December 20, 2010
The existing and increasing popularity of Draw Poker as a means of amusement to the better classes of American people, and the various methods of playing the game - some of which are radically wrong and the direct results of ignorance - amply justify a brief and simple treatise on Poker as a pastime. I have so frequently played this game with ladies and gentlemen, who either did not know its elementary parts, or differed materially as to its cardinal points, that I have become convinced that some easily accessible and easily understood book of reference is absolutely necessary for the preservation of good feeling among such players.
While I hope that this book may prove interesting to all poker-players, it is not my expectation or intention that it will prove instructive to those people who attempt to earn a livelihood by playing Poker for money. They know more of the game than I, and their methods generally are such as have no place in this little volume and, I trust, no sympathy from its readers. It has been held by such people that the game of Draw Poker is dull and senseless unless it is played for money. This is the gambler's argument and is untenable because it is untrue. Such an argument simply degrades a really intellectual and scientific game at accords to a mere means of gambling. It might as well be said that Whist, or any other game of mingled chance and skill, is not interesting unless it is played for money.
Of course it can not be denied that to some people, and they may constitute a majority of card players, a monetary consideration or stake heightens the interest of Poker. But this is equally true of not only all games at cards but of all contests whatever. The fact remains, however, that Poker is largely played with chips of only nominal value, and that the game thus played affords excellent amusement and entertainment.
It is for the benefit of such people as play Poker in this way, and to such other players as look more to the pleasure of victory than the accumulation of spoils, that I have arranged the rules and observations of this book. To them, therefore, I tender it in the hope that its contents may rescue the praise-worthy game of Draw Poker from the misuses into which it has fallen through the errors of the misinformed and inexperienced.
J. W. K.
New York, Jan., 1887