August 29: According to Hoyle Day

Edmond_HoyleApparently this is one of those phrase’s I’ve missed out on. “According to Hoyle” is a way to figuratively appeal to a high authority, as in “this is how things are done in polite society.” It’s also a way to literally introduce a rule from one of Edmond Hoyle’s many instruction books on various games, such as whist, backgammon, chess, and quadrille.

whist - image credit Jane Austen Society of North AmericaHoyle, who passed away on August 29, 1769, worked as a game tutor for the upper class, particularly in the card game whist (somewhat similar to bridge). If you ever read a Jane Austen book, you can easily picture people hiring a whist tutor in the hope that improved whist skills will result in improved social lives during long winter evenings in the drawing room.

During his tutoring, Hoyle began giving extensive notes to his students. Eventually, he published these as A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742. The small book sold so well that it went through several printings and remained THE authority for over a hundred years.

“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.”

Romans 13:3

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