Whist, a game played by four persons with a full pack of 52 cards. The game is traced to that of triumph or trump, which was known in the early part of the 16th century, but was first clearly described by Edmund Hoyle in his " Short Treatise on the Game of Whist" in 1743. For nearly 120 years the literature of whist is directly traceable to this first treatise of Hoyle, though as early as 1792 there appeared in the "Sporting Magazine" an article on whist which embodies in no small degree, in a short concise set of rules, the results of the more abstruse learning of the great writers on whist of this century, beginning with Deschapelles. Rule 29 of the article in the " Sporting Magazine" might bo made the primary rule of all treatises upon this noble game; for without being niindful of this rule, all labor spent in learning its science is vanity, and a constant observance of it is necessary to secure that intellectual diversion which it affords in a higher degree than any other game in which chance is an element yet known to man. The rule is a short one: "Keep your temper!" In 1839 M. Deschapelles published his Traite du whist, by far the most important work on the subject up to that time.

But the first great step toward the consolidation of the rules and development of the modern game is to be found in the "Laws and Principles of Whist," by Cavendish (1862), and speedily followed by the works of James Clay and William Pole, and "The Laws of Short Whist," edited by J. L. Baldwin. - The game of whist as described by Hoyle, and as played for over 200 years, in which the four honors were counted, and which consisted of ten points, is now practically obsolete. The universal game in London, Paris, Vienna, Hamburg, and New York is that described by the modern writers above mentioned, and short whist is now supreme; but while in most European circles the honors are still counted, they are generally excluded from the American game, which thus becomes more one of skill. Whether this is a wise change may well be doubted, as in all whist circles the difficulty is to equalize the chances, which as between a good and bad player are very great, and perhaps the element of mere chance should, wherever possible, be retained. A new principle has latterly obtained, and is now almost universal in the best London whist circles.

This is the " signal for trumps," or the playing of the highest of two indifferent cards, to show your partner that you are strong in trumps and desire him to lead them. Hitherto the efforts of all writers on the subject, and the object of many of the most important rules of the game, have been to prevent the possibility of any sign, signal, or expression, by which one partner could communicate to another the condition of his hand or his wish for a particular suit. So rigid was the rule in this respect, that it has been one of the highest offences to show by the manner of the play either that the card played is the best, or that the player is not satisfied with the lead. Yet under the auspices of Cavendish, supported by the more modern authorities, and by the acknowledged chiefs among the whist players of England, this conventional signal is not only authorized, but is commanded. On the other hand, it is expressly forbidden on the continent, and is not generally acknowledged out of London. The opponents of this signal have generally placed their objections upon grounds that are not tenable.

It is not unfair, because it is admitted as a conventional rule, and is less objectionable than a signal to your partner by your finger or foot, because it is seen by your adversaries, who may gain as much information as your partner. But it is because it increases the power of good players over poor ones, already too great from the very nature of the game, and because there seems to be no greater reason for introducing this particular signal as to trumps than there is for extending it to an unlimited number of cases, until an expert player shall be enabled to determine all the most important features of his partner's hand as well as if it was before him, and because the innovation strikes at the very root of all whist philosophy, and at one blow, doubtless soon to be followed by others in the same direction, destroys the logic which for two centuries has been the alpha and omega of the game, that good players and lovers of this noble pursuit, " the instructor of youth and the consoler of age," justly oppose the introduction of any system of signals, by which the general or particular value of a hand or suit can be made known to a partner.

No game of cards can be compared with whist for amusement, or for that permanent training of the mind which is considered by many able thinkers to be the chief if not the only result obtained, in a great majority of cases, from the study of the higher classics and mathematics. The following are the modern rules of the game (short whist), as originally published under the sanction of the London clubs, and now generally adopted in this country.

The Rubber

1. The rubber is the best of three games. If the first two games be won by the same players, the third game is not played.


