How Playing Cards Appeared: History, Types, Interesting Facts


It is impossible to imagine a single casino without playing cards because they are the main instrument of many gambling games. The first decks appeared hundreds of years ago, and have come a long way to acquire a modern look. Today, we will tell you a story of the emergence and evolution of playing cards.

First Mentions

It is not known exactly who and when invented playing cards. They had many prototypes, in particular wooden and stone tiles, pieces of leather with symbols painted on them, etc. Asia is considered the birthplace of playing decks. The first mention of them dates back to the 8th century. China first used flat tablets made of various materials – wood, bamboo, and ivory for playing games. In India, there were round cards with images of animals, plants, weapons, and gods. In Japan, people used mussel shells, which depicted the seasons and various scenes of everyday life. All this took place well before the emergence of the first classic or online roulette.

Decks similar to modern ones first appeared in Persia. There were 48 cards in the deck, divided by 4 suits. In these decks, you can see a hierarchy similar to the modern one – the first 10 cards were numbered, and the 2 elder ones had images of the vizier and the king.

Playing Decks in Europe

In 1418, professional card makers appeared in Ulm, Nuremberg, and Augsburg and started the mass printing of playing decks. At the end of the 15th century, the decks were modernized to look more European. Egyptian suits replaced hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs, and members of the European royal courts became the heroes of the elder cards. In different variations, they were kings, queens, knights, servants, and other characters.

Types of Decks

The generally accepted modern version of the deck consists of 54 cards of four suits. It includes basic cards from 2 to 10, jacks, queens, kings, aces, and 2 jokers. There are smaller decks where there are no jokers and 36 cards, and the countdown starts from 6. Different decks are used for different games. In particular, poker requires a full deck, while preference requires a 32-card deck. There are also games for which other combinations of decks are used.

The rapid spread of gambling at the beginning of their history led to the fact that almost every country had its version of the playing deck. For instance, a standard Italian-Spanish deck consists of 50 cards. The counting of cards starts from 1 and ends with 9. There are no queens, but there is a jack, a knight, a king, and a joker. Now they are not used so often, but they still exist.


The history of playing cards, like gambling, began hundreds of years ago, but they are still one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world. This is a great way to have fun and have an interesting time. The main thing is to remember that you need to gamble responsibly.