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105. The possession of the last tirump is of most ma. terial advantage in the hands of a good player. A has the thirteenth trump, with the ace and four small ones of a suit not played, of which the adversary leads the king and queen : by passing them both, A probably makes three tricks in the suit; but had he won the king, he could not possibly make more than one.
106. When it is in your option to be eight or nine, it is material always to choose the former score.
107. Observe carefully what is originally discarded by each player, and whether, at the tine, the lead is with the partner or adversary. If with the former, it is invariably meant to direct the partner-if with the latter, it is frequently intended to deceive the adversary, and induce niin to lead to his strong suit.
108. You are not only to take every method to preserve the tenace or advantage of position to yourself, when it is evident that the winning cards lie between you and your adversary; but also to give it, as much as pos. sible, to your partner, when you perceive the strength, in any suit, is in the hands of bin and your left haud adversary: always keeping in your mind, that when the latter or you lead, it is for the adversary. It frequently happens, that by winning vour partner's trick, when last player, you accomplish this. A has king knave, (or any other second and fourth card) with a sinail one of a suit, that B, his left-hand adversary, has the first and third, and another with the lead. If A leads hissmallcard, and B, your partner, wins it, you, last player, should, if possible, win the trick, though it is vour partner's. By which means you prevent A from making a trick, which He must have done had the lead remained with B.
109. As I have ventured to recommend occasional de. viations from what is considered as one of the most classic maxims, i. e. the leading frorn single cards, without that strength in trumps hitherto judged indispensably necessary to justify it, I give the reasons that influence my opinion w favour of this practice, with those gene. rally alleged against it, leaving the reader to determine between them. Two objections are made, which it cannot be denied, may an do happen. The first, that if
your partner has the king of the suit guarded, and the ace behind it, he loses it; which would not be the case, if the lead came from the adversary. The second, and most essential is, that your partner, if he wins the trick
may lead out trumps, on the supposition it is your strong suit; or the adversaries from suspecting your intention. On the contrary, the constant and certain advantages are the preservation of the tenace in the other two suits, which I suppose you to have, and the probable one of making your small trumps, which you could not other. wise do. A has four small trumps, ace, queen, &c. of the second suit; king, knave, &c. of a third; and a single card of the fourth. In these sort of hands, I am of opinion, that the chance of winning, or leading the single card, is inuch greater than of losing tricks. And I appeal to those who are in the habit of attending whist iables, whether they do not frequently see the players, who proceed exactly according to the maxims of Hoyle, &c. after losing the game, trying to demonstrate that this ought not to have happened, and that they have been vanquished by the had not good play of their adversaries. I do not recommend, in general, leading from single cards, unless very strong in trumps; but with such hands as I have mentioned, I am convinced it may be occasionally done with very great, though not certain, advantage It may not be unnecessary to inform the reader, that most of Hoyle's maxiins were collected during what may be called the infancy of whist; and that he himself. so far from being able to teach the game, was not fit to sit down even with the third rate players of the present day.
I shall conclude these maxims by a short recapitulation of the most material ones, by way of fixing them in the minds of the readers.
1st Let them be assured, that without comprehending the leads, modes of playing sequences, and an attentive observation of the board, it is as impossible to make any progress in the science of whist, as to learn to spell before they know their alphabet.
2d. That accustoming themselves to reason by analogy, will alone teach them to vary their play according to circumstances; and show them, that the best play in some, is the worst in different situations of the game. It is common to see even good players hazard the game, merely to gain the applause of ignorant bystanders, by making as much of their cards as they are capable of; and this pitiful ambition cannot be too much guarded against. Avoid also the contrary extreme, the fault of the old, and many of the imitators of the new school.
These never part with a tenace, or certain trick, though for the probability of making several ; and are like fencers who parry well, but cannot attack. No players of this kind can ever excel, though they reach mediocrity.
I must also repeat my advice to proficients, to vary their play according to the set they are engaged with ; and recollect that it would be of no advantage to speak French like Voltaire, if you lived with people who are ignorant of the language.
On Leads. 1. The safest leads are, from sequences of three or more cards lead the highest, and put on the lowest to your partner's lead; put the highest on your adversary's. With a terce to the king and several others, begin with the knave.
2. With ace, king, knave, and three small trumps, play the ace and king--with only two the king, and wait for the finesse of the knave. In other suits, without great strength in trumps, or with the hopes of a particu. lar point, do not wait for the finesse.
3. Ace, king, and five others, lead the ace in all suits. With four or less, the lowest of trumps. In other suits, always the ace, unless all the trumps reinaining are with you and your partner; in this case, a small one.
