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WHIST

WHIST developed out of the 16th century game of Triumph.  At first its practice was confined to the lower classes, but in 1718 it was taken up by a party of gentlemen, Lord Folkestone among them, who met at the famous Crown Coffee House, and they, with the help of Edmond Hoyle, introduced the game to fashionable society. 

At this time the game was known as whisk: soon after it was changed to whist in order to underline the silence in which it was proper to play the game.

During the 18th and 19th centuries it was by far the most popular card game of the English –speaking nations, but at the close of the 19th century it lost much of its popularity due to the introduction of Bridge.  It is, however, still extensively played.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

Whist is played by four players, in two partnerships.

CARDS

The standard pack of 52 cards is used, the cards hand ranking from Ace (high) to 2 (low).The partners sit facing each other.  The deal passes in clockwise rotation.  Thirteen cards are dealt singly to each person, and the dealer exposes the last card to denote the trump suit.  He takes it into his hand after he has played to the first trick.

THE PLAY

The player on the left of the dealer leads to the first trick.  thereafter the player who wins a trick.  thereafter the player who wins a trick leads to the next.  A player must follow suit to the card led if he can, if No-Trumps he may either discard or trump.

The object of the game is to win a rubber (best out of three games), and a game is won when one side has won five points.  The first six tricks (the book do No-Trumps count for scoring: a side scores one point for each casino trick that it wins over six. 

The Ace, King, Queen and Jack of the trump suit are known as honours, and any side that is dealt all four of them scores four points, and any three two points.  If , however, at the beginning of a deal a side has a score of four points it cannot score for honours.

Skill at whist is largely a matter of playing in close collaboration with one’s partner, and estimating from the cards held and those that have been played, the most likely position of those that remain to be played.

To this end, there are a number of recognized plays which should be departed from only under special circumstances, to be learnt by experience.  It is, for example, good tactics for second player to play low and third high; a player should No-Trumps finesse against his partner; and if an opponent plays an honour it is usually profitable to play a higher honour on it.

A player who holds five or more trumps in his hand should make it a rule to lead one; and if a player fails to lead a trump and wishes his partner to do so, he calls for the lead of one by first playing an unnecessarily high card in a suit and following it with a low card in the same suit.

The lead is a good opportunity for a player to give his partner information about his hand, and the leads listed in the table are standard practice and should be known to all players.

In plain suits

Holding

1st lead

2nd lead

A, K, Q, J

K

J

A, K, Q

K

Q

A, K, x and more

K

A

A, K

A

K

K, Q, J, x

K

J

K, Q, J, x, x

J

K

K, Q, J, x, x and more

J

Q

A, x, x, x and more

A

4th best of remainder

K, Q, x and more

K

4th best of remainder

A, Q, J

A

Q

A, Q, J, x

A

Q

A, Q, J, x, x and more

A

J

K, J, 10, 9

9

K (if A or Q falls)

Q, J, x

Q

 

Q, J, x, x, and more

4TH best

 

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