Playing card

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Paul Cézanne's The Card Players, 1895
The King of Hearts

Playing cards is the name for the 54 cards used in a lot of games like poker, bridge, blackjack, and solitaire.

There are 52 basic cards in a deck. These cards have a suit and a number (called the value or rank). There are 4 suits and 13 ranks in each suit. There are also two Jokers that do not have a suit or a rank.

Suits[change | change source]

Chinese playing card c. 1400 AD, Ming Dynasty, found near Turpan, 9.5 by 3.5 cm.

Usual signs: spades (♠), hearts (), diamonds (), clubs (♣).

In some countries different suit signs may be used. In central Europe, there are cards with the suit signs of acorns, leaves, hearts, and bells. In Spain, Italy and Latin America, there are playing cards with the suits of clubs, swords, cups, and coins and Aces

Values[change | change source]

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack (J), Queen (Q), King (K), Ace (A). In some games the ace is the highest value, but in other games it is the lowest.

Number of cards[change | change source]

For many games, the Jokers are removed from the deck, making the total number of cards in the deck 52. Sometimes the deck is reduced to 40, 36, or 32 cards for playing certain games, like belote, sheepshead or euchre.[source?]

Tarot cards[change | change source]

There are various types of tarot cards. Tarots are commonly used for fortune-telling, although they can also be used for playing games. Conversely, people have also used standard playing cards for fortune-telling.

History[change | change source]

Early French playing cads

Playing cards have been found in 9th century China, Tang dynasty.[1]

Playing cards first entered Europe in the early 14th century, probably from Egypt. The suits were very similar to the tarot suits of Swords, Staves, Cups and Coins. These designs are still used in traditional Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese card decks.[2]

The first documentary evidence is from Vitoria-Gasteiz (now Spain) in 1334, in which the Knights of the Band are forbidden to play cards.[3] The next record is from Catalonia in 1371.[4] Wide use of playing cards in Europe can be traced from 1377 onwards.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Needham, Joseph 2004. Science & Civilisation in China'. vol 1, Cambridge University Press, pages 131/2, 328, 334. ISBN 0-521-05802-3
  2. Donald Laycock in Skeptical—a handbook of pseudoscience and the paranormal. Imagecraft, Canberra, 1989, p67. ISBN 0-7316-5794-2
  3. "History of the Mus". Ontario Basque Club. http://www.ontariobasqueclub.dantzariak.net/mus.htm. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  4. J. Brunet i Bellet 1886. Lo joch de naibs, naips o cartas, Barcelona, quote in the "Diccionari de rims de 1371 : darrerament/per ensajar/de bandejar/los seus guarips/joch de nayps/de nit jugàvem, see also le site trionfi.com
  5. Banzhaf, Hajo (1994) (in Italian), Il Grande Libro dei Tarocchi, Roma: Hermes Edizioni, pp. 16, 192, ISBN 88-7938-047-8

Other websites[change | change source]