Have you ever thought of the stories behind the colors of poker? Why would it be red or black instead of other colors, like blue and green? The reason for having different colors is to enhance the ease of distinguishing them from one another. In fact, the factors behind the choice of red or black are the high availability and low rates of ink. In the past, red ink was produced with cinnabar and linseed oil, while the black ink was made with soot and linseed oil. Compared with blue and green inks, red or black inks carry a higher durability and a lower cost of production. Aside from the economic factor, some theories suggest that the colors red or black symbolize day and night. With the colors of red or black deeply rooted in people’s minds, several card games are named ‘Red or Black’. And under constant variation, different versions have been developed.
Napoleon at St Helena’s Red or Black
Napoleon at St Helena’s Red or Black is a one player solitaire card game. Prior to the game, a total of 104 cards are required. It can be formed by two standard 52-card packs. Four rows of ten cards each will be drawn and face up to form a tableau. The player should leave some space above the tableau to create eight foundations, then move the top card from any column in the tableau, or place any card in an empty tableau space. The foundations are built up by suit, in particular, from ace to king, while the cards for the tableau columns are built down. The player can draw one card each time from the stock and place it onto the tableau, foundations, or wastepile. The restrictions include that only the top card from wastepile can be used, and the stock can only be gone through once. To finish the game, the player has to move all the cards to the foundations and form families with the sequence from ace to king.
This game is well known for its low winning chances. On top of the player’s skills, luck-of-the-draw also plays an important role. So, it is estimated that the winning chances are 1 in 10 games. If you like to increase the probability of winning, you can probably consider its other versions, for example, removing the restriction of only using the top card from the wastepile, instead, using any card from it. Another typical variation is to take out the eight aces at the beginning of the game as the foundations. The tableau will be built down by alternating colors instead of suits. The cards built down on top of a tableau can be moved as a sequence. To enjoy a further variation, the player can also choose to alter the number of card decks used in the game, for instance, a single-pack variant or a triple-pack variant.
Rouge et Noir (Red or Black in French)
Rouge et Noir is a patience card game with two card sets. Despite having a similar name, it is different from the Napoleon at St Helena’s Red or Black. In the game, there will be ten columns. The first column consists of eight cards and the second column will have seven cards and so on until both the eighth and ninth columns contain only one card. The tenth column will be kept empty. All cards excluding the top one should be facing down. The player will have to make four aces as foundations and build them up. At the same time, four columns in the tableau with the king as the start have to be built down by alternating colors. The player can move the sequences in part or in whole. One card will be placed in each column from the stock upon no moves. The game ends when the stock has run out.
Red or black have been a classic card game throughout the decades. The continuous development has created countless legends. Players can choose their preferred version with reference to its difficulty level and number of card decks. You would definitely fall into the timeless fascination of red or black.