When insane asylums were inspected, nearly anything going on was fair game for examination. During St. Elizabeths’ 1906 investigation, Dr. Harry Hummer, who later became superintendent at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians gave testimony concerning gambling at the asylum.
Hummer was asked if he had heard of any case where “cards were played for money by the attendants and patients.” Hummer replied that he had heard of cases, though he did not believe attendants had been present. A police officer had informed Hummer that there was a game going on in the asylum’s smoke room under the bakery; Hummer called in the two patients and threatened to revoke their parole privileges (free time without attendants) if they did not stop. They said they would, but apparently shifted their game to an outdoor area. Hummer again threatened to revoke their parole privileges, but they swore they would not gamble again and he let them continue with their relative freedom.
Hummer was then asked if he had ever played cards at St. Elizabeths. Hummer said he had, generally about 3:00 p.m. with two of the night watchmen and perhaps a patient or two. They played a game called pedro. When asked if he ever played seven-up, Hummer replied, “I don’t believe so, sir–not as severe a game as that.”
Pedro (pronounced peedro) actually seems to be the more complicated game; it is difficult to understand why Dr. Hummer pronounced seven-up a “severe” game. The rules to both games can be found on the internet.