Oct 11, 2010

Mystery of Playing Cards

(The Season of Festivals arrived in Nepal and I think Those festivals will be incomplete without the Playing Cards (Poker Cards). Every people know the Playing Cards very well but there are some more interesting facts behind those cards. Let’s find out some of the artistic explanations about the Playing Cards.)

playing_cards The mystery of playing cards is that we don't know exactly who invented them. Playing cards date back to somewhere between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1100. There is reference to them in an ancient Chinese dictionary that said they were originated during the time of Seun-Ho around 1120. Supposedly, he used them to amuse and entertain himself and the people he lived with. In Egypt and India they were used for religious purposes.

At first, cards were round in shape. If you've ever dropped a deck of cards, you can appreciate how much easier it would be to pick them all up and get them aligned with circular cards! In about 1500, the cards changed and started depicting the kings and queens that ordered the cards. That's also the time that they became rectangular. At one point, cards became outlawed around 1541, with the king only allowing the commoners to play them around Christmas time.

France provided the concepts behind today's deck of cards. The use of simple shapes and colors allowed for increased popularity of various games. The original face cards actually represented historical figures (see below). France exported their popular playing cards throughout the world, with shipments eventually making it to the American colonies.

The original French cards actually were actually named and designed after popular historical figures. It should be noted that today's cards no longer hold any strong relation to these people. Representations have changed due to copying, differing artist renditions, and company branding that little remains linking them to this history.

King of Hearts - Charlemagne (French King)

 King of Diamonds - Julius Caesar

King of Clubs - Alexander the Great

King of Spades - King David (King of Israel)

Other Interesting Cards

The Joker

Not belonging to any suit the joker is most assuredly a card imported through the influence of Tarot's The Fool. The Joker is most commonly used as a wild card or as a trump card. While it is not part of the standard deck of cards, it has uses in numerous games and therefore in included by most manufacturers.

A♠ Ace of Spades

Ever wonder why the Ace of Spades is different than the rest of the Aces? It's actually a tradition held over from when there was an actual reason for the distinguishing mark. Cards were seen by Kings and Queens as a source of income for their kingdom. As a result, consumers were required to pay a tax for each deck of cards purchased. Because the Aces have the most "white space", it was relatively easy to stamp the card with the seal indicating the proper fees had been paid. Over time, it simply became customary to stamp the Ace of Spades. The mark is still on our cards today simply out of tradition (plus it gives the card manufacturers a place to put their name and trademark information).

Some artful explanation for the 54 Playing cards (Poker Cards): 

  • The Big wizard and Small wizard (Joker) stands for the Sun and Moon respectively.
  • There are 52 cards in a standard deck of cards which represent the 52 weeks in a year.
  • Their are four suits in a deck of cards: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades representing the four seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
  • The four suits in a standard deck of playing cards is thought to have originated in the Middle East. The suits started out as being coins, cups, swords and sticks. These suits evolved into today's playing card suits with the coins now being diamonds; the cups, which stood for "love", turning into hearts; the spades replaced the swords, and the sticks are now clubs.
  • There are 13 cards in each suit (A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K) which means each season contains 13 weeks. ( also There are 13 lunar months in a year).
  • If you add up the values of all the cards in the deck (with A=1,J=11,Q=12,K=13 and Big and Small wizard= 0.5 each) you get (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13)*4 + 0.5+0.5 = 365, which is exactly equal to the days in a year (365 days). 
  • The king of hearts is the only one that does not have a moustache and is the only one that looks like it has a sword going through his head, also known as the "Suicide King".
  • At one point, each court card: (The Jacks, Queens, and Kings) all represent a real member of royalty.

Enjoy the Festivals….


  1. This is the marvellous post that I have come over after huge searches. I am really thankful to you for providing this unique information about Poker playing card. It is family of card games that share betting rules and usually hand rankings. Thanks a lot!

  2. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    Custom Playing Cards

  3. This is very nice man , i hope you can check these top deck cards as well or share them , why not