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Ultimate Book of Card Games: The Comprehensive Guide to More than 350 Games Hardcover – August 26, 2009

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Ultimate Book of Card Games: The Comprehensive Guide to More than 350 Games + Hoyle's Modern Encyclopedia of Card Games: Rules of All the Basic Games and Popular Variations
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About the Author

Scott McNeely is the author of Chronicle Books' Poker Night and Casino Night. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines, Web sites, and travel guidebooks. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811866424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811866422
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Michael Callaghan VINE VOICE on January 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a pretty book, but many of the games are explained either poorly or with outright incorrect information. I'll quote verbatim here so you can see if it matters to you.

"Baccarat... difficulty high... the minimum bet at casinos is rarely less than $50." (pg. 318)

Um... did the author ever go to a casino in the last fifteen years? Baby baccarat, anyone? $10 minimums? And high difficulty? The player in baccarat does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but bet on 'player, house, or tie'. They don't touch the cards, don't strategize on any level. That's like saying rock paper scissors is a difficult game (actually, it is a little more difficult than baccarat). Uh... ok...

"Blackjack... difficulty low... there's not much strategy in blackjack... just remember that the odds are heavily stacked in the casino's favor." (pg. 321)

That's just ridiculous. A half of one percent advantage is 'heavily stacked'? The author then claims that the odds are better with fewer decks, completely failing to mention that this only matters to card counters and most single deck games are of the 6-5 payout on a blackjack variety, which will SLAM any player in the wallet and jack the house percentage by about 1.5%. This is the fastest way to go broke. He also fails to make mention of basic strategy.

In his description of hold 'em poker he claims "it's generally worth paying to see the flop." (p.356)... and get this doozy from the same page - "The best starts are A-A, A-K, A-Q, K-K and Q-Q. you're off to an equally strong start if your first two cards are sequential (eg, 8-7 or Q-J) or are suited". Wow! So 7-2 suited, and 3-4 off suit is as strong as A-A! Who knew?

Hey, invite this guy to my table!
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By firewater231 on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after finding it at a museum in D.C. where they only had the beaten-up display copy left. After looking through it several times I've come to believe it isn't quite what you'd normally expect. Most card games are included, and many in-detail, but the descriptions and layout of each section are wanting. If you're planning to learn a new game and then teach it to others, you'll have to read the entry many times, then probably check online as well. I understand that many of the oldest games (like Bezique) probably have hundreds of little variations which are difficult to compile, but presenting a good scaffold for learning those variations is what a book like this should do. At the relevant points, describe those differences, or simply acknowledge that play may differ.
It's almost meant to be more of a survey of card games, rather than a relied-upon resource, and several games weren't listed properly in the index. The primary organization of the chapters is fine, and suits the way most are likely to use the book, but the index really needs work. I hope the publisher is planning a second (or third) edition.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Kahle on November 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am in the process of ordering more copies of Card Games. The illustrations are inviting and the text is a joy to read. I also like the fact that there are card games from all over the world. The structure helps you to choose a game based on number of players, time frame, and what kind of card game you are looking for, from competitive to collaborative.

I'd recommend this book as a gift to individuals or families. Everyone will learn something new!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By berggie on December 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Didn't realize how small the print was going to be. My Bad, I guess. Other than that, it seems to contain all of the necessary information.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By eladicart on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's got a lot of neat games, but the person who wrote the directions isn't very good at details. We knew more about some of the games in the book than the author did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By polyglot on June 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully bound little book. I bought it as a present for my mother, who loves card games. We both loved the organization of the book into chapters based upon the number of players (as well as the helpful indexes). The book includes a wide variety of games and variations -- you won't easily get bored!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Katie Martinson on August 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a little dissapointed. Its not bad but the rules are too simply writen so its hard to understand and if you have a question about the rules its not always answered. I also feel like there could be a lot more games.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. McGee on November 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like the IDEA of this book, but the print is small and - on some pages - the ink is lighter. For those of us with 'mature' eyes, it is a strain to read. I had to return it.
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