This is a round game which for very many years has been one of the most
popular of its class. It requires little skill in its conduct, being
essentially a game of chance. The players do not look at their hands,
and therefore cannot in any way influence their possibilities of success
with the three cards dealt them. The only element of skill associated
is in connection with the speculations which form part of the play,
and which may be carried on by each of the players during its progress.
The ordinary packs of fifty-two or thirty-two cards may be used, and the
number of players who may take part in the game is practically unlimited
within the range of the pack; but it will be found that not more than
ten players are desirable with the fifty-two card pack, and not more than
six with the thirty-two card one, as otherwise too great a proportion
of the pack is brought into use each deal, and there is not much scope
for speculation as to what remains in the undealt portion of the pack.
In playing the game the ace is reckoned the highest card, then follow king,
queen, knave, ten, etc., down to two.
The first dealer is decided in the manner explained in connection with
"Nap" (see page 9), and he has to pay two coins or counters into the pool,
each of the other players contributing one. Three cards are then dealt
to each player, one at a time, and going round from left to right. The
top card remaining on the pack is turned up for trump, but before
turning it the dealer may sell it to any other of the players. If the
dealer sells the turn-up card, the buyer becomes entitled to all the
privileges that may ultimately attach to it, taking the entire amount in
the pool if no higher trump is turned up during the progress of the hands.
The player next to the dealer, or if the dealer sold the turn-up card the
one next to the purchaser, then turns up the top card of the three dealt
him. If it proves to be a higher card of the trump suit than that already
exposed, he becomes the chief hand, and may either retain the card, with
the ultimate prospect of winning the pool, or he may sell it to either of
the other players if a speculation can be arranged. If he sells the card,
he passes it over to the purchaser, and the player on the left-hand side
of the new holder becomes the next player. If the card turned up is not
a trump, or is a lower trump than that already exposed, it is of no value,
and the next player has to follow on with his top card.
The same proceeding is continued round and round until all the players,
except the holder of the highest trump, have exposed their three cards.
The owner of the leading trump, or the dealer, if he did not sell the
turn-up and it remains unbeaten, does not expose his cards in the various
rounds, but retains them until last. Even then he may sell them, before
they are turned up, either singly or all together.
When all the cards have been exposed, the holder of the highest trump takes
the amount in the pool, and a fresh deal, with new payments to the pool,
is started upon.
If the card turned up proves to be an ace, king, queen, or knave, it is
usual for the deal to pass. In that case the dealer, or the purchaser
of the trump card if the dealer has sold it, takes the pool, when all
the players contribute as before, the next in turn becoming the dealer,
and using the next top card of the pack for his trump card. This method
saves the time of going all round with the hands, when with so high
a card turned up there are so few chances of either of the players having
a better one, as to virtually put an end to all speculation that hand.
During the progress of the game either of the players may sell the card
which it is his turn to expose. In that case he turns it up without
disturbing the order of play, and retains it if it is not a superior trump.
If it is a superior one, it has to be handed over to the purchaser, and
the player on his left has to proceed with the play.
The holder of the highest trump card may sell it at any time, so that it
may change hands several times during the same deal, and each time there is
a change the player on the buyer's left-hand side is the next to proceed.
Any player looking at a card out of turn has to pay a penalty into the
pool, and should he prove the winner he cannot take the amount in the pool,
but must leave it to be added to the stakes for the next deal.
It is sometimes agreed that the turn-up card shall belong to the pool,
and in that case it is not offered for sale. If it proves the ultimate
Winner of the round, the amount is left in the pool, and added to the
stake for the next deal, the amount of which is made up just as if the
previous one had been taken by one of the players.
A second method of benefiting the pool is to deal a spare hand, which
is left in the middle of the table until all the other hands have been
finished. The spare hand is then turned up, and if it contains a winning
card the amount in the pool is added to the stake for the next round.
Another variation is to impose a penalty when a knave or five is turned up,
the penalty being paid into the pool by the owner of the card, that is,
the original holder or the purchaser if it was sold before being turned up.
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