2. A game consists of five points. Each trick above six counts one point. 3. Honors, i. e., ace, king, queen, and knave of trumps, are thus reckoned: If a player and his partner, either separately or conjointly hold the four honors, they score four points; any three honors, two points; only two honors, they do not score. 4. Those players who, at the commencement of a deal, are at the score of four, cannot score honors. 5. The penalty for a revoke takes precedence of all other scores. Tricks score next; honors last. 6. Honors, unless claimed before the trump card of the following deal is turned up, cannot be scored. T. To 6core honors is not sufficient; they must be called at the end of the hand: if so called, they may be scored at any time during the game. 8. The winners gain: a, a treble, or game of three points, when their adversaries have not scored; b, a double, or game of two points, when their adversaries have scored less than three; c, a single, or game of one point, when their adversaries have scored three or four. 9. The winners of the rubber gain two points (commonly called the rubber points) in addition to the value of their games. 10. Should the rubber have consisted of three games, the value of the losers' game is deducted from the gross number of points gained by their opponents. 11. If an erroneous score be proved, such mistake can be corrected prior to the conclusion of the game in which it occurred, and such game is not concluded until the trump card of the following deal has been turned up. 12. If an erroneous score, affecting the amount of the rubber, be proved, 6uch mistake can be rectified at any time during the rubber.


13. The ace is the lowest card. 14. In all cases, every one must cut from the same pack. 15. Should a player expose more than one card, he must cut again.

Formation Of Table

16. If there are more than four candidates, the players are selected by cutting, those first in the room having the preference. The four who cut the lowest cards play first, and again cut to decide on partners; the two lowest play against the two highest; the lowest is the dealer, who has choice of cards and seats, and, having once made his selection, must abide by it. 17. When there are more than six candidates, those who cut the two next lowest cards belong to the table, which is complete with six players; on the retirement of one of those six players, the candidate who cut the next lowest card has a prior right to any aftercomer to enter the table.

Cutting Cards Of Equal Value

18. Two players cutting cards of equal value, unless such cards are the two highest, cut again; should they be the two lowest, a fresh cut is necessary to decide which of those two deals.

19. Three players cutting cards of equal value cut again;. should the fourth (or remaining) card be the highest, the two lowest of the new cut are partners, the lower of those two the dealer; should the fourth card be the lowest, the two highest are partners, the original lowest the dealer.

Cutting Out

20. At the end of a rubber, should admission be claimed by any one, or by two candidates, he who has or they who have played a greater number of consecutive rubbers than the others is or are out; but when all have played the same number, they must cut to decide upon the out-goers; the highest are out.

Entry And Reentry

21. A candidate wishing to enter a table must declare such intention prior to any of the players having cut a card, either for the purpose of commencing a fresh rubber, or of cutting out. 22. In the formation of fresh tables, those candidates who have neither belonged to nor played at any other table have the prior right of entry; the others decide their right of admission by cutting. 23. Any one quitting a table prior to the conclusion of a rubber may, with consent of the other three players, appoint a substitute in his absence during that rubber. 24. A player cutting into one table, while belonging to another, loses his right of reentry into the latter, and takes his chance of cutting in, as if he were a fresh candidate. 25. If any one break up a table, the remaining players have the prior right to him of entry into any other; and should there not be sufficient vacancies at such other table to admit all those candidates, they settle their precedence by cutting.


26. The pack must neither be shuffled below the table nor so that the face of any card be seen. 27. The pack must not be shuffled during the play of the hand. 28. A pack, having been played with, must neither be shuffled by dealing it into packets nor across the table. 29. Each player has a right to shuffle, once only, except as provided by rule 32, prior to a deal, after a false cut, or when a new deal has occurred. 30. The dealer's partner must collect the cards for the ensuing deal, and has the first right to shuffle that pack. 31. Each player after shuffling must place the cards properly collected, and face downward, to the left of the player about to deal. 32. The dealer has always the right to shuffle last; but should a card or cards be seen during his shuffling, or while giving the pack to be cut, he may be compelled to reshuffle.

The Deal

33. Each player deals in his turn; the right of dealing goes to the left. 34. The player on the dealer's right cuts the pack, and, in dividing it, must not leave fewer than four cards in either packet; if in cutting, or in replacing one of the two packets on the other, a card be exposed, or if there be any confusion of the cards, or a doubt as to the exact place in which the pack was divided, there must be a fresh cut. 35. When a player whose duty it is to cut has once separated the pack, he cannot alter his intention; he can neither reshuffle nor recut the cards. 86. When the pack is cut, should the dealer shuffle the cards, he loses his deal.

