hist-games: RE: Playing Card questions

Michael and Susan McKay seaan at concentric.net
Tue Dec 10 21:59:59 PST 2002


The answer to the Ace of Spades question is a classic.  It basically dates
from the practice of a "duty ace".  Cards were taxed in England, and the Ace
of Spades was the card that received the "tax stamp".  There is an excellent
explanation at: http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/playing-cards/ace-of-spades.html
(part of the International Playing Card Society's site).  Another good site
on tax stamps in general is
http://www.unics.uni-hannover.de/rrzn/endebrock/pc-taxes.html.

I'm not familiar with any term for "just one card blocks you from winning".
A quick check of David Parlett's book "Solitaire" shows two terms for the
end of the game ("Blocked" and "Chockered"), but provides no real history or
background.  I've CC'ed the "hist-games" list, although solitaire is bit
late period for most of the people there.

Michael McKay
seaan at concentric.net

-----Original Message-----
From: CapBode [mailto:CapBode at hawaii.rr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 4:00 PM
To: seaan at concentric.net
Subject: Re: Playing Card oddities


  Hi

  I'm a writer and I'm looking for information on playing cards.

  1 - Why is the Ace of spades, the most decorated of all the aces?

  2 - Is there a term in solitare, where just one card blocks you from
winning?


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