PICQUET. A game at cards played between two persons, with only thirty-two cards; all the deuces, threes, fours, fives, and sixes, being set aside.
In playing at this game twelve cards are dealt to each, and the rest laid on the table; when, if one of the gamesters find he has not a court card in his hand, he is to declare that he has carte blanche, and tell how many cards he will lay out, and desire the other to discard, that he may show his game, and satisfy his antagonist that the carte blanche is real, for which he reckons ten. And here the eldest hand may take in three, four, or five, discarding as many of his own for them, after which the other may take in all the remainder if he pleases. After discarding, the eldest hand examines what suit he has most cards of; and, reckoning how many points he has in that suit, if the other has not so many in that, or any other suit, he reckons one for every ten in that suit, and he who thus reckons most is said to win the point. It is to be observed that, in thus reckoning the cards, every card goes for the number it bears ; as a ten for ten; only all court cards go for ten, and the ace for eleven, and the usual game is 100 up. The point being over, each examines what sequences he has of the same suit, viz. how many tierces, or sequences of three cards ; quartes, or sequences of four cards; quintes, or sequences of five cards, &c, he has. These several sequences are distinguished in dignity by the cards they begin from: thus ace, king, and queen, are styled tierce major; king, queen, and knave, tierce to a king; knave, ten, nine, tierce to a knave ; and the best tierce, quarte, or quinte, prevails, so as to make all the others in that hand good, and to destroy all those in the other hand. In like manner a quarte in one hand sets aside a tierce in the other.
The sequences over, the antagonists proceed to examine how many aces, kings, queens, knaves, and tens each holds; reckoning for every three of any sort, three ; but here too, as in sequences, he that with the same number of threes or fours has one that is higher than any the other has, makes his own good, and sets aside all his adversary's ; but four of any sort, which is called a quatorze, because fourteen are reckoned for it, always set aside three.
The game in hand being thus reckoned, the eldest proceeds to play, reckoning one for every card he plays above nine, while the other follows him in the suit; but unless a card be won by one above nine, except it be the last trick, nothing is reckoned for it. The cards being played out, he that has most tricks reckons ten for winning the cards, but if they have tricks alike, neither reckons any thing. If one of them wins half the tricks, instead of ten, which is his right for winning the cards, he reckons forty, and this is called capot.
This deal being finished, each person sets up his game; they then proceed to deal again as before ; cutting afresh each time for the deal: if both parties are within a few points of being up, the carte blanche is the first that reckons, then the point, then the sequences, then the quatorzes, then the tierces, and then the tenth cards. He that can reckon thirty in hand by carte blanche, points, quintes, &c., without playing, before the other has reckoned any thing, reckons ninety for them, and this is called a repique; and, if he reckons above thirty, he reckons so many above ninety. If he can make up thirty, part in hand, and part in play, before the other has told any thing, he reckons for them sixty ; and this is called a pique, whence the name of the game. M. de Moivre, in his doctrine of chances, has resolved among others, the following problems :—1. To find, at picquet, the probability which the dealer has for taking one ace or more in three cards, he having none in his hand. He concludes from his computation that it is 29 to 28 that the dealer takes one ace or more. 2. To find at picquet the probability which the eldest has of taking an ace or more in five cards, he having no ace in his hand. Answer, 232 to 91, or 5 to 2, nearly. 3. To find at picquet the probability which the eldest has of taking both an ace and a king in five cards, he having none in his hand. Answer, the odds against the eldest hand taking an ace and a king are 331 to 315, or 21 to 20, nearly. 4. To find at picquet the probability of having twelve cards dealt to, without king, queen, or knave; which case is commonly called cartes blanches. Answer, the odds against cartes blanches are 1791 to 1 nearly. 5. To find how many different sets, essentially different from one another, one may have at picquet before taking in. Answer 28,967,278. This number falls short of the sum of all the distinct combinations, whereby twelve cards may be taken out of thirtytwo, in number 225,792,840; but it ought to be considered that in that number several sets of the same import, but differing in suit, might be taken, which would not introduce an essential difference among the sets.
The technical terms used in picquet are as follows :
Capot is when either of the players makes every trick, for which he scores forty.
Cards signify the majority of tricks, which reckon for ten points.
Carte Blanche means a hand without a court card in the twelve dealt, which counts for ten, and takes place of every thing else.
Huitieme, eight successive cards of the same suit, counts eighteen points.
Pique is when the elder hand has reckoned thirty in hand and play, before the adversary has gained one; in which case, instead of thirty, it is called sixty, adding thereto as many points as are obtained above thirty.
Point, the greatest number on the cards of the same suit in hand, after having taken in, reckoned by their pips, scores for as many points as cards.
Quart, four cards in sequence of the same suit, counts four points: there are five kinds of quarts, the first called quart-major, consists of ace, king, queen, and knave ; the second, quart from a king, of king, queen, knave, and ten ; the third, quart froma queen, of queen, knave, ten, nine ; the fourth, quart from a knave, of knave, ten, nine, eight; the fifth, a basse-quart or quartminor, of ten,nine, eight, and seven..
Quatorze, the four aces, kings, queens, knaves, or tens, scores fourteen points.
Quint means five cards of the same suit in sequence, and reckons fifteen points: there are four sorts of quints; a quint-major of ace, king, queen, knave, and ten, down to knave, ten, nine, eight, and seven, styled a quint-minor.
Repique signifies when one of the players counts thirty or more in hand, before the adversary obtains one, then it is called ninety, reckoning as many points above ninety as were gained above thirty.
Siiieme, or six cards of the same suit in sequence, reckons for sixteen points: there are three sorts of sixiemes, viz. sixieme-major from the ace, sixieme from the king, and sixieme^minor from the queen.
Septiemc, or seven of the same suit in sequence, counts for seventeen points; there are two septiemes, one from the ace, the other from the king.
Threes of aces, &c. down to tens, reckon three points.
Talon or Stock means the eight remaining cards after twelve are dealt to each player.
Tierce, or sequence of three, reckons for three : there are six kinds of tierces, tierce-major, of ace, king, queen ; down to nine, eight, seven, styled tierce-minor.
For the mode of playing the general game, see Hoyle.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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