A New Deal

87. There must be a new deal if, during a deal, or during the play of a hand, the pack be proved incorrect or imperfect; or if any card, excepting the last, be faced in the pack. 38. If, while dealing, a card be exposed by the dealer or his partner, should neither of the adversaries have touched the cards, the latter can claim a new deal; a card exposed by either adversary gives that claim to the dealer, provided that his partner has not touched a card; if a new deal does not take place, the exposed card cannot be called. 39. If, during dealing, a player touch any of his cards, the adversaries may do the same, without losing their privilege of claiming a new deal, should chance give them such option. 40. If. in dealing, one of the last cards be exposed, and the dealer turn up the trump before there is reasonable time for his adversaries to decide as to a fresh deal, they do not thereby lose their privilege. 41. If a player, while dealing, look at the trump card, his adversaries have a right to see it, and may exact a new deal. 42. If a player take into the hand dealt to him a card belonging to the other pack, the adversaries, on discovery of the error, may decide whether they will have a fresh deal or not.

A Misdeal

43. A misdeal loses the deal. 44. It is a misdeal: a, unless the cards are dealt into four packets, one at a time in regular rotation, beginning with the player to the dealer's left; 6, should the dealer place the last (i. e., the trump) card, face downward, on his own or any other packet; c, should the trump card not come in its regular order to the dealer, but he does not lose his deal if the pack be proved imperfect; d, 6hould a player have fourteen cards, and eithen of the other three less than thirteen; e, should the dealer, under an impression that he has made a mistake, either count the cards on the table, or the remainder of the pack; /, should the dealer deal two cards at once, or two cards to the same hand, and then deal a third; but it; prior to dealing that third card, the dealer can, by altering the position of one card only, rectify such error, he may do so, except as provided by the second clause of this law; g, should the dealer omit to have the pack cut to him, and the adversaries discover the error, prior to the trump card being turned up, and before looking at their cards, but not after having done so. 45. A misdeal does not lose the deal if. during the dealing, either of the adversaries touch the cards prior to the dealer's'partner having done so; but should the latter have first interfered with the cards, notwithstanding either or both of the adversaries have subsequently done the same, the deal is lost. 46. Should three players have their right number of cards, and the fourth have less than thirteen, and not discover such deficiency until he has played any of his cards, the deal stands good; should he have played, he is answerable for any revoke he may have made as if the missing card or cards had been in his hand; he may search the other pack for it or them. 47. If a pack, during or after a rubber, be proved incorrect or imperfect, such proof does not alter any past score, game, or rubber; that hand in which the imperfection was detected is null and void; the dealer deals again. 48. Anyone dealing out of turn, or with the adversary's cards, may be stopped before the trump card is turned up, after which the game must proceed as if no mistake had been made. 49. A player can neither shuffle, cut, nor deal for his partner without the permission of his opponents. 50. If the adversaries interrupt a dealer while dealing, either by questioning the score or asserting that it is not his deal, and fail to establish such claim, should a misdeal occur, he may deal again. 51. Should a player take his partner's deal and misdeal, the latter is liable to the usual penalty, and the adversary next in rotation to the player who ought to have dealt then deals.

The Trump Card

52. The dealer, when it is his turn to play to the first trick, should take the trump card into his hand; if left on the table after the first trick be turned and quitted, it is liable to be called; his partner may at any time remind him of the liability. 53. After the dealer has taken the trump card into his hand, it cannot be asked for; a player naming it at any time during the play of that hand is liable to have his highest or lowest trump called. 54. If the dealer take the trump card into his hand before it is his turn to play, he may be desired to lay it on the table; should he show a wrong card, this card may be called, as also a second, a third, etc, until the trump card be produced. 55. If the dealer declare himself unable to recollect the trump card, his highest or lowest trump may be called at any time during that hand, and, unless it cause him to revoke, must be played; the call may be repeated, but not changed, i. e., from highest to lowest, or vice versa, until such card is played.

Cards Liable To Be Called

56. All exposed cards are liable to be called, and must be left on the table; but a card is not an exposed card when dropped on the floor or elsewhere below the table. The following are exposed cards: a, two or more cards played at once; b, any card dropped with its face upward, or in any way exposed on or above the table, even though snatched up so quickly that no one can name it. 57. If any one play to an imperfect trick the best card on the table, or lead one which is a winning card as against his adversaries, and then lead again, or play several such winning cards, one after the other, without waiting for his partner to play, the latter may be called on to win, if he can, the first or any other of those tricks, and the other cards thus improperly played are exposed cards. 58. If a player, or players, under the impression that the game is lost or won, or for other reasons, throw his or their cards on the table face upward, such cards are exposed, and liable to be called, each player's by the adversary; but should one player alone retain his hand, he cannot be forced to abandon it. 59. If all four players throw their cards on the table face upward, the hands are abandoned, and no one can again take up his cards.

