The Ingenious Game, called Picket

[Cotgrave, Wit's Interpreter, 2nd edition, London, 1662, pp. 358-364.]

You that intend to exercise your selves in this delightful recreation, must first cast out of the Pack the Deuces, Treyes, Fours, and Fives, and play with the other six and thirty Cards.

The Set is usually a hundred; but it is left to the decision, and discretion of the Gamesters, whether they will make it more or lesse. The disadvantage in this play is the Dealer's, and the least Card deals.

The Cards are all valued according to the number of the spots they bear, the Ace only excepted, which goes for eleven, and wins all other Cards.

The Dealer shuffles, and the other cuts according to the custom of other more vulgar Games; but he delivers them in what number he phansies, so that it exceed not four, nor be under two. Then the twelve that remain, are laid between the two Gamesters upon the Table; if they desire fair play.

He that is the elder, after that he has lookt over his Cards, if he finds never a Court Card among them, says, I have a Blank, and I intend to discard such a number of Cards, and that you may see mine, do you discard as many as you intend to do. This done, he that is the eldest shews his Cards, and reckons ten for the Blank; then taking up his Cards again, he discards those which he judges most fit; but here you must observe that he is always bound to that number which he at first propos'd.

This being done, he takes in from the Stock as many Cards as he laid out; And if it should chance to fall out that the other have a Blank too, the younger's Blank shall barre the former, and hinder his Picy and Repicy; though the eldest hand's Blank consists of the bigger Cards.

'Tis no small advantage in discarding to be eldest, because he may take in eight of the twelve Cards remaining in the Stock, having first discarded as many of his own; nor is he absolutely confined to that number; for according as he finds his game, he may take in lesse. If he take in lesse than eight, he has liberty to look upon the remainder of them eight, laying them down upon the rest, after he has survey'd them. Then, may the other likewise take all the rest, or but a few of them only, according to his humour, discarding as many of his own, if he take them not all in, then may the Elder hand see them, provided that he first acquaint the other with the suit, that he intends to play, to which he is obliged if he say so; but if he hath discarded all of that suit he said he would play, or else had none of it at first; he is bound to play that suit his opposite does appoint.

Here you must note, that how good soever the Game be, you are both obliged to discard one Card at least.

After the discarding, then you are to consider the Ruff, that is, to see how much you can make of a suit; the eldest he speaks first, and if the younger makes not more, his Ruff is good, and sets up one for every Ten, he can produce. As for instance, for thirty he reckons three, for forty four, and so upward; and withall, you are to count as much for thirty five as for forty; and as much for forty five as fifty, and so of the rest, but as for thirty six, thirty seven, thirty eight, and thirty nine, you count no more than for thirty five, so for thirty one, and thirty two, thirty three, and thirty four, no more than for thirty: And this Rule is to be observed in all other higher numbers. As for Sequences, and their value, after the Ruff is plaid, the Elder acquaints you with his Sequences, if he have them, and they are Tierces, Quartes, Quintes, Sixiesmes, Septiesmes, Huictiesmes, and Neusiesmes, As thus.

Six, seven, and eight; nine, ten, and Knave; Queen, King, and Ace; which last is called a Tierce Major, because it is the highest. A Quart is a Sequence of four Cards, a Quint of five a Sixiesm of six, &c. These Sequences take their denomination from the highest Card in the Sequence; it is a Tierce Major, or a Tierce of an Ace, when there is a Queen, King, and Ace; A Tierce of a King, when the King is the best Card; a Tierce of a Queen when there is no King, nor Ace and so till you come to the lowest Tierce, which is the Tierce of an eight. You reckon for every Tierce three, Quart four, but for a Quint fifteen, a Sixiesm sixteen, and so upward; now what ever you can make of all you are to adde to your Blank, as to your Ruff, counting the whole together.

And here you must observe, that the biggest Tierce, Quart, or other Sequence, although there be but one of them, makes all the others lesse Sequences useless unto him, be they never so many, and he that hath the biggest Sequence, by vertue thereof, reckons all his lesse Sequences; though his Adversaries Sequences be greater and otherwise would have drowned them.

Thus, suppose if one has a Tierce Major, and withall, a Tierce of a Queen, a Tierce of a Knave, or any other lesse; and the other has a Tierce of a King; he that has the Tierce Major, shall reckon all his lesse Tierces, because his Tierce Major drowns the other's Tierce of a King; Farther, you are to observe, that a Quart drowns a Tierce, a Quint a Quart, and so of the rest; so that he that has a Sixiesm, may reckon his Tierces, Quarts, or Quints, though the other may happen to have Tierce, Quart, &c. of higher value then the others are, that has the Sixiesm.

And the same method you must trace in all the other like Sequences.

