Background information on ‘All Fours’
Courtesy of www.pagat.com/allfours
Card Games: All Fours
These point-trick games seem to have originated in England. All
Fours itself was recorded in Charles Cotton's "Compleat Gamester
of 1674 as being played in Kent. The name derives from the fact
that there are four points available: for being dealt the highest
trump in play, for being dealt the lowest trump in play, for winning
the jack of trumps in one's tricks, and for the 'game', which is
the majority of card points (ace = 4, king = 3, queen = 2, jack
= 1, ten = 10). The 'jack' point in this game actually gave rise
to the name jack for the lowest court card of each suit - previously
they were known as knaves.
All Fours became very popular in North America in the 19th century
and gave rise to a series of games such as Pitch and Pedro, which
added bidding and additional scoring cards. Meanwhile, in Britain
and Ireland, the games of Don and Phat were developed. All Fours
itself continues to be played in north-west England, and has become
the national game of Trinidad.
- All Fours - the original game, and the modern versions
played in Trinidad and Britain.
- Pitch / Setback - a North American descendent, with bidding,
which has developed numerous variations.
- Smear - another group of variations of Pitch
- Pedro / Cinch / 63 / 83 - in these partnership games with
bidding, the fives and various other trumps acquire a high point
- All Fives - a 2-3 player variant in which the points are
for the A, K, Q, J, 10 and 5 of trumps.
- Nine Card Don - a partnership game without bidding, played
in the British Isles; the top trumps and the 9 and 5 are the scoring