4. Ace, queen, knave, &c. in all suits the ace. Ace, queen, ten, with others, in trumps, a small one; but if with three, unless very strong in trumps, lead the ace in other suits.
5. Ace, knave, with small ones, lead the lowest in trumps; in other suits, if with more than two, lead the ace, unless very strong in trumps.
6. Ace, with four small ones in trumps, lead the lowest. If with four or more, in other suits, and not very strong in trumps, the ace.
N. B. It is the general custom with ace and one other to lead the ace; this is right if you have reason to think it your partner's suit, otherwise lead the small.
7. King, queen, ten, &c. in all suits, lead the king; bu: if it passes, do not pursue the lead, as certain the ace is in your partner's hand, and it is often kept up, but change your lead, and wait for the return from your partner, when you have the finesse of the ten, if necessary.
8. King, queen, and five others, in all suits, the king. With four or less in trumps, lead the lowest. In other
suits always the king, unless you have the two only re. maining trumps, if so, you may play a small one.
9. King, knave, ten, &c. in all suits, lead the ten. King, knave, and two or more small ones, the lowest.
N. B. You should not lead from king, knave, and a small one, unless it is clearly your partner's suit, in which case, play your king and knave.
10. Queen, knave, nine, and others, lead the queen. Queen, koave, with one other, the queen. Queen, knave, with two more, the lowest. Queen, ten, and two others, the lowest. Queen, and three small ones, the lowest. Queen or knave, with only two, the queen or knave.
N. B. The trump card sometimes occasions a devia. tion from these rules. A has the ace or king, with a sequence from the ten downwards, of the suit of which his left hand adversary turns up the knave or queenA should lead the ten. If the knaye or queen be put on, you have a finesse on the return, with the pine ; if not, your partner, with an honour, will pass it, and is either way advantageous. The following Calculations are sufficient for a beginner;
deeper ones frequently puzzle even the proficient. That either player has not one named card not in your hand is ..
2 to 1 5 to 4 in favour of his having
1 of 2 5 to 2
1 in 3
. 1 in 4 N. B. The odds are so considerable, that no player bas two or more named cards, that scarce any situation justifies playing on this supposition, except the impossibility of saving or winning ihe game otherwise: of course, further calculations are more for curiosity than utility.
The odds of the game are calculated according to the points, and with the deal: 1 love.
10 to 9 2 love ..
10 to 8 and so on, except that nine is considered as something worse than eight. It is three to one in favour of the first
game. N. B. Notwithstanding that calculations are in general accurate, it is difficult to conceive that 10 in 20 is 3 to 1, wbile 5 in the 10 is 2 to 1, and even 6 in 10 is but 5 to 2. I am convinced whoever bets the 5 to 1, will
4 to 1..
lose on a long run: and on the contrary, he who bets the 2 to 1, and 5 to 2, will gain in the same proportion.
The odd trick has always been supposed in favour of the leader; but this is an error, as the dealer has the ad. vantage in this, as in every other score.
[Mr. Mathews's laws differ from Mr. Hoyle's only in stating that mistakes in tricks may be rectified at any time during the gaine, whether called or not-and that the trump card may be called if left on the table after the first round:]
PROPOSED LAWS. Though the established laws are excellent as far as they go, yet experience convinces us that they are inadequate to meet the various cases that continually occur at whist tables. Hence disputes, wagers, referen.. ces. &c. arise, which are often decided differently by different referees, unsatisfactorily to the disputants, and sometimes unaccountably to those interested. It has therefore long been a desideratum, that a code should be attempted, which, having undergone the ordeal of examination by proper juriges, should, with any addition they may think proper to make, be hung up in the various club rooms, as a classical authority to be referred to on all occasions. As nobody has undertaken this necessary task, whose acknowledged judgment would prevent all difference of opinion, I have attempted something of the kind. The cases, with their decisions, I know to have happened; and the consequent rules which I endeavour to establish, are founded on the fol. lowing principles of all laws, viz. That penalties should be in exact proporuon to the advantages possible to accrue from the transgression.
Whether these regulations are adopted or not, if they stimulate some person more capable of the task to accomplish what I fail in, I shall by no means regret the trouble I have taken, or be inortified at the rejection of my opinions.
Case 1. The parties were each at the score of 8. A, the elder hand, called, having but one honour in his hand, and his partner did not answer it. B, the next adversary, though he had two honours, did not call, as he of course thought that it could be to no purpose. Tho game being played out, was won against the honours. This was referred on the spot, and decided in favour of