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]
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 or Knave (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]
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.
The first documentary evidence is from Vitoria-Gasteiz (now Spain) in 1334, in which the Knights of the Band are forbidden to play cards. The next record is from Catalonia in 1371. Wide use of playing cards in Europe can be traced from 1377 onwards.
Manufacture[change | change source]
The method of making cards has stayed the same for over a century. Cards are two thin pieces of paper stuck together with black paste. Both outer sides are printed. Inside is the design of the card face, the outer is the design for the pack as a whole. The black paste is essential to prevent sight of the face coming through when light shines on the face side. The use of the paste is the reason cards are sometimes called "pasteboards".
One or two packs at a time are printed on large sheets of paper, already pasted. The individual cards are stamped out by a machine which acts like a cookie-cutter. It cuts 36,000 cards per hour. A tiny fraction of a second later the edges of the cards are squashed extra-thin. This is not obvious to the naked eye, but the effect is that the cards slide easily past each other during shuffling.
References[change | change source]
- Needham, Joseph 2004. Science & Civilisation in China'. vol 1, Cambridge University Press, pages 131/2, 328, 334. ISBN 0-521-05802-3
- Donald Laycock in Skeptical—a handbook of pseudoscience and the paranormal. Imagecraft, Canberra, 1989, p67. ISBN 0-7316-5794-2
- "History of the Mus". Ontario Basque Club. http://www.ontariobasqueclub.dantzariak.net/mus.htm. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- 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
- Banzhaf, Hajo (1994) (in Italian), Il Grande Libro dei Tarocchi, Roma: Hermes Edizioni, pp. 16, 192,
- Francis, Henry G. et al 1984. The official encyclopedia of bridge. New York: Crown, p267. ISBN 0-517-55272-8