I have been trying to do a little research into the game of Rook in eastern Kentucky.
Rook is a standard bidding/trump card game that is played with a special deck made by Parker Brothers. The deck consists of a 1-14 of four colors (typically red, green, yellow, and black) and a “Rook”.
The thing that interests me is that while there is a rule book that comes with the deck, the game played all over eastern KY is unlike any in the book. For instance, the 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s are always removed, there are always two teams of two, etc.
So what I have been trying to figure out is–what made this game so popular in eastern KY? In most places you can’t even find Rook cards, but any store would sell them here.
And, how did such a standard set of rules get spread throughout such a wide area, despite having not been written down anywhere?
My theory on question one is the percieved evil of “poker” cards by the religious folk of the area. With Rook cards, you could safely play cards with the family after church without worrying about keeping up appearances.
Pretty obscure topic, I know, but does anyone have any ideas? I’m hoping to turn this into a magazine article.