finished writing a Regency romance in which the characters play cards so I
thought I would blog about the various games that were common in Jane Austen's
The table or room was often set aside the card players at any social
gathering. In fact some parties were held just for the guests to play cards.
"The table or room set aside for card players is almost inevitable
at any social gathering. Indeed, some parties are held for no other reason.
Nearly everyone plays cards, so context often determines how enjoyable the game
will be. Lively games with charming partners are enjoyable pastimes, while
parties with no purpose other than making up with tables with dull company are
to be appalled. In any event, everyone plays cards at some point, but his best
to familiarise yourself with the rules of some of the most popular games."
: related to the modern
game of bridge, was often played and the rules are the same now
Vingt –et –un
: also known as
Blackjack and Pontoon. Again the rules with the same 200 years ago as they are
today; players try and assemble a hand that adds up 21.
: I don't think this
game is played nowadays. It required two or more players, a standard deck of 52
cards and fish (counters) for betting or purchasing cards.
receives an equal amount of fish. The dealer has six fish and the other players
four fish each. Each player is dealt three cards. The dealer turns over the
next undealt card and this is the suit of the trumps. The dealer turns over his
first card. If this is an ace of the trump suit the game is over and the dealer
wins the pot. If it is not an ace, the dealer may sell or auction the card to
any other player, using fish for payment.
|Gentlemen at Play|
The next player
then turns over one of his or her cards and decides to keep or sell it. This is
repeated until all the cards originally drawn are revealed. In order to
determine the winner the person in possession of the highest card of the trump
suit, whether it had been dealt or purchased, wins the pot. The strategy is not
to use up all your fish in buying cards.
: this game as
many striking similarities to the modern game of poker. The term ‘carte
blanche’ originates here. This means if you have no court cards you declare
that and receive 10 points immediately.
this is a
popular game often favoured by older people. It is a game similar to whist but
played with a deck of 40 cards and with many strange rules. Trump cards are always
the same rather than changing game by game, and players bid or pass on each
trick based on their current hand.
this is also
similar to whist but with a flexible number of players. Stakes tended to be
higher, as one bid and rebids on each trick in which one participated. In
gambling halls the stakes could be ruinous, the country house parties loo was
: in the Regency
cribbage was usually the five-card variety rather than the six-card cribbage
that is played today. Each player is dealt five cards, and a score is
determined by combinations of the cards in their hand or those discarded during
the play, called ‘the crib’. The tally of points is recorded on a special
pegboard and the first player to reach 61 points (over several hands) wins. I
think this is how it's played today.
the card games has made me want to play some of them. I can remember when our
children were tiny and we couldn't afford to go out, we would set up a card
table and play Piquet and Bezique. (This was a 19th century French derivation
We would buy a
bottle of a cider called Pomagne and have an egg curry. Ah! Those were the
Bride for a Duke
and The Duke’s Reform available on