Primo visto
Primo visto, Primavista, Prima-vista, Primi-vist, Primiuiste,
Primofistula, or even Primefisto, is a 16th-century gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 card game fashionable c. 1530-1640. Very little is known about this game, but judging by the etymology of the words used to describe the many local variants of the game, it appears to be one of Italian origin.

Historical claims

Based upon references in period literature it appears to be closely related to the game of Primero
Primero, Prime, Primus, Primiera, Primavista, often referred to as “Poker’s mother”, as it is the first confirmed version of a game directly related to modern day poker, is a 16th century gambling card game of which the earliest reference dates back to 1526...

, with some later authorities claiming that the two games were in fact the very same.
Opposing claims to this theory include the fact that the earliest known reference to the name Primo visto appears in Greene's "Notable Discovery of Coosnage" published in 1591, more than half a century after the name Primero was in common use. John Minsheu
John Minsheu
John Minsheu was an English linguist and lexicographer. He was born and died in London. Little is known about his life. He published some of the earliest dictionaries and grammars of the Spanish language for speakers of English. His major work was the Ductor in linguas , an eleven-language...

, an English linguist and lexicographer, claims that Primero and Prima vista (hence Primo visto) were two distinct card games - "That is, first and first seen, because he that can shew such an order of cardes first winnes the game", although he gives but one set of names and just one reason for their names Robert Nares
Robert Nares
Robert Nares was an English clergyman, philologist and author.-Life:He was born at York in 1753, the son of James Nares , organist of York Minster and educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.From 1779 to 1783 he lived with the family of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Baronet as...

 in his book "A Glossary" states that the circumstance of the cards being counted in the same way, with the "Six" reckoned for eighteen and the "Seven" for twenty-one, seems to determine that Primo visto was the same as Primero, or even possibly a later variation of the latter.

Slightly stronger evidence exists in the form of a wonderful list of popular board and card games and diversions of the time of the English Renaissance
English Renaissance
The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the late 15th and early 16th centuries to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th century; like most of northern...

 in John Taylor
John Taylor (poet)
John Taylor was an English poet who dubbed himself "The Water Poet".-Biography:He was born in Gloucester, 24 August 1578....

's 1621 book "Taylor's Motto", listing both Primero and Primefisto, and the same occurs in a list of card games in Richard Brome
Richard Brome
Richard Brome was an English dramatist of the Caroline era.-Life:Virtually nothing is known about Brome's private life. Repeated allusions in contemporary works, like Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, indicate that Brome started out as a servant of Jonson, in some capacity...

's "The New Academy".


A brief poem by the French Humanist Mellin de Saint-Gelais
Mellin de Saint-Gelais
Mellin de Saint-Gelais was a French poet of the Renaissance and Poet Laureate of Francis I of France.- Life :...

 written in 1525 describes Francisco I, Pope Clement VII and Charles V (each involved in a struggle for the possession of Italy) playing a hand of "Prime" (a game similar to Primero and to the "Flux"). That seems to indicate that the game of Primo visto, and consequently Primero, is probably older than many historians have been able to determine and may date to the beginning of the 16th century or even further back in time.

A comparison to the terms used in the game of Primero, the mode of playing and the outcome, indicates that Primo visto was played according to the rules of Primero. It is possible, however, that it was played with only three cards dealt to each player instead of four, followed by a few rounds of bettings. Another possible difference may lie in the amount staked to the pool. Undoubtedly, it is certain that the main part of the game was one of bluff and vies among the players, which also suggests that Primo visto was a simple variant, like the French game of "Prime".

See also

  • Primero
    Primero, Prime, Primus, Primiera, Primavista, often referred to as “Poker’s mother”, as it is the first confirmed version of a game directly related to modern day poker, is a 16th century gambling card game of which the earliest reference dates back to 1526...

  • Three card brag
    Three card brag
    Three card brag is a 16th century British card game, and the British national representative of the vying or "bluffing" family of gambling games...

  • Bouillotte
    Bouillotte, a vying 18th century French gambling card game of the Revolution, based on Brelan, very popular during the 19th century in France and again in America for some years from 1830. Bouillotte is regarded as one of the games that influenced the open-card studvariation in poker.-Game:A piquet...

  • Post and Pair
    Post and Pair
    Post and Pair, is a 16th century English gambling card game based on the same three-card combinations, namely Prial, found in related game of this family. It is much depended on vying, or betting, requiring repeated staking as well as daring on the part of the players...

  • Put (card game)
    Put (Card Game)
    Put is an English tavern trick-taking card game first recorded in the 16th century and later castigated by 17th century moralists as one of ill repute. It belongs to a very ancient family of card games and clearly relates to a group known as Trut, Truque, also Tru, and the South American game Truco...

  • Ambigu
    Ambigu is a French card game, composed of the characteristic elements of whist, bouillotte and piquet.A whist pack with the court cards deleted is used, and from two to six persons may play. Each player is given an equal number of counters, and a limit of betting is agreed upon. Two cards are...

External links

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