Card Games/All Fours/Sources

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THE GAME OF ALL FOURS (1807)[edit]

The Game of All Fours is played by only two persons, with an entire pack of cards. It derives its name from the four chances of which it consists; namely, High, Low, Jack, and Game.

Terms used in the game[edit]

High,
the ace of trumps, or the next best card out, and reckons for one point.
Low,
the deuce of trumps, or the next lowest card out, and reckons for one point.
Jack,
the knave of trumps, and reckons for one point.
Game,
the majority of pips collected from the tricks, and reckons for one point. The cards from which this is obtained are, ace, king, queen, knave and ten. The ace reckons for four pips, the king for three, the queen for two, the knave for one, and the ten for ten.
Beg,
is when the non-dealer, not liking his cards, says, "I beg," in which case the dealer must give him three more cards from the pack, and three to himself; or suffer him to add one point to his game.

Laws of the game[edit]

  1. If, in dealing, the dealer discovers any of the adversary's cards, a new deal may be demanded.
  2. If the dealer, in dealing, discovers any of his own cards, he must abide by the same.
  3. If it is discovered, previous to playing, that the dealer has given his adversary too many cards, there must be a new deal; or, if both parties agree, the extra cards may be drawn by the dealer from his opponent's hand; and the same if the dealer gives himself too many cards. But, in either case, if a single card has been played, then there must be another deal.
  4. No person can beg more than once in a hand, unless both parties agree.
  5. In playing, you must either follow suit, or trump, on penalty of your adversary's adding one point to his game.
  6. If either player sets up his game erroneously, it must not only be taken down, but the antagonist is entitled to score four points, or one, as shall have been agreed upon.
  7. It is allowable for the person who lays down a high or low trump, to enquire whether the same be high or low.

Rules for playing[edit]

  1. The game consists of ten points. After cutting for deal, at which either the highest or lowest card wins, as may have been previously agreed upon, six cards are to be given to each player, either by three or one at a time. The thirteenth card is turned up, and is the trump card.
  2. If the card turned up should be a knave, the dealer scores one point to his game. Knave of trumps in hand does not reckon, unless you make a trick with it: for if your adversary takes it with the ace, king, or queen, he scores it.
  3. If the eldest hand should not like his cards, he may, for once in a hand, say, "I beg," when the dealer must either give him a point, or deal three more cards to each, and turns up the seventh for trump: but if that should prove of the same suit as the first turned up, then three cards more must be given, and so on till a different suit occurs.
  4. The cards rank as at whist, and each player should strive to secure his own tens and court cards, or take those of the adversary; to obtain which, except when commanding cards are held, it is usual to play a low one; in order to throw the lead into the opponent's hand.
  5. Endeavour to make your knave as soon as you can.
  6. Low is always scored by the person to whom it was dealt; but Jack being the property of whoever can win or save it, the possessor is permitted to revoke and trump with that card.
  7. Win your adversary's best cards when you can, either by trumping them, or with superior cards of the same suit. In every other respect the game is played as at whist.

The New Pocket Hoyle, 4th edition, London 1807.

The Game of All Fours (1823)[edit]

The Game of All Fours is played by two persons, with an entire pack of cards. It derives its name from the four chances therein, for each of which a point is scored—namely,

High,
the best trump out.
Low,
the lowest trump out.
Jack,
the knave of trumps.
Game,
the majority of pips[,1823] reckoned for such of the following cards as the players have in their respective tricks, viz. every ace is counted 4, king 3, queen 2, knave 1 and ten 10.

Laws of the game[edit]

  1. If in dealing, the dealer discovers any of the adversary's cards, a new deal may be demanded.
    If he discovers any of his own cards, he must abide by the same.
  2. If discovered, previous to playing, that the dealer has given his adversary too many cards, there must be a new deal; or, if both parties agree, the extra cards may be drawn by the dealer from his opponent's hand[;≤1857] and the same if the dealer gives himself too many cards. But, in either case, if a single card has been played, there must be a new deal.
  3. No person can beg more than once in a hand, unless both parties agree.
  4. In playing, you must either follow suit[,1823] or trump, on penalty of your adversary's adding one point to his game.
  5. If either player sets up his game erroneously, it must not only be taken down, but the antagonist is entitled to score four points, or one, as shall have been agreed upon.
  6. The person who lays down a high or low trump, may [inquire|enquire1823] whether the same be high or low.

