I heard an enjoyable speech full of reminiscences last Saturday, including the fact that the speaker’s father-in-law had collected money for charity by playing pinochle (about 80 years ago). I suspected that hardly any of the two hundred listeners knew how to collect money in this way. Here’s how it worked:
Pinochle is traditionally a 2, 3 or 4-handed card game. The three-hand version is usually played for money. If you lose a hand, you pay the other two players and also a virtual player called the “kitty”. If you win, you win from the other two players, but not from the kitty (unless you win a rather high bid). The balance of game rules and human nature is such that the kitty always comes out ahead. Players traditionally used the kitty to pay for sandwiches and drinks, but here’s a case where the kitty went to charity.