Nick Poynton Esq 1983
(The Inaugural Event)
Frank Reed Esq 1984
Nick Waterworth Esq 1985
Ian Waller Esq 1986
(The 1st Australian Champion of Australian descent)
Nick Rice Esq 1987
Ian Waller Esq 1989
(The first Man to have ever won the Championships twice)
Mark Ohlsson 1991
Jon Bailey 1993
David Hewlitt 1996
Tony Hale 1997
John Phippard 1998
Jon Bailey 1999
(only the 2nd man to become a Dual Champion)
Mark Ohlsson 2000
(The third Dual National Champion
David Durrell 2001
Stan Gyles 2002
Peter Bolton 2003
John Brooks (NZ) 2004
Stan 'The Cuban' Gyles 2005
Perry Wilson 2006
Perry Wilson (1st back to back) 2007
Mark Ohlsson (1st Triple Champion) 2008
Ben Kirkby 2012
Dean Addicoat 2013
Riverside Spoofers "Backhoe" Joe Bajraszewski
and Binny Kirkman
relax after the recent
Northern Club Spoofing
Also enjoying the Northern Club Championships are
Dave Cummins, last year's runner-up if anyone ever remembers, Binny (again)
and Clem 'The Legend' Smith
Dave Cummins (L) and Phil Martin (R) commiserate with Northern Club Championship Runner-Up, Mr Adrian Coomber.
Tasmanian Spoofing School
The game of spoof has been around for years in one form or another. People used matchsticks, beer caps or anything else close to hand at the time. Then, one fog-bound night at the Hollywood Arms in London, a group of public school old boys of the posh and toff type were spoofing in between nips of port. The conversation turned to the camaraderie they shared as gentlemen and lovers of sport and they decided to form a few loosely knit spoofing rules to foster good fellowship. Nothing was written down at the time but, as befits a game for gentlemen, certain customs were developed to which people adhere the world over.
Thus the noble art of spoofing was revitalised and has subsequently circled the globe with participating countries including the United Kingdom (of course), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the United States of America and, more recently, Greenland.
The game of spoof in its modern day form was brought to Australia by one C.J. Streeting Esq. who, on sabbatical leave in the United Kingdom, had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of several of the “founding fathers” and partake of spoofing at that most hallowed shrine, The Hollywood Arms. In the late 1970’s, whilst on a visit supporting a touring Rugby team from the Old Dart, three of the original ‘Gang of Four’ willingly entered into spirited competition against some of the Colony’s finest spoofers and firmly entrenched the art and tradition of spoofing in Australia.
The Bridgeview Hotel in suburban Sydney became the home of Australian spoofing and over the years has spawned several National Champions who have since spread the gentle art to all parts of the sunburnt country.
Twice Australian Champion, Ian Waller Esq. returned the fine art of spoofing to the penal colony of Van Dieman’s Land (now Tasmania) circa 1986 where it has grown in popularity ever since and spawned many top quality spoofers.
The home of spoofing in Tasmania, The Riverside Hotel Motel in Launceston, regularly features spirited spoofing on a Friday evening and was the site of Tasmania’s first “Smokin Moon” spoof.
The game of Spoofing has been defined by a notorious innkeeper named Kevin Schwass as ‘the ancient art of mathematical calculation as played by gentlemen’.
The object of the game is simple - each spoofer must present a clenched fist containing anywhere from zero to three coins at the command “ Gentlemen, when the hands are out.”. Having regard for the maximum number of coins that you and your erstwhile opponents can hold (three times the numbers of players partaking), one cunningly decides in secret behind one’s back or in one’s pocket how many coins to hold. The choices are none, one, two or three.
The first player to bid is democratically decided by the spin of a match, the burnt end being the pointer ( a noble tradition - origin obscure). This player then makes his call and play continues in a clockwise direction with each player making a different call until all have spoken.
At the end of the calls, the fists are opened in order, starting with the first caller and again proceeding in a clockwise direction. Each player adds the total of his coins to the previous sum and calls out this number. Logically, and providing every player’s mathematical ability is up to 1st Grade standard, the number called out by the last player is the total of all the hands.