Rules for playing[edit]

  1. The game consists of ten points. After cutting for deal, at which either the highest or [the≥1830]lowest card wins, as may have been previously agreed upon, six cards are to be given to each player, either by three or one at a time. The thirteenth card is turned up, and is the trump card.
  2. If the card turned up should be a knave, the dealer scores one point to his game.
  3. If the eldest hand should not like the cards dealt him, he may say, "I beg," when the dealer must either give him a point, or deal three more cards to each, and turn up the seventh for trump: but if that should prove of the same suit as the first turned up, then three cards more must be given, and so on [till a≤1829|until some≥1830] different suit occurs.
  4. The cards rank as at whist, and each player should strive to secure his own tens and court cards, or take those of the adversary; to obtain which, except when commanding cards are held, it is usual to play a low one; in order to throw the lead into the opponent's hand.
  5. Endeavour to make your knave as soon as you can.
  6. Low is always scored by the person to whom it was dealt; but jack being the property of whoever can win or save it, the possessor is permitted to revoke and trump with that card.
  7. Win your adversary's best cards when you can, either by trumping them, or with superior cards of the same suit.

Hoyle's Games Improved, New York 1823.
Hoyle's Games Improved, New York 1829.
Hoyle's Improved Edition, New York 1830.
Hoyle's Improved Edition, Philadelphia 1838.
Hoyle's Games, Philadelphia 1857.
Hoyle's Games, New York 1887.

ALL FOUR (1845)[edit]

This game is played with a complete pack of cards, usually by two persons, but sometimes by four, in two partnerships. It derives its name from the four chances of which it consists, for each of which a point is scored, namely.

High,
the ace of trumps, or next best trump out.
Low,
the deuce of trumps, or next lowest out, and it is reckoned by the person to whom it is dealt.
Jack,
the knave of trumps.
Game,
the majority of pips, collected from the tricks taken by the respective players. The cards from which this is obtained are, ace, king, queen, knave, and ten of trumps[!]. The ace reckons for four pips, the king for three, the queen for two, the knave for one, and the ten for ten.
Beg,
is when the non-dealer, not liking his cards, says 'I beg,' the dealer must give him three more cards from the pack, and take three to himself; or suffer him to add one point to his game. Three cards are usually thrown out in lieu of the three taken in.

MODE OF PLAYING[edit]

The cards rank in the same order as at Whist, and ten points constitute the game; the best mode of marking them is by counters as at whist, or by the four or five of any suit laid on each other so as to exhibit only a number of pips equal to the points gained.

In beginning the game, each person cuts for the deal, and the person cutting the lowest card is the dealer. The deal is made by giving one card alternately, until each player has six, and turning up the thirteenth card, which is trump. If the card turned up is a knave, the dealer scores one point to his game; but the knave of trumps in hand does not reckon, unless you make a trick with it; for if your adversary takes it with the ace, king, or queen, he scores it.

Endeavour to make your knave and ten of trumps as soon as you can, as they are reckoned by the person in whose tricks they are.

Always win your adversary's best cards when you can, either by trumping them, or with superior cards, of the same suit. In every other respect, the game is played the same as whist.

LAWS OF THE GAME[edit]

If in dealing, the dealer shews any of his opponent's cards, the opponent may demand a fresh deal.

The dealer giving his adversary more cards than are required, there must be a new deal; or if both parties agree, the extra cards may be drawn by the dealer from his adversary's hand. The same if the dealer give himself too many cards. But in either case, if part of the cards have been played a new deal must take place. You cannot beg more than once in a hand, unless both parties agree.

With strict players the adversary may score a point whenever his opponent does not trump or follow suit, and each calculates his game without inspecting the tricks, which when erroneously set up must not only be taken down, but also the antagonist either scores 4 points or 1 as shall have been agreed upon.

Hoyle's Games, Philadelphia 1845.
Hoyle's Games, Philadelphia 1863.

