1902 Encyclopedia > Loo


LOO, (formerly called LASTTERLOO), a round game of cards. Loo may be played by any number of persons; from five to seven makes tbe best game. " Three-card loo" is the game usually played. A pack of fifty-two cards is required. The players being seated, the pack is shuffled and a card dealt face upwards to each. The player to whom a knave falls has the first deal, the player to his left deals next, and so on in rotation. Each player is entitled to a deal, i.e., the game should not be abandoned till it returns to the original dealer; but, if there is a loo in the last deal of a round, the game continues till there is a hand without a loo. The pack is cut to the dealer, who deals three cards to each player and an extra hand called miss. The dealer turns up the top of the undealt cards for trumps. The dealer is sometimes permitted to deal the cards in any order he pleases; but the best rule is to require that the cards be dealt one at a time in rotation, as at whist. During the deal each player contributes to the pool a sum previously agreed upon, the dealer contributing double. The unit for a single stake should be divisible by three without a remainder, e.g., three counters or three pence. The players are bound to put in the stake before the deal is completed; sometimes a penalty is enforced for neglect. The deal being completed and the pool formed, each player in rotation, beginning from the dealer's left, looks at his cards, and declares whether he will play, resign, or take miss. If the former, he says " I play." If he takes miss he places his cards face downwards in the middle of the table, and takes up the extra hand. If he resigns, he similarly places his cards face downwards in the middle of the table. If miss is taken, the subsequent players only have the option of playing or resigning. A player who takes miss must play. Those who have declared to play, and the one—if there is one—who has taken miss, then play one card each in rotation, beginning from the dealer's left, the cards thus played constituting a trick The trick is won by the highest card of the suit led, or, if trumped, by the highest trump, the cards ranking as at whist. The winner of the trick leads to the next, and so on, until the hand is played out. The cards remain face upwards in front of the persons playing them.

Rules of Play.—If the leader holds ace of trumps he must lead it (or king, if ace is turned up). If the leader has two trumps he must lead one of them, and if one is ace (or king, ace being turned up) he must lead it. With this exception the leader is not bound to lead his highest trump if more than two declare to play; but if there are only two declared players the leader with more than one trump must lead the highest. Except with trumps as above stated he may lead any card he chooses. The subsequent players must head the trick if able, and must follow suit if able. Holding none of the suit led, they must head the trick with a trump, if able. Otherwise they may play any card they please. The winner of the first trick is subject to the rules already stated respecting the lead, and in addition he must lead a trump if able (called trump after trick).

When the hand has been played out, the winners of the tricks divide the pool, each receiving one-third of the amount for each trick. If only one declared to play, the dealer plays miss either for himself or for the pool. If he plays for the pool he must declare before seeing miss that he does not play for himself. Any tricks he may win, when playing for the pool, remain there as an addition to the next pool.

If each declared player wins at least one trick it is a single, i.e., a fresh pool is made as already described; but if one of the declared players fails to make a trick he is looed. Then, only the player who is looed contributes to the next pool, together with the dealer, who puts in a single stake. If more than one player is looed, each has to contribute. At unlimited loo each player looed has to put in the amount there was in the pool. But it is generally agreed to limit the loo, so that it shall not exceed a certain fixed sum. Thus, at eighteen-penny loo, the loo is generally limited to half a guinea. If there is less than the limit in the pool the payment is regulated as before ; but if there is more than the limit, the loo is the fixed sum agreed on.

The game is sometimes varied by forces, i.e., by compelling every one to play, either whenever there is no loo the previous deal (a single), or whenever clubs are trumps (club law). When there is a force no miss is dealt. Irish loo is played by allowing declared players to exchange some or all of their cards for cards dealt from the top of the pack. There is no miss, and it is not com-pulsory to lead a trump with two trumps, unless there are only two declared players. At five-card loo each player has five cards instead of three, and a single stake should be divisible by five. Pam (knave of clubs) ranks as the highest trump, whatever suit is turned up. There is no miss, and cards may be exchanged as at Irish loo. If ace of trumps is led, the leader says " Pam be civil," when the holder of that card must pass the trick if he can do so without revoking. A flush (five cards of the same suit, or four with Para) loos the board, i.e., the holder receives the amount of a loo from every one, and the hand is not played. A trump flush takes precedence of flushes in other suits. If more than one flush is held, or if Pam is held, the holder is exempted from payment. As between two flushes which do not take precedence, the elder hand wins.

Declaring to Play, and Playing (three-card loo).—Play on two trumps. The first to declare should play on an honour in trumps and an ace in plain suits. Play also on king of trumps ; but some players throw up king of trumps single unless with it another king or a guarded queen is held. Also play on one trump with two other cards as high as queens ; some players throw up this hand. Holding a trump and two aces, lead the trump if three others declare to play ; but otherwise lead an ace. Do not play on a hand without a trump ; except, play on any cards that give a reasonable chance of a trick, or take miss, if the amount in the pool is considerable, and the loo is limited. If the number of players is less than five, or if several throw up, weaker hands may be played ; on the other side, if several have declared to play, only a very strong hand should be risked. If there are only three left in, all others having thrown up, miss should be taken, but not when there are more than two to follow the player whose turn.it is to declare.

Laws of Loo.—These vary greatly, and should be agreed on
before commencing to play. The ordinary rules, which loo the
player for nearly every error, are very bad. The following are
based on the laws of the late Blenheim Club. 1. First knave deals.
2. Each player has a right to shuffle. 3. The player to the dealer's
right cuts the pack. 4. The dealer must deliver the cards, one by
one, in rotation, as at whist, and must deal one card for miss at the
end of each round; he must turn up the top card of the undealt cards
for trumps. 5. If the dealer deals without having the pack cut,
or shuffles after it is cut, or deals except as provided in law 4, or
deals two cards together and then deals a third without rectifying
the error, or exposes a card, or deals too many cards, he forfeits a
single to the pool, and deals again. 6. The player to the left of
the dealer deals next. If a player deals out of turn, he may be
stopped before the trump card is turned, otherwise the deal stands
good, and the player to his left deals next. 7. Players must declare
to play in rotation, beginning to the dealer's left. A player looking
at his cards before his turn forfeits a single to the pool. 8. A
player who declares before his turn, or who exposes a card, forfeits
a single to the pool, and must throw up his hand. 9. If a declared
player exposes a card before his turn to play, or plays out of turn,
or before all have declared, or detaches a card so that it can be
named by any other declared player, or revokes, he must leave in
the pool any tricks he may make, and forfeit four times the amount
of a single. If he makes no trick he is looed, and there is no further
penalty. 10. If the leader holds ace of trumps and does not lead
it (or king, ace being turned up), or if he holds two trumps and
does not lead one, or the highest of two or more trumps wdien there
are only two declared players (unless his cards are sequence cards
or cards of equal value), or if a player does not head the trick
when able, or if he does not lead trump after trick (if he holds a
trump), he is liable to the same penalty as in law 9. 11. In case
of revokes or errors in play the hand must be replayed if so desired
by any one except the offender. 12. The place of an aftercomer is
decided by dealing a card between every two of the players. The
aftercomer sits where the first knave falls. (H. J.)

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