Whether it’s a holiday, a long journey, a social occasion at home or at a casino – playing cards have a massive part to play in modern society.
But who do we have to thank for the invention? They are believed to have originated in China, before spreading to India and Persia.
They ended up on European shores in the second half of the 14th century and were original considered as forms of art which were hand painted.
Today, they are mass produced and you cannot go to any holiday destination around the globe without seeing a personalised pack on sale in a souvenir shop such is their popularity, while they are also one of most common forgotten things when heading away on holiday in case of a rainy day.
Here are some interesting facts about card games
Casanova loved cards
He didn’t only have a love for the women, but he also had a love for cards, apparently. He mentioned his love of cards throughout his memoirs.
Vive le France
We have France to thank for the playing cards that we have become used to today, with the first record of them dating back to 1480
It wasn’t the complete pack though as the Joker card we now see in our packs was an American invention at a later date.
There have been many variations over the years – anything from 24, 32 to 48. The only reason why people can use to explain that it is 52 cards is because of the English and French colonialism – with the latter’s deck consisting of 52 cards.
There are plenty of companies who produce decks of cards across the globe but the most renowned of those is the Bicycle brand.
This brand is used by many gamblers, magicians, casinos, and casual card players all over the world these days and was first produced in 1885.
Bicycle gained particular popularity during the Second World War and Vietnam War, with special decks given to American POWs – when put together in a particular order, they would help them to find an escape route
Plastic fantastic for casinos
100 % plastic cards are used in casinos for a number of reasons. One main reason is for security purposes and prevents them from being marked, while they can also last longer as opposed to the paper variety we use at home or in your regular poker games.
The game of blackjack first originated in France and rather than having the name ‘Blackjack’ it was called ‘vingt-et-un’ which is 21 in French
Blackjack or 21?
Following on from the above fact, the proper name for the game is actually 21, and it wasn’t until the 1920s when the term Blackjack was first used
A good or a bad hand?
The object of the game is not to get 21 but to beat the dealer and while the best hand is 21, the second is 20, sixteen and 15 are the worst hands.
A blackjack player has six options when deciding what action to take in any given hand.
Having received the mandatory two cards you can take one of the following options: hit, stand, split, double down, take insurance or surrender.
20 card poker
In its early days, poker could be played with just a deck of twenty cards and four players.
Those players were then dealt five cards and the betting would begin on who had the best hand.
The first usage of 52 cards in the game of poker can be dated back to 1834.
People think Monopoly can be a long game but there was one game of poker which lasted a whole eight and a half days.
The game, which took place at the Bird Cage Theatre in Arizona, supposedly started in 1881 and lasted eight years, five months and three days.
Televised poker is a common occurrence these days but it wasn’t shown on TV until was back in 1973 – with the event being the World Series of Poker which took place in Las Vegas.
Gold was the name of the game when Poker first started with players playing for gold nuggets, coins and gold dust.
It soon became apparent that a standard unit would be required and that was when the poker chips were introduced.
Chips were initially made of ivory, bone, clay, wood and different designs would denote how much each chip was worth.
It is very similar these days in casinos, with each player handed a different colour set of poker chips to help the croupier distinguish players.
Money Money Money
Although footballers and boxers and Formula 1 drivers are designated as some of the biggest earners in sport, the biggest purse or prize money on offer is in poker.
According to statistics the top five poker events could see you walk away with a staggering $44,202,738.