[THE GAME OF]1814 ALL FOURS (1814)[edit]

This game, usually played by two [people|personsGH], [but]GH sometimes by four, with a complete pack [of cards|1856], derives its name from the four chances [therein|in itGH], for each of which a point is scored[,|;GH] namely high, the best trump out; low, the smallest trump dealt; jack, the knave of trumps; game, the majority of pips reckoned from such of the following cards as the respective players have in their tricks[;|,1875] viz.[:1875] every ace is counted as 4; king 3; queen 2; knave 1; and ten for 10. Low is always scored by the person to whom it was dealt; but jack being the property of whoever [can|couldGH] win or save it, the possessor is permitted to revoke and trump with that card; and when turned up as trump the dealer scores[;|:GH] it is also allowable for the player who lays down a high or low trump to inquire at the time whether the same be high or low.

After cutting for deal, at which either the highest or lowest card wins, as previously fixed, six [cards1856,1875] are to be given to each player, either by three or one at a time, and the [thirteenth|13th1814,1856] turned up for trump; then if the eldest does not like his [card|cards1856], he may, for once in a hand, say, I beg, when the dealer must either give a point or three more cards to each, and turn up the [seventh|7th1814,1856] for trump; but if that should prove of the same suit as the first turned up, then three cards more are to be given, and so on till a different suit occurs. The cards rank as at [whist|Whist1875], and each player should always strive to secure his own tens and [court cards|court-cards1875], [or|to1856,1875] take those of the adversary, to obtain which, except when commanding cards are held, it is usual to play a low one[,GH] to throw the lead into the opponent's hand. [Ten or eleven|Usually seven1875] points form the game, which may be set up as at [whist|Whist1856,1875], though a very customary method is to draw two cards from the pack, and lay them one on the other, so as to exhibit only the number of pips the player has gained.

When the dealer [shews|showsGH] any of his adversary's cards a new deal may be demanded, but in [shewing|showingGH] his own he must abide [by the same|the consequenceGH].

[If discovered, previous to playing, that too many cards are|If, previous to playing, it be discovered that too many cards have beenGH] given to either party, a fresh deal may be claimed, or the extra cards drawn out by the opponent; but should even a single card have been played, then there must be another deal.

With strict players[,1875] the adversary may score a point whenever his opponent does not trump or follow suit, and each calculates his game without inspecting the tricks, which when erroneously set up must not only be taken down, but [also the antagonist scores either 4 points or 11814|but also the antagonist either scores four points or one1856,1875|the antagonist also either scores four points or one,GH] as shall have been agreed on.

Charles Jones, Hoyle's Games Improved, new ed., London 1814.
G. H., Hoyle's Games, Improved and Enlarged, London 1835.[1]
G. H., Hoyle's Games, Improved and Enlarged, new ed., London 1847.
Henry G. Bohn, Bohn's New Handbook of Games, Philadelphia 1856.
Thomas Frere, Hoyle's Games, improved ed., Boston 1875.

Westminster Papers[edit]

All Fours. — The author commences a description of this game by designating a variation as the most popular form of playing the game. This is an error, because there are many variations equally popular, and if he desires to recommend any particular variation, it should follow a description of the game proper. All Fours, now best known, and more generally played in America than elsewhere, is there chiefly known as "Seven up," indicative of the points necessary to complete the game. "Blind," "Pitch," "California Jack," "Don Pedro," (etc., are all interesting, and many persons in certain districts of the country prefer one or the other variation to the game proper. But it is the game proper that forms the basis for these variations, and the author should therefore have given us a clear understanding of what it is and the rules under which it is played. Thus he states: "Some players discard the sixes and sevens, and then count the value of all the cards towards the point game." Now this is not "All Fours" any more than counting a quart, fourteen (because a quint counts fifteen) at Piquet would be Piquet. Again, the "number up" must not be arranged at starting, since the game is "Seven up." If the players want the game to be nine or eleven, or a thousand for that matter, they undoubtedly have as much right to do so as they have to make a game of Whist consisting of 15, 20, or 100) points. Again, the trump is not made by the non-dealer, but by turning up a trump. The former is the case in some variations. The cards are dealt three at a time, and not one at a lime. A player is not obliged to follow suit if he prefers to trump, except when trumps are led, when he must follow suit if he have one. Nor is any one ever obliged to trump a suit, unless, perchance, he holds all trumps. In fact, it would be almost impossible to get more errors into a short chapter than the author has succeeded in doing. The entire description is utterly untrustworthy.

Westminster Papers IX (1876), page 151, discussing H. E. Heather: Card Games.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Based on a damaged copy, text seems to be identical with the 1847 edition.