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Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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Casino Gambling in history

Piquet required much practice to play it well. It became so
great a favourite that, by the middle of the 18th century, the
meanest people were well acquainted with it, and 'let into all
the tricks and secrets of it, in order to render them complete
sharpers.' Such are the words of an old author, who adds that
the game was liable to great imposition, and he explains the
methods in use. Short cards were used for cutting, as in Whist,
at the time. Of these cards there were two sorts, one longer
than the rest; and the advantage gained by them was as the
adversary managed it, by cutting the longer or broader, as best
suited his purpose, or imposing on the dealer, when it was his
turn, to cut those which made most against him. The aces, kings,
queens, and knaves were marked with dots at the corners, and in
the very old book from which I am quoting precise directions are
given how this marking can be effected in such a manner 'as not
to be discovered by your ADVERSARY, and at the same time appear
plain to YOURSELF.' With a fine pointed pen and some clear
spring water, players made dots upon the glazed card at the
corners according to the above method; or they coloured the water
with india ink, to make the marks more conspicuous. The work
concludes as follows:--'There are but 32 cards made use of at
Piquet, so that just half of them will be known to you; and in
dealing you may have an opportunity to give yourself those you
LIKE best; and if you cannot conveniently CHANGE the PACK
according to your desire, you will commonly KNOW what YOU are to
TAKE IN, which is a demonstrative advantage to win any one's

Evidently they did not 'assume a virtue' in those days, 'if they
had it not.'

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