The Polignac: The Rules and Gameplay

Book’s extract: Jean Boussac. Encyclopedia of card games. Paris, 1896, p. 184–186.

Translated from French by Lidie M.

The Polignac is a little parlor game, which, not to be complicated, is nonetheless very interesting. We play it with friends who do not want to earn money; it is played especially in societies where there are ladies.

If the Polignac is played between four players, each player receives eight cards. If played at five, each player receives six cards and it is obliged to remove two seven from the game, either the reds or the blacks. When playing the Polignac at six, each player receives five cards and also withdraws two seven. Finally, if there are seven players, each receives four cards and the four seven are removed from the game. 

All cards are distributed and their number must always be divisible by the number of players; there is no heel. There is also no return. All combinations and all efforts of the player must tend to make as few lifts as possible, or the least, if he does, he must try that they do not contain valets and especially the jack of spades: Polignac.

THE HAND. - The cards are distributed two by two, or otherwise, but it is never permitted to give more than three at a time, we begin with the right.

VALUE OF CARDS. - The strongest card is the king; then come the lady, the valent, the ace, the ten, the nine, the eight, and the seven.

RULE. - The player placed first to the right of the dealer who has been designated by the drawing lots, plays any card, and each player is obliged to provide the color.

When we lack the color played, we hasten to get rid of his most unfortunate cards, that is to say his valets and especially the jack of spades. If you do not have any valets to send to the table, you throw in your biggest cards, because you always have to reduce your chances of doing your lifts. 

The game is played in ten, fifteen or twenty tokens, according to the conventions made before starting the game.

The game is lost by the players who first took the agreed number of chips.

It is obvious that the player who has the attack will open the game in its weak color, and that it will have the care dose to create renouncements in order to make spin the cards which could make lifts.

It must be admitted, before starting the game, how many chips will be taken per valet, and also explain if, when doing a lift with a jack of his hand, we will not be obliged to take more chips than in the previous case. It is needless to say that Polignac, or jack of spades, will always pick up a number of double chips. Example: If the other valets pick up two tokens each, the Jack of Spades will pick up four.

MISER or CAPOTE. - To give more spice to the Polignac game, it is generally agreed that the one who will make all the lifts, will not only lose nothing as each of his opponents will take a determined number of tokens, usually five.