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Pope Joan








For the game of Pope, or Pope Joan, a special board, or a pool with
eight compartments, is required, or the divisions may be marked on a
sheet of paper or card. The game is available for any number of
players, and an ordinary pack of fifty-two cards is used, the eight of
diamonds being taken out, so as to form what is termed a stop, that is,
a break in the sequence of the cards, which are here reckoned in regular
order from ace to king, the four suits being kept distinct throughout
the play. The seven of diamonds thus becomes a stop, and the king of
each Suit is also a stop, there being no "following" card in either
case. The turn-up or trump card, as will be further explained later on,
forms another stop, and thus there are six regular known stops at the
commencement of each game, with a number of unknown ones caused by the
cards in the spare hand which forms part of the game.

The object of the players is to dispose of their cards as rapidly as
possible, under certain conditions, and the player who first succeeds
in clearing his hand wins the stake set apart for game, as well as a
contribution from the other players for each of the cards remaining
in their hands. The holders of certain other cards secure the stakes
contributed for them if they play them out during the progress of the
hands.



The earliest matter for consideration is to determine who shall be the
first dealer, and that is settled in the same way as at "Nap" (see page
9). The players then contribute between them fifteen (or more) counters
or coins to form a pool, the dealer giving double the amount paid by
the other players. The counters or coins are then distributed so as
to dress the eight divisions of the board, which are named as follows:--
Pope Joan (the nine of diamonds), Matrimony (king and queen of trumps),
Intrigue (queen and knave of trumps), Ace, King, Queen, Knave (of
trumps), and Game, which latter is secured by the player who first
succeeds in disposing of all the cards dealt him. Six of the counters
are placed for Pope Joan, two each for Matrimony and Intrigue, one each
for Ace, King, Queen, and Knave, and the remainder for Game. To save
the trouble and time of collecting the stakes from the several players
for each round, it is often agreed that the dealer for the time being
shall dress the board, in which case it is necessary that the game
should be finished just before the original dealer's turn comes round
again, else the payments to the pool will not have been equitably
divided.

The stakes being completed, the pack, from which the eight of diamonds
has been removed, is shuffled and cut. The dealer then proceeds to
distribute the cards, one at a time, as equally among the players as
possible, dealing a spare hand, which is left unexposed on the table,
for the purpose of forming further stops, and turning up the last card
for trump. If any odd cards remain after dealing round to the players,
it is best to add the surplus to the spare hand. For instance, with
five players there will be eight cards for each hand, one to turn up,
and two remaining; these two should be added to the spare hand. With
eight players there will be five each, and five remaining; so that
the spare hand will be increased to ten, but that will only cause a
greater number of stops, which will not prove any disadvantage with so
many players engaged.

Should the trump card prove to be the nine of diamonds--Pope Joan,--the
dealer takes the amount staked for that card, and, in addition, receives
from each player a stake for every card dealt. If there are but few
players engaged in the game, it is best to agree that the payment for Pope
Joan shall be limited to either four or six counters or coins, and it may
be best to do so, no matter what number of players are engaged. If the
card turned up for trump be either Ace, King, Queen or Knave, the dealer
takes whatever stake is deposited on the hoard in the corresponding
division, and the game proceeds, as is also the case if any lower card
is turned up.

During the progress of the game, the holder of Pope Joan, Matrimony,
Intrigue, or Ace, King, Queen, or Knave of trumps can, if he has the
opportunity, play those cards, in which event he takes the amount of the
stake on the corresponding part of the board, and, in the case of Pope
Joan, he receives a stake from every player for each card remaining in
hand. Neither of these combinations or cards wins anything, however,
if not played out during the progress of the game, and they can only be
declared in the ordinary course of play. For this reason Pope Joan or
ace of trumps should be led on the first opportunity, as neither of them
can be played up to, each following a stop. When any or all of the
special cards are not played out, the stake on their particular division
of the board is left for the next deal, so that it may happen that
either of the compartments except Game, which is won every deal, may
be considerably increased before it is secured by one of the players.
For this reason it is desirable to study the state of the board,
so as to see if the stake on any particular card in hand is sufficient
to warrant its being played at an early stage, even though lower cards
of the same suit are in hand, which would, in the ordinary course,
be cleared off first.

It is sometimes agreed that when Intrigue or Matrimony is played by
different hands, the amount staked on those chances shall be divided
between the two-players concerned, and in each case the player of knave,
queen, or king takes the stake on those chances in addition.

Play in the game is commenced by the elder hand, that is, the player on
the left-hand side of the dealer, leading a card, to which the other
players have to follow on in the same suit and in sequence, passing
where they are unable to follow, until a stop occurs, when the
competitor who plays the stop has the next lead. The played cards are
turned over, face downwards on the table, after each stop. It must be
remembered that the object of the players is to dispose of their cards
as soon as possible, and on that account the known stops should be
played out at the first opportunity, or led up to as early as possible.

To better explain the method of play, we will take an imaginary hand.
We will suppose there are five players, and that the one on the dealer's
left-hand side receives

5 and 7 of diamonds, 4 and knave of hearts, knave
and king of spades, ace and queen of clubs.

The turn-up card proves to be the 7 of hearts. The player thus knows he
has two stops among his eight cards, viz., the of diamonds and king of
spades; but in each case he has lower cards of the same suit, and he
must therefore consider how best to clear them off. The king of spades
being a stop, and the player having the knave and king of that suit,
he cannot do wrong in leading the knave, as, if the queen is played
he follows on with the king, and if by chance the queen should be in the
spare hand, he still gets rid of the king, having to follow on, after
his knave having proved a stop. The same argument holds good in the
case of the diamonds, of which he first leads the five and clears the
suit. The ace of clubs must next be played, as unless he leads that
himself there is no possibility of his being able to play it, as no card
can lead up to an ace. He therefore plays the club ace for his fifth
card, the two and three follow on from different hands, and then a stop
occurs, so that it is assumed the four is in the spare hand, and thus
the three is a stop. The player of the three has, among his other cards,
the queen and king of hearts, plays them (taking the stake on Matrimony,
as hearts are trumps), and follows on with the seven of spades, of which
he also holds the ten, which, as knave, queen, and king have been
played, he knows to be a stop. By playing off queen and king of hearts,
this player made the knave of hearts in the first hand a stop. Later on
the game leads up to the queen of clubs, which also proves to be a stop,
the king being in the spare hand, and the original leader is left with
the lead with only two cards in hand, of which one is known to be a
stop. He therefore first plays this knave of hearts, following on with
his four, clearing his hand and winning the game. He takes the stake on
Game from the board, and receives one counter from the other players for
each card remaining in their hand, the only exception in such cases
being in favour of the holder of Pope Joan, who is exempt if he has not
played that card, but who has to pay as the rest if he has played it.





Next: Variations

Previous: Speculation



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