After you have manifested your Sequences, you come to reckon your three Aces, three Kings, three Queens, three Knaves, or three Tens; as for Nines, Eights, Sevens and Sixes, they have no place in this account; for every Ternary you count three, and they are in value as it is in Sequences: Aces, the highest and best; Kings next; after these Queens; then Knaves; and last of all Tens.

The higher here drowns the lower, as in the Sequences; he that hath these Aces, may reckon his three Queens, Knaves, or Tens, if he have them, though the other hath three Kings, by reason of his higher Ternary. Now, he that hath four Aces, four Kings, fours Queens, four Knaves, or four Tens; for each reckons fourteen, which is the reason they are called Quatorzes, according to what is forementioned, win one another, as the Cards are of higher or lesser value.

Now they begin to play the Cards, the Elder begins, and Younger followes in suit, as at Trump: and for every Ace, King, Queen, Knave, and Ten, that he playes, he is to count one.

A Card once play'd, may not be recalled, unlesse he that play'd it, find a Card of the same suit in his own hand; and then he may, without the imputation of false play, answer the others Cards with the same suit.

If the Elder hand plays an Ace, King, Queen, or Ten; for every such Card, he is to reckon one, which he addes to the number of his game before. And if the other be able to play upon it a higher Card of the same suit, he wins the Trick, and reckons one for his Card, as well as the other. Whosoever wins the last Trick, is to reckon two for it, if he win it with a Ten; but if it be with a Nine, Eight, Seven, or Six, he then reckons but one: then they tell their Cards, and he that has the most, is to reckon Ten for them.

After this each person sets up his Game with Counters, and if they win not the Set, fall to Dealing again, according to custome, and to shuffle, and cut, as in other Games in order, till the Set be wonne. Which done, if they be minded to continue the play, they lift again for Dealing, with this proviso, that they did first agree to lift for Dealing at the end of every Set, otherwise not; they are to take their Turns: Now a Set is won in this ensuing manner; admit that each of the Gamesters is got so forward, as to want not above four or five apiece of the Set; if it fall out that any of the two have a Blank, he wins the Set, because the Blanks are alwayes first reckoned; but if there be no Blanks, then comes the Ruff; next your Sequences; then your Aces, Kings, Queens, Knaves, and Tens; next them that which is reckon'd for Cards in play, and last of all, the Cards you have won.

If any of the two Gamesters can reckon, either in Blanks, Ruff, Sequences, Aces, &c. up to thirty in his own hand, without playing a Card, and before the other can reckon anything; instead of counting thirty, he shall reckon ninety; and as many as he makes after above his thirty, adde them to his ninety. As for instance; in lieu of saying thirty one, thirty two, &c. he shall count ninety one, ninety two, &c. and this is known by the name of a Repicy.

Again, he that can in like manner make what by Blanch, Ruff, Sequences, &c. and also by playing his first Card up to said number of thirty, before the other has played a Card, or can reckon anything instead of thirty, he reckons sixty, and this is called a Picy. And here you must observe, that if you mistake, and forget to call for your Picy, or Repicy, that if you recall it before they Deal again, you shall not, in this case, lose either the one, or the other.

He that wins all the Cards, instead of reckoning Ten (which is the usual number for him to reckon, that winnes more then his own Cards) reckons forty, and this is called a Capet.

Here you must observe, that if the Gamesters have equal Cards for Ruff, Sequences, &c they can neither of them reckon any thing, eldership benefits not in this case; they must only set up what they make in playng their Cards, or winning them.

As for the Rules that belong to the Game, first you must observe, that if the Dealer give the other more Cards then his due, whether it be through a mistake, or otherwise, with a purpose of foul play, it is in the choice of the elder hand, whether he shall deal again or no: or whether it shall be played out. If the elder hand find that he has thirteen Cards he may play it out, if he please, only he is to discard one Card more than he takes in: besides, it is to be noted, that if the Dealer give the other, or take himself fifteen or sixteen Cards, (which may be by giving or taking a Lift more then ordinary) he must necessarily deal again, to avoid the confusion that otherwise might arise, and 'tis inevitable.

He that forgets to reckon his Blank, Ruff, Sequences, Aces, Kings, or the like, and hath begun to play his Cards, cannot then recall them, but must impute the losse of them to his forgetfulnesse. So it is with him that doth not shew his Ruff before he play his first Card, though it be more then the other hath, or else his pareil, if it be equall to his Sequences, he then loses them utterly, and his Adversary reckons the same, though of lesse value then his were; yet must he shew what he hath, as soon as the error is discovered. For, if afterwards he play but one Card before he manifest what he hath, he is liable to the losse of them all, as well as the former.