The spoofer who has nominated this total as his winning call then graciously withdraws from further rounds and, if he is the first to do such, thence usually proceeds to the purveyor of spiritous liquors (the bar) and orders the round for all contestants.
All remaining players then go through the process again (ie selecting their coins and estimating the total) until there are only two players left. This is called a Final. One of these two players will inevitably correctly estimate the total of the two hands (this has been known to take some time) and the other player is then declared as “having the honour” of purchasing the required drinks or, in most cases, re-imbursing the first player out the monies already paid. In most schools this is regarded as being a great privilege and should be treated as such.
There are basically two types of spoofing: social, where the last remaining player shouts the round, buys the lunch etc. and Championship Spoofing, where there are formal preliminaries, quarter, semifinals and a Final.
Perhaps the most famous of all spoofs was between two players, Bill Endacott and Nick Poynton, two of the original group who formed the rules. They were the best of lifelong friends who did everything together. It came about, however, that this did not apply to a certain young lass who commanded both of their attentions. It was decided that the United Kingdom was too small for the both gentlemen and, naturally, the fairest way to settle the issue was to spoof- with the loser to emigrate. So these two titans of the game spoofed a best of seven contest with Mr Endacott losing. Without any show of emotion, Mr Endacott was then heard to say “Nick, it’s been an absolute pleasure spoofing with you” and a week later rang from Johannesburg where, save for the occasional jaunt, he has been ever since. The call for two around the world has since been an “Endacott” or “Absent Friends”.
1. Etiquette decrees that three coins of equal size should be used. More than three coins held by a player will automatically be declared a hand of three.
2. Calls should be audible (that means you can hear them), clear and concise and should be made without undue delay.
3. There is no obligation for calls by any player to be repeated. Not remembering the previous calls, or not paying attention, are regarded as signs of a novice and are frowned upon by spoofers with even a modicum of calibre.
4. Players must remember their own calls above all else. An unclaimed winning call shall result in all players resuming the spoof as if the call had not been made until one or other of them can remember their winning call. This situation usually occurs late in the session or after substantial amounts of alcoholic refreshments have been consumed.
5. Impossible calls shall be subject to a penalty not exceeding one bottle of port, or one round of drinks for all the players participating at the time of the impossible call. There shall be no evasion of this responsibility. Impossible calls are deemed to be those which are, naturally enough, impossible to take place. For example, a player holding no coins in a school of three cannot call seven or above as the maximum that can be held by his opponents is six.
6. Some noteworthy call variations are;
6.1 The Haughton Six - called only in a school of three when holding three. The coins are usually displayed to verify the fact that indeed three are being held. The total amongst the other competitors is therefore deemed by the caller to be three. Gentlemen do not usually hold three and call anything else but the Haughton. This call was named after the infamous Stuart Haughton who was known to use the call with uncanny accuracy and bravado.
6.2 Unspecified Six - again in a school of three calling six when holding less than three coins. In all other schools a call of six will suffice.
6.3 Full House - a call which assumes all players are holding the maximum of three coins each.
6.4 Cawood Pass - called in the belief that the winning call has already gone. (eg) if the previous calls have been ‘4’, ‘6’ and ‘5’ and one is of the belief that any of these calls could be the winning one, then one could call the “Cawood Pass”. An incorrect Cawood results in the fine of one round of drinks for all participating in that school at the time of the call. The other players who may have got out of the school already are not eligible for a free drink. The nature and effect of the Cawood call means that it is usually only used by the brave-hearted or the drunk or as the only way of avoiding an impossible call.
6.5 Spoof - signifies that one believes that the total of all coins being held to be zero. (Refer to impossible calls, this call cannot be made when holding any coins at all).
6.6 The Waller Nine– called only when holding three in a school of Four. As with the Haughton Six, the coins are usually displayed. Regularly used by Mr Ian Waller to great effect, usually as an opening call.
6.7 The Criminal Eight - used only in a school of four or more when holding no coins and declaring the total to be eight. Insttuted by notorious Tasmanian Spoofer Mr Adrian (Criminal) Coomber who just wanted his name on a call for posterity.
7. Illegal calls are those that have already been called by another player. These calls, if noticed, must be retracted immediately and another possible call made. If unnoticed, the original call shall be deemed to be correct and the subsequent call incorrect.
