The Book of Card Games: The Complete Rules to the Classics, Family Favorite and Forgotten Games

BOOK: The Book of Card Games: The Complete Rules to the Classics, Family Favorite and Forgotten Games
11.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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The
Book
of
Card
Games
The Complete Rules
to the Classics, Family Favorites,
and Forgotten Games
NIKKI KATZ

Contents

♠  ♦  ♣  ♥

PART I
The Basics of Cards

Where Do Card Games Come From?

China and the Middle East

Medieval Europe

Cards Come to America

A Modern Deck of Cards

Card-Playing Basics

Claiming Your Seat at the Card Table

Shuffling the Cards

Betting and Checking

The Dealer

Dealing the Cards

Card-Playing Etiquette

PART II
The Games

All Fours

VARIATIONS:

All Fives

California Jack

Cinch

Pitch

Baccarat

Bezique

Blackjack

Brag

Bridge

VARIATIONS:

Chicago

Honeymoon Bridge

Calypso

Canasta

Clock

Crazy Eights

Cribbage

Euchre

VARIATIONS:

Bid Euchre

British Euchre

North American Euchre

Spoil Five

The Game of 500

Fan Tan

Fifty-Two

Free Cell

Go Fish

Golf

Hearts

VARIATIONS:

Black Maria

I Doubt It

Klaverjas

La Belle Lucie

Marjapussi

Memory

Michigan

Montana

Monte Carlo

Oh Hell!

Old Maid

Patience/Klondike

Pinochle

Piquet

Poker

VARIATIONS:

Anaconda

Baseball

Caribbean Poker

Criss-Cross

Chinese Poker

Five-Card Draw Poker

Five-Card Stud Poker

Follow the Queen

Football

Mexican Stud

Mexican Sweat

Omaha

Pai Gow Poker

Pyramid Poker

Salt-and-Pepper

Seven-Card Stud Poker

Texas Hold ’Em

The Game of Guts

President

Push

P’Yanitsa

Pyramid

Red Dog

Rook

Rummy

VARIATIONS:

Conquian

Gin Rummy

Kaluki

Manipulation Rummy

Progressive Rummy

Rummy 500

Scopone Scientifico

Sheepshead

Skat

Slap Jack

Spades

Speed

Spider

Spit in the Ocean

Spite and Malice

Spoons

Tablanette

The Game of 727

The Game of Twos

War

Whist

VARIATIONS:

Bid Whist

Contract Whist

German Whist

Knock-Out Whist

Minnesota Whist

Wild Widow

Yukon

Zheng Fen

PART I
The
Basics
of
Cards
Chapter 1
Where Do Card Games Come From?

The history of card games and playing cards dates back almost 2,000 years to the invention of paper and follows a path from China to the Middle East to Europe and then America. Today’s playing cards are inexpensive and can be found almost anywhere, but within that deck of fifty-two cards lies a wealth of adventures and culture.

China and the Middle East

In the fourth century, papermaking skills spread from China to Japan and then to Korea in the sixth century. Somewhere during this time, cards were invented. The first known documentation involving cards is that Emperor Mu-Tsung played domino cards with his wives on New Year’s Eve,
A.D
. 969. These paper dominos were shuffled and dealt just like the modern cards of today. Ancient Chinese “money cards” contained four suits—coins, strings of coins, myriads of strings, and tens of myriads. In fact, these money cards may have actually been currency that was used in gambling games.

Papermaking eventually traveled west to Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo as the trade routes carried other goods among the various nations. Of course, cards and card playing followed suit. Around 1400, the Mamelukes of Egypt developed a card deck that is very similar to the deck we play with today. It contained fifty-two cards and had suits of swords, cups, coins, and polo sticks. Each suit consisted of cards numbered one to ten and had three court cards—the king, viceroy, and second under-deputy. The Mameluke court cards did not actually depict people, but they did use the names and represent those particular military officers.

Medieval Europe

Europe was introduced to playing cards in the 1300s, when the new plaything arrived and took the continent by storm. There are references to cards in Spain in 1317 and Switzerland in 1377, and by 1380 there were mentions of cards in multiple European cities. These early decks were made up of thin wooden rectangles, decorated with an Arabic style. These cards were created by hand, so they were expensive and often viewed as a status symbol because only the wealthy could afford them. The invention of woodcuts and movable type made it possible to mass produce cards, making them easily available and more affordable to the general public.

