1893 text

“A game at cards not unlike Loo, but with this difference, the winner of one trick has to put in a double stake, the winner of two tricks a triple stake, and so on. Thus, if six persons are playing, and the general stake is 1_s., suppose A gains the three tricks, he gains 6_s., and has to ‘hand i’ the cap,’ or pool, 4_s. for the next deal. Suppose A gains two tricks and B one, then A gains 4_s. and B 2_s., and A has to stake 3_s. and B 2_s._ for the next deal.” —Hindley’s Tavern Anecdotes. — M. B.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

4 Annotations

First Reading

Grahamt  •  Link

Hence, if you win one hand, you are "handicapped" by having to put in a bigger stake for the next. The SOED has a different explanation of the game and origin of the phrase, but at about the same date.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

This seems to agree with Todd's version:

... I demanded what difference he would take between my Hat and his, his Cloak and mine; there being small matter of advantage in the exchange we agreed to go to handicap.
---The English Rogue. 1665.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.