Date: Sat, 6 Dec 1997 23:21:49 EST From: Bapopik Subject: Humbug This previously unrecorded citation is from the (London) Sporting Magazine, September 1793, pp. 361-362: ACCOUNT of the GAME of HUMBUG THIS Game is said to derive its origin from the late Mr. Lookup* who was, at least, a great adept at it, though he never played any other than the fair game. It was in great vogue at the rooms at Bath, and is still played in all polite circles. Humbug may properly be called two handed whist, as only two persons play, without reckoning honours. The cards are shuffled and cut; the lowest deals out all the cards, and turns up the last for the trump. Each player has now twenty-six cards in his hand, and the object is to make as many tricks as they can; all the laws of whist prevailing, the cards being of the same value as when four play, but the honours do not reckon any farther than they prevail in making tricks by their superiority over inferior, and the tricks reckon for one to as many as are gained; for instance: if one player has twenty tricks, and the other only six, the first wins fourteen; and if they play a guinea a trick, of course, wins fourteen guineas. The game finishes every deal, when the balance is settled, and they then commence another game. As each player knows, at first, all the cards his adversary has in his hand, it is common, in order to sort them, to lay them with their faces up; but after they have ranged them, and begun to play, they are as careful of concealing their cards as they are at the common game of whist; it then depending upon memory to know what cards has been played, and which remains in hand; and as it is allowed only to turn up the last trick to see what has been played, a revoke is punished with the same rigour at this game as at whist; and the forfeiting three tricks is often of more value at this, than at the former game. *See the memoirs of this gentleman in our last, pg. 232. From page 232: MEMOIRS of MR. LOOKUP, a character of the first magnitude in the HISTORY of GAMING. Page 234 continues: Nay, it was averred that he died with a pack of cards in his hand, at his favourite game _humbug_, or two-handed whist; on which Sam Foote jocularly observed, "That Lookup was _humbugged_ out of the world at last." "Lookup" was supposedly a contemporary of Lord Chesterfield. If they both played Humbug, then that would be earlier than the OED 1751 "humbug" citation.