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John W. Pinkerton


Enough.  I’m getting tired of explaining the game of bourré  (bouré) to folks who don’t know the game, so this is my final word on the subject.

I learned to play the game, an essential part of my education, while attending LSU.  My friend, Jim, and I played it a lot…a lot.  When I wasn’t going to class or eating or studying, I was playing bourré.  I recall a two week period in which, for all practical purposes, I didn’t eat----I needed the money for the game.

Bourré originated in the Cajun country of Louisiana which means it can’t be all bad.

Jim and I mostly played in old North Stadium when we were both housed there…usually room 444.   The games got to be well known and attracted a wide range of strange characters---all good ol’ boys.

Jim was a better player than I was, but I was no slouch.  You don’t play as partners, but Jim and I sought out games together.  The farthest we traveled to find a game was from Baton Rouge to Opelousas…hitchhiking.  We hitchhiked back in the rain no richer.  Those fellows were good.

The game is remarkably simple.  Five cards to each player.  Each player can fold or stay.  If the player stays, he can draw cards.  If he stays, he is commited: he must draw at least one trick, or bourré---match the pot.

Everyone else just antes again.  If anyone has more tricks than the other players, he clears the pot.  If two players have two tricks, the pot stays and everyone antes again.  The same rule applies if five players have one trick each.

The players must follow suit or trump.

Of course, there are various versions of these rules, but these are the basics.

The dealer always gets a trump card because he flips one of his for everyone to see as he is dealing.  The deal is passed to the left.

I guess the great attraction for me was and is the speed at which the pots can grow.  The pot can grow from a dollar to fifty dollars in a few hands, and even if the ante is more than a quarter, look out.

Now that you know how to play…you don’t.  I’ve seen players bourré holding five trumps.  It takes a little practice and a lot of patience.  You don’t have to play every time.

After Linda and I married, I taught her the game.  She can hold her own with the best.  Our policy is that a family that gambles together stays together.  The proof is that we’ve been together for nearly fifty years.