Sorcerers are all playing in a Texas Hold’em style poker game where all of the cards are demons. Face-cards are demons that can pass as human. Number cards are objects.
Cards in the river are out in the world fucking shit up. Sorcerers can only make Pacts with cards that have relationships to their own cards, no bindings.
Once the sorcerers are done with gathering their cards the time for summoning is over and they traditionally fight to the death. Sometimes they form a cabal and if they go too long, often another game will start somewhere.
Going to 0 Humanity means folding, losing all of one’s demons and usually everything good in one’s life – so that is what is at stake, being bet on, though it is never spoken aloud.
When it is your turn to draw a card you do a binding, done through ritualized acts of crime that make sense for the card you are attempting to summon.
Media Inspirations: True Detective Season 1, Heat, Dog Day Afternoon, Thomas Ligotti short stories, Margaret Killjoy’s Daniel Caine books (The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion and The Barrow Will Send What it May), Rounders, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Casino, Go
EDIT: Thinking more about this on the G+ post on the Sorcerer RPG community:
I want to use cards as a way to give demons color and structure and relationships with one another – a kind of family/clan/rivals thing and thinking about crime and the seediest sides of gambling as inspiration
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Two of diamonds.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-cddd-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99