The History of Cards

Have you ever wondered how the casino playing cards got to where they are now?

What about their history, and why do they look the way they do?

Even though you may think that they are a brand new human invention, the playing cards are actually way older than you would assume they are.

And their rich history from around the world can also prove that to you.

Let’s find out the actual beginnings of the playing cards.

And how did they manage to overcome the difficulties of the past and get to where they are now?

The Earliest Roots of the Playing Cards (The East)

You may or may not expect this, but the earliest beginnings of the casino world were in Asia.

Specifically, the Tang dynasty started practicing all kinds of games based on the so-called unpopular cards at that time.

The word began to spread among the other dynasties, and soon it became a very famous game to play when you’re bored.

The rich people only did it because they considered that the poor couldn’t play this game. It wasn’t suitable for their status.

The cards didn’t look like the modern ones we know, but it was a perfect start.

From China and its dynasties, the famous playing cards spread their word through India, Korea, Persia, and Egypt.

ancient chinese deck

Europe in the 14th Century

Germany, Italy, Spain, and France were the European countries that were famous for their touch with art and high culture.

That’s how the word for playing cards got to them as well, and alter on spread through all Europe.

These few countries started to play cards regularly out of fun, but later on, it became more of a business.

Each country had its version of the card decks.

And soon, they began drawing kings, queens, knights, and horses on the cards as a design.

ancient german deck

France and Its Big Impact on the Modern Playing Cards 

We mentioned France here as a separate part of the card culture.

Because without this country, the modern deck of today wouldn’t exist.

This country got the classic 52 cards deck while the other European countries also had their version.

Soon, people started to like the french version the most out of every other deck, and it quickly became popular enough to spread across the sea to the USA.

It had the classic suits (heart, diamond, spade, club) and it had drawings on the biggest cards in the deck. Just like the modern cards that we are familiar with today.

The cards made a long way across the world to get to their current position: the gambling industry.

We couldn’t imagine the casino world without it.

And it certainly is one of the best inventions of mankind in the whole world.

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Ben Williams

Content Writer

Ben grew up in a small beach town on the Coromandel Peninsula. He spent most of his childhood surfing and playing rugby. After graduating from university in Auckland, he moved to Australia to work for a startup. He returned to New Zealand a few years later and started working in the iGaming industry.

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