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

In the trump suit the same order of cards is retained, except that four cards are always the best trumps. These are the Five, Jack, and ace of the suit itself, and the ace of hearts, the latter being always the third best. This gives us the rank of the cards as follows, when the suit is trump:—

No change. Highest in red.
5 J A K Q 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
5 J A A K Q 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Lowest in black.
5 J A A K Q 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5 J A A K Q 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

COUNTERS. Spoil Five is played with a pool, for which counters are necessary. One player should act as banker, and the others should purchase from him, each beginning with 20 counters. Coins may take the place of counters, shillings being the usual points.

PLAYERS. Any number from 2 to 10 may play; but 5 or 6 is the usual game.

CUTTING. This is unknown at Spoil Five. The players take their seats at random, and one of them deals a card face up to each in succession. The first Jack takes the first deal. Some note should be made of the player who gets the first deal, as the rules require that when the game is brought to an end the last deal shall be made by the player on the right of the first dealer.

THE POO