♦J and ♥J as Best Bower and Under Bower
|Card rank (highest first)||A K Q J 10 9 8 7|
|Features: 2 Jacks as top trumps; 5-card hands|
Bester Bube, Bester Bauer, Bester Buur, Beste Boeren (Holland), Fiefkarten (
The game is recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries in German and Dutch game anthologies and dictionaries, appearing as early as 1781 in a Low German dictionary where it is equated with Lenter-Spiel. In 1802 it is mentioned as a "people's card game" in a Holstein dialect dictionary, both as "Lenter" and "Besten Buur", and buuren is described as "playing the card game of besten Bauren [sic], in which the Spadenbuur or Pique Bauer ("Jack of Spades", also figuratively a foolish person) is the highest card which beats all the others." It is also recorded in 1808 in Das neue königliche l'Hombre as "Bester Bube" and Von Alvensleben includes it in his 1853 Encyclopädie der Spiele. It is still current in the 1905 edition of
It appears to be a regional game: Parlett suggests it was played in the south and west of Germany, but it is also recorded in north Germany, for example in the area of
Bester Bube may be related to Juckerspiel and hence
Bester Bube (pronounced "Boober") means "Best Jack" or "Best Bower" (the original names Bester Buur or Bester Bauer meant "best farmer") and is named after its highest card, originally the Jack of Spades, but later the trump Jack. The second highest trump is the jack of the same suit colour, the Unterbube ("Under Bower" or "Under Jack") or Nebenbube ("Side Bower" or "Side Jack").