hist-games: Queries about One and Thirty (the card game)

John McLeod john at pagat.demon.co.uk
Sat Nov 18 16:36:36 PST 2000

Jane & Mark Waks <waks at ne.mediaone.net> wrote:
>Lee-Gwen wrote:
>> Justin says:
>> "The dealer goes around to each player, starting with eldest and ending with
>> himself, and asks whether they want to "stick" or "have it". If the player
>> wishes to stick, the dealer goes to the next; if they will have it, they get
>> another card."
>> The other reconstruction differs from this slightly:
>> "Starting with the eldest hand (the player to the left of the dealer), a
>> card may be discarded face up by each player. It is replaced by the top card
>> on the deck or the previous card on the discard pile."

There are several versions of 31 - you can find three described on my
web site - but the only one that belongs in your period, as far as I
know, is the one in which you ask for additional cards with the aim of
getting as near as you can to 31 without going over.

Commerce or Brelan de Famille, a version in which you exchange with a
central pool of cards and try to get as near as you can to 31 using
cards of a single suit - is first described in 1718 according to

The draw and discard version mentioned in Lee-Gwen's e-mail is modern as
far as I know.

So I agree with Justin in saying that his version - based on Cotton - is
the only one known to be period. The other rules come from more recent
card games that also happen to be called 31.

>I have to suspect that the second source is
>mixing in a post-period variant...
>                               -- Justin

I would go further and say that the second source IS a post-period
John McLeod                      For information on card games visit       
john at pagat.demon.co.uk           http://www.pagat.com/

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