hist-games: Bone-Ace/One and Thirty

David Parish-Whittaker davidparishwhittaker at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 8 10:56:16 PST 2003


Hi all,

Not to rehash old discussions on this list, but I'm doing redactions for 
easy to teach Elizabethan gambling games and I was hoping for outside input.

"At...Irish one an thirty, none durst ever make compare with me for 
excellence.."-  The Defence of Conny catching, John Busbie, 1592

The earliest rules I've been able to find are the Cotton Bone-Ace rules(I've 
anxiously awaiting my copy of the Willughby manuscript).  For now, I'm going 
with the idea that it was very similar to One and Thirty (Florio reference 
and all that)  As you all know, there's a couple of vague points.

-Value of Ace.  I'm assuming "1".  According to Parlett, Pontoon style games 
valued the Ace at 1 prior to the 18th c.  Besides, when the ace is valued at 
11 in Piquet, Cotton makes a point of saying so.  I still count the courts 
as 10 (keeps in line with the other games)

-Results of holding the Bone Ace.  Does the Bone Ace have to be face up to 
"beat all"?  Also does it take just the bone, or does it scoop the whole 
pot.  I'm assuming yes for the first, and just the bone for the second 
question.

-Results of three of a kind.  Cotton says it beats all save the bone ace.  
Keeping with my above interpetation, I assume that means it gains just the 
bone (although it has got a good shot at the pot, of course).  Also, right 
after he discusses the bone-ace and three of a kinds, he states "thus much 
for the Bone", which seems to indicate the forgoing covered the bone only.

-"Busting"  Can you bust?  Cotton doesn't say-  he also doesn't say in post 
and pair.  Certainly, busting makes sense to us, being used to Blackjack, 
but it could also be played as "nearest to one and thirty" (with 31 winning 
immediately).  Currently, I've been play testing Bone-Ace with a bust and 
the post of Post and Pair as nearest to 21 (mostly because many dealt hands 
would automatically bust).  There is a definitely different feel.

Finally, Parlett mentions a variant of One and Thirty in A History of Card 
Games.  Three cards per hand, players exchange cards from their hand with a 
stock and "knock" when they are satisfied.  Closest to 31 in one suit wins, 
3 of a kind worth 30 1/2.  Unfortunately, he doesn't give (or I missed) the 
reference.  Anyone heard of this variant?

-David Parish-Whittaker



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