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"According to Hoyle" Day

"According to Hoyle" Day is dedicated to remembering Edmond Hoyle, who passed away on today's date in 1769, and is dedicated to playing games according to the rules. "According to Hoyle," a phrase commonly used over the past few centuries, means to follow the correct rules or procedures for an activity or a game. When playing a game and a move was questioned, one would often start their questioning of it by saying, "According to Hoyle..."

Edmond Hoyle was a London-dwelling lawyer who spent years giving instructions on how to play games. After he put together a book of rules on the game of whist and it was warmly received by his students, he published it as A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742. It became the definitive guide for rules to the game. The book also gave tips as to how the game could be played well. Whist is an English card game that was popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, played with two teams with two players each. A predecessor to bridge, it is based on an earlier game called ruff and honors.

Hoyle published subsequent editions of his book, in which he added rules for other games, such as backgammon (1743) and chess (1761). He revised the laws of whist in 1760—they were the accepted rules of the game until 1864 when the Arlington and Portland whist clubs of London updated the rules. Hoyle's name is synonymous with playing games according to the rules, and today we celebrate both him and strict adherence to rules!

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by playing whist! Make sure to play the game "according to Hoyle." The best way to ensure you are doing this is to use a copy of A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist as a reference. You could also get yourself copies of The New Complete Hoyle and According to Hoyle, which both include rules for many games. No matter what game you play today, make sure you precisely follow the rules! Using the phrase "according to Hoyle" as much as possible is another appropriate way to celebrate the day.

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