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Black Betty

Posted by Mikko on August 31, 2005

In Reply to: Black Betty posted by Lewis on August 30, 2005

: : : Hey,
: : : This isn't the usual kind of question but I thought you guys may be able to help me.

: : : I need to know are there any metaphors or phrases or ANYTHING concerning the Queen of Spades (all I know is that there's an opera by that name).

: : : Any help would be greatly appreciated.

: : Once again, guessing in the dark, owing to a lack of context. However, in the short amount of time I spent Googling the phrase, only three things turned up: 1) the Pushkin novella of that name , 2) the Tchakovsky opera (Pikovaya Dama, also known as Picque Dame, as well as The Queen of Spaces), and 3) a British film based on the Pushkin story. The story is one of those mysterious stories a bit a la Poe. A Russian army officer without money wants to win some at cards. He becomes acquainted with a girl whose grandmother, known as the Queen of Spades, has secret knowledge of how to win at gambling. From there on Pushkin's story and those derived from it vary a bit. Of course, things end badly for the young officer. Tchaikovsky's opera was one of his two most successful, both based on Pushkin stories. (The other was Eugene Oniegin.) I know of no particular significance attached to that card in the deck outside of Pushkin's story, but others may. SS

: the Queen of Spades is known as "Black Betty", which is the name of a card game and a song by Geno Washington's Ram Jam Band (in the 1970s).

: L

In the blues slang the "Queen of Spades" is a name for a black woman. Robert Johnson uses this name in his song "Little Queen of Spades".

"Black Betty" has basically the same meaning.