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According to Hoyle

But who was Edmond Hoyle?

Updated on: Mar 3, 2022

Edmond Hoyle

As euchre players, we have all heard the phase according to Hoyle but few people know of the history behind the phase or of the man that it is attributed to.

Edmond Hoyle

Birth - 1671/1672 - (The actual date is lost to history)

Died - Aug 29, 1769

Place of death - London, England

Edmond Hoyle was born in England around 1672. Little is known of his early life, although has been said that he was an educated man with an interest in law. It is known that he taught Whist [1] to members of England's high society. As a teaching aid, he began writing a small pamphlet that he sold to his students. This handwritten pamphlet became so popular that in 1742 it was published as a book called A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. This too proved to be highly successful for the author and soon sold out. However, Edmond did not reprint the book but sold the rights to a London bookseller. This may have been the first book ever published that covered the rules and strategies for a card game.

Hoyle later wrote other pamphlets that would include ones on backgammon, chess, Piquet, and Quadrille.

In 1748 these were combined and published as Mr. Hoyle's Treatises of Whist, Quadrille, Piquet, Chess, and Back-Gammon.

It is worth noting that August 29, the day of Edmond Hoyle's death, is known and celebrated as "According to Hoyle Day".

His success led to much of his work being pirated and subsequently other authors started using his name on their work signifying themselves as an authority on such subjects.

Interestingly, Edmond Hoyle never played Euchre, Poker or many of the other games covered in today's Hoyle gamebooks. In fact, he never even heard of most as they were developed long after his death.

The modern use of the phrase "According to Hoyle" has come to mean "to follow generally established rules and practices".

In Euchre, however, it takes on a slightly different meaning, focusing more on Hoyle's theory of probabilities. Thus, if the dealer turns down one suit, there is a high possibility that the dealer's team has little strength in that suit color. That increases the chance of the strength of the other suit of the same color being between you (sitting in the first seat) and your partner. So if a Diamond were turned down, According to Hoyle, by naming trump Hearts your team should be able to make a point. Of course, this applies to the black suits as well. One just needs to stay in the same color type as the turned-down suit.

1) Whist, a card game popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and the forerunner to today's Bridge.

Suggested Further Reading:

Read more on the art of calling next
AKA calling Hoyle

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