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I must say this “no-television” lifestyle has lead me to rather surprising pursuits. Already, I have managed to read seven novels just this month! I penned letters to editors and associations. I even managed to try out some new hairstyles (none of them held-up, since I really have no idea what I am doing.)

Hearts are Trumps, 1866 Giclee Print

Hearts are Trumps by James Archer, 1866

I also discovered the game Hearts on my computer. It took a bit of time to figure out the strategy. Alas, I have it! This also steams from my mother gifting me with a deck of cards, should I find myself boring my company. I told my peers about the playing cards; one quirked an eyebrow at me “Strip Poker?”–Why I would never! . . . During broad daylight . . . without a copious amount of drink.–I jest! Another friend brought up Bridge, soon the conversation diverged into gambling and arguments and cutting a man’s ear off (What on earth?!).

Violence aside, I was shocked of the mention of so many card games I never heard of. So I decided to look into, like I do. Thousands upon thousands of random card games. So many ways for one to lose their money and their shirt. I stumbled up a very comprehensive site and looked up Whist again; the ever so popular card game of the 18th ad 19th century. Both men and women played it. There are stories of Marie Antoinette playing the game, as well as the those in the Court of Queen Victoria. It sounds a bit like Hearts except instead of aiming for the lowest score to win, one tries to amass as many points as possible. This gives me renewed hope that I just might be able to learn how to play! How very exciting. Below is straight from the website explaining Classic Whist

The classic game of whist is a plain-trick game without bidding for 4 players in fixed partnerships. Although the rules are extremely simple there is enormous scope for scientific play, and in its heyday a large amount of literature about how to play whist was written.

Players

There are four players in two fixed partnerships. Partners sit facing each other. The game is played clockwise.

Cards

A standard 52 card pack is used. The cards in each suit rank from highest to lowest: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.

Deal

The cards are shuffled by the player to dealer’s left and cut by the player to dealer’s right. The dealer deals out all the cards one at a time so that each player has 13. The final card, which will belong to the dealer, is turned face up to indicate which suit is trumps. The turned trump remains face up on the table until it is dealer’s turn to play to the first trick.

It is traditional to use two packs of cards. During each deal, the dealer’s partner shuffles the other pack and places it to the right. The dealer for the next hand then simply needs to pick up the cards from the left and pass them across to the right to be cut. Provided all the players understand and operate it, this procedure saves time and helps to remember whose turn it is to deal, as the spare pack of cards is always to the left of the next dealer.

Play

The player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick. Any card may be led. The other players, in clockwise order, each play a card to the trick. Players must follow suit by playing a card of the same suit as the card led if they can; a player with no card of the suit led may play any card. The trick is won by the highest trump in it – or if it contains no trump, by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads to the next.

Scoring

When all 13 tricks have been played, the side which won more tricks scores 1 point for each trick they won in excess of 6.

The partnership which first reaches 5 points wins the game. This will normally take several deals.

. . . . Anyone up for a game of cards?

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