1. Seven-up also known as Old Sledge, is a card game derived from All Fours. It works well with three players, but is usually played by four in two fixed-partnerships. A standard deck of fifty-two cards is used.
There are four possible points per deal: High trump card, Low trump card, Jack of trumps and Game (highest point score in the game.) Points are awarded in the following order:
1. High: This is for being dealt the highest trump in play
2. Low: This is for being dealt the lowest trump in play. It doesn’t matter who wins the card in a trick. The point is awarded to the player or team that was dealt the lowest trump in that hand.
3. Jack: This point goes to the player or side that wins the Jack of Trumps in a trick.
4. Game: This point is awarded to the player or side that has the highest tally of valuable cards. (based on which player or side has won the greater number of kings, queens, jacks, aces and tens.)
Seven-up is played over several hands to an agreed total such as 7 or 10.
[origin: All Fours, also called Seven-up, is among the oldest extant card games in England. Its first known description was in Charles Cotton’s Compleat Gamester of 1674. The game was taken to America where it acquired other names such as Seven-Up, High-low, Jack or Old Sledge. According to Hoyle (August 1996) it was the favorite of the American gamester for a least a hundred years from the late 1700’s to the Civil war era. The game is still played in northwest England and Wales, and it has become the national game of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.]
The cartoon above shows All Fours being played in the presidential campaign of 1836. It was drawn by a satirist who was in sympathy with the Whigs. Opposing candidates Martin Van Buren (Democrat) and William Henry Harrison (Whig) face each other across a card table. Behind Van Buren stands his vice-presidential running mate Richard M. Johnson. Behind Harrison is incumbent President Andrew Jackson, who smokes a clay pipe and stands on tiptoes to spy on Harrison’s hand. With his left hand he signals to Van Buren. Jackson: “What a h–ll of a hand old Harrison’s got. I’m afraid Martin and Dick Johnson will go off with a flea in their ear.” Johnson: “The old general is making signs that Harrison has the two highest trump cards and low. Martin: “He’ll catch your Jack and then the jig’s up! You’d better beg.” Van Buren: “I ask one.” Harrison: “Take it! Now look out for your Jack!” On the wall above the table is a painting of the Battle of the Thames, one of Harrison’s celebrated military victories as well as the occasion on which Johnson is reported to have slain the Indian chief Tecumseh.
Carl gave a yell and dealt the cards unto the other chumps
And they all whooped with joyous glee when diamonds turned up trumps.
“High, jack and game is here, begad!” Pink** bellered with a scowl;
“You lie, you sot! You have it not!” Carl answered with a yowl.
Pink led the ace of trumps full soon, and “There,” said he, “is high!”
Carl followed suit, it was a trey, with a tough light in his eye.
Then Pink led out the queen of trumps and gave an ugly frown;
Carl snickered with unholy glee and laid a four spot down.
Pink swore full long and loud and rough and led the deuce of clubs;
Carl caught it with a king and said, “You’re all a lot of dubs.”
He led an ace and caught a king, “Here’s a game for me, egad!”
For many an ace and many a face the wicked scoundrel had.
And then an argument arose and loud was their abuse
And Pink got into lead again with a nine upon a deuce.
Then Pink laid down the diamond king and feinted with his right,
“Egad, that jack of yours will go, if it takes the rest of the night.”
Carl drank four pints of beer or so and at his hand he glanced—
He flung his cards at Stupid’s head and in his rage he danced.
Then with a curse that would, egad, clean freeze a camel’s humps,
Beside the king that Pink had led he put the jack of trumps.
Then long and loud the battle raged until the evening meal,
They punched each other in the nose and bit each other’s heel.
The battle lasted all that night; at last the field was clear,
And Pink had high and jack and game, and Carl was drunk on beer.
*Carl Macon and Pink, along with Robert E. Howard, were members of the “boardinghouse gang” while they were students at Howard Payne Commercial School. Pink was a nickname for REH’s friend, Lindsey Tyson.
[from “The Seven-Up Ballad”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 604 and Post Oaks and Sand Roughs, p. 175]