Should this general exhibition show that the game might have been saved or won, neither claim can be entertained unless a revoke be established. The revoking players are then liable to the following penalties: they cannot under any circumstances win the game by the result of that hand, and the adversaries may add three to their score, or deduct three from that of the revoking players. 60. A card detached from the rest of the hand so as to be named is liable to be called; but should the adversary name a wrong card, he is liable to have a suit called when he or his partner has the lead. 61. If a player who has rendered himself liable to have the highest or lowest of a suit called fail to play as desired, or if when called on to lead one suit he lead another, having in his hand one or more cards of that suit demanded, he incurs the penalty of a revoke. 62. If any player lead out of turn, his adversaries may either call the card erroneously led, or may call a suit from him or his partner when it is next the turn of either of them to lead. 63. If any player lead out of turn, and the other three have followed him, the trick is complete, and the error cannot be rectified; but if only the second, or the second and third, have played to the false lead, their cards, on discovery of the mistake, are taken back: there is no penalty against any one excepting the original offeader, whose card may be called, or he or his partner, when either of them has next the lead, may be compelled to play any suit demanded by the adversaries. 64. In no case can a player be compelled to play a card which would oblige him to revoke. 65. The call of a card may be repeated until such card has been played. 66. If a player called on to lead a suit have none of it, the penalty is paid.

Cards played in error, or not played to a trick - ST. If the third hand play before the second, the fourth hand may play before his partner. 68. Should the third hand not have played, and the fourth play before his partner, the latter may be called on to win, or not to win. the trick. 69. If any one omit playing to a former trick, and such error be not discovered until he has played to the next, the adversaries may claim a new deal; should they decide that the deal stand good, the surplus card at the end of the hand is considered to have been played to the imperfect trick, but does not constitute a revoke therein. 70. If any one play two cards to the same trick, or mix his trump or other card with a trick to which it does not properly belong, and the mistake be not discovered until the hand is played out, he is answerable for all consequent revokes he may have made, if, during the play of the hand, the error be detected, the tricks may be counted face downward, in order to ascertain whether there be among them a card too many; should this be the case, they may be searched, and the card restored; the player is, however, liable for all revokes which he may have meanwhile made.

The Revoke

71. A revoke is when a player, holding one or more cards of the suit led, plays a card of a different suit. li. lbe penalty for a revoke - a, is at the option of the adversaries, who at the end of the hand may cither take three tricks from the revoking player, or deduct three points from his score, or add three to their own score; b, can be claimed for as many revokes as occur during the hand; c, is applicable only to the score of the game in which it occurs; d, cannot be divided, i. e., a player cannot add one or two to his own score and deduct one or two from the revoking player; e, takes precedence of every other score: e. g., the claimants two, their opponents nothing; the former add three to their score, and thereby win a treble game, even should the latter have made thirteen tricks and held four honors. 73. A revoke is established if the trick in which it occur be turned and quitted, i. e., the hand removed from that trick after it has been turned face downward on the table, or if either the revoking player or his partner, whether in his right turn or otherwise, lead or play to the following trick. 74. A player may ask his partner whether he has not a card of the suit which he has renounced; should the question be asked before the trick is turned and quitted, subsequent turning and quitting does not establish the revoke, and the error may be corrected, unless the question be answered in the negative, or unless the revoking player or his partner have led or played to the following trick. 75. At the end of the hand, the claimants of a revoke may search all the tricks. 76. If a player discover his mistake in time to save a revoke, the adversaries, whenever they think fit, may call the card thus played in error, or may require him to play his highest or lowest card to that trick in which he has renounced; any player or players who have played after him may withdraw their cards and substitute others; the cards withdrawn are not liable to be called. 77. If a revoke be claimed, and the accused player or his partner mix the cards before they have been sufficiently examined by the adversaries, the revoke is established.

