Card games have a very long and varied history and there is certainly no single narrative that can quite encompass them all. For example, tarot cards may have evolved from playing cards, but they have an entirely different meaning within the context of history. At one point, tarot cards were considered an expensive gift for a royal wedding, something that the couple would put on display like they would a tapestry or portrait. By the same note, playing cards used to look very different and had a much more limited use than they do today.
Few Uncommon Card Games to Keep in Mind
Crosswords are definitely about non-linear thinking, so it is important to have intimate knowledge of the subjects involved. Card games are no different, so here’s a little trivia to expand your vocabulary and give you more possible solutions the next time a similar clue comes up. Who knows when you’ll need to know the ins and outs of the card game Guts or Pedro!
Gin – A Two-Player Game
Better known as Gin Rummy, this is a lesser-known version that might be the answer to your crossword clue. Gin was created in 1909 by Elwood T. Baker and his son C. Graham Baker. Gin Rummy is a two-player game where the objective is to earn as many points as possible, usually under the limit of 100. The word “gin” comes from a specific method of play, a bit like a straight flush in poker, where all 10 cards in a player’s hand form an acceptable “meld” (a set of three or more matching cards, sometimes the same suit and number, sometimes in ascending order).
Loo – Also Known as Lanterloo
Also known as Lanterloo, Loo is a trick-taking game dating back to 17th century and is considered one of the forefathers of All Fours, a similar card game of Dutch origin. Card games are considered trick-taking games when there is a finite number of rounds and the winner is determined by whoever manages to take the trick (or particular card in a pattern).
The word “Loo” is a nonsense word derived from French, meaning “fiddlesticks”. Though to be fair, it can mean just about anything you want it to. In the context of the card game, however, to be “Looed” is a fail state where the player failed to make a particular move.
Guts – A Poker-Like Card Game
Guts is one of the many Poker-like games still played today. The game begins with a shared pot, dealing in a series of 2 – 4 cards as the game goes on. The hands are ranked much like the ones in Poker, depending on suit, number, and face card. The gamble, as it were, comes as each player judges their hand high-ranking enough to risk staying in the game, or opting out. Unlike Poker, Guts is not turn-based, but rather every player decides their status at the same time until only one player remains.
Faro, Pharaoh or Farobank – All the Same Game
Also known as Pharaoh or Farobank, Faro is a late 17th-century card game. Unlike Loo, Faro revolves around gambling and requires several players, including one to play the banker (or dealer). In order to win, your hand must match those turned up by the banker at the end of the round. Though Faro was wildly popular in the 1800s due to how easy it is to learn and play, the game was eventually replaced by Poker in the early 20th century.
Monte or Find the Lady
Otherwise known as 3 Card Monte or Find the Lady, Monte is a card game that plays almost exactly like the shell game. The “dealer” will have three bent cards on a table and will call on a “mark” or victim to bet on finding a chosen card. Usually, the dealer will have a bill clutched in one hand to better disguise their sleight of hand and con the mark out of their money.
There are also card games called Monte Bank (which plays very similarity to Guts and was the national card game of Mexico in the 19th century) and Monte Carlo (a version of solitaire that matches pairs of cards instead).
Ombre – The Man Between the Card Games
Ombre is another trick-taking game like Loo, though a great deal more complicated. The name comes from the Spanish word for man, “Hombre” and originated in Spain during the 16th century, making Ombre one of the oldest card games in European history.
The game requires four players and is known for the complexity of its rules, point score, and Spanish terminology. Despite such a reputation, Ombre grew in popularity across Europe until the early 18th century.
Pedro – A Trick-Taking Card Game
Pedro is the third trick-taking card game in this article and is also known as Petro, Pidro, and Pedreaux. Unlike all the others, Pedro is an entirely American game, founded in Denver, Colorado during the 1880s. The game’s popularity still reigns today on America’s West coast and Southern states, especially Louisiana. Outside of the States, Pedro (and various versions of the game) are played in Nicaragua, the Azores, Italy, and Finland.
Canasta – A Game with a Spanish Name
Another game with a Spanish name, Canasta, was invented in Uruguay in 1939. Not long after its creation, Canasta gained popularity across South America and parts of the States, where it was dubbed Argentine Rummy. Canasta typically requires four players in partnerships of two with two decks of cards. Melds make another appearance here, just like in Gin Rummy. The more melds the players can make with their hands, the better their chances of winning.
Needless to say, there is plenty to learn about the crossword clue “card game” that will help you know the answer next time a similar clue comes up.
titlepicture: via getstencil for word-grabber.com
picture 1 – The card player by Paul Cézanne, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_C%C3%A9zanne,_1892-95,_Les_joueurs_de_carte_(The_Card_Players),_60_x_73_cm,_oil_on_canvas,_Courtauld_Institute_of_Art,_London.jpg
picture 2 – Advertising of Loo, Pam and Flush – Robert Dighton, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pam_and_Flush.jpg
picture 3 – Ombre game – Malthe Engelstedt, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Four_Friends_Playing_Hombre.JPG