Why do Poker Cards look like they do?

how are poker cards made

Evolution of playing cards

Millions of people all over the world enjoy playing different types of card games, and even centuries ago, this was always in vogue in some form or the other. Some of the typical games that are played- cribbage, bridge, rummy, Poker and many others.

There are many versions of Poker- a card game which is played in casinos, homes and clubs either for money or matchsticks. It’s a game that requires skill and a lot of luck. The first playing cards appear to have originated in China, from where it spread to Egypt and then to Europe in the 14th century.

A “standard” deck has 52 playing cards- 4 suits of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs with each litigation containing 13 cards Ace-10, Queen, Jack, and King.

So why do poker cards look like they do? A peek into its design history will tell you.

How design patterns evolved

Card makers in Europe initially depicted 12 characters and used symbols such as batons, swords, chalice, rings and coins. Woodblock cut in relief was printed on the cards and then coloured either by hand or stencils. The two main design patterns favourite in Europe were the Parisian design and the Rouennais design. The 12 court cards, originally meant to represent the King, cavalier and servant got a facelift when the French added the Queen and the Ace. Simple stamps were used for the numbered cards, and only the court cards were created from woodblock illustrations.

Although many countries in Europe still have their decks and suits, the English and American packs followed the Rouennais design. In one French suit, Spades represented the military, clubs- agriculture, diamonds- the merchant class during the heart- the Church.

English and French playing cards

When the import of foreign playing cards was banned in England in 1628, the French Rouen designs were altered. While some Germanic countries made their suits to represent Hearts, leaves, acorns and bells, England and France went with spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs. Three face cards- the Jack, Queen and King were introduced. The cards depicted elegant persons donning court costumes relating to that period. Though the Jack of Hearts and King of diamonds were shown in profile initially, the later artisans changed the design to the one that is in vogue today. Over time, numbers and letters were added in the corners, and American decks depicted these in 1875. With the evolution in design, famous royal figures were ascribed to each court card making

Some interesting facts about poker cards

Interestingly, the numerical value of a whole pack of cards is 364– assuming a jack is 11, a queen is 12 and a king 13. The addition of one of the joker makes 365, which is equal to a whole year. Many theories were floated as to why there are 52 cards in a deck. The thirteen cards in each suit are said to represent the thirteen lunar cycles, while the four seasons are represented by the four suits.  The 52 cards represent the 52 weeks in a year.

So the next time your play Poker, be sure to dwell upon its history a little. Find all my blog entries at the main page http://uknewcasinos.co.uk/.