The main idea of the play, as already stated, is for one of the competitors
to stand against the united efforts of the others, who, in turn, use their
powers to prevent his securing the object for which he is striving--in this
case to win the whole or a certain number of tricks. The number of the
tricks to be won is variable, and it depends on the value of the cards
in each player's hand to decide what number he will endeavour to secure.
The greatest possible achievement is to win the whole of the tricks (which
are five in number), and the player who succeeds in doing this scores a
"Nap," and receives double stakes from each of his companions; if however,
after declaring his intention to try for Nap he fails, he only pays a
single, i.e., for five tricks; and, as will be shown later on, this
condition attaching to a Nap becomes an important feature in deciding
on the number of tricks to be played for, when a good hand is secured.
The only safe and perfect Nap is ace, king, queen, knave, and ten of the
same suit, but as this combination of cards does not often occur in actual
practice, it remains for the player to speculate on his chances with the
cards he holds.
It is this speculation of possibilities which forms the principal feature
of the game, and it is the ability of a competitor to make an immediate
decision on this point that governs his success or failure in its practice.
Very much, however, depends on the temperament of the player. A bold,
enterprising person will risk much in the hope of winning much, and one
player will declare for Nap on the same cards which another would consider
only safe for three tricks, and, in like manner, one will declare for three
tricks where his neighbour would hesitate to risk two.
Another important matter for consideration is the number of players
engaged, and the consequent proportion of cards in use. Each player
receives five cards, so that it follows, with three players engaged,
that fifteen are in use, and thirty-seven remain in the pack unexposed;
whereas if five are playing there are twenty-five cards in use, and only
twenty-seven remaining unexposed. The calculation necessary is, therefore,
as to the probability of certain superior cards being in the hands of the
opponents, or remaining in the undealt surplus of the pack.
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