8. Absence from a school during a spoof cannot, and will not, be tolerated. Fines can be levied at the discretion of either the players or a member of the Committee if present but must not exceed a round of drinks for those participating in the school.
9. The player having the honour from the previous spoof has the sole right to call a re-spoof for that particular school. This can be done at the time of his choosing and no pressure is to be exerted on this player to call the said re-spoof. Another school can be formed in the interim, if so desired, by any player calling “Spoof Gentlemen?” however this should not interfere with the existing school.
10. Having the honour is indeed an honour and should be treated as such. Any player refusing to honour this honour will be subject to a fate most inglorious and quite possibly banished from further spoofing.
11. On no event is spoofing ever to be undertaken for monetary reward or for favours of a sexual nature. This is the most heinous crime against the tradition and honour of the game of spoofing and can can have the most undeniably horrific consequences
12. Gloating when getting out of a school, particularly in the first round, is severely frowned upon and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding a bottle of port. Gloating is the sign of a novice spoofer or a gentleman of exceedingly low origin and is not to be encouraged under any circumstance.
13. The game of spoof is a gentlemen's game and, as such, members of the female persuasion in general should be discouraged from spoofing (unless in the possession of a small sac well-filled). The one exception to this rule shall be on the last Tuesday before Christmas when, as their Yuletide present, said females shall be invited to show their feminine guiles in the ancient art of spoofing.
14. The Burbury (or Premature Exposure) named after Tasmanian Spoofer Mr Richard Burbury, is a legal, if not sensible, action in the game of spoof. This occurs when a player discloses the contents of his hand before all calls have been completed, quite often after the calling of a Haughton Six or the Waller Nine or after considerable consumption of alcohol in the case of it's namesake. In the event of a Burbury, play shall continue as if the hand had not been exposed, however it shall be noted that this may be to the advantage of the players who have not yet called. The only times a hand should be exposed is when calling a Haughton/Waller or when all calls in the school have been made.
The names of all spoofers present will be drawn at random and allocated into as many even schools as are required. On average, four to five players per school is the optimum.
Each school will complete seven (7) spoofs and after each spoof points will be awarded on the following basis -
school of four
1st out - 4 points
2nd out -3 points
3rd out - 2 points
4th out - 0 points
The number of points awarded will depend on the number of players, however, the maximum should always equal the number of players and the minimum should always be zero.
The spoofer who has amassed the greatest number of points at the completion of seven rounds will progress to the next round, be it quarterfinal or semifinal; the remainder shall have their names placed into a draw for the repechage heats.
Round Two - The Repechage
Once again all spoofers will be randomly allocated into the required number of schools. Each school will spoof seven (7) times with points awarded on the same basis as for the First round. The spoofer who has amassed the greatest number of points at the completion of the seven rounds shall progress to the quarter or semifinals and the remainder shall proceed to the Handwash and shall comprise the non-partisan crowd for the rest of the proceedings and will be free to take odds on the outcome.
Round Three - The Semi-Final
The names of the semifinalists will be drawn by a neutral observer and two schools will be formed each comprising as near as possible an equal number of players. Each school will spoof seven (7) times and, at the end of each spoof, points will be awarded on a similar basis to previous rounds.
The spoofer who has amassed the greatest number of points at the end of the seven rounds in each school will progress to THE FINAL.
The final will be decided by the best of seven (7) conclusive spoofs. That is, spoofs where there has been a correct nomination made. Logically, the first player to score four wins will have an unbeatable lead and The Final will be concluded. There is no necessity to proceed to all seven conclusive spoofs.
The Winner shall thereafter, until the next Championship be known as “The Greatest Spoofer in the Land”.
0. The Loudon Clear—calling zero in a school of four or less. Used by Tasmanian legend John Loudon to great effect.
1. The Glynnis Nunn - after her excellent achievements at the Los Angeles Olympic Games
2. The Endacott or Absent Friends (After Mr Bill Endacott as explained previously in the Rules)
3. Flowers or Always Available (after the beautiful Ms Leslie-Ann Flowers who mostly was) or The Trevi (after the famous Fountain also containing three coins)
4. Jewish Hospital - they tend to be full of fore(four)skins or just Skins.
5. General Belgrano, Titanic, Rainbow Warrior (or in Tasmania The Illawarra) - all of which sank ergo cinq which in French is five.
