The game of Basset (in French Wassette) was considered one of the
most polite games with cards, and only fit for persons of the
highest rank to play at, on account of the great losses or gains
that might accrue on one side or the other.
The sums of money lost in France at this game were so
considerable that the princes of the blood were in danger of
being undone; and after many persons of distinction were ruined
the court of France thought fit to forbid Basset. Then Faro was
invented; and both were soon introduced into England, and after
three or four years' play here, they impoverished so many
families, that Parliament enacted a suppression of both games,
with severe penalties. The two games are, therefore, of
historical interest, and deserve an explanation.
Basset was a sort of lottery. The dealer who kept the bank at
Basset, having the sole disposal of the first and last card, and
other considerable privileges in dealing the cards, had a much
greater prospect of gaining than those who played. This was a
truth so acknowledged in France that the king, by public edict,
ordered that the privilege of a talliere, or banker at Basset,
should only be allowed to the 'chief cadets,' or sons of
noblemen--supposing that whoever kept the bank must, in a very
short time, acquire a considerable fortune.