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The Penguin Book of Card Games Paperback – April 28, 2009
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It's actually somewhat unfortunate that this isn't a commonly available book, as it really does belong on the shelf next to Hoyle/Morehead and Scarne. There's a fair amount of historical information involved, including the medieval German game of Karnöffel and the original 20-card Mississippi riverboat version of Poker. Parlett also injects a distinctly British sense of snark, inserting surprise asides to break up what would otherwise be a book with a rather tedious Edith Hamiltonesque tone (Parlett's comment on strip poker: "It is difficult to tell who has won, and why."). Since it tries to be descriptive more than prescriptive, it also doesn't shy away from presenting games such as (ahem) "President" that Hoyle/Morehead studiously avoid, whether because of the name or the somewhat sub rosa nature of the game (in the case of the latter, a game popular with kids when adults aren't looking).
Overall, this is a remarkably difficult book to find; I stumbled across it by accident. That's a damn shame, because any serious gambler or strategy gamer should have it.
My one complaint is that the text is horribly edited(or converted or... I don't know what to blame exactly). Many words run together with no spaces. Many of the card symbols are just plain wrong (for example see the game Kaiser and see what suits you replace cards in). The words running together is irritating but livable. The symbols being wrong makes for interesting rule interpretation as you just have to guess what they mean.
I'm glad I bought it on kindle so now I can pull up the rules on my phone anytime I need a reminder. One thing that is not great about the kindle version is that many, many passages havewordsruntogether which is quiteannoying. I haven't bought many kindle books so I'm not sure if that's a common problem or not.
I expect to get lots of use out of this book and I am very happy with my purchase.
About the formatting; before purchasing I read a number of reviews stating that this book suffered from some serious OCR and formatting issues. While I am sure the authors of those reviews were not imagining things, as of now (April 2014) the book seems to have been fixed. I did notice that most of the diagrams and tables are images and some of them take up entire pages; I am guessing that this might have been their solution to the formatting issues. The image solution doesn't bother me as the text in them is an appropriate size, although you might have an issue you if you can only read really big text sizes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this book for my parents who are both now retired and are looking for fun card games to keep them busyPublished 6 months ago by Michelle Lee
At Present (March 2015) there is NO e-book version available. How can a publisher be so wrongheaded as to not provide an e-book version of a compendium that most certainly would... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Thomas S.
This is by all accounts the definitive book on card games, and is written in a lively and engaging manner. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Mike Fedeski
THis is not a good book at all. It's exhaustive, sure, but it assumes you have played the games before, and just need a refresher course. Read morePublished on September 21, 2012 by Hypsy
I bought this book because I'm a big fan of Canasta, Rummy 500, and similar games. I was looking for more games I could learn and teach my family to play. Read morePublished on March 6, 2012 by nk326