Friday, 19 June 2009

Richard of Loxley

This is my solution to the Richard of Loxley riddle at Question of the Day. It's a bit long as a comment and I thought that since I spent most of my evening solving the riddle, the solution is a pretty accurate reflection of what I've been thinking about. I'm leaving a bit of space so that if anyone doesn't want to see my solution they can look away now.




The riddle describes a game of Texas Hold'em Poker – the penultimate verse references Houston, the capital of Texas and then contains the words “hold them”. The riddle asks the solver to name the community cards, or board, in the last line.

The first verse refers to “Richard of Loxley” Loxley is the birthplace of Roin Hood, so this Richard is King Richard the Lionheart. “Robbed of his name [Richard] and his beast [the lion]” he becomes King Heart, or the King of Hearts. His wife is the Queen of Hearts. These are the hole dealt to the reader.

The second verse refers to the betting.*

The third verse is about the flop. The “image concealed in a flame” is the card that is burned. Then the Nine of Clubs “half dozen clovers and half more” is turned up, followed by the Ace and the Two of Hearts – the only two cards that will have three of the same emblem and give the reader a straight (A-K-Q of hearts) as mentioned at the beginning of the fourth verse.

Another card is burned, then the Jack of Diamonds (Jack Daniels whisky and diamond jewellery) is turned up. He “stands with his two twins”: the two Jacks in the speaker's hole. This gives the speaker three of a kind – not the best hand, but “if luck can be pressed” they may become a full house.

Another card is burned and the river is turned up: “a shovel of uppermost rank”, or the Ace of Spades. This gives the speaker a full house (Jacks full of Aces) (the “once-empty house” in the penultimate verse). The speaker “chip[s] in” or raises.

The next verse reminds the reader of that by folding (s)he will never know whether or not (s)he would have won, but goes on to gloat about how the full house will beat the straight at the showdown. The last two lines clarify the type of poker (I'm not sure about the doggies, though, unless they're meant to be dogies).

The final line asks for the board, which is Nine of Clubs, Two of Hearts, Ace of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, Ace of Spades. (I think the Ace of Hearts would come after the Two, since the straight is only discovered after the flop is completed.)

*It does go into more detail, but I've never played Poker, which I think is why I don't follow it. “The moon garbed in John's angry shade” must be a red(?) chip. “Switched red ball for green” must be making change. Maybe putting $20 into the pot, in effect. I don't know how or what the speaker appends to his hole.

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