Speculation (card game)

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Speculation is a simple gambling card game that was popular in the late 18th century and early 19th century.



To hold the highest trump card when all cards in play have been revealed.


The dealer antes six chips. The other players each ante four.

The dealer gives each player three cards, face down. One additional card is placed face up. This card determines the trump suit, and the card belongs to the dealer.


If the trump determining card was an Ace, the dealer wins immediately. Otherwise, the dealer may choose to keep it or to sell it to another player. Play passes to the left. If the trump-determining card was purchased, play passes to the left of the purchaser. Each player in his turn reveals a card. If the card is the highest current trump, he may keep the card or attempt to sell it to the highest bidder.

The holder of the current high trump does not take a turn revealing his cards unless all other cards have been revealed.

If no trump is revealed in the round, the pot carries over to the next round.

Variant rules[edit]

  1. Anyone at any time may offer to buy any number of face down cards from another player. Cards purchased in this fashion are placed face down at the bottom of the purchaser's stack.
  2. Anyone who reveals a Jack or a Five adds a chip to the pot.
  3. An extra hand is dealt. If, at the end of the round, the extra hand is shown to hold the high trump card, the pot carries over to the next round.

In literature[edit]

The game is mentioned in Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens; more recently, in The Emancipator's Wife by Barbara Hambly. Also In The Thirteen Gun Salute by Patrick O'Brian. Also in Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik. Also in False Colours by Georgette Heyer.

External links[edit]


  • Hoyle's Games (London, 1847)