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Card Games - General Terms and Rules

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Card Games - General Terms and Rules

There are quite a number of technical terms and phrases that apply to Card games generally, an explanation of which is necessary to render the detailed description of the games perfectly clear and easy to understand. These include also some general rules which are always understood to be in force, unless modified or set aside by special rules.

Cutting.--The operation of cutting to the dealer is performed by lifting from the deck a portion of the cards. A cut must consist of at least a trick; that is, if two play, at least two cards must be cut; if four play, at least four cards must be cut; and at least four cards must be left in the remainder of the deck. Usually the division of the cards is pretty nearly equal.

The right to cut belongs, in two-handed games, to the non-dealer. In games in which more than two take part, usually to the player to the right of the dealer.

In cutting to determine the dealer, the person who cuts first should leave sufficient cards in the remainder of the deck to enable the other players to comply with the above requirement. To save trouble it is usual in large groups, instead of cutting, to deal one card to each of the players. If two or more players cut or receive cards equally entitling them to be the dealer, they must break the tie by cutting again. (See Shuffling.)

Dealing.--The act of the dealer in distributing in a proper manner the prescribed number of cards to each player. In dealing, the dealer commences with the player to his left, and deals in a clockwise rotation to each player, himself last. The dealer delivers the cards face downwards, in rounds of one, two, or more at a time, in accordance with the rules of the game played.

Any irregularity in the course of the deal (as, for instance, exposing the face of a card, dealing a card out of turn, etc.), constitutes what is known as a "misdeal". In the event of such, the deal is cancelled, and the right to deal usually passes to the player next in rotation. Where, however, the deal is of no advantage, the same dealer deals again.

Discarding.--When the rules of a game permit or require a player to reject one or more cards from his hand, it is called discarding, and the rejected cards are termed the discard. Discarded cards are always laid aside, face downwards, unless otherwise directed by the rules of the game.

Eldest Hand.--The player to the left of the dealer. In most games the eldest hand has the lead, or the first �say"; or both.  The player to the left of the dealer has the eldest, oldest, hand since the first card dealt went to this player.

Faced Card is a card lying in the deck with its face upwards, so as to be seen in dealing, and in most games renders a fresh deal necessary.

Face (or Court) Cards.--The King, Queen, and Jack of each suit.

First In Hand.--In some games a player has the option of retiring from the game, or round, if he holds a weak hand. When this rule prevails, the first player to the left of the dealer who remains in the game is said to be first in hand.

Following Suit.--If a subsequent player plays a card of the same suit as the card led, he is said to follow suit. In many games a player is required to follow suit, if he is able to do so. In others, the so doing is optional.

Hand.--The term "hand", as applied to card games, signifies primarily the number of cards dealt to each player. It has, however, two meanings, being also applied to (2) the person playing such cards, and (3) the play of the cards dealt at one time to all the players. For example, in the game of Bridge:--

(1) The thirteen cards dealt to each player are known as his hand.

(2) The player to the left of the dealer is known as second, or eldest hand, the next player as third hand, and the player to the right of the dealer as fourth hand.

(3) When all the cards are played the hand is finished. Heading The Trick.--In some games each player is required, not merely to follow suit, but, if he is able to do so, to play a card superior to any previously played to the trick. This is known as "Heading the trick".

incorrect Deck.--In every card game, when a deck of cards is discovered to be incorrect, the following general rule comes into operation: "If a deck is discovered to be incorrect, redundant, or imperfect, the deal in which the discovery is made is void. All preceding deals stand good".

Lay Card.--Any card other than a trump.

Lay (or Plain) Suit.--Any suit other than trumps.

Lead.--After the cards have been dealt, and the trump (if any) determined, the player to the left of the dealer (eldest hand), or other person who obtains the privilege, as the case may be, leads a card; and the suit to which the card he led belongs is called the suit led.

LOVE.--This term denotes that a player has not yet scored a single point. When all the players engaged are thus situated, it is called Love-all.

Deck.--A full deck contains fifty-two cards--thirteen of each suit. A Piquet or Euchre deck consists of thirty-two cards--all below the Seven in each suit being rejected. A deck never consist of more than fifty-two cards, except when that modern innovation, the Joker, is employed; then the deck consists of fifty-three cards.

