The St. James’ Guide

In 1825, a mysterious gambling book was published in London: The St. James’ Guide, or The Sharper Detected, by an anonymous author, in four separate parts, with the intent to reveal the methods used to cheat the unwary at the many gentlemen’s pastimes of the period: from playing cards, to billiards, to dice, to backgammon.

The St. James' Guide or, the Sharper Detected - 1825

The book was revolutionary for the time, revealing and illustrating – for the first time in English – many practical stratagems and listing, for the last time, other cheating strategies since forgotten. However, this book quickly disappeared from circulation and it seems that no complete copy is available; with only a handful of copies of the first part in public libraries.

St James Guide - cheating while gambling at diceAn Updated Version

It is a great honour to present a reprint of the most complete surviving copy of this book, completely re-laid out and with two commentaries by Gianfranco Preverino and Marco Pusterla, analysing the bibliographical and technical importance of the book.

The St. James’ Guide is particularly important for the number of engravings it contains, being the largest number in any gambling book of the time and for many of the following years: all these prints have been faithfully reproduced in this copy.

The book is hardback, cloth-bound with gold titles, with 192 pages, of which 12 are on high-quality glossy paper for the illustrations. Only 300 hand-numbered copies have been printed,

St James Guide - cheating while gambling at cards

Important Gambling Techniques

Amongst the most important stratagems described (and illustrated, some for the first time) are:

  • “Belly Stripper” cards
  • How to open and re-seal a deck of cards
  • The first depiction of the “push-off” second deal
  • The first depiction on how control dice in advantage play
  • Stratagems to cheat with dice
  • How to cheat at Back-gammon
  • The “Greek Deal”
  • The first explanation of the “Third Deal”
  • How to indicate a partner where to cut the deck
  • … and much more

Don’t miss this rare and lost treatise on advantage play!

NOTE: if you want to buy more than one copy, please contact us with your details and we will send you a PayPal invoice with the total and the correct shipping charges.

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