Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was played widely in the 18th and 19th centuries. Horatio Hornblower was very skilled at whist.

Shuffling and DealingEdit


Gentlemen at a game of whist

A standard 52 card deck is used in the play of whist. The cards in each suit rank from Ace to Deuce, A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. The game is played by a foursome, each two as partners, cutting the deck to determine partners. Partners sit opposite on another. The deck is then cut to determine the first dealer. It is contrary to the rules to speak of the cards, the deal, or to signal to any other player.
The cards may be shuffled by any player, but, typically by the player to the left of the dealer. If he wishes, the dealer may shuffle last. The deck is cut by the player to the dealer's right. The cards are dealt face down until all cards are on the table, each player has thirteen cards. The final card, which is dealt to the dealer is placed upon the table face up to indicate the trump suit, which remains face up until such time as the dealer leads the trick upon which the dealer may place the card in his hand. The deal passes to the left.

The PlayEdit

The player to the dealer's left leads the first trick who may play any card. The play then passes to the left. Each player must play card of the same suit if he has one. If not, he may play any card. The highest card wins unless a trump card is played in which case the highest trump wins.The winner of the trick leads the next.
As each trick is played, the winner of each keeps the cards on the table near him, face down, in stacks of four, each trick a separate stack.The play continues until all the cards are played.
The skill of playing is to keep in one's memory the cards that have been played and the manner each player has played in order to surmise what cards each other player may have remaining.
Any player may ask to review the trick just won until the next trick begins. No other cards may be reviewed.


After the entire deck has been played the side with the highest number of tricks won scores one point for each trick won in excess of six. So, if the side has won eight tricks, the score is two. The game is over when one side reaches a score of five.