Nap Or Napoleon
The game of Napoleon, or as it is more generally and popularly called
"Nap," was introduced into this country from the United States, it is
believed, about 1865, although it is recorded that the game had previously
been played for high stakes at some of the more notorious gambling clubs.
It is named after the great Napoleon, as the principal player in the game
becomes, for the time being, an Ishmaelite, whose "hand" is against every
man's, and every man's against his, as was the case with the "Grand
Adventurer" in 1804-15 (see Variations)--whence we have the terms
Wellington, Bluecher, etc.
It is an admirable game for three, four, or five persons, and is also
available for two and six, though four is the ideal number, and it is
played with an ordinary pack of fifty-two cards. (For Nap with thirty-two
card pack, see page 14). With six persons taking part in the game the
dealer stands out of the play, not dealing any cards to himself, though he
receives and pays for the tricks like the others, and the same system is
sometimes adopted when there are five players; as, if all the players took
active part in the game, it would become most difficult to make the tricks,
because more cards would be in use.
The popularity of the game is no doubt owing to the short time necessary
for playing the hands, and to the fact that it can be terminated at
any moment, for no game or deal need exceed two or three minutes, except
when a pool or "kitty" is introduced (see Variations). In this case
provision has to be made for the distribution of the amount of the kitty.
While care in playing is necessary, no great amount of skill is required to
render the game diverting as an amusement, while it also affords ample
scope for the exercise of speculation and the other elements of excitement.
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