1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vingt-et-un

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VINGT-ET-UN (colloquially, “Van John”), a round game of cards, at which any number of persons may play, though five or six are enough. The right to deal having been decided, the dealer gives one card face downwards to each person, including himself. The others thereupon look at their cards and declare their stakes — one, two, three or more counters or chips — according to the value of their cards. When all have staked, the dealer looks at his own card and can double all stakes if he chooses. The amount of the original stake should be set by each player opposite his card. Another card is then dealt, face downwards, all round; each player looking at his own. The object of the game is to make 21, by the pips or the cards, an ace counting as 1 or 11, and the court cards as 10 each. Hence a player who receives an ace and a ten-card scores 21 at once. This is called a “natural”; the holder receives twice — sometimes thrice — the stake or the doubled stake. If the dealer has a natural too, the usual rule is that the other natural pays nothing, in spite of the rule of “ties pay the dealer.” The deal passes to the player who turns up the natural, unless it occurs in the first round of a deal or the dealer has a natural too. If the dealer has not a natural, he asks each player in turn, beginning with the player on his left, if he wishes for another card or cards, the object still being to get to 21, or as near up to it as possible. The additional cards are given him one by one, face upwards, though the original cards are not exposed. If he requires no additional card, or when he has drawn sufficient, he says, “Content,” or “I stand.” If a player overdraws, i.e. if his cards count more than 21, he pays the dealer at once. When all are either overdrawn or content, the dealer may “stand” on his own hand, or draw cards, till he is overdrawn or stands. All the hands are then shown, the dealer paying those players whose cards are nearer to 21 than his own, and receiving from all the others, as “ties pay the dealer.” If the dealer's cards, with the additions, make exactly 21, he receives double the stake, or doubled stake; if a player holds 21, he receives double likewise, but ties still pay the dealer. If a player receives two similar cards he may put his stake on each and draw on them separately, receiving or paying according as he stands successfully or overdraws, but the two cards must be similar, i.e. he cannot draw on both a knave and a queen, or a king and a ten, though their values are equal for the purpose of counting. A natural drawn in this way, however, only counts as 21, and does not turn out the dealer. Similarly a player may draw on three cards, or even four, should they be dealt him. A player who overdraws on one of such cards must declare and pay immediately, even though he stands on another. After a hand is played, the “pone” (Latin for “behind”) — the player on the dealer's right — collects and shuffles the cards played, the dealer dealing from the remainder of the pack, till it is exhausted, when he takes the cards the pone holds, after the pone has cut them. It is a great advantage to deal, as the dealer receives from all who have already withdrawn, even if he overdraws himself.

French Vingt-et-un, or vingt-et-un with variations, is played by any number of persons. The first deal is played as in the ordinary game. In the second (“Imaginary Tens”) each player is supposed to hold a ten-card and receives one card from the dealer, face downwards; he is then considered to hold a ten-card plus the one dealt, and stands or draws, receives or pays, as in the ordinary game. If he receives an ace he holds a natural. In the third deal (“Blind Vingt-et-un”) each player receives two cards, and draws or stands without looking at either. The fourth deal is “Sympathy and Antipathy,” each player staking, and declaring which of the two he backs : two cards are then dealt to him : if they are of the same colour, it is “sympathy”; if of different colours, “antipathy.” At the fourth deal (Rouge-et-noir), each player, having received three cards, bets that the majority will be either black or red, as he chooses. In “Self and Company” every one stakes but the dealer, who then sets out two cards, face upwards, one for himself and one for the players. If the two cards are pairs, the dealer wins; if not, he deals till one of the cards exposed is paired, paying or receiving according as that card belongs to himself or the “company.” The seventh deal is “Paying the difference.” Each player receives two cards, face upwards. The dealer pays or receives a stake for the difference in number between the pips on his own cards and those of each player. The ace counts as one. The eighth deal is “Clock.” The stakes are pooled. The dealer deals the cards out, face upwards, calling “one” for the first, “two” for the second, and so on, the knave being 11, queen 12, and king 13. If any of the cards dealt correspond to the number called, the dealer takes the pool; if none correspond, he forfeits that amount. At the end of this (the eighth) deal, the next player deals.