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Card game. It belongs to a family that includes bridge whist and bridge, each of which developed in succession from the original game of whist. The essential features of card games in the whist family are: four people usually play, two against two as partners; a full 52-card deck is dealt out evenly so that each player holds 13 cards; the object of play is to win tricks, and win or loss is determined by the number of tricks taken (as distinct from games such as pinochle, in which it is determined by the value of card points taken in tricks). Whist originated in 17th-century England.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on whist, visit Britannica.com.