6. Sux - derivation obvious to any who have come into contact with living proof that Queenslanders can swim (ie) Kiwis.
7. Mission from Heaven - rhyming slang for seven or Neves - which those clever people will notice is seven backwards (generally used in America where they usually are in regard to spoofing)
8. The Harry Tait - after the notorious player who never seemed to dip in his pocket (ie)Harry never pays or The Duchess of York - after the well known Flying Budgie who gave birth at eight minutes past eight in the eighth month of ‘88.
The Criminal Eight –calling eight holding none in a school of four or more. Made famous by renowned spoofer Adrian Coomber (The Crim) who was known to use the call with great success.
9. The German Virgin as this is what one will hear her saying most of the time in mixed company.
10. The Kiwi - after the New Zealand tin cint coin much loved for the playing of the game.
11. Legs or The Tina Turner - after the famous Bingo call of Legs Eleven and who has a better set than the much admired rock and roll grandmother. (Sometimes also the Betty Grable)
12. The Imperial - for the Imperial Dozen
13. The Baker’s - after the famous and now almost extinct (except in Tasmania) Bakers Dozen.
14. Panties - in the Old Dart panties are drawers which rhymes with quatorze which is French for fourteen.
15. The Film Festival - held at Cannes which rhymes with quinze again French for fifteen.
Milan Rules - A Variation
With many thanks to Mr David Semeria from the Milan School.
As in Traditional (Hollywood Rules), all the players start off with 0-3 coins in the right hand and the ‘Coin Count’ refers to the total coins held in all the right hands. However, the aim of this game is not to guess the coin count straight-off. In Milan Rules Spoof the players make increasingly higher bids (guesses on the coin count) until someone believes a bid is too high. Since you win by being the last one in the game, you try to make your bids as low as possible and hope you don’t get called.
He who was ‘crap’ (i.e. the first player out from the previous game) starts off with the first bid. The first player could, and very often does, start with a bid of ‘one’. The next player (the direction is decided by the first player and can vary from round to round) now has a choice: he can RAISE the bid (for example by saying ‘two’ or ‘three’) or he can CALL his opponent, which he does by opening his right hand. Once a player is called, all the other players also open their hands and the coins are counted. If there are AT LEAST as many coins as the bid, then the caller loses. Alternatively, if the coin count is less than the bid then it is the called player who loses. A losing player loses a coin. If he had only one coin left then he’s out of the game. .
A round proceeds with increasing bids until someone is called. After someone loses a coin, a new round starts with the total coin count reduced by one. The new round is initiated by whoever lost a coin in the preceding round. When all the players apart from one are out, then the remaining player is the winner and pockets the large wad of notes in the center of the table.
That is the basic outline of the game, but to fully enjoy Milan Rules Spoof you must be aware of the three special calls:
The ‘Cliff’ call: This is an extremely dangerous / useful call. When a player calls Cliff he is saying that he thinks the preceding bid is EXACTLY equal to the coin count. If he is wrong he loses a coin, as usual. But if he is right, he WINS a coin. This is the only way a player can increase his coin count and is the main reason end games can last a long time. It is also the basis for some amazing come-backs. Whoever called Cliff, win or lose, starts the bidding in the next round (unless he got it wrong and only had one coin, and so is now out). Cliff is generally used when there are a small number of coins on the table, and hence the odds of being wrong are less enormous. There are, however, some persistent Cliffers, who tend to drink a lot, call Cliff on totals like ‘18’ and go home with no money.
The ‘Spoof’ call. Largely superceded by the Cliff call, the Spoof call is now used mainly for defensive purposes. You would say Spoof if you thought the maximum number of coins was being held. For example, in a game with 4 players all with 3 coins the maximum would be 12. If someone bid 12 to you then you obviously can’t say 13, but believing there are actually 12 you don’t want to call him either. In the this case you would say “Spoof”, meaning “they’re all there’. If indeed they are all there, then the round is a DRAW and nobody loses a coin whereas if you’re wrong then you lose a coin. The Spoof call is now rarely used because, as in the preceding example, if you thought the preceding call was EXACTLY right you would say Cliff instead of Spoof, because if you’re right with Cliff you win a coin rather than it being a draw.
