A History of Playing Cards

On March 2, 2012, in Gambling Headlines, by Buddy TB

Playing CardsWhen most people sit down to play a game of cards, they don’t really think about the actual cards in their hands. Sure, they think about what kind of a hand they have and how they are going to play it, but rarely do they think about where the playing card came from or how it came into being. This is unfortunate since playing cards actually have a long and rich history.

In fact, playing cards date all the way back to 1377 and very possibly before then. That is just the first year from which we have actual accounts of them being used. At that time, they were popular in Europe, though they were likely invented in China. The reasoning behind this is that paper was invented in China. The cards came to Europe thanks to the trade routes of the Islamic empire, though they underwent some design changes to make them more like the cards we use today.

Once trump cards started being added in, people began using the cards as tarot cards, or in other words, to tell fortunes. This trend likely got its start in Europe as well and is still extremely popular today, though few people use actual playing cards for tarot readings anymore. Now, there are special decks, made especially for that purpose, that are commonly used.

Playing cards allowed for the invention of games like Poker and Blackjack, which many know and love today. It is likely, however, that these games were played, in some shape or form, long before actual cards were invented. The addition of cards just made playing easier and, once a uniform design was finally achieved, it allowed gaming to take on a kind of universal language all its own.

Eventually, playing cards became the official stamp of poker and other gambling games. And, as we all know, they are still used in casinos today. So, next time you look down at a handful of cards, don’t just think about your next move. Think about where the cards came from and the many variations they went through to become part of the games we all cherish today.

 

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