The cards being all dealt, each takes up his hand, which he must scrupulously prevent any of his antagonists, or his partner from seeing. The cards should be ranged like a fan in the left hand, so that its holder can see all his cards at a glance. It is advisable, for the sake of order and convenience, to arrange the cards in the hand, all of a suit together. Each having his cards sorted, the game commences by the elder hand, or person on the left of the dealer, laying down a card. The person on his left follows, and so on to the dealer, who lays down last.
The principle of playing is as follows: - Whatever suit the first card is of, that suit must, if possible, be followed by each party round ; but if one party has not a card of that suit, he can lay down one of any other suit. Should he do so, and afterwards lay down a card of the suit which he appeared to be deficient of, he has committed a revoke, and a penalty is exacted in the loss of three tricks. It is necessary, for the sake of fair-play, to be very rigorous in punishing a revoke.
The four cards laid down in a round is called a trick. The trick is won in various ways. The card of the highest value wins. For example, if the first player lays down a deuce of spades, the second a three of spades, the third a four of spades, and the fourth a five of spades, this last person wins ; his party gains a trick. But should one of the players not have a spade in his hand, and lays down a deuce of the suit which happens to be trumps, that card wins. No matter how high in value the cards laid down are, the trick is always won by a trump-card, though it were only a deuce. If several trump-cards be laid down, or all be trumps, then the highest trump-card wins. The ace of trumps is the highest card.
When the trick is played, it is lifted by the person who wins, and placed beside him in a heap on the table, back uppermost; and he continues to take up all other tricks his party wins. Thus one on each side collects and reckons the tricks.
Whoever wins the trick becomes elder hand, and plays first in next round; and so on, each winner plays first till all the cards are played out.
A pack produces thirteen tricks, but none is counted till after six. For instance, if one party wins four tricks, they do not, count; and the other party which has nine tricks counts three. Should one party gain all the tricks, it counts seven.
The ace, king, queen, and knave of trumps are called honours. These have a peculiar value in reckoning towards the game. Should each person hold one honour, honours do not count; but should two partners hold three honours between them, they score two points; when they hold four, they score four points.
In long whist, the game consists of ten points, gained by tricks and by honours. Should a party make six tricks and hold four honours, it has won the game at one deal. It will therefore be perceived that honours, the possession of which is a matter of mere chance, exert a powerful influencc in paining the victor over an adversary.
Only at one time in the game do honours not count; this is when the party is at nine ; the odd point to make up to ten being only gained by tricks. When a party is at eight, and the first trick has been played, one of that party, who holds two honours, may ask his partner if he has one honour; and if he says he has, the three honours are at once shown, which concludes the game. There are rules for calling honours, which we subjoin.
In the course of playing the game, no one must drop the slightest hint how he wishes his partner to play, or make any other observation calculated to mislead or direct. Neither may any one, before his partner has played, inform him that he has or has not won the trick ; even the attempt to take up a trick, though won before the last partner has played, is deemed very improper.
All parties must play by their own perceptions of what would be most judicious. There is only one exception to the rule of keeping silence, which is in the case of a revoke. If a person happens not to follow suit, or trump a suit, the partner is at liberty to enquire of him whether he is sure he has none of that suit in his hand. This indulgence must have arisen from the severe penalties annexed to revoking, which affects the partners equally, and is now universally admitted.
The great knack in playing whist is to remember what is out, and hence, by the play of both partner and adversaries, to lave a shrewd guess of what each holds in his hand. A primary rule is to follow a partner's lead, as it is presumed that no one, in playing first, is without a good reason for tabling a particular suit.
The term finessing signifies the attempt to gain an advantage ; thus, if you have the best and third best card of the suit led, you put on the third best, and run the risk of your adversary having the second best; if he has not, which is two to one against him, you are then certain of paining a trick.
A loose card is a card of no value, and consequently the most proper to throw away ; it would be folly to lay a good card down, when it must clearly be taken by a. better card already tabled.
A sequence is a succession of cards in the same suit; as ace, king, queen, knave.
Tenace is possessing the first and third best cards, and being last player; you consequently conquer the adversary when that suit is played.
Scoring is the method of reckoning the points in a game. The reckoning is made by four counters, or pieces of money ; and the way in which these pieces are disposed shows the score. The following is the ordinary method of scoring:-