Variations on ASCOT
Employing a trump suit certainly complicates the game since, in many cases, players are trying to loose tricks and the holding of superior cards is a disadvantage. Equally, a trump may be the only way of halting a winning sequence of leads by the opponent.
If one player is very inexperienced, he can be given a favourable handicap by starting his two horses a length or more in front. The amount must be agreed between the players.
The race can be extended over more than one game by leaving the Aces in their final positions and re-dealing for a repeat contest. If one Ace advances well ahead of the others, care is needed to properly measure its precise position. A lined sheet of A3 sized paper or a specially made flat board are worth considering.
A gambling game with only two participants is not that usual, but "ASCOT" is ideal for risking more than pride. Once the cards are dealt, the players examine the prospects of each Ace as judged from their own hand. They then each offer odds against each of their opponents two Aces winning and must accept any bets, either from the opponent or from any of his supporters (who see only the opponent's hand).
For instance, "Red" holds KS, QS, JS, 3S and 2S. He considers that he is well in control of the suit, either by winning Spade leads by his opponent or by leading the 2S and 3S himself to deliberately loose exchanges. With such confidence, he offers 20 to 1 against Spades and prompts some wagers from his opponents. Likewise, starting with a void in Spades, he offers 2 to 1 "on" to discourage any bets.
The prospect of winning the bets will also influence the play. If "Black" has wagered heavily on his AS he can plan his play to promote that card, even at the expense of leaving his AC in a poor position.
So there we are, yet another way of loosing the weekly salary!