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I must be considered lucky at cards. Never really thought of it before, more a monomania backed up by hard work. You know what they say, 'lucky in cards, unlucky in love.' Luck of course is what you make of it so how I can claim to be unlucky in love and then claim it is purely my own iron-will determination that has built up Franklyn Cards is not something to be gone into. This is not a time psycho-analysis touchy-feelly nonsense, I'd go on a chatshow for that not write a website.

ever heard of Strip-Whist?

Card games are a most interesting study, snap is for children, whist is for women with a spare Saturday night, Bridge is for clever people, Patience is for a windows desktop and Poker is for real hard-drinking men with quick tempers and six-shooters which can leap out of holsters with lightening speed and cut down bad guys that claim they were cheating.

Poker must be the most glamorous of all the card games, nobody ever says someone has a bridge-face but faces frozen in bland expression are considered poker faces and often this is something to aspire too.

Its a man's game, ever heard of Strip-Whist?

Loads and loads of words have been written about the game and the mathematics behind it (Data of Star Trek fame can never work out why Riker can beat him, although the fact that Riker takes the poker face idea to the extreme of also having a poker body might have something to do with it, just watch his shoulders as he moves about the bridge, he must still have the coat-hanger in his tunic.) The game is deeply psychological and playing it well means you are a man (women are exempt from this category, they can remain women). Playing it badly suggests you are some sort of weed and probably can't hold your liquor either.

This combination of imagery means people always claim they are better at Poker than they really are. They even think they are better at it than they are. This is a sure sign it is a man-thing.

Before we go any further I have to make a small confession, I only have the vaguest idea of the rules of Poker, I can play it in the same way I could probably fly a light aircraft. Possible in an emergency but ill-advised and almost certainly doomed to end in tears.

Poker is a gambling game, there is no purpose to it beyond that, it is a device for the redistribution of wealth amongst a group of people (see description above). There seems a bewildering number of variations to the game, in that sense it has many a parallel to the game of Pool where if two people agree as to the rules they are playing then something has gone wrong.

It has another similarity to pool as well, watch any weak comedy for a while and if a woman announces she wishes to play either pool or poker and gets put down by her male companions she is going to be an absolute whizz at the game. In Pool she can pot four or five balls in one shot and in Poker she can shuffle a pack of cards in one hand faster than the eye can see but not fast enough to see the naff camera effect in either case. The canned laughter was invented for just such an occasion (that and childhood when such things are funny).

It is a variation on the thought which goes, 'If you are looking for the easy mark, then its you.' It is a good thought too keep with you. If you are looking for weak-link in a group, then assume it is yourself.

Cope, The Game of Poker [1936].

Copes, The Game of Poker

Cope gets few mentions on this website which is a shame, they should really get more exposure. They produced around 90 sets of cigarette cards starting in 1885 and ending in 1939.

A lot of Copes cards are not easy to track down (understatement worthy of the best Poker player). They are rare and often expensive and as such become increasingly sidelined in the mainstream collecting world. Unless you put yourself out to obtain them it is just not going to happen. Cope were kind though for that rare strain of people that want to collect a set from every issuers of cigarette cards there were (this was popular a good many years ago, but is getting less popular to my way of thinking. The other theme was collecting a card from every set that ever was. The best way of achieving this is to start young, die very old and win the lottery sometime in between.) They issued, Copes, Castles (very affordable and interesting subject matter complete with an error card, so it has something for everyone) and then this set, The Game of Poker, a novel theme and the cards are lovely in their simplicity. Is anyone following this (I am watching Die Hard with Avengence and Simon says 'writing an article at the same time is tricky.')

Hmm, not the best scan I have ever seen, the cards are actually a darn sight better.

Poker is played by any number from two to eight with an ordinary pack of fifty-two cards. The 'JOKER' can be played in addition to represent any desired card. All suits are equal and the cards are ranked as usual, the Ace counting highest except in a sequence from one to five. The object of the game is to hold the highest combination of five cards which rank as follows:-
No 1 Royal Flush
No 2 Straight Flush
No 3 Fours
No 4 Full House
No 5 A flush
No 6 A Straight
No 7 Threes
No 8 Two Pairs
No 9 A Pair
No 10 five odd cards
Each player may discard any or all of the five cards dealt to him, taking from the dealer others in exchange.

When a collector has the complete set of twenty-five cards they may be used in a novel variation of this interesting game, by dealing one card from the set to each playet which will constitute his 'hand.'

In the early days of cigarette card production there was no wordage on the reverse. Sometimes they were blank, for the most part they had some ornate reverse with the brand of the tobacco firm written large to make sure you knew exactly where they had come from.

This card, right at the end of the cards mainstream production returns to this idea. What each card has on the reverse is the details the relative strengths of various hands.

Darn useful information if you are going to play Poker.

You see illustrated card one, the best hand off the lot, Royal Flush. I cannot remember the mathematics of getting a Royal Flush dealt to you straight out of a pack of cards but you have got a better chance of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning.

The reverse of the card gives reasonable details and soon becomes obvious wh the reverse is exactly the same on each card and does not bare the number of the card. You will note the card number is on the front of the card. We all know from our Cowboy movies that marked cards are a favourite for card sharps. Well you would not have to be all that sharp if the cards followed the usual format of having a number and title on the reverse.

This is a slight variation on the old cigarette card idea of issuing cards which doubled as actual playing cards (although usually hopelessly small). Indeed a good many of the early card issues relied on this method of making the cards doubly useful and in the process rather expensive because of the dog-eared nature in which they would always be left. however The Game of Poker can be found in VG(+) condition with very little outlay.

So there you have it, a simple set both in design and execution but does have a number of features which makes it an interesting set for those that care about these things.