Hoyle's Book of Games

Hoyle's Book of Games was published in 1750, and was ostensibly a compendium of treatises on various card games. In reality it is actually a book of magical spells and rituals disguised by Hoyle as card games to avoid persecution. It was most popular with magick users in the American west, where card gaming was a major pastime, who deciphered some of the rituals which would often involve a deck of playing cards as some component. Some believe that the Book of Games was actually a guide to playing cards with The Devil wagering magickal power vs. the soul of the practitioner, and that the increase in popularity of ‘safer’ forms of magick accounts for the decline in the usage of the methods found in Hoyle's. Others hold that Hoyle's merely contains standard magick rituals but that the code needed to decipher them requires an intricate knowledge of card games. Members of the second camp tend to believe that most of the rituals described in Hoyle's have been transcribed into more accessible tomes, but that’s not to say that a few spells may still remain undiscovered.

However, very few if any original copies of Hoyle's Book of Games still exist, it was not considered an important work by most libraries of the time, and as the book was reprinted over the years, the language and diagrams were updated to suit a more modern reader, thereby eliminating their underlying significance.