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Tag Archives: gaming

Long ago when I was writing The Wagering Widow, I created a fictitious gambling house run by “Madame Bisou.” I used the gambling house again in A Reputable Rake and Innocence and Impropriety. So, as I was starting my new gambling house story, I resurrected Madame Bisou’s establishment. Why reinvent the wheel?

Gambling houses or gaming “hells” appear often in Regency romances, but what were they really like?
The History of Gambling in England by John Ashton gives us a good idea.
Ashton quotes a 1817 pamphlet that describes some of the actual gambling houses of the period:

BENNET STREET, ST JAMES’S. CORNER HOUSE–RED BAIZE DOOR–called A CLUB HOUSE: This is what is called a topping house, where high rank and title resort. We mentioned in the poem (the Annual Register also included a long poem about gaming houses) the luck of a certain Duke’s son there; and, of late, there has been a lucky run in favour of the frequenters of the bank–but lauda finem. Its crisis has arrived. The noble  Marquess, on the night that he lost the money at No. 40 which was closed against him, went full charged with the Tuscan grape, and attacked poor Fielder, vi et pugnis, and, at length, was necessitated to leave this house also….The receipts of these houses are immense: We know the wife a proprietor of a hell…who was so majestic in her attire, that she gained the name of Proserpine.

MRS. LEACH’S, No. 6 KING STREET, ST JAMES’S: is a particularly snug and quiet shop, and the name of the proprietor is singularly appropriate. This concern is suspended.

THE ELDER DAVIS, No. 10 KING STREET, ST JAMES’S: Is but a small affair, recently opened. It gets on swimmingly.

Most of the gambling houses had a Hazard Table. Hazard is a dice game, the precursor to Craps. There is some strategy involved in which numbers the player selects to role, but it is essentially a game of chance which always favors the house. Some houses had other games of pure chance like Rouge et Noir and Faro, both played with a deck of cards.
Gaming houses could make vast fortunes with these games of chance as this description states:

No. 10 ST JAMES’S SQUARE. A low HOUSE, HUMOROUSLY CALLED the Pidgeon hole: This snug little trap is doing remarkably well. Fama volat, that it has netted thirty thousand within twelve months.

My fictional gambling house needs to make lots of money quickly, so needless to say it specializes in games of chance!
Do you like gaming hell stories? What are your favorites?
Did you ever read the traditional Regency (a Signet, I think) that had the villain taking secret photographs in a gaming hell at night? Great research on that one….
Don’t you love the smattering of Latin and French that crops up in some of the writings during the Regency?

Who doesn’t like to win a game of chance? Goodness! How many of us buy lottery tickets and dream of wealth? That dream of winning by chance fueled many a gambling addiction of the Georgian and Regency periods. Think of the ruin of Brummell and the terrible debt of the Duchess of Devonshire.

As I told you a couple of weeks ago, I’m writing a Gaming Hell story where games of chance play a prominent part. My hero hopes to make a lot of money, because he will be running the games of chance, like Hazard or Faro, and the odds always favor the house.

Games of chance never really favor the player. The odds of winning the lottery are infinitesimal, but I have a nice giveaway to tell you about where the odds of winning are a whole lot better!

The Harlequin Historical authors are offering a Beach Bag Giveaway to kick off the summer vacation season. We have a June vacation calendar in which there are author giveaways at least four days out of each week. On the contest days, all you have to do is click on the author’s bookcover and follow the instructions. Each author is giving away a daily prize, but every time you enter, you gain a chance to win the grand prize–a Kindle Fire!!
(If you miss a day, you might miss the author’s daily prize, but you can still catch up and be eligible for the Grand Prize)

Click here for all the details.

The giveaway starts today!

My day to play is the very last day, June 28. I’ll be giving away a signed copy of A Not So Respectable Gentleman — or an ebook copy–to one lucky entrant. Details will be on my website.

Amanda’s day is June 14.

The Grand Prize winner will be selected on June 29.

So take a chance! Enter the giveaway. If you don’t win you won’t have to sneak away to escape your debtors!

What’s your favorite game of chance?

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