Archive for July 17th, 2010

The Little Joker for the Benefit of the Verdant

July 17, 2010

The “Little Joker.”

EDS. NEWS — When I was more a juvenile than I now am, I occasionally played what was called seven up. In that game the queen ranked the jack, the king captured the queen, and the ace was the boss of the concern.

I was then told that the cards represented the potentates of the world — the jack taking the place of the premier, the queen and king representing the monarchs of that name, and the ace stood forth for His Holiness the Pope — all of which then seemed, and still seems, plausible.

But, since the days of Richelieu, Gortschakoff and Bismarck, the game of euchre has been invented, in which the gentleman in boots not only has the impudence of pretending to be superior to his mistress and his master, but can bid defiance to the descendant of St. Peter. I very seldom play at cards, and know just enough about euchre to get beat and pay for the cigars.
So much for preliminaries.

Coming down from Houston on the boat the other night, after the usual splendid supper, it being suggested that the nightmare, or sea-horse, or sea-serpent, or some other varmint might visit us if we went to bed on “an unbounded stomach,” a la Cardinal Woolsey, it was proposed that we have a game at euchre.

Like truthful James, “in the scene that ensued I did not take a hand,” but noticed that they played with one card white on its face, in addition to the old usual number, and that this card was not only superior to queen, king, ace and both bowers, but was always trump.

The called it the JOKER. Upon inquiry I was told that this variation of the old game was invented during the time Mr. Lincoln was President of the United States, and was called the Joker to signify that a government based upon republican and democratic principles was superior to any one administered by pope, priest, potentate or any other power.

Supposing that some of your readers, and perhaps yourself, may be as verdant as myself, I write for their and your benefit.


Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Nov 25, 1874

Some useful information about playing cards from SNOPES, of all places. It has a brief, easy to follow rundown.