Whether or not you’re an avid card player, chances are you’ve shuffled the deck at least once or twice in your lifetime. After all, playing cards is one of the most common American pastimes of all time! While you might know the basics – 52 cards, 4 suits, 1 joker – here are some interesting facts that you may not have heard about playing cards yet:
Fact #1: The United States Playing Card Company (USPC) is the number one producer of playing cards worldwide. Located in Cincinnati Ohio, USPC has been pumping out playing cards since 1867, producing more than 100 million decks each year.
Fact #2: The origins of playing cards dates back to the Orient in the 12th century when the Chinese decided to reinvent the game of dominoes with heavy cardstock.
Fact #3: The diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs that we know today originated as coins, cups, swords, and sticks, respectively, in the Middle East.
Fact #4: When the first French deck of cards came to be, each face card (king, queen, jack) represented specific historical figures. For example, the King of Hearts represented Charlemagne, diamonds was Julius Caesar, clubs was Alexander the Great, and the spades was King David from the Holy Bible.
Fact #5: Traditionally the Ace of Spades in every deck of cards is unique from the rest of the other aces. The distinction originated when the French decided to put a tax stamp on this card specifically to increase their profits from selling playing cards.
Fact #6: Since the Ace of Spades was the only card in the deck that carried a tax, many people tried to dodge the extra expense by buying a deck without that particular card. This is where the common phrase “he/she is not playing with a full deck” originated.
Fact #7: The tallest playing card tower was built in 1992 by Bryan Berg, earning him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Can you believe that there’s so much history behind such a simple game? At Casinos by M&M we pay homage to playing cards by using only the finest, regulation casino playing card decks. In fact, all of our casino party supplies – from chips and dice to gaming tables – are 100% authentic!
Playing cards are a staple in the gaming world across the board. From gambling in casinos, to a night shuffling the deck with family and friends, cards are an international icon of fun! If you’re interested in learning how this simple, yet genius bit of pocket-sized entertainment was created, read on:
The origins of playing cards.
Though the French are credited with bringing playing cards to the forefront of entertainment and game play, the earliest known deck of cards actually originated in in Central Asia during the 10th century. Chinese gamers translated the already famous dominoes into paper form, and began shuffling and dealing them to create new and exciting games. By 1370, four suited decks with court cards had been created, and were discovered and imported by the Europeans.
Playing cards become affordable.
Early decks were handpainted, making their price point extremely high – a luxury that only the wealthy, upper class could afford. However, the 14th century brought the invention of woodcuts, a system where images and lettering could be carved into a block of wood that was then used over and over like a modern day stamp. This sped up the production process and brought the purchase point down considerably, allowing middle class folks to get a taste of the action.
The French take on playing cards.
The original decks designed by the French most closely parallel our modern day cards. France was the first to adopt the 4-suit deck of spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts that we’re all familiar with. They simplified the card designs in order to streamline mass-production, which was booming and exporting to England and the Americas in no time.
Americans produced their own playing cards.
Working off of the initial design and style that the French so fittingly laid out, Americans began reconfiguring playing cards and making them their own. Advancements like doubled-headed court cards, glazed protective surfaces and rounded corners were quickly introduced and adopted. In 1870 the joker card was born as a direct influence of the game “Euchre.”
Today playing cards come in all different shapes and sizes, but their basics remain the same: Fifty-two cards, four suits, nine court cards, and a bonus joker!
At Casinos by M&M we pay homage to playing cards by using only the finest, regulation casino playing card decks. In fact, all of our casino party supplies – from chips and dice, to gaming tables – are 100% authentic!