MawThis card game is reported to be Gaelic in origin. Supposedly it was a favorite of James VI of Scotland. The earliest record of the game comes from Ireland in 1551. The earliest rules are from Scotland, 1576.
Two to ten players may enter the game. All players bet an even amount to enter. The object of the game is to win either three or five tricks or to prevent another player from doing so. The winner of three tricks wins the pot. If there is no winner, another bet is wagered and added to the pot before the next hand. If a player wins the first three tricks they automatically win the pot. If they play to the forth trick they must win the rest of the tricks to win the pot. In this case normally the players must put in extra money. If the player does not take the final two tricks they are penalized. Normally by matching the pot.
To start play, each player is dealt five cards from a normal 52 card deck. The top card of the remaining is turned up to determine trump. The cards in the trump suit rank five, then jack, then ace of hearts regardless of the trump suit. Then ace of trump (if not hearts), king and queen. Now, depending on the color of the trump suit the remaining cards will be ranked different. For red they are ranked 10 down to 2 and for black they are ranked 2 to 10. Non trump cards are similarly ranked.
Play commences with the person to the dealers left. This person plays a card and all the other players take turns playing a card of the same suit if they have it. If they do not have the suit they may play a trump. If no trump then any card. They need not play the 5 & jack of trump or the ace of hearts if they do not desire. Lesser trump must be played if the player is void in a suit.
At times the rules will change slightly. All changed rules must be stated by the dealer before dealing and betting commences.
If you are interested in a source for Elizabethan era playing cards contact me.
[Source: Elizabethan Card Games]