Dear Regency Author,
The game called Whist, (much beloved by regency gentlemen), does not in any way resemble Poker (much beloved by Mississippi riverboat gamblers).
Whist is the predecessor to Bridge. It is a four person (two on two), trick taking game using trumps.
There is no ante, and there is no pot — scoring is based on points. Money exchanges hands based on a predetermined amount per point, per game, or per rubber.
And most assuredly one does not look at ones cards and then throw them down in disgust and call “fold” — I can't help imagining what should happen in a real game of whist, should someone attempt to do so.
“Fold!” Captain Deveries threw down his cards in disgust.
“Fold what?” Tully Bantam asked.
Bluffington gazed owlishly down at the scattered cards. “Oh, I say, Deveries. Your queen is faced. Bad luck, old egg. We'll get a chance to call her now.”
Deveries' partner, Lord Carringstoke, raised one imperious and scornful eyebrow. “Are you ready to concentrate on your game now, Captain?”
“No, really,” the Captain protested, “I've had enough.”
Tully looked at him in astonished dismay. “You can't leave yet, we haven't finished the rubber!”
“You can't just abandon us mid-game!” Bluffington chimed in.
“I'm not so certain about that.” Lord Carringstoke stacked his cards neatly in front of him. “I, personally, prefer to play with gentlemen. Perhaps we can find one willing to take his place?”
Deveries turned red, and then white. “My seconds will call on you, milord!”
Bluffington kicked him in the shin. “Don't be a fool!” he said in an urgent stage whisper. “Apologize! Say you had a brain tremor, or something, and pick up your cards.”