The mixing of the cards only renders the proof of a revoke difficult, but does not prevent the claim and possible establishment of the penalty. 73. A revoke cannot be claimed after the cards have been cut for the following deal. 79. The revoking player and his partner may, under all circumstances, require the hand in which the revoke has been detected to be played out. 80. If a revoke occur, and bo claimed and proved, bets on the odd trick, or on amount of score, must be decided by the actual state of the latter, after the penalty is paid. 81. Should the players on both sides subject themselves to the penalty of one or more revokes, neither can win the game; each is punished at the discretion of his adversary. 82. In whatever way the penalty be enforced, under no circumstances can a player win the game by the result of the hand during which he has revoked; he cannot score more than four. (See rule 61).

Calling For New Cards

S3. Any player (on paying for them) before, but not after, the pack has been cut for the deal, may call for fresh cards. He must call for two new packs, of which the dealer takes his choice.

General Rules

84. Where a player and his partner have an option of exacting from their adversaries one of two penalties, they should agree who is to make the election, but must not consult witli one another which of the two penalties it is advisable to exact; if they do so consult, they lose their right; and if either of them, with or without consent of his partner, demand a penalty to which he is entitled, such decision is final. This rule does not apply in exacting the penalties for a revoke; partners have then a right to consult. 85. Any one during the play of a trick, or after the four cards are played, and before (but not after) they are touched for the purpose of gathering them together, may demand that the cards be placed before their respective players. 86. If any one, prior to his partner playing, should call attention to the trickeither by saying that it is his, or by naming his card, or, without being required so to do, by drawing it toward him - the adversaries may require that opponent's partner to play the highest or lowest of the suit then led, or to win or lose the trick. 87- In all cases where a penalty has been incurred, the offender is bound to give reasonable time for the decision of his adversaries. 88. If a bystander make any remark which calls the attention of a player or players to an oversight affecting the score, he is liable to be called on, by the players only, to pay the stakes and all bets on that game or rubber. 89. A bystander, by agreement among the players, may decide any question. 90. A card or cards torn or marked must be either replaced by agreement, or new cards called at the expense of the table. 91. Any player may demand to see the last trick turned, and no more.

Under no circumstances can more than eight cards be seen during the play of the hand. viz.: the four cards on the table which have not been turned and quitted, and the last trick turned. - Etiquette of Whist. The following rules belong to the established etiquette of whist. They are not called laws, as it is difficult, in some cases impossible, to apply any penalty to their infraction, and the only remedy is to cease to play with players who habitually disregard them. Two packs of cards are invariably used at clubs: if possible this should be adhered to. Any one, having the lead and several winning cards to play, should not draw a second card out of his hand until his partner has played to the first trick, such act being a distinct intimation that the former has played a winning card. No intimation whatever, by word or gesture, should be given by a player as to the state of his hand, or of the game. A player who desires the cards to be placed, or who demands to see the last trick, should do it for his own information only, and not in order to invite the attention of his partner.

No player should object to refer to a bystander who professes himself uninterested in the game, and able to decide any disputed question of facts, as to who played any particular card, whether honors were claimed though not scored, or vice versa, etc. It is unfair to revoke purposely; having made a revoke, a player is not justified in making a second in order to conceal the first. Until the players have made such bets as they wish, bets should not be made with bystanders. Bystanders should make no remark, neither should they by word or gesture give any intimation of the state of the game until concluded and scored, nor should they walk round the table to look at the different hands. No one should look over the hand of a player against whom he is betting. - Dummy is played by three players. One hand, called dummy's, lies exposed on the table. The laws are the same as those of whist, with the following exceptions: 1. Dummy deals at the commencement of each rubber. 2. Dummy is not liable to the penalty for a revoke, as his adversaries see his cards; should he revoke and the error not be discovered until the trick is turned and quitted, it stands good. 3. Dummy being blind and deaf, his partner is not liable to any penalty for an error whence he can gain no advantage.

Thus, he may expose some or all of his cards, or may declare that he has the game or trick, etc, without incurring any penalty; if, however, he lead from dummy's hand when he should lead from his own, or vice versa, a suit may be called from the hand which ought to have led. Double dummy is played by two players, each having a dummy or exposed hand for his partner. The laws of the game do not differ from dummy whist, except in the following special law: There is no misdeal, as the deal is a disadvantage.