Whist was created in England, it evolved from Ruff and Honours, which was a very popular game in the 17th century. As early as in the 18th century whist was described by the expert on all card games, Edmund Hoyle. Since then we can speak about a growing popularity of the game.
In the 19th century, whist became one of the favourite pastimes of the English society. Back then it also gained all kinds of additional rules, specialist names and game etiquette.
A game of whist was treated as a social event, and therefore it had to conform to certain set of rules. Nevertheless, it always evoked emotions and was a subject of long, heated discussions right after.
There are multiple variants of whist: bid whist, Scottish whist, Russian whist, Israeli whist, Minnesota whist. However, the most important one was the Russian whist, which originated a new game, initially called Biritch. Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the father, or rather the grandfather of the contemporary bridge!
Whist is one of the most often portrayed card games in literature, especially in English-language books. Among the famous whist players, we can find:
- Phileas Fogg, the protagonist of the 80 Days Around the World by Jules Verne,
- Elisabeth Bennet, the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen,
- Horatio Hornblower from C.S. Forester’s marine series,
- Richard Sharpe, the protagonist of Bernard Cornwell’s Napoleonic series,
- Jamie Fraser, a Scottish highlander and hero of Diana Gabaldon’s books… and many more.