COURT CARDS

Cards went through a wealth of changes during the 1400s. The court cards were changed to represent European royalty—the king, chevalier, and knave. Queens were introduced in a variety of ways. In some decks, two queens replaced two kings as the highest cards, with the other two kings remaining in the other suits. Other decks contained fifty-six cards, with the four court cards being kings, queens, chevaliers, and knaves. Yet other decks replaced the queens with knights.

By the late fifteenth century, card decks had become pretty much standard and contained fifty-two cards. The majority of countries dropped the queen, but the French cards replaced their knight with the queen. The lowest court card remained the knave, later changed to the more popular name of jack.

Modern decks of playing cards manufactured in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland still do not include queens in their court cards. Instead, the third court card is the knight, usually depicted riding a horse.

THE SUITS

The suits varied across the European countries, but by about 1500 there were three main suit systems that had evolved. The Germanic countries used the suits of hearts, hawk bells, leaves, and acorns. Italian and Spanish cards used the suits of swords, batons (or clubs), coins (or money), and cups (or chalices). French and English cards used the common suits of hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs.

Cards Come to America

Cards traveled along with the English to the Americas, possibly arriving with the Puritans on the Mayflower. After getting out from underneath English rule, Americans began producing their own playing cards at the beginning of the nineteenth century. They also began adapting their own card games, transforming the French game of Poque into our modern-day version of poker. Casinos were introduced in the early 1800s in New Orleans along the Mississippi River, eventually moving west with the introduction of railroads and the California Gold Rush. Gambling was legalized in 1931 in Nevada, and casinos began sprouting up to allow players to compete in poker, blackjack, baccarat, and other card games.

A Modern Deck of Cards

Over the years, improvements have been made on the traditional European deck of playing cards. Corner indices were added in the mid-nineteenth century. This enabled players to move their cards closer together and only use one hand during play. Court cards were soon improved to be two-headed and reversible. French court cards once contained full-length images, making it easy for opponents to tell if a player had many court cards—all they had to do was watch to see who turned their cards to view them properly. Cards were eventually varnished on the surface to add to their longevity and allow them to take wear. The square corners were eventually replaced with rounded corners, preventing bends and dog-eared cards.

THE SUITS

Cards manufactured in the United States use the French suits of clubs ♣, diamonds ♦, spades ♠, and hearts ♥. The four suits are said to represent the structure of medieval society. The clubs represent agriculture, diamonds represent the merchant class, spades represent the military, and the hearts represent the church. Each suit contains thirteen cards. They are ranked, from highest to lowest as ace, king, queen, jack, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, and two.

THE JOKERS

Modern decks come with fifty-two cards within the four suits and two nonsuited cards, the jokers. Around 1870 in the United States, the game of euchre introduced the joker as the “best bower” and the highest- ranking trump card over the jacks as left and right bowers. Euchre was often referred to as “Juker” (a German term for “jack”), and so the joker card might be a play on the term “Juker card.” By the 1880s, the joker card was illustrated as a clown or a jester, and this is how we see jokers in play today.

Card-Playing Basics

If you’re new to playing card games, there is some basic information that you should know. You’ll want the best seat available, depending on what the game is and who is playing. When it’s your turn to deal, you’ll need to be able to shuffle the cards and deal them out accordingly. If you’re playing a game that involves gambling, you need to know about betting, and it’s always good to know when to fold your cards in a game of poker!

Claiming Your Seat at the Card Table

There are various strategies for sitting at a card table, as well as different layouts and requirements for seating. Some card games require that you and your opponents cut the cards to determine your seats. The player who cuts the highest card (kings are high and aces are low) chooses her seat. The player who cut the second-highest card chooses his seat next, and so on. In partnership games, a player and his partner sit across from one another at the table. If seating positions are going to be chosen by cutting the cards, the player who takes the highest card essentially chooses the seats for everyone because he takes his seat, his partner sits across from him, and their opponents sit in the remaining two seats.

If you know your opponents, you can strategize where you would like to sit at the table based on whom you would like to sit next to. If you know that another player does not count cards or pay close attention to the game, you will want to sit to the left of that player (in a card game that is played clockwise) in order to take advantage of that player’s discards.

BOOK: The Book of Card Games: The Complete Rules to the Classics, Family Favorite and Forgotten Games
11.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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