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The History Of Dice And Cards

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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The History Of Dice And Cards

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Casino Gambling in history


There is no reason to suppose that the fondness for this
diversion abated, except during the short 'trump or triumph of
the fanatic suit'--in the hard times of Old Oliver--when
undoubtedly cards were styled 'the devil's books.' But, indeed,
by that time they had become an engine of much fraud and
destruction; so that one of the early acts of Charles II.'s reign
inflicted large penalties on those who should use cards for
fraudulent purposes.

'Primero was the fashionable game at the court of England during
the Tudor dynasty. Shakspeare represents Henry VIII. playing at
it with the Duke of Suffolk; and Falstaff says, "I never
prospered since I forswore myself at Primero." In the Earl of
Northumberland's letters about the Gunpowder-plot, it is noticed
that Joscelin Percy was playing at this game on Sunday, when his
uncle, the conspirator, called on him at Essex House. In the
Sidney papers, there is an account of a desperate quarrel between
Lord Southampton, the patron of Shakspeare, and one Ambrose
Willoughby. Lord Southampton was then "Squire of the Body" to
Queen Elizabeth, and the quarrel was occasioned by Willoughby
persisting to play with Sir Walter Raleigh and another at
Primero, in the Presence Chamber, after the queen had retired to
rest, a course of proceeding which Southampton would not permit.
Primero, originally a Spanish game, is said to have been made
fashionable in England by Philip of Spain, after his marriage
with Queen Mary.

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