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on 14 June 2008
I went into a bookshop to look at a number of manuals on card games before choosing this one. It's much the best I could find. Not only does it list a great variety of games (100 in all), but at the back it indexes them by "Type" (e.g. patience, family, trick-taking, melding, casino, children etc) and by "Number of Players". So if, for example, you're looking for a gambling game for three players, a quick bit of cross-referencing will suggest that Skat is the game for you.
As well as clear, well-illustrated instructions for famous games like Bridge, Bezique, Euchre, Hearts, Whist, Canasta, Rummy (and its spin-offs) and Poker (and all of its variants), there are plenty of unusual games for seasoned, curious players, such as Pope Joan, Schafkopf, Quinto and Calypso.
Best of all is Peter Arnold's writing style. He is clear, but never dry. His introduction, plus chapters on card history, etiquette and cheating make for good reading. Whether you want to refresh your memory on the rules of Snap so you can teach it to a small child, or get a solid grounding in Texas Hold 'Em - this book covers them all.
By the way, I bought it not only for myself, but in an attempt to persuade my two young sons that not all the best games are on a PC. Now they're playing Pontoon, Go Fish, Rummy and a number of other games. Not only are card games more social, but are good for kids' numeracy skills.
I have to add that in my copy I have spotted just one or two typos, but nothing too serious. I thoroughly recommend this book.