Green’s Dictionary of Slang

booty n.1

In phrases

play booty (v.) (also booty, bowl booty, cast booty, cry booty, fight booty, ride booty)

to cheat in cards or dice (occas. bowls), usu. in conspiracy with a confederate; thus booty fellow, one of a cheating team (also found in non-criminal senses). The result of such play is either to gang up on a third party, and share the resulting profits or ‘booty’, or deliberately to play to lose; also in fig. use; similarly used of horseracing (see cit. 1796) where a jockey deliberately loses.

Walker Manifest Detection (1850) 43: One man lost [...] an hundred pound land at shooting, by occasion that some that shot with him on his side, were booty fellows against him.
[UK]Awdeley Fraternitye of Vacabondes in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 9: They thus ticklyng the young man in the eare, willeth him to make as much money as he can, and they wil make as much as they can, and consent as though they wil play booty against him.
[UK]Greene Second Part of Conny Catching 8: The bowlers cast euer booty and doth win or loose as the bet of the gripe leadeth them.
[UK]Dekker Belman of London F3: In this Law they which play booty are the Banckers.
[UK]T. Overbury New and Choise Characters n.p.: [A Chamber-Mayde] If she catch a clap, she diuides it so equally betweene the Maister and the Seruingman, [...] only the knaue Sumner makes her bowle booty, & ouer-reach the Maister.
[UK]Etherege Man of Mode III i: What think you of playing it on booty? [...] Pretend to be in love with one another.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: he Bowls Booty, when great Odds are laid, and he goes Halves, his Cast is designed by Bad.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: He bowls Booty, when great Odds being laid, and he goes halves, his Cast is design’d to be Bad.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Fielding Joseph Andrews (1954) I 30: The best gamesters, before they laid their money, always inquired which horse little Joey was to ride; and the bets were rather proportioned by the rider than by the horse himself; especially after he had scornfully refused a considerable bribe to play booty on such an occasion.
[UK]G. Colman Spleen I i: Jubilee started and stumbled; but, by-the-bye, I believe his rider played booty – Duenna won the stakes, and the knowing ones were all taken in.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Booty, to play booty, cheating play, where the player purposely avoids winning.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Aug. VIII 247/1: Every now and then [...] he gave a slight touch of the jockey, and played booty.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Nov. XI 75/1: It was so evident that Darts fought booty, that none of the sportsmen would afterwards back him for a single halfpenny.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Apr. XIV 40/1: I laid all the cash I had left, upon Mr. Cookson’s Diamond, who lost [...] I have a great notion the jockey rode booty.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 21 Sept. 3/3: Those who meant to bet upon Eclipse [...] openly condemned [its rider] for not playing booty .
[UK]W. Scott Rob Roy (1883) 114: Were he caught playing booty, he would be disarmed, and probably dismounted.
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 96: †booty. To play or bowl, or cry booty, appears to have meant to give people an advantage at first in order to draw them on to their loss.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 15: Booty, at play — when one’s partner [...] looses the game purposely, he is said to ‘play booty.’.
[UK]Fife Herald 18 Mar. 4/1: He is like a man who attempts to finesse with a small card, when he has a sure winner in his hand [...] This tricky fantasticmode of prooceeding looks monstrously like playing booty with the enemy, and wishing to deceive his friends, the people.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 259: [of boxing] Each cove vos teazed with double duty, / To please his backers, yet play booty.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 107: Five of ’em strung up in a row, and none left to play booty, or turn white-livered!
[UK]Fife Herald 10 June 2/4: [in fig. use] The political roguery of bothb factions has long been notorious [...] The patriots, as well as their press, are playing booty.
[Ire]Dublin Eve. Mail 2 Dec. 4/6: [in fig. sense] We have a strong opinion that Cardinal Wiseman and Lord John Russell are playing booty.
[UK]Brighton Gaz. 3 June 7/4: [of cricket] When they speak of a man playing ‘booty’ at cricket nobody believes it.
[UK]Dundee Courier 28 Nov. 2/1: If the news from Mexico be correct, the Federal officers at Brownsville [...] have compromised the Government by playing booty with a Republican officer.
[UK]Leeds Times 7 May 6/5: He joined a gang of six that frequented rooms in Bow-street and told him their tricks. It was the old lay — sham watches and ‘playing booty’.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie III tab.V iv: What made you cross the fight and play booty with your own man?
Southern Reporter (Selkirk, Scotland) 28 June 2/6: The best gamesters, before they laid their money, always inquired which horse little Joey was to ride [...] especially after he had scornfully refused a considerable bribe to play booty. I presume ‘playing booty’ was the same things as ‘pulling’.