Loo (or, as formerly it was sometimes called, Lue) is a very lively and
popular round game, justly described as one of the best and yet one of the
simplest known. Indeed, until the introduction of "Nap," it was the most
fashionable of its class in this country. The date of its origin is not
on record, but that some amount of antiquity can be claimed for it may be
inferred from the fact that a description of the game appears in works
published at the beginning of the present century, when the method of
playing it was virtually the same as is recognised at the present day,
except that then the five-card variation was the most popular,
whereas now the three-card game is in vogue.
Loo is usually played with an ordinary pack of fifty-two cards, but in
some variations the thirty-two card pack is used. The number of players
who can take part in it is practically unlimited within the range of the
pack played with. A writer of thirty years since justly remarks that
the game is good for any number up to a dozen, although the best game
is played with five, or not more than seven persons. Five players
are sometimes regarded as the limit, and if more than that number
desire to take part, relief is sought by the dealer standing out of
the play, neither paying nor receiving on the tricks of that hand.
This arrangement, however, is one that can be decided at the option
of the company playing.
As is the case with Nap, a very short time is necessary for completing
the hands in the game, and a finish may be made at any moment, either
by an equal division of the amount in the pool among the players, or by
releasing those who failed to win a trick in the previous deal from the
penalty which usually attaches to such a result, and which is known as
a "loo." In this case all "stand" on the last round, and there is no
"miss." It is usual, however, to play on until what is known as a "single"
occurs, i.e., when each of the players who declared to stand has
secured a trick, and, as a consequence, no one has been looed. If,
however, a finish is desired before a single occurs, it is best to
arrange it so as to fall immediately before the original dealer's turn
to deal comes round again, as, in that case, all the players will have
paid for an equal number of deals.
A player may withdraw from the game at any time when it is his turn
to deal. In that case he pays for his deal (as explained later on),
and also for his loo, if he was looed the previous hand, but he does not
deal any cards to himself, or take any part in the play of that round.
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