SPOIL-FIVE, an old game of cards, probably imported from Ireland, where it is still very popular, though the original name, according to The Compleat Gamester, was " Five-cards." It may probably be identified with " Maw," a game of which James I. of England was very fond. A full pack of cards is used: about five players is the best number, each receiving five cards, dealt in pairs and triplets, the card that is left at the top of the pack being turned up for trumps. If the turn-up is an ace, the dealer must " rob," i.e. put out, face downwards, any card from his hand and take in the ace. The trump suit remains unaltered. " Robbing " must take place before the first player, the player on the dealer's left, leads. Similarly a player who holds the ace of trumps must rob, putting out any card and taking in the turn-up, but need not disclose the fact till it is his turn to play. A player who fails to rob cannot go out that hand. The card put out may not be seen. The player on the dealer's left leads. The highest card of the suit led the value of the cards will be explained or the highest trump, wins the trick. Players must follow suit to a lead of trumps, except in certain cases which will be mentioned. To a plain suit no one need follow except a player who holds no trumps; others may follow or trump as they please. If a player takes three tricks he wins the game. If no one succeeds there is a " spoil," and a fresh stake, smaller than the original one as a rule, is put into the pool for the next round. The order of the cards in plain suits may be remembered by " after the knave the highest in red and the lowest in black." In red suits the order is king, queen, knave, ten, etc., down to the ace, which is lowest: in black suits king, queen, knave, ace, etc., up to ten, which is lowest. But the ace of hearts, which is always a trump, is not reckoned in its own suit. In trumps the order is " below the queen highest in red, lowest in black." The order in red suits is five, knave, ace, of hearts, ace of trumps, king, queen, ten, etc. : in black suits five, knave, ace of hearts, ace of trumps, king, queen, two, three, etc., up to ten, which is the lowest. When trumps are led, the five and the knave of trumps and the ace of hearts need not be played. This is called " reneging," colloquially " renigging." The five may always renege: if it is led, no card can renege. The knave may renege if the five is played, not led. Only the five can renege to the knave led. The ace of hearts can renege to any inferior card. If hearts are not trumps and the ace of hearts is led, a trump must be played if possible: if not, it is not necessary to play a heart. " Twenty-five " and " Forty-five " are varieties of " Spoil-five ": the game is played for either of these numbers; each trick counts five to the maker, and there is no " spoil," but the trick made by the highest trump out scores ten; if a player gets out before that trump is played, he wins the game all the same. The winning of all five tricks is called a " jink "; at " Spoilfive " a player who jinks, if jinking is agreed upon, receives an extra stake all round; but if, after winning three tricks, he elects to " jink " and fails, he cannot score during that hand.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)