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Ace of Hearts, also known as Fair Chance, was a simple roulette-like gambling game played in England in the 18th century.

It was explicitly banned by the Gaming Act 1738 (12 Geo. II., c. 28) of George II, but outside of that law it appears to be little-mentioned: the only description of the method of play that I have found is in a pamphlet describing the probabilities of the game.A[p. 74]

Some few references that I have found: In a satirical verse published in 1740, one “Damon” is described as a “ſerious gameſter at the ace of hearts”.B In his 1753 book Letters to a Gentleman of Fortune, relating to His Conduct in Life (p. 36) Lyonell Vane included the game in a fictional diary of a lady who is “far gone in high-life”.


The equipment for the game consists of a table upon which are painted a number of cards (perhaps 25 or 31),A[p. 74] around the edges of a device somewhat like a roulette wheel. A ball is placed into the device (called a “worm”) and it runs around until it falls into a socket next to one of the cards which are painted on the table.

To play, the players stake their money upon one or more of the cards, and then the ball is released. If a player has selected the card upon which the ball falls, they win their bet and are paid out (at 23∶1 or 28∶1 for the number of cards given above).


  1. (). ⁨⁩ (4th edition). Printed for B. Motte and C. Bathurst⁩: London.

  2. Anonymous (). ‘⁨⁩’. The Gentleman’s Magazine vol. 10 (3), : page 138. Edited by Sylvanus Urban. E. Cave⁩: London.

  3. (). ⁨⁩. W. Owen⁩: London.


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