Pips.--The spots on the face of a card, thus: the Ace has one pip, and the Ten has ten pips.

Playing Out A Hand.--There is a general rule which should govern every game of cards, i.e., that every hand should be played to a conclusion; or, if it be desired to save time, each player should expose upon the table his unplayed cards. This should be done to prevent the possibility of either side covering up a revoke.

Reneging.--In some games certain cards have an arbitrary value, and the holder of them may revoke without penalty. This is the case in Spoil-Five, Solo, etc., where certain high trumps need not be played to the lead of a lower trump. In games where reneging is not allowed, this term is sometimes improperly substituted for revoking.

RENOUNCE.--When a player having no card of the suit led plays, not a trump, but a card of some other suit, he is said to renounce. (See Trash.)

Revoke.--In games where it is obligatory to follow suit, if a player fails to do so, although holding a card or cards of the same suit led, he is said to revoke, and becomes subject to the penalty prescribed for the offence by the rules of the particular game.

Say.--The "say" is an option given to a player (usually first to the eldest hand) to "say "whether he will take advantage of some privilege customary in a game; for example, in Solo, Solo Bridge, Skat or Boston, he has the first bid, in Euchre he may order up a pass, in All-Fours he has the beg, and in Loo he has the option of playing or passing. In Draw Poker, the eldest hand has the last say.

Score.--The number of points that a player has made toward game.

Shuffling (or Making) The Cards.--Signifies the operation of mixing the cards. It is proper to shuffle before every new deal. Each player has a right to one shuffle. The dealer has the shuffle, and then the player to his right is to cut. (See Cutting He cannot substitute a shuffle for the cut, and require the dealer deal from the shuffle. The dealer may insist upon the cards being cut by the player to his right. The dealer must not shuffle the cards after the deck has been cut ready for dealing with his consent.

Singleton.--Where a player's hand contains at the outset of the game, only one card of a given suit, this is known as a Singleton.

Stock (or Talon).--The cards remaining after the hands have been dealt.

Suits..--There are four suits in a complete deck of cards, namely Spades and Clubs (black), and Hearts and Diamonds (red), consisting of thirteen cards, namely Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, and so on, down to Two.

Trash.--When the player cannot follow suit, and plays a worthless card instead of trumping. (See Renounce.)

Trick.--The principle of many card games is that each player shall, in rotation, play one card to the card led by the first player.  The cards so played together constitute a " trick", and belong usually to the player of the highest card of the suit led. This rule however, is subject to many qualifications, a card of the "trump suit" in games where trumps are recognized, taking precedence over the best card of any other suit. The rules of many games also give an arbitrary value to some particular card or cards, as, for instance the Left Bower in Euchre, the Ace of Hearts in Spoil-Five, and t Matadores in Solo and Skat. (See Trumps.)

Trump Card.--In most games where the score is made by trick an exceptional winning value is given for the time being to one other of the four suits. The selection is usually made as follow The dealer, having dealt to each player his prescribed number of cards, turns up the card next following, which is known as the "turn-up" or "trump" card, and the suit indicated by such card becomes the " trump suit " for the time being, the three other suits being known as lay suits. Where, as in Bridge, the whole of the cards are distributed, the trump card belongs to the dealer.

The above mode of determining the trump suit is not universal. In some instances, as in Euchre, Boston, Solo Bridge, Solo, and Skat, a given player has, under certain circumstances, the right to name the trump suit. In others, as in Napoleon, the first card led determines the trump suit.

Trumping (or Ruffing).--A person playing a trump card to a card of any other suit led, is said to trump such card or the trick. If a smaller trump has already been played, he is said to over-trump. In most games, as in Bridge, the right to trump is conditional upon having no card of the suit led, but this rule is not universal. At All-Fours or Bezique, for instance, a player may trump the trick, although holding one or more cards of the suit led.

Trumps.--All the cards of the suit to which the trump card belongs are called trumps, and the smallest card of that suit ranks higher in value than the best card of any other suit. This rule is, however, subject to some exceptions, for instance: in Euchre, the Left Bower, in Spoil-Five the Ace of Hearts, in Solo, Spadilla and Manilla, and in Skat three of the Matadores are all high trumps, and yet none of them are the same suit as the trump card.

Trump Suit.--The same suit as the card turned up for trumps. (Sec Trump Card.)