Lansquenet is a card game, named after the French spelling of the German word Landsknecht ('servant of the land or country'), which refers to 15th- and 16th-century German mercenary foot soldiers; The lansquenet drum is a type of field drum used by these soldiers. It is recorded as early as 1534 by Francois Rabelais in Gargantua.
Lansquenet is played with an Italian pack of 40 cards.
The dealer or banker stakes a certain sum, and this must be met by the nearest to the dealer first, and so on. When the stake is met, the dealer turns up one card and lays it to his right, for the table or the players, and another card in front of himself for the bank. He then keeps on turning up cards (while keeping the first two cards visible), until a card turns up with a value matching either of the first two cards. For instance, if the five of diamonds has been laid down for the bank, then any other five, regardless of suit, constitutes a win for the banker. If the table's card is matched first, he loses, and the next player on the left becomes banker and proceeds in the same way.
When the dealer's card turns up, he may take the stake and pass the bank; or he may allow the stake to remain, whereupon it becomes doubled if met. He can continue thus as long as the cards turn up in his favour – having the option at any moment of giving up the bank and retiring for that time. If he does that, the player to whom he passes the bank has the option of continuing it at the same amount at which it was left. The pool may be made up by contributions of all the players in certain proportions. The terms used respecting the standing of the stake are "I'll see" (à moi le tout) and Je tiens. When jumelle (twins), or the turning up of similar cards on both sides, occurs, then the dealer takes half the stake.
The game is mentioned in several of Georgette Heyer's historical novels. For example, in Chapter Thirteen of "The Masqueraders".
- Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. Les tricheries des Grecs dévoilées: l'art de gagner à tous les jeux. Librarie Nouvelle: Paris, 1861. Pages 285–287.
- Steinmetz, Andrew. The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims, In All Times and Countries, especially in England and France. Tinsley Brothers, 1870. ISBN 978-0-87585-096-2