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Ranter Go Round


Ranter Go Round

Ranter Go Round is an old Cornish game with the rather more appropriate alternative name of Cuckoo.
            It may be played by any reasonable number, with a standard pack of fifty-two cards.  the cards rank in order from King (high)to Ace (low); the suits have no rank.  Each player begins with an agreed number of units, usually three.  The dealer deals one card face downwards to each player.  The object of the game is to avoid being left with the lowest card.

            The player on the left of the dealer begins the game.  He may either retain his card or offer it to his left-hand neighbor with the command ‘Change’.  There is no choice about it.  The player so commanded must exchange cards with his right-hand neighbour unless he holds a King, when he says ‘King’, and the game is continued by the player on his left.
            When an exchange has been made, the player who has been compelled to do so may pass on the card he has received in the same way, and so on, clockwise round the table, until the card is brought to a halt either by a King or by a player receiving a high card in exchange, so that he has nothing to gain by passing it on.
            Any player giving an Ace, 2 or 3, in obedience to the command ‘Change’, must announce the rank of the card.
            The dealer is last to play, and if he wishes to exchange his card, he does so by cutting the remainder of the pack and taking the top card of the cut.

            If in doing this he draws a King he loses the hand and contributes one unit to the pool.  If he does not draw a King, all the players expose their cards and the one with lowest contributes one unit to the pool.  If two or more tie for lowest card, all contribute to the pool.
            When a player has contributed all his units to the pool, he retires from the game.  The others continue, and the game is won by he who is left with at least one unit in hand.

Red Dog Although in Red Dog, or High-card Pool, players stake on their cards, it is usually accepted as a party game, rather than a banking game, because the players stake against a pool and not against a banker.
            The game may be played by any number up to ten, with the standard pack of fifty-two cards, ranking from Ace (high) to 2 (low).  The suits have no rank.

            The players contribute to the pool an agreed number of units, and each player is dealt five cards (only four cards if nine or ten players are in the game).  Beginning with the player on the left of the dealer, each in turn stakes a minimum of one unit and a maximum that must not exceed the number of units in the pool, that he holds a card that is higher than, and in the same suit as, the top card of the stock when it is his turn to play.
            The dealer faces the top card of the stock.  If the player can beat it, he shows his card and is paid out of the pool.  His remaining cards are not seen.  If he cannot beat it, his stake is added to the pool and his cards are shown to the other players.
            If at any time a player’s winning bet takes all in the pool, a new pool is started as at the beginning of a game.


Rockaway or Go Boom is a game that may be played by any reasonable number of players.
            Two packs of cards are shuffled together, and the dealer deals seven cards, face downwards, to each player.  The next card (the widow ) is placed face upwards in the centre of the table, and the rest of the pack (the stock) is placed face downwards on the table. 
            In turn, and beginning with the player on the left of the dealer, each player covers the widow either with a card of the same rank, of the same suit, or with an Ace, drawn from his hand.  If he has no card in his hand to comply with the rule he draws a card from the stock and continues to draw one until he draws a card that permits him to cover the widow.

            The card that covers the widow then becomes the widow for the next player, and so on, round the table in a clockwise direction.
            When the stock is exhausted, the players play out the cards in their hands, and a player who cannot cover the widow misses his turn.
            The hand comes to an end when a player has exhausted the cards in his hand. The remaining players expose their cards, which are scored against them: an Ace counting 15 points, a court card 10 points, and all other cards their pip value.
            The deal passes round the table in a clockwise direction, and the game comes to an end when every player has dealt an equal number of times, by arrangement before the game begins.

E dealt.  A, therefore, leads first, and the play is:

         A                     B                      C                     D                     E
        6♣                   2♣                   2                    K                  A ♠

            As an Ace counts 15 points against a player who is left with it, E plays A ♠ rather than one of his Diamonds.

        10 ♠                 9♠                    J ♠                    8♠                    ?

            As E has no Spade, no 8 no Ace in his hand, he must draw from the stock, and continue to do so until he draws a playable card.
            It can be seen that E was foolish to play his Ace first round.  As no opponent can go out in less than seven rounds, E would have been wise to keep his Ace for six rounds at least.  He would not then have found himself in such a bad position on the second round.  Usually, an Ace should not be played if another choice is available.


Spinado is a less complicated version of pope joan.  No board is necessary (if you could find one) and there are only three pools: Matrimony, Intrigue and Game.
            Before dealing, the dealer contributes 12 counters to the Matrimony pool, and 6 each to the Intrigue and Game Pools.  The other players contribute three counters each to the Game Pool.
            Matrimony is the King and Queen of Diamonds: Intrigue is the Queen and Jack of Diamonds.
            The four 2s and the 8 of Diamonds are removed from a standard 52-card pack, and the dealer deals the cards to the players and to an extra hand (widow).  As the players must each hold the same number of cards, over-cards go to the widow hand.
            The player on the left of the dealer starts the game by playing any card that he chooses, and the other players continue by playing the next higher cards in succession until a stop is reached. The player who plays the stop card then starts a new run by playing any card that he chooses.

            The Ace of Diamonds is known as Spinado, more usually truncated to Spin, and whoever holds it may play it at any time that he chooses provided that he accompanies it with the proper card, and announces that he is playing Spinado.  It constitutes a stop, and he receives 3 counters from each of the other players.
            During the game, the player who plays the King of Diamonds receives 2 counters from each of the other players, and if he plays the Queen of Diamonds as well he wins the Matrimony Pool.  The player who plays the Queen of Diamonds and the Jack of Diamonds wins the Intrigue pool, and those who play the Kings of Spades, Hearts and clubs receive 1 counter from each of the other players.
            The game is won by the player who is the first to play all his cards.  He takes the counters in the Game pool and is exempt from contributing to the pools in the next deal, unless it is his turn to deal.

            A player who is left with Spinado in his hand pays the winner of the game double for each card he is left with.
            Spinado, therefore, should not be kept back too long.  On the other hand, it is not always advisable to play it with one’s first card.  If, for example, a 10 is lead, and the player who holds Spinado also holds the King and Jack, it is an error of judgement to play Spinado with the Jack, because if the Jack proves to be a stop there was no need for the play of Spinado, and the King is the natural stop if another player follows with the Queen.
            It is better to hold up Spinado to be played with some card that is not known to be a stop.


Thirty-one may be played by any number of players up to fifteen.  It is played with the full pack of fifty-two cards, the Aces ranking high the 2s low.
            Before each deal the players contribute an agreed amount to a pool.

            Three cards are dealt face downwards to each player, and three cards are placed face upwards in the centre of the table.  It is known as the widow hand. 
            In turn each player, beginning with the one on the left of the dealer, must exchange one of his cards with a card from the widow.  He cannot pass, nor can he exchange more than one card.  Counting the Ace as 11, the court cards as 10 each and all the other cards at their pip values, the object of the game is to hold three cards of the same suit which will add up to 31.  next in value is a hand that contains three cards of the same rank.  Failing either, the pool is won by the player who holds the highest total in any one suit.

            The exchange of cards with the widow-hand continues until a player has obtained a 31-hand.  When a player holds such a hand he exposes it on the table, claims the pool, and the deal passes.  At any stage of the game, however, a player who thinks he has a hand good enough to win, may rap the table.  The other players now have the right, in turn, either to stand pat with the cards that they hold, or exchange one more card with the widow.  The players then expose their cards and the one who holds the nest hand wins the pool.






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