History of Playing Cards: A Journey from China to Europe and the Rest of the World

A pack of playing cards can turn out to be your best companion at different places in different point of time. Whether you are travelling or spending a casual moment with your friends, you can try out different card games and enjoy playing them. However, the best enjoyment comes at a casino when you play your favorite black jack with the pack of this card. While we know many things about casinos and various casino games, we hardly know much about the playing cards. So, let us have a brief glance at the history and beginning of playing cards.

Beginning of Card Games

History says that China is the birth place of playing cards. It was originated in the early 9th century while there was the rule of the Tang dynasty. Ancient evidence written by Tang Dynasty writer Su E reveals Princess Tongchang, daughter of Emperor Yizong of Tang, playing the ‘leaf game’ with the members of her husband’s family. Card games came in a more formal shape with the introduction of sheets or pages during the Song Dynasty. Even the Chinese moved ahead by writing the first book on cards; ‘Yezi Gexi’. It was written by a Tang era woman, which was also commented on by Chinese writers of subsequent dynasties.

Spreading Over to Other Parts of the World

It was in the 14th century, when card games entered Europe for the first time. However, it was not directly from China, by from Egypt. It indicates that before coming to European nations, Chinese card games had entered to an African nation. The early European playing cards were very similar to terror cards. Evidences also have it that the European playing cards are similar to the present day cards in one respect because in most part, they contained 52 numbers of cards in one pack. Entry to Asian nations, such as Istanbul happened afterwards, at least after the 14th century.

In due course, the design, printing, styling, and rules of cards have changed remarkably. Playing cards, now a day, have a standard design and denomination or face value. However, in the early games, a king was considered to be at the highest position always. Gradually, during the 14th century introduction of an Ace in the set of playing cards was made. The most common pack of 52 playing cards that we play today is the famous French design that includes four suits consisting of 13 ranks. We know that most of the commercial packs of cards consist of 2 jokers; however, many card manufacturers include even one or four jokers in the pack. Though, in many card games jokers are not used, some games include them.

Playing card carry a long legacy with them and they are associated with one of the most lucrative, fascinating, and one of the oldest games in the world; casino and gambling. Black jack, baccarat, rummy, punto banco are some of the most widely played casino card games in the world. Now, with casino and gambling games becoming online, game organizers are coming with innovative variations in the games; however, the cards have still retained the same century-old charm and charisma.

News Reporter

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