The fascinating history of playing cards

Gambling for centuries has been a recreational activity in the UK. Cards games are very popular among the casino games like live blackjack and mobile blackjack.

 Playing cards and their designs have been around for centuries, but how did it all begin? You must take a look at the exciting history of playing cards.

The fascinating history of playing cards

The origin of playing cards

Gambling dates back to the Paleolithic period (earliest period of human development, lasting until approx 8000 BC). It is believed that gambling was closely confined with the superstitions and myth cultures of the first human civilisations. This later developed into recreation with the origin of the written word.

Playing cards came about much later. It is believed that playing cards may have been invented during the Tang dynasty around the 9th century AD because of the usage of woodblock printing technology. With this technology, members of royalty enjoyed the game and made wagers.

Cards came with characters, icons and instructions on how to play and gamble. The leaf game comprised nine cards where gamblers could stake metal currency to win. Chinese characters depicted the rank of each card and suit in addition to money cards for wagering.

Mass production of cards

The printing press developed in 1440 helped push the popularity of playing cards with mass-produced decks. The cards portrayed devotional images and were printed using wooden stencils. The woodblock printing was replaced by movable metal type.

Gambling was seen as an immoral activity and many laws were enacted that forbade card gambling because of church viewing it as a corrupting vice. The popular French decks came in a variety of sizes. The 52-card deck system including 13 ranks of each suit with a reversible face became standard. It was the first to include an Ace, King, Queen and a Jack.

Playing cards were enjoyed throughout various gambling establishments in many parts of Europe during the mid-16th century. The cards used by King Henry VIII were so popular that they even found their way into notable paintings of the renaissance. European cards were also used in the east and Japan.

Today, the United States Playing Card Company is the largest manufacturer of playing cards. Their product line includes many of the most well-known brands of cards like Bee, Bicycle and Aviator. Casino reviews can provide a vital piece of information about the cards.

Modern card decks

The dimensions of playing cards have changed little since their creation. Playing cards with corner indices were created with the objective of fanning out cards in one hand. The first known instance of mass-produced cards was known as Infirerra from Spain in 1693. The design of these cards eventually became standard by the 1700s. The games of chance appeared in the US by the late 1700s and early 1800s. A print created by Samuel Hart became the most common card design in 1864. It featured cards with both front and back designs, an invention copied from the French card manufacturers. These playing cards featured rounded edges because sharp corners wore out quickly. Until the 1950s, American and British gamblers played with blank decks. Back designs were printed on cards to avoid cheating and to maintain uniformity within a deck.

The joker was introduced to the standard deck and is assumed to have come from a game known as Euchre. In this game, the Jack was known as the “trump” card and the term joker was derived from the word “juker”. The earliest known reference to the joker card can be traced back to American decks used in 1875.

Playing card and casinos

Modern casinos use the standard 52-card deck with four suits for their table games. Online casinos incorporate multiple decks for their casino games. The best online casinos use their own logos and design to manufacture cards. There are hundreds of different types of playing card designs. Each of them has distinctive patterns, features and cover art. Reference to these cards can be found in various books and movies.