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The Gaming Clubs

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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The Gaming Clubs

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Casino Gambling in history

'It rose,' says a writer in the Edinburgh Review, 'like a
creation of Aladdin's lamp; and the genii themselves could hardly
have surpassed the beauty of the internal decorations, or
furnished a more accomplished maitre d'hotel than Ude. To make
the company as select as possible, the estabishment was regularly
organized as a club, and the election of members vested in a
committee. "Crockford's" became the rage, and the votaries of
fashion, whether they like play or not, hastened to enroll
themselves. The Duke of Wellington was an original member,
though (unlike Blucher, who repeatedly lost everything he had at
play) the great captain was never known to play deep at any game
but war or politics. Card-tables were regularly placed, and
Whist was played occasionally; but the aim, end, and final cause
of the whole was the Hazard bank, at which the proprietor took
his nightly stand, prepared for all comers. Le Wellington des
Joueurs lost L23,000 at a sitting, beginning at twelve at night,
and ending at seven the following evening. He and three other
noblemen could not have lost less, sooner or later, than L100,000
a piece.[39] Others lost in proportion (or out of proportion) to
their means; but we leave it to less occupied moralists and
better calculators to say how many ruined families went to make
Mr Crockford a MILLIONNAIRE--for a millionnaire he was in the
English sense of the term, after making the largest possible
allowance for bad debts. A vast sum, perhaps half a million, was
sometimes due to him; but as he won, all his debtors were able to
raise, and easy credit was the most fatal of his lures. He
retired in 1840, much as an Indian chief retires from a hunting
country when there is not game enough left for his tribe, and the
club tottered to its fall.'

[39] 'Le Wellington des Joueurs was the name given to Lord Rivers
in Paris. The other three, we believe, were Lord Sefton, Lord
Chesterfield, and Lord Granville or Lord Talbot.' Times, 7 Jan.

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