"Playing Cards" by Rob Beattie

"Playing Cards" by Rob Beattie

While quickly rifling through the Bargain Books at one of the larger chain bookstores in my town, I discovered “Playing Cards” by Rob Beattie, which was probably the only book in the entire section worth buying. “Playing Cards” could just be a perfect way to kill time and is the perfect book for a cabin library, frat house, or dorm.  

“Playing Cards” has three sections, 52 Games, 52 Tricks, and 52 Skills, which are all graded for levels of difficulty so you know if the games and skills are easy enough for children or intoxicated individuals to learn with little difficulty or not.

The games in the book range from the simple “Go Fish” and “Slapjack” to more complex games such as “Bridge” and “Whist”, which means the book can be used for all ages. The Skills section of “Playing Cards” consists of 52 shuffling and cutting techniques which might be more apt for a bored person than for a group. Many of the shuffling techniques originate from other parts of the world and can be used to set up the card tricks given in the last section of the book.

While I haven’t had the chance to try out any of the card tricks, a majority of the tricks are listed as easy; they look like fun to learn, but I am doubtful learning them would put me quite in the same league as Harry Potter or any of the other witches and wizards at Hogwarts in terms of my magical abilities.

The Card Games section in the book gives the standard rules for each card game, lists similar and related versions for each of the games, and  gives tactical explanations for the more complicated games. “Playing Cards” also gives detailed scoring charts for games like bridge where understanding the scoring is actually one of the most important things to learn when understanding the game.

For those of you who are seeking out drinking games, there aren’t any this book, so you might have to look elsewhere or make your own modifications to the games. Not, of course, that I would encourage or even condone that sort of behavior, but it is pertinent information.

One positive thing about the book is how the writer clearly and concisely explains how to play the games. He introduces each game with an objective, and then lists the steps in a way that is easy to understand.