He that mis-reckons any thing, and hath play'd one of his Cards, and his Adversary finds at the beginning, middle or end of the Game, that he had not what he reckoned, for his punishment he shall be debarr'd from reckoning anything of what he really hath, and his adversary shall reckon all he has, but yet the other shall make all he can in play; besides, the penalty lies on him for this Deal only: but the false reckoning of the one, shall not at all hinder the Picy, or Repicy of the other. He that takes in more Cards then he discardeth, is liable to the same penalty; or, if he be found in playing to have more Cards then he should have; yet a man may, and must play with lesse then his due, though not with more, seeing it is by his own default, that he wants his due, because it was in his own power to have taken what was his due.

No Card once down upon the Board, can be recalled, except he play'd by mistake, and knew not that he had of the suit, for in this case he is to take up his Card, and follow suit. But if a man intended to play an Ace, King, Queen, &c. and should by chance throw down some other Card, less in value then what the opposite play'd, being once out of his hand, it must not be revoked.

He that throws up his Cards, imagining that he had lost the Game, and mingles them with the rest upon the Table, though he afterwards perceive he was mistaken, he is not allowed to take up his Cards, and play again; but if not mixed, he may then be admitted to take them up, and play them out. Besides, if, as it often falls out, the Gamesters have not above two or three Cards apiece left in their hands, & one of them (imagining his Adversary has the better Cards of the two) throw down his, all at once; those Cards that touch the Table first, are supposed first played: so that if the other have discarded one or two of those Cards, which his Adversary conceived him to have had in hand, he may either take or leave the said Cards, as he shall find his own to be bigger or lesse, then those upon the Table.

No man is permitted to discard twice in one Dealing. Besides, if either of them discard fewer Cards, then he takes in, and the other perceice he has taken too many, if so be he has neither put back any of them himself, nor clapt them on his own Cards; he is only to return the supernumerary Cards. But, if he first throw back any of them himself, or lay them upon the rest of his own cards, this makes him lose the Game for that dealing.

He that dealt last, if forgetting himself, he deal again, and at length find out his errour, the other must then necessarily take his turn; with this proviso, that he that dealt twice together, saw none of the others cards, though the other might see his.

Again, if the other, (I mean the elder) speaking his Ruff, Sequences, Ace, &c. the other say, It is good; if afterard, looking more strictly over his cards, (not having plaid any card, for then it is too late to recall) he find he was mistaken, he may in this case recollect himself, recalling what he said, and so reckon what he has in his hand.

In like manner, if the younger giving the elder leave to reckon what he hath in the Ruff, Sequences, Aces, &c. shall yet before he playes his first card, recall himself, finding that he can reckon as much, or more then the other, in the same thing, he may in this case reckon what he hath, though the elder have plaid down the first card, who is constrained hereby to take down what he before had set up, to the others prejudice: the first word not being necessary to stand; for so in speaking the Ruff, if a man out of a design to discover the others cards, and to gain some knowledge by the help of his own hand, of what the other hath in his, shall say, I am so much for the Ruff, though the number he pitches on be possibly more or lesse then he really hath, when the other has afterwards told what he has for the Ruff; the former may then tell justly what he has: nor is there any penalty to be laid on him for recalling his first word. And this is the liberty of the Game at Paris, and the parts thereabouts; but in Provence, and Languedoc, the first word stands.

He that has a Blank, his Blank shall hinder the other's Picy, and Repicy; although he have nothing to shew but his Blank; and besides, it is reckon'd with what other Games soever he is able to make.

He that has four Aces, Kings, Queens, &c. dealt him, and after he has discarded one of the four, reckons the other three, and the other say to him, It is good; he is bound to tell the other, if he ask him what Ace, King, Queen, &c. he wants. And if it happen, that, in play, the Pack of cards is found to be false, or imperfect, that Dealing onely is to go for nothing, all the rest stand good.

But, if after lifting for the dealing, and cutting the cards; the Dealer in giving them out, find either too many cards, or too few, they are not to lift for dealing again, notwithstanding this imperfection of the cards; but only taking out the supernumerary cards, or else by adding what cards are wanting, they must only be shuffl'd and cut again, but he must deal, whose Lot it was before.

If after the cards are cleanly cut, either of the Gamesters know the uppermost card by the back side; notwithstanding this, the cards must not be shuffled again. In like manner, if the Dealer perceive the other has cut himself and Ace, and would therefore shuffle again, this is not permitted.

Further, if in dealing, any card is found faced, this is no Argument for to deal again, but he must deal on; yet, if there should chance to be two cards faced, then they must be new shuffl'd and cut, because it is a great disadvantage for either of the Gamesters to have two of his cards known.

Whoever is found changing, or taking back again any of his cards, he shall lose his Game, and he counter a Cheat. Thus have you a brief, yet exact account of that Royal Game called Picket.