View Full Version : card games

04-25-2006, 03:50 PM
Hi, I am wondering what kind of card games were played in the 19th cent. and if there are any that we still are playing today?
Matt Rennier

04-25-2006, 04:49 PM
If you look through a Book of Hoyle, a brief history of many of the games is included which will give you some info. Also do a search on the Authentic Campaigner forum for card games. The subject has been discussed several times there.

Euchre and cribbage are just two of many others that were played and are still played.

04-25-2006, 05:23 PM
Poker (5 card draw) was very popular. Question-what did the soldiers use as chips for betting? I have used peanuts as makeshift chips, is this feasible?

Another game I play is Sheepshead, but unless you're from Wisconsin or from a German-imigrant area it wouldn't be accurate.

04-26-2006, 06:15 AM
One account I was reading the soldiers would use flattened/chewed bullet lead for gambling.


04-26-2006, 06:55 PM
do you think that "rummy" was popular in the civil war?

-matt R.

Chuck A Luck
04-27-2006, 11:27 AM
Hi, I am wondering what kind of card games were played in the 19th cent. and if there are any that we still are playing today?

Here are a few that I know of:

Whist was fairly popular, and is an easy-to-learn non-betting game played with 4 players in 2 teams.
Thanos' card game site has a nice downloadable solitaire Whist demo in their "Plain Trick Taking Games" section.

"Seven Up"
Found several references to captured Confederates at Pt. Lookout playing this card game. I'm still trying to find the correct, period rules. Supposedly also known as "Pitch," although I'm not certain how similar Seven Up was/is to Pitch. Rules for Pitch (and an online-playable 3 & 4 player game) can be found here:

"Twenty One"
Also played at Point Lookout to pass the time. I assume this is what we also known of as "Blackjack".

5 card stud and 5-card draw were played, among others. Sorry, no "Texas Hold'em."

Another very popular gambling card game, both during and after the war. Here's a good site about this, and other CW-era card games:

And, of course, there's the 3-dice betting game of "chuck a luck," which was very popular among soldiers. The basics of this can be found here:
...although according to the Columbia Rifles Compendium's period rules for this sport, 3-of-a-kind pays nothing.

04-27-2006, 11:48 AM
A little research can go a long ways.

This weekend we stuck to poker as we weren't sure what other games Were acceptable. We used matchsticks and musket caps to bid with. I used matches because I didn't have caps. Let's just say I'll be the firestarter and shooter for the next few events.

We did start playing spades eventually and then blackjack. When I came home I researched it and found that spades isn't period, but blackjack was.

Most card sites have a history of the games.

04-28-2006, 03:08 PM
Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:50 pm Post subject: card games


Hi, I am wondering what kind of card games were played in the 19th cent. and if there are any that we still are playing today?
Matt Rennier

Comrade Rennier,

The favorite game in the 19th century was faro, not poker. Poker was called "Bluff" and was just starting to come about as the "big thing" to play.

Information on faro, how it's played, correct cards, correct chips (called "checks" back then) can be found on www.faroking.com . You can also play faro online at that same site. It's easy to paint a proper faro board on your rubber blanket.

Poker's popularity in western movies came from Hollywood, who were somehow baffled by faro (which is pretty idiotproof to play once you get the hang of it). Faro is making a comeback in latter-day westerns.

Other games were Twenty-One (known as blackjack today), whist, euchre, cribbage, craps, chuck-a-luck. Plus, the troops would gamble on fights, wrestling matches, races, grayback racing, even who would get cut while being shaved by the company barber.

Proper cribbage boards may be had at www.vintagevolumes.com .

I hope this will help you out!