So when is Spoof used? Spoof can be used by cunning players to prevent the next player making a Cliff call. Let’s take the above example, instead of saying 12, and thereby leaving the Cliff call open to you, the player before you can say Spoof. He, too, believes they’re all there but he can’t Cliff it because the bid to him was not 12. By saying Spoof he can at least stop you from winning a coin with a successful Cliff call
The ‘Zero’ call. Only for special occasions. If you start a round by saying Zero, then everyone must automatically open their hands. If there are no coins out , then everyone apart from you loses a coin. If there are one or more coins then you lose coin. All most exclusively used in one on one end games, when there aren’t many coins.
The main disadvantage of the Hollywood Rules (noble as they are) is that a player only gets one bite at the cherry, and so has no opportunity (or advantage) in misleading the other players. In Milan Rules, there is much scope for talking up the table. This can be done both via aggressive bids (when holding little or nothing) and by making very bullish statements such as ‘Mitt-full! Mitt-full !’ Inevitably, some players (especially the inexperienced) will believe all the hype and will continue to bid up the table. When someone gets sucked into a big bid only to find that there were hardly any coins out, this is known as a ‘Hoover’.
Many mathematically-minded players have sat down to play Milan Rules and quickly developed strategies based on ‘Expected Values’, ‘Variance’ etc. They lose. Always. Milan Rules is all about body language and nerves. Tell-tale signs such nervous twitches, beads of sweat, furrowed brows and unconfident speech patterns can be detected by the skilled spoofer to defeat the unwary. In a fiendish twist on this, skilled players fake the tell tale signs so as to suck-in other skilled players who are looking for them. Beware of the expert player looking indecisive or distressed. It’s almost certainly a double-bluff.
Along the same lines, beware of the ‘Shearn Wobble’ – this is a feeble attempt at intimidation which involves making the ‘I’m about to open my hand’ gesture and at the last moment keeping the hand closed. The inexperienced player will look terrified if he thinks he’s about to be called (and holding nothing) or alternatively very smug (when holding large). The perpetrator of the Shearn Wobble will analyze the response and then adjust his call accordingly. Attempts to ban the Shearn Wobble have been repeatedly vetoed by a certain Mr. A.L. Shearn.
The Law of Cliff
It is an amazing and yet undeniable fact that a player who gains an extra coin from a successful Cliff call will almost certainly lose it again very rapidly. This can almost certainly be explained by ‘Overconfidence’ which is what happens when a player suddenly starts to believe he has the superhuman ability to read the other players’ minds. When a player gives back his recently won Cliff coin, it is traditional for the other players to look skywards and pronounce solemnly: “Cliff giveth an Cliff taketh away”.
A major difference between the noble and gentlemanly conventions of the Hollywood game and those of Milan Rules lies in the attitude to gloating. Far from being a punishable offence, gloating is the principal reason for playing Milan Rules. When the first player is out of the game, tradition warrants he be encouraged by the remaining players to “Start us off” and to “Hurry up”. The losing player must not display any sign of irritation at this treatment as it will only encourage the others to carry on.
The winner of a game in Milan Rules is quite free to tell all the other players that they are hopeless and that it was a pleasure doing business with them. In fact, the failure of a winning player to gloat will be viewed with much suspicion and will inevitably lead to the other players paying close attention to this player’s hands in all subsequent games.
Just for the record, Milan Rules Spoof is based on Bid Spoof, with the addition of the Zero and Cliff calls. The Cliff call was a major innovation and was invented by Adam Cleary, David Semeria and Andrew Shearn in the “Trottoir” Bar in Milan in the mid Nineties. As to the origins of Bid Spoof itself, no-one is quite sure, although the perennially modest Mr. Cleary thinks he may have invented that too.
.Copyright to all information contained herein remains with The Tasmanian Spoofing School or its registered officers. Use or dissemination of any information contained herein without the express permission of these officers is forbidden