Everybody knows a card game or two. Even kids, when handed a deck of playing cards, can come up with their own game and their own rules. Now a part of everyday life, playing cards have come a long way and have evolved from a form that would be largely indistinguishable now. As such, it would be pretty good to appreciate the storied history of card games, whether you’re a simple player with your own deck at home or an avid player of card games at your local casino or online casinos like those offered at slotmine.com
Here is a brief history of card games and how the modern playing deck came to be.
Origins in China
The first documented card games were found in China. Tiles made out of paper were dealt in the 10th century. These tiles, which resembled dominoes, had coins drawn on them. The rules on how to play them, though, were lost in time.
Closer to the modern playing card decks were the ones found in Europe in the mid 13th century. Suits were represented by Cups, Coins, Swords, and Sticks, although some also used Batons and Sceptres. Europeans were also the first to use people as symbols, with as many as six available instead of the modern four. These were hand-drawn and accessible only to the wealthy. It was only until a century later, with wooden or ivory tiles being mass-produced, and they became more known to the public.
Popularity in Europe
The cards eventually evolved further in the 1400s, with King, Queen, Knight, and Jack becoming staples. Special symbols, including the Fool, were added and, at one point, an entire deck totalled to almost a hundred. This deck was used to play a game called Tarocco. As most of the card symbols symbolised mysticism and the occult, these cards were adapted by fortune tellers into the current tarot cards
that we are now familiar with.
The French were the ones who spread the modern suits to the world. Originally known as Spearheads, Hearts, Trefoils, and Squares, these versions became the templates for the modern playing decks. However, it was not until the 18th century that the current design of the modern deck was created, with the exception of the rounded corners which were implemented later on.
A piece of trivia that was adopted from the French is that each King in the deck is represented by a historical figure. Charlemagne was the blueprint for the King of Hearts, while the King of Diamonds was Julius Caesar. Alexander the Great was represented by the King of Clubs, and lastly, King David was symbolised by the King of Spades.
The Modern Deck
The modern playing cards were designed by Americans, which spearheaded production during the 1800s. Changes made during this era included varnished surfaces for shuffling ease and rounded corners for the purpose of added durability. It was also during this time that the Joker was included in the deck. The Joker, in itself, was a leftover from the European game Euchre. Also known as the Fool, Jokers typically carry a stick or a musical instrument, although many cards have a lot of room for improvisation when it comes to this card’s design.
The 19th century also saw decks with printed backs. This is to eliminate chances of cheating, especially for worn-out cards that have thinned out. In America, the United States Playing Card Company
is the biggest manufacturer of playing cards, with the Bicycle brand being their most famous product line. This company was founded way back in 1867 and still exists to this day.
The Bottom Line
While there are numerous card games and variations played by different casinos and players from all over the world, the humble playing cards have remained in their current incarnation and are now recognised globally as a standard in their current form. The modern deck now comes in different themes and designs, but the regular 52-card deck with 2 Jokers is pretty much accepted all over the world.
Only time will tell if this will evolve further in the future, but what can be said in the here and now is that our current playing cards, in their current forms, have provided players with countless hours of fun and enjoyment and, for that, we are truly thankful.